Posts Tagged “water”

I don’t believe in coincidence. What I do believe is that something happened to Kevin Costner in the course of making the 1995 film Waterworld that absolutely captured his imagination and wouldn’t let go. The caption below the setting sun says it all, “BEYOND THE HORIZON LIES THE SECRET TO A NEW BEGINNING.”

He saw the potential of being able to clean up oil spills like the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster in short order. The questions and answers began to crystallize when he and his scientist brother Dan saw a tiny centrifuge that could separate toxic material from water. He began to ask the “what if” questions and five years later had a working prototype that would separate water and oil on a large scale.

I can identify with the phenomenon because there are challenges and the solutions to them that just will not let go of me and I will not rest until I see them fleshed out in real world scenarios. Some intelligent moves by some major decision makers at this juncture could absolutely have an impact on our sluggish economy and revive confidence in America’s leadership to respond to negative circumstances and turn them into victories.

The actor / producer / environmentalist had a vision and was poised for the Deepwater Horizon disaster, but was detained by both the House and the Senate. They ordered the device tested to see if BP would verify that it is really effective. The model V20 centrifuge can clean about 200 gallons of seawater per minute, which translates into more than 200,000 gallons per day. 32 of these machines have the potential to process over 6 million gallons of oil-laden water every day and daily recover as much as 2.5 million gallons (60,000 barrels) of crude into tankers.

They could have been in place within the first week after the ruptured well began spewing oil to the surface – they should have been in place within the first month after the incident – 4 of them finally began to be used on the 2nd day of July, more than two months after the explosion. So much oil has washed ashore that could have been prevented. This advanced technology will shorten the length of time that it takes to return the Gulf of Mexico to its previous condition. At least it will be a weapon in the arsenal for future spills.

Costner’s water / oil separator has been, according to his own words, “sitting on the shelf for the last ten years.” It is proven technology, not just a dream. Various government agencies, as well as major oil companies, have witnessed the effectiveness of Costner’s device over the last ten years. Seriously, while we are in the middle of an economic valley, we could be turning this disaster into a history making success story. Somebody or several somebodies apparently don’t feel the urgency to make that happen.

Fifteen years and $24 million of Costner’s personal money went into the development of this water / oil centrifuge. The first 32 of the units stand ready to be deployed. Washington has signed off on it pending adequate testing; BP has contracted with Costner and Ocean Therapy Solutions, his manufacturing company, but when will we actually see a flotilla of these in action and have something of a sustainable recovery on the horizon?

Washington – 17 June 2010 . . .

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Port Fourchon, LA – 18 June 2010 . . .

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Port Fourchon, LA – 2 July 2010 . . .

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Academia is all about correct analysis and thorough treatment of every aspect of an issue. It has its place in historical perspective and in teaching the most appropriate course of action to take in future situations. On the other hand, leadership is about taking action now to prevent or to resolve issues.

When the Deepwater Horizon oil platform exploded and the well casing collapsed on April 20, 2010, leaders with capable technologies immediately popped up from all over the nation and all over the world to help resolve the single most devastating environmental disaster in US history. Their offers were categorically refused by both the US government and by British Petroleum. The delayed and feeble efforts of BP to accomplish single-handed control of the ruptured well head and clean up the spreading oil spill have been apparently beyond their capabilities.

BP’s CEO Tony Hayward seems to place his leadership as far away from the Gulf of Mexico as possible, dodging specific questions about the incident or personal involvement with the restoration process. Over the last 5 years BP has been cited for over 750 safety infractions by OSHA compared to less than 10 infractions charged to major US petroleum companies. I would say that there is much to know here and not much of a way to find out. Bottom line seems to be a leadership void in this situation. A 20 billion dollar restoration fund administered by a third party seems to balance the scales of justice somewhat, but the demonstration of responsible leadership to correct the multitude of problems connected with this disaster is sadly missing.

Now, it is clear that millions of gallons of crude oil will drift to shore for a stretch of hundreds of miles along the Gulf Coast for an undetermined period of time — perhaps for years. As it creeps from open waters to land it is destroying incalculable numbers of aquatic life, both plant and animal. The suffocating slime is damaging ecosystems and shutting down fishing and shrimping and tourism and is amassing more damages every day. 2010 may well be long remembered as the year that, for all practical purposes, shut down the Gulf Coast economy. I can’t leave this sad thought dangling, so I am compelled to stand and applaud the efforts of thousands of volunteers and organizations who are working so valiantly to clean up the beaches and shores of the Gulf to at least ward off some of the damages of the daily assault from the waterborne sludge.

Watch this report from an Australian news agency that gained exclusive access:

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Had at least some of these most promising solutions been implemented, it is easily possible that well over 90% of the crude oil could have been recovered in open waters and prevented from reaching landfall. Even though blame will be assigned and some form of justice demanded, this is not the time for finger-pointing. It is the time for real leadership to step up and bring effective measures to bear on the situation at hand. It is time to create employment opportunities to help remedy the damaged environment. It is time for good old American volunteerism to shine its brightest. It is time to attack the problem with sustainable solutions that bring life and hope and restoration.

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earth_20102010 was heralded by the Environmental Protection Agency to be the year for clean air and water standards to reach a near-perfect status. ‘2010 – A Space Odyssey’ [‘Odyssey Two’ MGM-1984], portrayed a joint US-Russian space mission that miraculously ended the US-Soviet cold war in 2010. In reality, only 7 years after the movie’s release, 1991 marked the actual collapse of the Soviet Union, ending the cold war era. According to George Orwell, 1984 was an extremely troubled time depicted by the novelist [in 1949] as a world submerged in a totalitarian police state.

What do we learn from these historical perspectives? We can conclude that it is difficult at best to predict how history will play out. We can also conclude that people can alter historical outcomes when sufficiently educated and motivated. Earth’s environment has a long way to go to reach a perfect status. People are more environmentally conscious today. Industry has made environmental progress. The world, for the most part, is far from becoming a police state.

What it does reveal is that history, though unpredictable, can be affected by informed, determined individuals. These individuals, fueled by an unquenchable passion, will assume the leadership to enjoy sustainable life in the arenas of energy, business, agriculture, health, the environment and personal development.

Technology advances at a rate that is parallel to its demand. Organic gardening and farming practices will flourish in tandem with a demand for fresher, more nutritious organic produce. Fish farming will expand, coupled with growing concerns about toxicity levels in seafood from oceans. Organic livestock production will increase as more health concerns emerge because of animals raised with growth hormones. Renewable energy sources will blossom in every community as individuals realize the benefits of clean, affordable and sustainable power.

2010 will be the year that passionate people like you and me make the responsible decision to become involved and make a difference in the status of our local communities and the world we live in. Don’t be jaded into thinking that things are just going to happen with or without you and that you can’t make a difference. It doesn’t really matter whether your leadership affects only 2 other people or 2 billion. You will make a difference if you decide to do it.

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what you do with your money actually says more about what you believe than what you say

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It is up to you and me to promote and collaborate with those who are working toward a sustainable life for children of all nations.

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To keep growing is the secret of sustainable living.

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Green_Bulb01What if you could cut your electric bill in half and be greener at minimal or no net cost to you? Given the innovations, developments and publicity that promote a greener world, it seems inescapable that you have to spend more money to go green. But let’s explore a little deeper.

Let’s ask the tough questions. Why should it cost more for recycled products than for original? Why does a hybrid vehicle cost several thousand dollars more than a conventional when they only improve fuel economy by 10-12%? Why would someone pay $200,000 for a geothermal system to heat and cool their home? Why should it take 10 to 20 years to break even on solar or wind power or solar water heating? Are we really saving our forests by using more expensive non-wood materials? Why do biofuels cost more to produce than petroleum fuels?

The obvious reason that more people are not jumping on the green wagon has to do with financial considerations. In some instances higher costs might be justified by the benefits, but frankly, it is generally cost prohibitive to go green. Sure, Hollywood is full of greenies. It’s free publicity to promote love for the planet and it’s a nice tax break, too!

Forget Main Street, let’s go all the way to my street, where I have to balance my checkbook or go to my online bank site every few hours to track my spending. So what’s my point? There are lots of ways you can go green and save money, and if that’s true, then we should spend some time exploring ways of going green without going broke.

In this blog I want to explode some myths about some much-publicized green ideas. I want to motivate you toward a more sustainable life. I want to give you some food for thought about some obvious and some not so obvious ways you can be green and save some green.

Here are some specific ways to benefit from the green wave without the dramatic switch to renewable energy. First, let’s talk about some things you can do immediately that will “reduce your carbon footprint” and, if you apply them all, you could cut your electric bill by 50% or more. What could you do with that much more disposable monthly income?  Read More . . .green_world02

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We can build a legacy of improved quality of life for generations yet to come until a truly sustainable plan is fully developed.

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