Episode 4 – 25 May

Today I want to kick off the show by asking or posing a question: “What does it mean to be Green?”. So actually I’m going to try and answer that question for you because we all talk about the “Green” lifestyle and in the show I usually share ideas or ways to live a “Greener” life.  And now that we are entering winter we all want to save electricity etc. But before we can really incorporate and make it part of our daily routine I think it’s extremely important to actually understand what the word means. Green is a very wide term, and when I looked it up in the dictionary, I found lots of explanations relating to the color green off course or green foliage. In environmental terms I couldn’t find a clear definition, so not much help yet even with my favorite dictionary. But let’s look at an example, if we look at our house, we could say that a house is green, now listen carefully when it is managed with as small an ecological footprint as possible. So minimal impact upstream ( – in other words – before resources enter our home) and downstream (after resources have left our home). Minimal impact can be achieved and it can be achieved with things like renewable energy and conscious shopping, but the most important way is through “Efficiency”. That is the most beautiful word in the “Green” world, efficiency! Read more….

 

Let’s get to some news of the week or rather in this case “dirty” news! I read about this in the newspaper… and I was shocked and it actually frightened me to be quite honest. Did you know that some of the highest levels of poisonous gases in the air are found above Witbank, in Mpumalanga?  Apparently the levels of chromium and barium were so high that an EU research team’s instruments was unable to take accurate measurements! That’s shocking! The team spent two years gathering data from the coal-rich catchment area of the Olifants River to determine whether environmental and social offenses were taking place. Now yes, it’s great to know that the EU is taking environmental legislation, human rights and sustainable development very seriously… it doesn’t really help the people living in Witbank!  Worst of all….the report said nothing about what was going to be done about these crazy high levels of heavy metals, which I just find unacceptable….. Read more….

 

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Is there a solution? A quick and easy answer would be to look at alternative energy sources –  other than coal I mean – and maybe it’s a good idea to unpack a few of those alternatives today so we know a bit more about what’s really an option. Let’s start with the “problem child” – Coal: Millions of tons of coal is mined from the earth and then burnt to meet the ever-increasing demand for power. The power is used to provide electricity to our homes and offices. But we must remember that it takes millions of years for coal to form and literally just a few minutes to burn it away forever. And then off course, the smoke and gases released during the burning of coal contributes towards air pollution – and this is exactly what we are seeing in Witbank.  Fact is….we need to reduce our dependency on this exhaustible and dirty resource and look at finding a cleaner and renewable way to generate power. When I talk about “alternative sources” I mean those sources of energy, which cannot be depleted. These are also called renewable resources, let’s look at a few of them just for interest sake…Read more….

So if we look at these options available , there is enormous potential for power generation using energy sources besides coal. But I’d love to hear from you. Perhaps you work in the coal industry and have a different perspective to share? Are renewable’s the solution? Let me know your thoughts…..