A class of elementary school students in Durham, North Carolina recently set out on a mission to make their classroom 100% solar powered. The fourth grade class started a Kickstarter campaign: Our Solar Powered Classroom for that purpose, and they greatly exceeded their goal. The class has stated that the extra funds will be used to purchase a larger system, which will then sell back electricity to the community.
"If it seems far-fetched to imagine millions of Americans becoming mini energy producers, just look at Germany, where 51 percent of the country’s clean energy production is owned by individuals or farmers, while major utilities control just 6.5 percent of it."
Earlier in the summer we hiked the Ripple Rock Trail near Campbell River on Vancouver Island. It’s a short, 3-hour hike that ends on a rocky bluff overlooking Seymour Narrows. In 1958, it was the site of the largest non-nuclear human generated explosion of all time. It’s a beautiful place to eat a sandwich, feel the breeze, and watch birds of prey flying overhead. We were lucky enough to see a pod of transient orcas swimming up the Narrows while we were there.
In the last part of earthrise’s economics special, Russell Beard travels to the inner-London neighbourhood of Brixton to meet a community trialling an alternative economic model - one that values people and planet, as well as profit. Brixton is part of the growing Transition Town movement - a worldwide network of people who are re-shaping their local economies to cut carbon emissions and build stronger communities.
Residents have started a local currency - the largest in the UK - to stimulate sustainable, local production and help make their economy more resilient to financial shocks. The Brixton Pound can only be spent with independent businesses in the area and is now accepted in around 200 outlets.
They have also begun to generate their own energy through the UK’s first inner-city renewable energy co-operative. So far Brixton Energy has installed 152 solar panels on the roof of a council estate, funded by over 100 local people. Profits from the electricity generation are shared between investors and a community energy efficiency fund for residents of the estate.
1. Get a bucket. Put some holes on or near the bottom for drainage. You could even put some small rocks in the bottom for drainage too.
2. Get a potato or two. Those from the grocery store may not be ideal, so its best to get SEED potatoes from a garden store.
3. Your potato needs eyes. Leave it out for a few days in sunlight if they haven’t started growing.
4. Fill your bucket with 4-6 (10- 15 cm) inches of good soil. Push the potato into the soil. Add another 2 (5 cm) inches of soil on top.
5. Water the soil. Keep it moist but not too moist throughout the process.
6. Put your bucket outside where the sun is.
8. The eyes of the potatoes will soon grow stems and leaves and poke out.
9. When the leaves have grown 6 inches or so higher than the soil, add more soil to the bucket. Repeat this as the plant grows until you get to the top. Be careful not to damage the leaves or cover them bury them completely!
10. The leaves will turn brown when they are ready. That means you’re done! Go get your potatoes!