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Brace yourself: here's some hopeful news

Map showing Foula's location, courtesy of UK's Joint Nature Conservation Commission.First, there's a proposal from scientists that more gardening globally and more farming could help with the problem of carbon emissions and greenhouse gases.
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Written by Harry Fuller on

Map showing Foula's location, courtesy of UK's Joint Nature Conservation Commission.

First, there's a proposal from scientists that more gardening globally and more farming could help with the problem of carbon emissions and greenhouse gases. Planting beans to save life as we've known it. Hmmm. Here's the link to that study. The essential idea: using more biomass and focusing on carbon sequestration through natural processes (that's not pumping it into undergound cavities as is planned for the new super-coal plant in Mattoon.)

Second, in China there's clear evidence that an unpopular plan to build a chemical plant near a seaport has been abandoned. As far as we in the Western World can tell this is unusual, the Chinese government openly giving up on something they had announced. Apparently the plant will be built in a more remote area, but it does show there is some power now within the environmental movement in China. This may simply be NIMBY, or it may signal the beginning of significant change. Like Kansas and the coal plant, "Just say No."

Thirdly, there's now some research indicating silicon can be used to convert waste heat into electricity. So all that hot exhaust from your car or the local power generation plant could be used to create even more electricity. Wow, would that ever be a step forward in both conservation and reducing greenhouse gas. You do have to be a Nature subscriber to see the whole piece.

And, finally, there aren't many folks living on remote Foula Island, but they may have a few things to teach the rest of the world. Without stepping back to the stone age, they're about to go onto an all renewable energy regimen.

There are only a couple dozen people living on Foula which is the most remote inhabited island in the United Kingdom. It's twenty miles from the Shetlands which are themselves a long way north of Scotland which is itself the furthest northern portion of the main British isle.

The Foulanians are moving away from stinky and ever-more-expensive diesel generators to a mix of reneweable fuels. They will be using wind, hydroelectric and solar. There in the North Sea, Foula can expect plenty of wind, and there's a loch high on a high hill that gets plenty or rain and can power the hydro plant. The diesel egenerators will sit around as back-up and the islanders hope they just slowly rust away from disuse.

If you decide you want to go see Foula's new power system for yourself, check this site.

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