How To Get There 14/4/19

Written By: - Date published: 6:55 am, April 14th, 2019 - 44 comments
Categories: Deep stuff - Tags:


This post is a place for positive discussion of the future.

An Open Mike for ideas, solutions and the discussion of the possible.

The Big Picture, rather than a snapshot of the day’s goings on. Topics rather than topical.

We’d like to think it’s success will be measured in the quality of comments rather than the quantity.

So have at it!

Let us know what you think …

44 comments on “How To Get There 14/4/19”

  1. Robert Guyton 1

    “On August 3, a New Jersey schoolteacher named Julia Mooney put on a grey button-down dress and wore it to work. She wore it the next day, and the next. In fact, she continued to wear that same dress for 100 days in a row.”

    • Andre 1.1

      My first reaction was that she and her students must be anosmic. So I was relieved to read she did wash the dress on weekends.

      But seriously, one factor that doesn’t get enough attention in discussions around clothing, waste and pollution is clothes washing. Really, if someone can use an item of clothing multiple times and put off washing it until it actually needs it, ie it’s visibly dirty and/or noticeably smelly, then the environmental footprint really goes down. The clothes last longer, water use goes down, detergent and micro-fibre shedding pollution goes down.

  2. Robert Guyton 2

    2019 Permaculture hui – Riverton


    When the roof went on to the hui dining room, we all breathed a sigh of relief; another milestone achieved and one less thing to make our eyes fly open at 3 in the morning! The 20 metre tunnelhouse will serve as a unique space to dine in; indoor/outdoor with an awesome view of the heavens, a real estate agent might say. The location for the hangi pit will be decided today; as close to the dining room as possible, but not so near that sparks can alight on the clear roof! Louis’ “Green Cuisine” food-van’s had its maiden voyage, catering for the 40 American organic dairy farmers who visited the forest garden last week and enjoyed a wonderful morning tea in the yurt; the brand-spanking new van is painted forest green, so you may not notice it, parked amongst the trees nearby to where the meals will be served. All manner of toilets have been secreted throughout the forest garden and conceiving of and building them has been fun; we expect that as permaculturalists, you’ve be satisfied by their elegant simplicity and appropriate design. Arranging seating; benches, forms and handy logs, has been satisfying also. There is a score of circles under the canopy of our trees suitable for workshop and conversation, music-making and contemplation and preparing them has been a very satisfying task; I realised I don’t sit down much here, having been task-orientated for so long and having inviting places to pause, sit and contemplate in is very calming. If, like me, you enjoy being physically active; making and moving, there are various opportunities during the hui that will suit your restlessness; there’s a hangi to put down, wattle-and-daub walls to make for the hobbit-hole, an adobe floor to form in there as well. If you’ve not used an old-school 2-person saw for reducing logs to firewood, there’ll be every opportunity to try your hand at that, once someone skilled has finished building the greenwood sawbuck, begun by some recent Italian handy-guys. There are fire-spaces too, for anyone keen on making the night come alive with flames, talk and music, so firewood produced will serve that need; the trees that grew where the big yurt now stands are well seasoned and dried now and will burn hot; providing the weather allows, hui-bonfires beckon. I’m happy to report that the two little bridges that cross the creek have been replaced with stronger versions of what I’d bodged-together over the years, and it’s now safe to cross them on your way down to feed the Giant Kokopu. The paths all through the forest garden are sound, if convoluted and ever-changing; you will get disorientated at some point; just remember, if you are lost, go up-hill! We are all very much looking forward to your arrival and hoping that our southern autumn is a mild and dry one; however, having lived in Riverton, on the south coast of the South Island for 30 years now, we know the gods are capricious and their quivers filled with bolts of mischief, so do come prepared.


    Riverton came through. The sun shone, the air was clear, everything was kai pai!
    Incredibly, and contrary to popular belief, the Deep South claimed the crown; te rohe tino pai mo te hui permaculture, and came up with the goods; and those were: perfect weather; thank you, weather gods, we owe you; wonderful, wonderful food; thank you Louis et al; you are the maestros of kai: the blue cod with banana sauce, the melt-your-soul chocolate cake, the hemp-flour bowls, the salads plucked from the Elysian Fields… what can we say…and the hangi! Pai rawa te kai na, Julius, rough diamond, tohunga hangi! Served on time, hot as, steaming and fragrant with seconds all round – he aha te mea nui o te ao – he kai! He kai! Our keynotes: Dave, dairy farmer with a soul (they all have one, only, it’s obscured) – pai rawa tou korero ki a matou! Matua Stu; tino pai tou korero e pa ana ki nga mahi ka me tou kaitiakitanga hoki! Karma, you were fabulous: water, eh! It moves through the body of Papatuanuku in ways other than drains – really??? Angela: D’Urvillle Island is alive and kicking? Unexpectedly thrilling and hugely encouraging! Right now, there’s Irish flute and whistle in the ger, laughter from those sitting around the fiery brazier, cerebral droning from the fire-circle folk and furtive scratchings, clonking and plinking from the tamariki and mokopuna who have evaded an early night and busy building something or other in the now-ink-black forest garden… there’s sonorous whistling; echoing the ruru of the night before, the yowl of a digeridoo…is that a kangaroooooo….?
    Lily made fermented cabbage, Catherine opened the hive and aired the bees, Terry lifted the baskets of pumpkin and pork from the umu Ruth dug, Sam served punky soup, Rebecca and Hollie made porridge, coffee and bagels for breakfast, Charlotte washed cups, Pleasance met Thalia and realized and old connection…

    and after…

    Riverton calling, just to check that everyone’s fine and safely back home or at least enjoying a slow return to wherever you live when you’re not at a hui! It’s sunny and clear this morning and the only difference for those of us who stayed behind is we can’t hear the murmur of conversation coming from the tunnelhouse, like sound of a river, one of our neighbours said when asked if they were inconvenienced at all by the comings and goings; they weren’t. Mostly, they were amazed. The birds have returned and are busy tidying up the last of the peaches on the trees. Our cider-press guy’s coming next weekend to do the same with the apples. Thanks, everyone, for leaving the garden in such good condition; your collective footprint is remarkably light. I didn’t get to talk to half as many of you as I wanted to, tied up in technicalities as I was (the gas bottle’s empty, the lightbulb in the kitchen in need of replacing…) but saw that you all were busy in conversation with each other. With people out in the garden, under the clear roof of the tunnelhouse and the spoked wheel of the big yurt, I was reminded of the time Robyn and I, hearth-brushes in hand, flicked the 500 mix we’d stirred this way and that in a barrel on the veranda, all over the property, infusing the garden with biodynamic potency; having you all here has left our land vibrant with your embedded memory; your presence has been captured in a subtle but enduring way and will express itself in ways we can only guess at, for a long time to come. Thank you all so much for making the journey to Riverton. We are deeply grateful for your company.

    • One Two 2.1

      Thank you for this summary post and the lead in posts regarding the hui, Robert. (all your posts really)…reading through the archives of your guests posts has also been fun…

      Having the opportunity to read along with hui post has been wonderful, thought provoking, inspiring, motivating, humbling….the list would go on…

      From your writings, I would say the hui would have been first on any list I could create of such events to attend, observe, learn…I would be extending it a little far to suggest I could bring tangible skills to contribute (lift/shift/dig perhaps)…an eagerness to learn and grow with the intention of future contribution through the learnings on offer…

      The posts encourage use of imagination and visualization, which is great…the visualizations have been strong with the assistance of your writings…highly motivational on many levels…

      Thank You…

      • Robert Guyton 2.1.1

        You’re most welcome, One Two. There’s so much more I’d like to write about the hui, observations from in front of and behind the scenes that reveal the depth of the coming together of all those people in the forest garden space; I’ll do that, I think, for next Sunday’s HTGT post and hope you enjoy reading some of the detail. Interestingly, yesterday’s “minor” event here in the big yurt; a trio of musicians, one one harp (it was golden!) another playing piano accordion and the third singing opera, was marvellous also. Aside from the curious combinations; in a yurt, in the Deep South, opera ??, the most wonderful moment for me was when the elderly woman in the audience suffering from mind-fuzzing Alzheimer’s, burst into song in tandem with the opera singer and sang note-perfect, the whole piece! She must have been opera-trained earlier in her life, but what a surprise it was, to everyone, her daughter-in-law included. It was a beautiful time.

        • One Two

          An amazing example to the beauty of the human mind… Can imagine the feelings of all who were present to share in that moment…pure joy and wonderment…that within the confines of such an awful disease, expressive communication can be released with an appropriate catalyst….

          Will certainly look forward to your next release…

    • gsays 2.2

      I want to echo the appreciation for your comments and in particular this weekly post.
      A metaphorical walk in a garden to escape the argy bargy of the rest of the site.

      I have helped a buddy in the far north set up for a workshop in his stand of Manuka forest.
      Long drops, accommodation, kitchens. Hard yakka, deeply satisfying.

  3. Andre 3

    This rant started as a reply to We the Bleeple about nukes as part of a transition to fully renewable energy on OpenMike 13/04/19, but it seems a better fit here.

    The first thing to understand is the transition is already happening and it’s gathering speed. That we in New Zealand are pathetic laggards in converting our fossil fuel use to clean renewables shouldn’t blind us to how much is happening elsewhere. Yes, global emissions are still rising, and that’s discouraging, but a lot of that rise is due to huge populations lifting themselves out of poverty and that’s a good thing. How fast the complete transition happens will mostly depend on what price we (that’s a global as well as a local “we”) put on greenhouse gas emissions.

    If we continue our current path of giving fossil fuels a lot of hidden subsidies and only a few token taxes here and there, and only a few token subsidies for cleaner energy, then it’s going to be a slow transition. If we choose to get serious about pricing emissions, then it will go faster. Add more explicit support for cleaner energy and it will go faster again.

    I tend to look at our energy use in the three broad classes of heat energy, mechanical energy, and electrical energy.

    We use massive amounts of heat to produce commodity items such as steel, cement for concrete, fertiliser, milk powder etc, as well as for simple human comfort warming the buildings we inhabit. Burning fossil fuels for this heat turns nearly all the fuel’s chemical energy into useful heat. Almost all these applications could use electricity for that heat, but it will be expensive so it’s generally not the lowest fruit.

    Using fossil fuels for mechanical energy is a colossal pain in the ass from an engineering point of view. Electric motors are vastly simpler and more reliable and power-dense than internal combustion engines. One moving part (the rotor) instead of tens or hundreds or even thousands for piston engines.

    The useful rev range for a fossil fuel motor is fairly narrow, and does not include zero revs. So clutches and transmissions are needed. In contrast, electric motors can produce their maximum torque at zero revs and keep producing that max torque up to a point, then produce their maximum power from there up to their maximum speed. So for many applications, no clutch and only a fixed ratio transmission needed.

    Combustion engines are also horribly inefficient, at best maybe 50% of the chemical energy in the fuel becomes useful mechanical energy (ginormous ship engines), for big diesel trucks maybe 30%, petrol cars maybe 20%. It’s not possible to recover excess mechanical energy using a combustion engine, but it’s dead easy to use an electric motor as a generator to brake a truck or train or car and recover and store that kinetic energy.

    The only reason we tolerate pain-in-the-ass internal combustion engines is the high energy density of the fuel and speed of refuelling. But batteries are improving and becoming cheaper at an incredible pace. So electrifying transport near electricity sources is definitely low-hanging fruit, it’s only shipping and long-haul aviation that are impossible to electrify with current tech.

    Electrical energy is the lifeblood of our modern technological era.Our incredible communications and information processing simply isn’t possible without it.

    Worldwide most electrical energy comes from burning fossil fuels to turn its chemical energy into heat energy, then turning that heat into mechanical energy in a turbine, then turning that turbine rotation into electrical energy in a generator. Unsurprisingly, it’s not very efficient. Coal plants generally turn around 30% of that chemical energy into electrical energy, gas peakers (that burn the gas in a turbine) are maybe 35ish%, gas co-generation (gas turbine plus using the turbine exhaust for steam to drive another turbine) maybe 55ish%. That we in New Zealand horribly wastefully continue to use fossil fuels for electricity generation given our abundance of renewable sources should make us all ashamed.

    Right now most renewable electricity comes from hydro. From a generation point of view hydro is ideal, it’s easy and fast to ramp up and down when wanted and dams create a lot of storage, and it’s very efficient. Some hydro turbines can also be used to pump water back uphill when there’s excess electricity that could usefully be stored. But there’s a lot of environmental downsides, they fuck the rivers, and the lakes behind them can emit a lot of methane from the drowned land. There’s also emissions from construction using current tech, but in a future renewable world those emissions wouldn’t happen.

    Solar generation can be either photovoltaic, which directly turns light into electricity so no storage, or concentrating the light to turn it into heat (which can be stored) to turn the heat into steam to drive a turbine. This technology has come so far that in many places it’s cheaper to build new solar than continue operating existing coal. Gas plants don’t have long before they’re in the same uneconomic position.

    Wind turbines are familiar to all. But most won’t be aware of how much the cost has come down, in many places it’s now cheaper to build new wind than continue to operate existing coal. The biggest downside to wind is there’s no storage, it relies on other parts of the electricity production and use system to be flexible enough to take best advantage of it. Some of that flexibility could come from under-utilised car and truck batteries.

    Geothermal is clean-ish and renewable-ish. It’s best suited for base power or very slow ramps up and down. Some geothermal sources and designs emit gases carried up from underground water. So it’s a small but valuable part of how to get to a fully zero-emission future.

    • WeTheBleeple 3.1

      Excellent. So we are in a reasonable position to transition our energy, there are tricky bits, the trickiest being government (and now, thanks to selling our assets, Corporate) will.

      Obviously there are many systems that need to transition. How we use water is one. We could create storages/aquifer replenishment zones that doubled as solar/wind power batteries where elevations are suitable. Wetlands might serve multiple uses (water cleaning, aquaculture, tourism, honey, wildlife, biodiversity, science, etc) as well.

    • KJT 3.2

      Currently the biggest obstacle is the continued Government subsidies for fossil fuels.
      And the liabilities under “free trade” agreements ISDS. The reason why existing permits could not be stopped.

      • Andre 3.2.1

        For us the commitment to supply Tiwai Point is a pretty big obstacle too. IIRC it’s around 10 years before Meridian can renegotiate that.

        It irritates the fuck out of me that Rio Tinto is getting emissions-free electricity for around $0.06/kWhr, when we could instead use that to retire the remaining fossil generation here and Rio Tinto could probably get a solar plant built near Weipa that would supply at around $0.05/kWhr or less.

        From the viewpoint of general respect for rule of law I’d be wary of cancelling existing oil and gas contracts. Unless the international community agreed we’re facing a big enough problem that it’s the right and accepted thing to do and it starts happening worldwide. No sign of that, though. We’re all gonna fry.

        • KJT

          We change laws, all the time, to prevent much lesser harm than AGW.

          The semi-auto ban, for one.

          Just as well Gun city cannot use ISDS.

          The oil companies spending billions on AGW, denial, should have them in court. Not getting the kid glove treatment.

        • KJT

          Imagine the boost to Southland from 30 million put into innovative business, rather than the smelter.

          It works out to several hundred thousand, per job.

        • Graeme

          A retired engineer from Tiwai told me a while ago that the only thing that would kill Tiwai was the advent of stable generation plants that could be located anywhere and supply smelter, like the package MSR reactors mentioned yesterday by RedLogic. This would allow smelting at the optimum logistic point, maybe even mine site.

          Also the competitive advantage Tiwai exploits isn’t cheap electricity, it’s consistent electricity supply, resulting in a premium product.

          • KJT

            That was most likely true at the outset.

            Now, the main competitive advantage seems to be getting 30 mill from our Government, at intervals, by threatening to leave.
            And transfer pricing to minimize profits in New Zealand.

            Note that Tiwai is no longer one of the worlds most efficient, or cost effective, plants. Not to mention a production glut, in aluminum.

            • gsays

              Imagine having a government that had the courage to call Rio tinto’s bluff.

              Nationalise the plant and make…aluminum framing?
              Put up a product to help bring the building supply rort to an end.

              • greywarshark

                We have sdold off our public wood assets to Fletcher Harvey, an Australasian

                But aluminium brought here, worked on here using our own energy resource and our own labour, could make an alternative for our all-wood or concrete basics for building. A really useful addition.

                As KJT says at 4.1.2 – are we doing everything we can. Or do we have to wait to have a meeting with certain influential people before we can make any move. Can we make some small basic moves to get basic technological processes going; be like the maths master and work it out with a pencil – get off the pot and get something moving. A bit of vulgarity there. It seems to be one thing that gets naice people
                galvanised in Godzone. And talking about galvanised? Have we got plant to do galvanising in NZ?

                I see NZ Steel uses ironsand? What good and bad effects does that have?

                google Keywords – list all steel works in NZ
                brings up a number of businesses. Are they capable of playing a bigger part in housing and construction with local workers and some local materials than they are presently?

                • KJT

                  Building supplies in New Zealand are a duopoly.

                  Timber is by far the most environmentally sustainable building material.

                  I’m not sure about the story with steel, these days. Back in the day we used to cart a lot from Oz to NZ.
                  Mostly Chinese I expect. Made with coal through Lyttelton?

  4. KJT 4

    The oil and gas industry struggling for anything to keep their business model going.

    Note, the carbon is put in a pipe, instead of going into the atmosphere.
    The kicker is what you do with it afterwards.

    To my mind “transition technologies” such as this simply delay putting money where it is needed, into renewable energy.
    They would be better investing their money into effective reneweables.
    Instead of trying to keep using their stranded assets.

    • greywarshark 4.1

      I remembered a few weeks ago, one of the ideas put forward for using the land on Christchurch’s coast for dealing with sewage. Someone advised that at present Christchurch’s sewage is piped far out to sea and then released. That seems a short-term solution due for rethinking, especially now they have this large area of land to deal with.

      The eastern coastline and a way inland that was so broken by the earthquake and is low-lying so will be inundated by storm surges and sea rise. I liked the idea of wetlands filtering storm water and second-treatment of sewage. I have seen this I think in Whangarei.

      Included in the scheme could be transition technologies that are practical and will pay for themselves in say ten years. (After that they might be destroyed by weather events.)

      I have the idea that it is like walking through a bog in gumboots when trying to get clever and practical and cost-effective things done now for the near future. (You have to reach down and tug out the back gumboot before taking the next step forward, and repeat etc.)

      But perhaps my ideas are not up to date. Is there a real impetus now for getting smart and good environmental projects onto the drawing boards, costed, planned and being implemented. How are things going in your area? I can’t think of a good example here in Nelson area at present but probably I have overlooked something.

      • KJT 4.1.1

        Christchurch has extensive filtration and settling ponds. You can see them from the air. Also biodigesters producing methane, which is used for energy on site.

        Whangarei is interesting in that the final treatment is entirely natural, using a wetland for both settling out sludge and final filtration. The result is clean enough to go into the river.

        Many smaller places still struggle to meet the costs of proper treatment.

        Note that there are already consents for wind farms that haven’t gone ahead as gas has got cheaper.

        I think NZ is really lagging with sustainability. The political will, apart from the Greens, who have little power, is lacking.

        Shaw is quietly trying to get cross party consensus on where to go. But at present, while I admire his optimism, the push back from vested interests, has prevented any real progress.

      • KJT 4.1.2

        Methane to a combined cycle gas plant, from sewerage and waste is one promising possibility for sustainable energy.
        One of my Uni papers was on using woody waste for energy for industry, such as forestry.
        Fuel for drying kilns, transport and heat onsite.

        There are always pros and cons.
        Removing the waste means the soil has to be supplemented more to fertilise, regrowth.
        Transporting waste is an energy cost, unless it is used close to the harvest area, for example.
        The amount of land which needs to be planted to produce significant energy.

        And, Is planning fast growing conifers the best long term use?
        Slower growing hardwoods are more durable, capture carbon for longer, and are worth more, but are slower, decades, to harvest. Not a short term invesment.

        Like a lot of sustainable projects, we have been half baked, in the amount of research that is funded.

        • WeTheBleeple

          With biodigestion the solid materials remaining after extraction of gases and chemicals can be composted and used to add back to paddocks. Biodigestion is a great way to get rid of (clean up) excess waste onsite e.g. manures.

          Biofuels are an expensive white elephant but some people just wont let them go. At last glance (days ago) we were still attempting to explain the structural integrity of the materials we’re attempting to ferment.

          20% of the US corn supplies 1% of their liquid fuels… if you are wondering to what extent it affects the environment… biofuel is a stupid idea.

          • KJT

            Growing plants specifically for bio fuels displaced food crops, and natural forest, which are almost always a more sustainable use, has not been a great success.

            Bio fuels from waste, food, sewage and solids however………….

            “Food waste (FW) causes economic and environmental problems worldwide. Currently, most food waste is landfilled or incinerated for possible energy recovery. However, these methods have serious adverse effects on the environment. FW is nutritionally rich and offers a unique microbial feedstock for the production of numerous valuable bioproducts. The aim of this review is to investigate the technologies used to convert FW to forms of renewable energy such as biodiesel, ethanol, hydrogen and methane. Life-cycle assessment is performed to examine and compare the environmental effects of various methods of FW conversion”.

            Note: Food and domestic waste around the world is composted, incinerated or goes to landfill, so using it as fuel doesn’t increase carbon or methane emissions.

            • WeTheBleeple

              You’re onto it.

              India has hundreds of thousands if not millions of small biodigestors. They solve pollution issues and provide fuels and compost. An on-site solution.

              If I turned my crop into alcohol I’d start on the first litre, then, probably wouldn’t bother filling the car, because you know, too pissed to drive.

              I’d then proceed to go crash my bicycle in a disorderly manner. Eventually there’d be a fry up followed by a face plant.

              Pulling fuels out while making biochar is a similar, site specific, but very useful technology. Being carbon negative if designed correctly, this tech could do with a large push:

              And a touch of madness/genius

              • Robert Guyton

                WtB – there was talk about biochar here recently where one of the group who has a science background mentioned the potential for some char to have carcinogenic qualities and therefore be kept out of food production soils – any thoughts?

                • KJT

                  Finding lots of articles on the effectiveness of biochar on promoting plant growth. Nothing so far on toxicity.

                • WeTheBleeple

                  This is possible. Some biochars types have more allelo-chemicals and/or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH’s) than others. Some plants hyperaccumulate metals…

                  The (measured) variance of char properties is not just from feedstock type but burn temperature and duration. Reduce PAH’s via slow pyrolysis and woody biomass.


                  The biggest mistake researchers make is to call charcoal biochar. It’s in the name – Bio. We make charcoal and then we innoculate it with microbes. Add the crushed charcoal to your composting process, you’ll lose less biomass and infuse the material with bacteria, fungi, water and nutrients. PAH’s are breakfast for microbes.


                  • KJT

                    Sewage sludge is not suitable for food crops, and a problem for any other crops, due to toxic build up in the soil over time.
                    Too much heavy metals etc goes through the plant.

                    • greywarshark

                      There are plants that will grow in and absorb this type of waste and then hold it in their own mass, presumably if they were left to grow to maturity it would be eventually neutralised and the ground would be cleansed in the meantime. Not necessarily to grow food crops but perhaps after decades, to continue in a treed area. If we could do this with the right trees, then we could get a return on them while growing through carbon credits, so making lemonade out of lemons sort of thing.

                      Is that a viable idea for dealing with sewage sludge?

                    • KJT

                      Nelson sprays partially treated sewerage over a large area of pine forest. Rabbit Island.

                      Most sludge in NZ goes to landfill.


                  • WeTheBleeple

                    If the science we pay for was not behind a paywall I’d have written the book on what to do already. As it stands I’m rather tired of repeating myself. I tried to finish the book as I did my masters but, I had a masters to do. Then I had a day job that exhausted me and then the database was cut off…

                    “On serpentine soils, mine tailings and highly radioactive sites some plants survive and even thrive. These are the metallophytes. Some metallophytes are excluders – they exclude certain substances from being taken up, and grow despite high metals in the soil. Other plants are accumulators, they accumulate things from the soil. Hyperaccumulating plants accumulate high concentrations of substances from soils. Metal hyperaccumulating plants (MHP’s) extract high concentrations of metals. In some cases MHP extraction is > 1% metal per dried weight of plant material.
                    MHP’s use photosynthetic power to mine metals for us. Theoretically, we decontaminate soil if we can grow then remove sufficient plant mass.

                    The drawback was that the MHP’s initially observed were not really suited to the task; they were small, or slow growing, or both. Widespread screening for better plants began in earnest.

                    Initially, over 400 MHP’s were identified. Further criteria narrowed the pool considerably, including: grow in damaged environments; grow large enough to extract significant metal, and grow fast enough to produce growth in a timely manner. Discoveries are continually being made. A list of some MHP’s and metals they extract is included…”

                    “The observation of polluted sites led to the discovery of MHP’s; the observation of MHP’s has led to the discovery of bacteria and fungi involved in decontamination processes. These in conjunction with MHP’s can enhance plant growth and/or metal uptake. Many genes targeted for genetically engineered MHP’s are found in such; beneficial organisms with desirable functions.

                    It is not necessary to insert such genes in plants to gain the use of these functions; rather, to gain understanding of the organisms ecology, and how one might insert them functionally into a decontamination process.”

                    I work damn hard to bring useful science to the layperson, it is very frustrating with much of the verification of the processes involved in my methods held out of financial reach… especially as it is so sorely needed. They’ve pay-walled the science we all pay for.

                    It pisses me off so much I barely even bother to reply to metal related questions any more. Ask Stewart fucking McCutcheon.

  5. Pat 5

    I have a lot of time for Oram’s stance on CC but it is very concerning when even someone such as him appears wedded to maintaining massive air provided transport and international tourism with supposed ‘offsets’.

    We must change but our lifestyles (western consumption) must not?

    • greywarshark 5.1

      Rod Oram’s kaupapa is to talk about business doing things a better way and being forward-looking. It is the Greens task to carry us beyond business with workable ideas for both individuals and corporates, and to keep reminding us of the bigger picture when we start behaving like hens with their heads down pecking at the little grubs and insects.

      We have to fly high into the trees, keep looking out and get wise, not like hens but like the old rhyme:

      The wise old owl sat in the oak,
      The more he saw the less he spoke,
      The less he spoke, the more he heard
      We should be like that wise old bird.

  6. WeTheBleeple 6

    Iterative improvement.

    If you have a capital or energy resource spend it on things that will save or create sustainable energy and/or capital: this will create excess in what was your typical budget. Provided you give it that initial injection.

    That excess created from creating sustainable energy and capital creates a slush fund for retrofitting toward all manner of resilient systems.

    It should work on any scale.

    e.g. large scale

    Oil and capital is used to build infrastructure for alternate power sources (solar, wind, geothermal, hydro, wave, tidal) that then provide power and capital to drive further development.

    e.g. small scale

    Elbow grease, capital and scavenging skills are used to create a productive garden space to reduce your food bill. The money saved is invested in other things that suit your plans to retrofit. That could be anything from preserving jars to solar panels, an electric vehicle, water tank, some fruit bearing trees…

    The obvious problem here is many of us are already living beyond our means. But this system applied with thought might be used to bring one back within their means as well.

    These ideas might prove useless for some in their current situation but for others they might lend direction in how to get there.

    • greywarshark 6.1

      The meaningful words for today, tomorrow and on – ITERATIVE IMPROVEMENT.

      This is just so much what we need. Thanks WtB if we can feed ideas that are virtuous circles joining up with others the same, we end up with lots of linked circles with positive outcomes – a sort of Olympics of People’s Endeavour with the aim of getting all on the winners’ rostrum, with special places for the high achievers, thinkers and enablers succeeding in aiding us and the world.

      If we could just keep that concept in mind as a goal and a mission it would probably turn societal thought and depression upside down. People can be happy and stay healthy in hard times when there is a great communal effort to overcome something with hope for the future. It was found in UK wartime that people managed to get despite the privations and desperate circumstances.

      In a recent reading about the Holocaust and concentration camp side of the WW2, it was shown that even little bits of help and kindness could make a difference in the flimsy balance of living or dying in the work-till-you-die camps (a cynical meaning to the Nazi ‘Work will set you Free’ slogan).

  7. Today, I’m getting there by going back.

    I spent yesterday visiting my local vinyl emporiums and getting into Record Store Day. I scored a ton of top albums from the second hand bins, including the Band’s first, Captain Beefheart’s Clear Spot and Grant Hart’s Intolerance. Today is all about kicking back and listening.

    Every Record Store Day there are are a bunch of one offs and specials released. Most will still be available today, if you hurry.

    The one I’m most thrilled about is the re-release of David Bowie’s early compilation The World of David Bowie. Ok, I’ve already got about five copies, but one more won’t hurt me!

    Mainly Anthony Newley inspired observational ditties, it includes this early gem which would have done Scott Walker proud:

    Have a great day everyone and don’t forget to spin that black circle!

    • gsays 7.1

      Grant Hart’s Intolerance is a gem.

      Thanks for a reminder of one of my early musical heroes, Bob Mould had the riffs, Grant Hart had the pop sensibility
      I have been listening lately to The Arguement (I know, irony!!), I highly recommend it.

      • Good analysis, gsays! I’ve seen Bob Mould live, but missed the opportunity to see Grant Hart when he played here a few years back. Too late now, ae. I play a lot of Husker Du on the guitar, but it’s Grant’s songs I enjoy playing most.

  8. greywarshark 8

    From Open Mike 13/4 – some of thread which is relevant to future.

    cleangreen 14
    13 April 2019 at 12:25 pm
    Climate change is here.
    (My note: I looked at this link and screen went to an advertisement for new one storey houses. I note that they match those being built through the late 20th century. A perfect example of how pervasive BAU continues to hold us back from realistic forward-thinking adaptations that wrap us into CC priorities.)

    RedLogix 14.2
    13 April 2019 at 1:41 pm
    Molten Salt Reactors. If I was at the start of my career this is where I would head right now. Here is one variation:
    Stable Salt Reactor Technology Introduction 6 mins

    higherstandard 14.2.1
    13 April 2019 at 2:00 pm
    very interesting

    Jenny – How to get there?
    13 April 2019 at 4:26 pm
    We can’t handle our plastic waste responsibly. Maybe this might be better than thousands of nuclear power plants.

    13 April 2019 at 4:46 pm
    First point, this salt reactor actually is capable of using the waste (spent fuel) from other nukes as fuel, thereby helping to deal with the problem of waste built up from existing reactors.

    Second, it’s in the right power range for large ships. It’s also a pretty useful size for remote installations that are unsuitable for solar.

    But yeah, for mainstream grid supply, wind and solar have got so cheap it’s hard to see any new nukes making the grade.

    13 April 2019 at 6:36 pm
    “First point, this salt reactor actually is capable of using the waste (spent fuel) from other nukes as fuel, thereby helping to deal with the problem of waste built up from existing reactors.”
    You have my attention now.

    Andre …
    14 April 2019 at 7:33 am
    It’s an example of the broader class of “fast neutron reactors”. Most of which can be configured to use as fuel the waste from most of today’s reactors.

    While the ability to burn other reactor’s waste is attractive, there’s also downsides. The biggest being that burning the uranium238 (that’s a large part of the waste from more common reactors) requires turning most of it into plutonium239 along the way. There’s obvious concerns about military proliferation there.

    Personally I’m more interested in thorium based reactors. Because the intermediate steps of the thorium reaction chain are much harder to turn into weapons (though not impossible). But probably just as attractive to terrorists wanting to build dirty bombs.

    RedLogix …
    14 April 2019 at 8:53 am
    Agreed, although the thorium story and MSR’s while technically separate, are in reality very closely aligned. It’s pretty much the same people interested in both at this time.

    13 April 2019 at 5:16 pm
    It’s a good question; I’m a big fan of CSP power, it looks very cool and comes with built-in energy storage. Of all the renewable technologies it’s the one which I suspect has the brightest future.
    But it’s important not to underestimate the scale of the challenge and the enormous amount of land and resources that will be consumed to make a serious contribution to the total global need.

    These MSR reactors are nothing like your grandfather’s Pressurised Water Reactors. Some typical features:
    1. All the safety engineering is ‘walk away’ passive. If something goes wrong the correct thing to do is nothing. The machine will stop and cool itself with no external power or intervention.

    2. All the dangerous nucleides, cesium, strontium and iodine are stable compounds within the salt. Even if the plant was bombed, all that would happen is the released molten salt would solidify quickly, the nuclear reaction would stop and no gases would be released.

    3. The internal operating pressures are very low, barely 2 -4 atmospheres. The engineering is far easier.

    4. They are incredibly flexible with what fuel they use; and will cheerfully burn the waste from existing reactors. All current MSR designs are intended to have zero waste stream. Uranium, thorium, plutonium … gobble, munch, munch.

    5. The manufacturing model will be similar to ship building or aircraft manufacture; everything is built and shipped from a single global site, and the sealed reactor units are shipped to wherever needed. Site assembly and certification is hugely reduced and they require almost no maintenance. No back up power, no emergency systems, no super complex control systems, no containment vessel, etc.

    6. The cores are intended to have an operating life of about 5 – 10 years, after which the operator swaps to a new unit, shuts down the old one and lets it cool for 3 -5 years. Then ships the spent and empty unit back to the manufacturing site for refurbishment.

    These things are just way easier to do, once you have the salt chemistry and fuel cycle sorted. The safety case is hugely less onerous and operating them is relatively simple. Homer Simpson might have trouble fecking with one.
    The expectation is the costs will be about half that of new coal plant. These can be rolled out fast and located without huge infrastructure demands. All up I see these as being a faster and more certain route to de-carbonising than renewables on their own.

    14 April 2019 at 7:25 am
    This could be the missing link in energy budgets to transform to a more resilient economy. We’ve not got the oil resources to do it without mucking up the planet.
    Just yesterday I was daydreaming in class about how we might set up a block of renewable energy (using oil energy) and start from there to use less oil and more renewables as we ‘expand out’ to encompass more of industry/market/the globe.

    Energy stuff is not my forte, but I do think we might progressively retrofit without too much pain if we work in a methodical manner always reducing consumable energy as we increase sustainable energy.
    The issue is that large infrastructure projects require tremendous energy inputs. I’m trying to get my head around how we transition the transition period – if that makes any sense…

    I also think they can test these reactors NIMBY. Heard too many false claims from companies posing as saviors. Swap some out for older more dangerous reactors maybe, as in those situations it might be seen as progress.

    I’d vehemently oppose anyone testing any form of nuclear reactor here.

    RedLogix …
    14 April 2019 at 8:31 am
    I would cheerfully have one in my backyard, indeed I’d love to have a crack at working in one. While the nuclear aspect would be pretty tame, there is real potential for innovative thermochemical downstream processing, the efficient production of bulk hydrogen for instance, that would be really interesting.

    MSR’s are nothing like the massive nuclear plants we’re all accustomed to; they’re a fraction of the size. They have more in common with building a large ship than a massive plant.
    ORNL successfully ran the first one in the 60’s for five years with no incidents of any kind.

    It’s not a case of one company promising miracles. At present there are 6 -10 different private companies working towards a licensed design, and the Chinese have an impressive $500m program; leading the way on work being done in 10 different countries. MSR’s are not completely without technical challenges, but most of them appear to be a matter of funding and time, rather than needing to invent wheels. The biggest hurdles are going to be regulatory, and overcoming negative public sentiment toward anything nuclear.

    It’s strongly arguable that if the Nixon administration had not shut the original ORNL program down in 1973 for purely political reasons, MSR’s would have likely become the dominant energy source by now … and global warming would never have become an issue.

    Andre …
    14 April 2019 at 10:09 am
    Looking ahead to when transport is fully electrified, it’s not hard to imagine service stations wanting to have on-site generation in the range of tens of MW. That’s in the same range as what large ships need. It’s not hard to see substantial demand for mass-produced small reactors.
    NZ probably won’t ever get there, but much of the rest of the world might. Personally I’d have no concerns about those being nukes, particularly if they were thorium. For military proliferation and terrorism reasons, not any kind of Chernobyl style fears.

    RedLogix …
    14 April 2019 at 10:34 am
    Incidentally I’ve just gotten my hands on a bunch of these:

    Checkout the specs! They aren’t quite the holy grail as their energy density is about 2/3 standard Lithium chemistries, but for applications where weight doesn’t matter too much, like buses, boats, solar storage, etc they’re definitely the next leap forward. Full recharge is possible in 10 minutes!
    Down the road a year or two we should see the next gen of solid state Lithiums. If they live up to the promise, then fully electric personal transport will happen very quickly. A huge amount of R&D is going on, but Tesla’s buyout of these guys recently shows concrete progress:

    Andre …
    14 April 2019 at 12:15 pm
    Fun stuff. Professional project or homer?

    RedLogix …
    14 April 2019 at 12:43 pm
    Professional. I’m using them to eliminate the travelling harness on a high speed shuttle. It recharges when parked for piece change-out, and allows easy 2D freedom of movement with no trailing power cables for the automation. All control data is via RF.

    The 20,000+ cycle life is pretty attractive too. Cells like this were either not cost effective or unavailable 12 months ago.

    Andre …
    14 April 2019 at 12:49 pm
    Cool. I fukn hate cables running around the place. That 10C charge rate really does open up a whole lot of opportunities.

  9. greywarshark 9

    Sorry folks I am not trying to take over this post but want to catch the butterflies of great ideas and information for our possible future, and not lose them. So here is a good discussion on shade for animals, which must be considered now urgently what with Alexandra going to 37 degrees.

    From Open Mike 13/4
    Andre 4
    13 April 2019 at 9:07 am
    Agrigeneration – putting solar generation onto the same land that’s used for agriculture can even increase the agricultural productivity of the land in hot dry regions. The shade can help reduce evaporation, and it seems if the plant growth is limited by other resources then getting too much sunlight reduces plant growth.

    Putting wind turbines on farms happens pretty much all the time already. But I can’t see any major downsides to putting solar and wind generation and agriculture all on the same bit of land for even more productivity.

    Cinny 4.1
    13 April 2019 at 9:48 am
    Andre, that’s really cool, what a great idea.
    During the drought this summer it really troubled the girls and myself that many farms didn’t have shade for their stock. We would see animals sweltering in 30+ degree heat without a single tree casting shadow in the paddocks. It was upsetting to see.
    Meanwhile at home the only green grass was under the trampoline.

    Solar panels with cows would be a fantastic solution, providing shade and green grass for feed, power and food/dairy/meat. It’s like companion planting with different elements.
    Thanks for sharing Andre.

    cleangreen 4.1.1
    13 April 2019 at 10:51 am
    Andre and Cinny,
    I opened up our ‘stock pen’ as it had a roof over the top with open sides and our sheep always camped there i n the hottest days.
    I had to keep the water troughs filled every two days as well.
    For every other year since 2005 I never had to do this, so climate change is now with us for sure.

    bwaghorn 4.1.2
    13 April 2019 at 1:22 pm
    Shade for cattle is a no brainer . Its been proven they produce more plus its a good thing to do .

    13 April 2019 at 3:34 pm
    Gday wags, at what point can the word cruelty enter the conversation in regards to stock and shelter?
    Not looking to wind you up, I am genuinely interested in yr response.
    I feel at a basic level, it’s an animals ‘right’ to shelter. Even more so when commerce is involved.

    As an abstract, planting of stock shelter belts could be a great way of helping meet the 1 billion trees target.
    Subsidised by the state.
    Imagine cockies potentially voting for Labour…..

    13 April 2019 at 3:56 pm
    Any cattle that have no shelter from the hot summer sun would be appriaching cruelty imo. They did a study in the hawkesbay a few years ago and the temps on a black beasts back approach 60degrees in the worst heat .
    Spread trees would be my preference as shelter belts tend to bring mud . And mud means bugs especially in lactating animals .
    Most councils help with pole planting costs but i believe scattered trees are not recognized for carbon capture i believe?

    13 April 2019 at 4:40 pm
    Thanks mate I appreciate that.
    I don’t doubt most stock owners care for their animals but there seems to be a blind spot in regards shelter.
    As mentioned up thread there is an increase in productivity with shelter, but… less pasture… mud around shelter belts… the neighbours don’t do it…

    bwaghorn …
    13 April 2019 at 4:53 pm
    The mud effect from shelter belts would be less on dairy farms due to them really being in the same paddock twice in a row. There’s a plant called miscanthus? That is supposed to be very quick growng and the big rotorainers can brush over it .
    Im pro famrimg but im no apologist for the madness that has gone on in Canterbury and down south .

    gsays …
    13 April 2019 at 5:07 pm
    I live rurally in the Manawatu, surrounded by dairy farms.
    I am not anti farming.
    I do not like a lot of common farming practices e.g.: the urea phosphate addiction, shelterless paddocks, stock in waterways, round-up between crop cycles.

    To me it comes down to the $.
    What are usually decent people, have a wilful blind spot when it comes to their ways.
    As we all know it takes a lot of courage to step outside the flock and change a habit.
    I would love to see the primary producers return to their rightful place of the food supply chain.
    In my lifetime the tables have turned against them.

    WeTheBleeple …
    13 April 2019 at 6:05 pm
    I’ve been off at school all day or I’d have chipped in earlier. Production losses come from heat stress – and wind chill. Shelter can make a big difference for temperature extremes at both ends of the scale. Scattered trees are difficult where stock may take them out, and fencing each tree could be considered a PITA. But I believe it’s worth it. Also, if your stock have access to mineral licks they’ll typically leave trees alone (cept the tasty leaves).

    As weather patterns continue to deteriorate Farmers main defense against drought and subsequent bankruptcy is trees. Trees that double as fodder, and triple as nitrogen fixers.
    Shelter belts that grow fence posts, nuts, fruit, stock food, honey… The limits are imagination.

    gsays …
    14 April 2019 at 10:04 am
    Thanks WTB, it all makes sense.
    We live in interesting times, where change, adapting and questioning what we have always done is imperative.

    I have a mate who works for a company selling fertilizer.
    They get soil samples from different parts of the property and mix a fertilizer containing the minerals that are deficient.
    The idea is soil health is paramount. As opposed to going for the crack pipe habit of phosphate/urea.
    Farmers are conservative (keen on status quo), but these other theories (organic/permaculture) are slowly becoming more popular.
    Heaven forbid, they may become mainstream in our lifetime.

    Grey Area 4.1.3
    13 April 2019 at 5:55 pm
    Of course with plant-based diets we wouldn’t have to shade animals Cinny because we wouldn’t be farming them. Animal agriculture is a major contributor to greenhouse gases and degrades our environment in other ways and needs to end.
    Better for the animals and better for us, especially as it moving to plant-based diets increases the chances of humans actually surviving.

    13 April 2019 at 6:12 pm
    Not sure that is true Grey Area. Animals are an integral part of ecosystems and always have been. We could lower stocking rates, but eliminating stock is highly problematic. In NZ we had ridiculous numbers of birds that brought oceanic resources to land. On the land some moa species ‘took the place’ of cows grazing/browsing ground covers. These were then laid low, able to be composted through winters season adding nutrients for the next spring flush. Fungi too, have many species designed to work with both dung and plant matter.
    Natures systems are not vegan, vegetarian, or even lactose intolerant.

    Grey Area
    13 April 2019 at 6:36 pm
    I guess we’ll see. Or maybe we won’t.
    Nature’s systems look nothing like the horror show we’ve created.

    arkie 4.2
    13 April 2019 at 12:18 pm
    The ability to find shade is absolutely necessary for the basic comforts of the animals as well. I’ve been increasingly dismayed by the removal of windbreaks in favour of vast irrigation networks. Could it be pasture growth is quantifiable, animal well-being is not?

  10. greywarshark 10

    Tracing the path to understanding how people can go on dismissing the human aspect in climate change and everything else. A very honest and direct and clear talk on this.
    Dr. Barry Bickmore – How to Avoid the Truth About Climate Change

  11. Jenny - How to get there? 11

    Will EVs become cheaper than ICEs by 2022?

    And should our government help this along? (ie subsidies, or banning the import of planet crunching SUVs)

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