The group argues that the Swedish decision is “an important step in the right direction, implicitly acknowledging the low quality of unstable wind and solar, and is part of a general collapse of confidence in the renewable energy agenda pioneered in the Nordic countries and in Germany.”
Under its new direction, Sweden now views nuclear power as being critical to the nation’s “100% fossil-free” energy future.
Sweden can “afford to reject fossil fuels, relying on nuclear and hydro and biomass,” Net Zero Watch suggests.
Svantesson also sent a warning to other Western nations who are blindly pushing to meet the energy requirements of the WEF’s green agenda.
In “substantial industrialized economies… only a gas to the nuclear pathway is viable to remain industrialized and competitive,” Svantesson noted.
Experts have argued that lowering carbon dioxide emissions is not really a worthwhile goal for an individual country or globally.
The potential harms of the gas are uncertain and exaggerated while the benefits are overlooked.
Dr. John Constable, Net Zero Watch’s Energy Director, said that “living close to Russia focuses the mind.”
The Swedish people wish to “ground their economy in an energy source, nuclear, that is physically sound and secure, unlike renewables which are neither,” he explains.
Other world governments are continuing “to live in a fantasy” about meeting the green agenda goals, Constable added.
“But we are coming to the end of the green dream.’
While Segun Oyeyiola was a student at Obagemi Awolowo University, he converted his gas-guzzling Volkswagen into a fossil-fuel free machine by installing a giant solar panel on top and a wind turbine under the hood. The idea is that it becomes “Nigeria’s future car.”
At inception, the battery took 4-5 hours to charge, which was not ideal. The biggest challenges, according to Oyeyiola, was finding the best materials to use, and the people telling him he was wasting his time.
Here is an animation of a solar/wind powered car, showing how batteries are charged via the multiple turbines.
10 Reasons to Become Self-Sufficient & 10 Ways to Get There
By Michael Edwards and Jeffrey Green
We are now three to five generations removed from the rural backbone that strengthened America. The world at large has undergone a similar transformation as the promise of easier work has created a migration to big cities. These mega-cities could be seen as an experiment gone awry, as general well-being has declined, with suicide rates increasing across the world. Crowded conditions and economic strife have led to rampant crime, pollution, corporate malfeasance, and a dog-eat-dog type of competition that can be described as a temporary insanity.
The economic crisis we are living through has been the final straw for many people, as promises of a better, easier, and more creative life seem to have been sold to us by carnival-style tricksters who are laughing all the way to (their) bank.
Here are the top reasons for becoming self-sufficient; these are based on fundamental, systemic concerns for why undertaking this life change will not be a fly-by-night fad, but rather a long-lasting means for personal independence.
10 Reasons to Become Self-Sufficient
Freedom from market manipulation – The traditional market-driven investment vehicles are more and more obviously controlled by traders and banking institutions. The debacle of the private Federal Reserve Bank is just the icing on the cake to a previous decade full of Ponzi-type schemes. Now, the institutionalized looting of retirement money is being planned.
Hedging against inflation – Have you noticed the price of goods lately? Even Wal-Mart is silently raising its prices. People might have a choice whether or not to buy stocks or gold, but people have to eat — the current increases in basic goods portend hyperinflation, and will not ease anytime soon. Food shortages could make the problem exponentially worse.
3. Increasing health and wellness – It has now been revealed that some “organic” items have been falsely labeled. In addition, a host of “GMO-free” brands have been exposed as deceptive. GMO food lacks the nutritional value of what can be grown in the average backyard. GMO mega-corporation, Monsanto, has a sordid history and has continuously trampled on our trust. It is time that we do the work ourselves.
Building community strength – We constantly hear people say, “I don’t even see my neighbors, let alone know anything about them.” Of course not: 80-hour workweeks and grabbing meals-to-go doesn’t exactly promote community interaction. With such little time to interact with our immediate community, it is no wonder why many people report feeling disconnected. In these trying times, it is a local community that can offer the best support.
Working for yourself – Working hours are increasing, pay is often decreasing, and corporate executives are taking bigger bonuses than ever. This is leading to a prevailing disgust, as people are being forced to admit that they are living lives of near-indentured servitude. Even for those not working in corporations, working for someone else is rarely as satisfying as creating and working for something where every minute you spend is yours alone.
Having more free time – We have been taught to believe that life on a farm is arduous sun-up to sun-down drudgery where you collapse at the end of the day. This is not so much the case anymore. Sure, the setup of any farm or self-sufficient endeavor is often time-consuming and laborious, but new technologies and new skills of manufacturing food via permaculture and aquaponics are offering low-cost start up and minimal maintenance, as these techniques serve to create symbiotic systems that are remarkably self-governing.
Generating food and energy security – The planet is running out of food and traditional energy. Climate volatility, market forces, GM foods, and rising costs of harvesting and transporting food are all conspiring to create food shortages even in the First World. This trend will not reverse. And our oil-soaked way of life is being threatened by mounting evidence that the oil lifeline could be disconnecting rather soon. We should be looking to the air, sun, geothermal, and wave power to wean us from the energy grid.
Acquiring an appreciation for life – As one gets closer to life-giving forces, there is a natural appreciation for how things come into being. When you have created your garden, toiled there, selected the best for harvest, and have prepared that food for your family and community, the significance of what you have taken part in can be transformative.
Restoring balance – Nearly everything in our society is at a peak, or is drastically out of balance. The systems and governments to which we have looked for balance restoration are missing in action. We must take it upon ourselves to restore our own financial and environmental balance sheet. The best way to do that is to reduce our overconsumption.
Becoming a producer, not a consumer – This is the best way to reduce your cost of living and increase your self-sufficiency. In the U.S. over 70% of the economy is based on people buying things. This is a clear sign of imbalance and, by extension, it is not sustainable. Furthermore, we also have seen corporations race to the bottom to find low-cost production on the backs of desperate people. The exploitation of the Third World to clothe, feed, and entertain the First World is something that most people do not want to think about, but it is abominable. Again, new technologies are making it easier than ever to produce your own food, and even your own clothes.
As the cliche goes: Freedom is never free. But it sure beats the alternative.
10 Ways to Get to Self-Sufficiency
The global economic collapse has become an eye-opening experience for many people. The ongoing crisis continues to create more joblessness at a time when the cost of essential items like food and energy continue to rise.
Inflation is only expected to continue due to excessive printing of money to compensate for the bursting economic bubbles, which were arguably created by printing too much money with artificially low interest rates in the first place.
The 2008 price shocks in oil followed by the financial collapse have led many people to begin taking measures to become more self-sufficient. And recently the ominous signs of food shortages, the weakening dollar, and the rising price of oil all point to a similar atmosphere as 2008. Some have taken steps to conserve electricity, reduce spending and consumption, while others are planting kitchen gardens and installing solar panels on their homes. Even living off the grid is becoming a mainstream concept for those seeking independence.
Indeed, becoming more self-sufficient is proving to make common sense whether one anticipates more hardship to come or not. Sure, many of us would love to live completely off the grid without giving up everyday comforts, but this is not practical for most of us. However, there are many steps that can be taken to move towards self-sufficiency which can be relatively painless and quite rewarding.
The following are 10 suggestions that can lead to independent living:
Reduce your debt: Especially get your credit card debt under control, since it is entirely corrupt. Call your credit card companies and ask for a work out plan similar to what they received from the taxpayer bailout. If they don’t cooperate to your satisfaction, there are some reasons not to pay at all.
Reduce your consumption: Evaluate your current budget and determine absolute necessity. Push your comfort level to find areas where you can scale back, and then identify comforts that you’re willing to sacrifice.
Reduce energy use: Change light bulbs, have entertainment systems plugged into a splitter that can be shut off completely to reduce phantom charges, etc. Carefully plan shopping trips and other transportation needs.
Store energy: Always have back-up propane storage and a large wood pile for a rainy day. Investing in a generator of some kind (even a solar generator) will be money well spent.
Invest in food storage: With a falling dollar and rising food prices, why not create a food savings account? Get some good books, dehydrators and vacuum sealers for storage methods. Best storable food items are grains (rice, beans, flour), canned goods, seeds, and some prepackaged items.
Produce your own food: Replace your lawn with a garden, fruit trees, and keep chickens. Go on hunting and gathering adventures for nuts, fish, and wild game. Store extra garden seeds!
Learn new skills: Surf the Internet, read books, and take courses in practical skills like gardening, cooking with whole foods, composting, carpentry, alternative energy, natural health and wellness etc.
Start a side business: Turn your passion or hobby into a small side business to make some supplemental income. Who knows, it may become your path to full financial independence.
Install alternative energy: Start with small installations like a solar hot water system, a solar freezer, a solar attic fan, or a wood stove etc. If you have limited funds, tip-toe your way to independence.
Suggest solutions for your community: Start or join a local cooperative for food, products, and services. Engage your local community in discussions to take steps for self-sufficiency. Share your story and build support.
These steps will save money as we move closer to the ultimate prize of independence. Each action we take to live more simply frees us from the control systems put in place to make our lives more complicated, more toxic, and less independent.
The “Minimum” Solar Box Cooker is a solar oven that you can built quickly from two cardboard boxes.
The “Minimum” Solar Box Cooker is a simple box cooker that can be built in a few hours for very little money. When this cooker was designed, it was named it the “Minimum Solar Box Cooker” because, at the time, it represented the simplest design we could devise. What we didn’t communicate with that name was that this is a full-power cooker that works very well, and is in no way minimum as far as its cooking power goes.
What You Will Need
– Two cardboard boxes. We would suggest that you use an inner box that is at least 15 inch x 15 inch (38 cm x 38 cm), but bigger is better. The outer box should be larger than the small box all around, but it doesn’t matter how much bigger, as long as there is a half inch (1.5cm) or more of an airspace between the two boxes. The distance between the two boxes does not have to be equal all the way around. Also, keep in mind that it is very easy to adjust the size of a cardboard box by cutting and gluing it.
– One sheet of cardboard to make the lid. This piece must be approximately 2 to 3 inch (4 to 8 cm) larger all the way around than the top of the finished cooker (the outer box).
– One can of flat-black spray paint (look for the words “non-toxic when dry”) or one small jar of black tempera paint. Some people have reported making their own paint out of soot mixed with wheat paste.
– One Reynolds Oven Cooking Bag®. These are available in almost all supermarkets in the U.S. and they can be mail-ordered from Solar Cookers International. They are rated for 400 °F (204 °C) so they are perfect for solar cooking. They are not UV-resistant; thus they will become more brittle and opaque over time and may need to be replaced periodically. A sheet of glass can also be used, but this is more expensive and fragile, and doesn’t offer that much better cooking except on windy days.
Building the Base
Fold the top flaps closed on the outer box and set the inner box on top and trace a line around it onto the top of the outer box, Remove the inner box and cut along this line to form a hole in the top of the outer box (Figure 1).
Decide how deep you want your oven to be. It should be about 1 inch (2.5 cm) deeper than your largest pot and about 1″ shorter than the outer box so that there will be a space between the bottoms of the boxes once the cooker is assembled. Using a knife, slit the corners of the inner box down to that height. Fold each side down forming extended flaps (Figure 2). Folding is smoother if you first draw a firm line from the end of one cut to the other where the folds are to go.
Glue aluminum foil to the inside of both boxes and also to the inside of the remaining top flaps of the outer box. Don’t bother being neat on the outer box, since it will never be seen, nor will it experience any wear. The inner box will be visible even after assembly, so if it matters to you, you might want to take more time here. Glue the top flaps closed on the outer box.
Place some wads of crumpled newspaper into the outer box so that when you set the inner box down inside the hole in the outer box, the flaps on the inner box just touch the top of the outer box (Figure 3). Glue these flaps onto the top of the outer box. Trim the excess flap length to be even with the perimeter of the outer box.
Finally, to make the drip pan, cut a piece of cardboard, the same size as the bottom of the interior of the oven and apply foil to one side. Paint this foiled side black and allow it to dry. Put this in the oven so that it rests on the bottom of the inner box (black side up), and place your pots on it when cooking. The base is now finished.
Building the Removable Lid
Take the large sheet of cardboard and lay it on top of the base. Trace its outline and then cut and fold down the edges to form a lip of about 3″ (7.5cm). Fold the corner flaps around and glue to the side lid flaps. (Figure 4). Orient the corrugations so that they go from left to right as you face the oven so that later the prop may be inserted into the corrugations (Figure 6). One trick you can use to make the lid fit well is to lay the pencil or pen against the side of the box when marking (Figure 5). Don’t glue this lid to the box; you’ll need to remove it to move pots in and out of the oven.
To make the reflector flap, draw a line on the lid, forming a rectangle the same size as the oven opening. Cut around three sides and fold the resulting flap up forming the reflector (Figure 6). Foil this flap on the inside.
To make a prop bend a 12″ (30cm) piece of hanger wire as indicated in Figure 6. This can then be inserted into the corrugations as shown.
Next, turn the lid upside-down and glue the oven bag (or other glazing material) in place. We have had great success using the turkey size oven bag (19″ x 23 1/2″, 47.5cm x 58.5cm) applied as is, i.e., without opening it up. This makes a double layer of plastic. The two layers tend to separate from each other to form an airspace as the oven cooks. When using this method, it is important to also glue the bag closed on its open end. This stops water vapor from entering the bag and condensing. Alternately you can cut any size oven bag open to form a flat sheet large enough to cover the oven opening.
The oven you have built should cook fine during most of the solar season. If you would like to improve the efficiency to be able to cook on more marginal days, you can modify your oven in any or all of the following ways:
Make pieces of foiled cardboard the same size as the oven sides and place these in the wall spaces.
Make a new reflector the size of the entire lid (see photo above).
Make the drip pan using sheet metal, such as aluminum flashing. Paint this black and elevate this off the bottom of the oven slightly with small cardboard strips.
Put food in dark pots. Use with dark, tight-fitting lids.
Choose a cooking location. Set the cooker on a dry, level surface in direct sunshine away from potential shadows. For best results, solar cooking requires continuous, direct sunshine throughout the cooking period.
Put the pots in the cooker and replace the lid. Put the pots in cooker. If you’re cooking multiple dishes, quicker-cooking items should be placed toward the front of the cooker (opposite the reflector) and slower-cooking items toward the back, where access to sunlight is best. Place the lid on cooker.
Orient the cooker. Orient the cooker according to the details below. Once oriented, the cooker doesn’t need to be moved again during three to four hours of cooking. For longer cooking, or for large quantities of food, reorienting the cooker every couple of hours speeds cooking a little. Food cooks fastest when the shadow created by the cooker is directly behind it.
To cook a noontime meal orient the cooker so that the front side (opposite the reflector) faces easterly, or approximately where the sun will be midmorning. In general, it is good to get the food in early and not worry about it until mealtime. For most dishes you should start cooking by 9 or 10 am.
To cook an evening meal orient the cooker so that the front side faces westerly, or approximately where the sun will be midafternoon. For most dishes, it’s best to start cooking by 1 or 2 pm.
For all-day cooking orient the cooker toward where sun will be at noon or early afternoon. The food will be ready and waiting for the evening meal.
Adjust the reflector. With the adjustable prop, angle the reflector so that maximum sunlight shines on the pots.
Leave the food to cook for several hours or until done. There is no need to stir the food while it is cooking.
Remove the pots. Using pot holders, remove the pots from the cooker. (CAUTION: Pots get very hot.) If you won’t be eating for a couple of hours, you may want to leave the pots in the cooker and close the lid. The insulative properties of the cooker will keep the food warm for a while.
HOW TO BREAK THROUGH
“Hope is the most important thing that people need to regain. I just want to be one example of someone who overcame hardships—one source of hope. That’s all we need to start seeing possibilities for ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren.”
Henry Red Cloud
Photo by Dan Bihn.
Henry Red Cloud’s address is 1001 Solar Warrior Road on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. But the road sign hasn’t arrived. A windmill towering over the cottonwoods in the draw of White Clay Creek marks the location of Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center and his “Solar Warrior Community.”
It consists of a mud-and-straw-bale roundhouse for trainings, a whimsically painted Quonset hut factory for assembling solar air heaters, an array of solar panels from Germany, a horse trailer that doubles as a paper recycling center for making insulation, a vegetable garden, and a new concrete foundation for what will become a 20-person dormitory.
Here Red Cloud directs the work of Lakota Solar Enterprises, his American Indian-owned and operated business dedicated to providing renewable energy to some of the poorest communities in the United States.
The business has been part of a journey home for the 52-year-old Oglala Lakota man. He left the reservation to join the civil rights movement in the 1970s, then found himself working construction, walking high steel in cities around the country.
Selected by authorNaomi Klein:“Tribes are under intense pressure to allow their lands to be punctured by fossil fuel development. Red Cloud is showing that there is another path out of poverty.”
But when he returned home, he faced the reality of few jobs and little housing. He crafted teepees and took volunteer training from Trees, Water & People, which later became his partner organization.
One night, trying to sleep in the back seat of his car, Red Cloud had the vision for Lakota Solar: training people right on the reservation to build and install solar heaters so they could study at home and support the extended family, or tiospaye. Later, he added a buffalo ranching cooperative to the enterprise.
“The house, the buffalo, renewable energy: I’m not into it to become a millionaire,” Red Cloud says. “I’m just here passing it on to the next generation like the grandfathers did for us. That way surely their prophecy is going to be realized.”
Red Cloud’s 16-month-old granddaughter is the seventh generation descended from Makhpiya Luta, or Chief Red Cloud, who negotiated the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty, which left 60 million acres of buffalo hunting grounds to the Great Sioux Nation—until Congress later whittled it into smaller reservation parcels.
“Our ancestors made a treaty with the U.S. government,” Red Cloud recounts. But they also made “a pact with the Creator for seven generations”—hearkening to a well-known prophecy that they would suffer if they did not provide for their descendants’ future prosperity.
Red Cloud was raised by his grandparents. “You can get an education and you can live a comfortable life,” he remembers his grandfather saying, “but if you want to have a really good life, create some work for other people.”
To date, the Red Cloud Center has trained 84 people, most of whom have secured jobs based on the experience—a striking accomplishment given the staggering unemployment across Indian country.
Lakota Solar Enterprises has built and installed more than 1,200 small-scale individual solar heating systems. The heaters save low-income homeowners up to 30 percent on utility bills that, over the course of a freezing Northern Plains winter, can add up to more than $1,000. The systems are Red Cloud’s own innovation: For two years, he fiddled with a 1970s design to come up with the $2,500 unit his business produces today. “We’re using 21st century material and tweaking it Lakota-style,” he says.
Recently, Red Cloud has engaged 24 Northern Plains tribes as partners. The tribes have been spending millions of dollars of federal funding to assist tribal members with energy costs, such as propane. Now they can use some of the money for energy efficiency and to send tribal members to Red Cloud’s renewable energy courses.
Red Cloud also has contracts to install wind turbines and solar arrays atop public health clinics on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Indian Reservations. He hopes the projects will help topple what he considers to be a wall of skepticism about green building techniques—the legacy of failed development projects on the reservations.
“We are just getting back to the memory of the old way and becoming sustainable again,” Red Cloud says. “We have always had our Sun Dance ceremonies. We’re warriors doing our warriors’ deed in the 21st century for the seventh generation.”
Talli Nauman wrote this article for The YES! Breakthrough 15, the Winter 2012 issue of YES! Magazine. Talli is co-founder and co-director of the Aguascalientes, Mexico-based bilingual independent media project Periodismo para Elevar la Conciencia Ecológica, PECE (Journalism to Raise Environmental Awareness), initiated with a MacArthur grant in 1994.