by Corey Matsumoto
There’s a storm brewing on the environmental front, and the turbulent topic is climate change. The reality of climate change can not be questioned—the evidence is in the receding glaciers and the extreme weather patterns of late. Indeed, this current winter season seems more like spring here on the coast. This debate, however, is not about evidence of climate change but about its cause.
Most of the world seems to have somehow finally agreed on something: Climate change is a serious problem that must be addressed, and that humans are the cause. President Obama, the "savior" of the world from the dark Bush days, himself said: “The threat of man-made global warming is undisputed….”
There is an exploited producer at the bottom of every cup of conventional coffee. That’s the message of the Guatemalan Campesino Committee of the Highlands (CCDA).
On Nov. 19 about 120 people were treated to a moving film at the Ecole Cote du Soleil, about Guatemalan Mayan peasants working co-operatively toward agrarian independance.After the film, committee president Leocadio Juracan Salome (pictured) explained the clear necessity for farm workers to work collectively to empower them all. The subtitle of the program, ‘For Food Security, Land Reform is Needed’ speaks directly to Guatemalan farm workers. In that country 2% of the population owns 75% of the arable land. Working on large farms, often trekking hours to and from the fields, wages typically are not high enough to cover the cost of living. For members of CCDA things are entirely different. Ratio of land ownership in Guatemala may seem very extreme and third world. But recent BC data shows the wealthiest 10% own 54.6% of this province’s wealth. Or, seen from another angle, BC’s top 50% control 95.7% of wealth, leaving just 4.3% for the rest of us. The other half. Globally the richest 2% own half of the world’s wealth. Rather than shrinking, these gaps are growing in the developed world. While many Canadians are clearly better off than average Guatemalans, our farmers also face huge negative legislative impacts that threaten small farms and local production. Maybe we can all learn from each other and work together.
by Eva van Loon
A pair of hotshot environmental engineers, Shaoan Cheng and Bruce Logan, have published a study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of economically viable electrohydrogenesis.
No, wait! Don’t go. Don’t glaze over. This could be men at work at their best. This is marvellous, maybe. This bears study. This is something we might be able to use to turn Powell River into a totally self-powered city.
Microbial fuel cells work through the action of bacteria, which can pass electrons to an anode. From the anode, the electrons run through a wire to the cathode—bingo! electric current. Meanwhile, the bacteria munch through organic matter in the biomass material. A jolt of electricity helps generate hydrogen gas at the cathode.
The energy produced is 288 times what goes in. That means 287 chunks of hydrogen energy to power vehicles, homes, you name it. That’s enormously more efficient than ethanol production, and doesn’t steal the corncobs off poor people’s plates. You can use wood chips as biomass, for example. Compost, presumably.
Feasibility study, anybody? I wonder if Canadian Tire would sell backyard reactors….