kids play at beach
Nigerian engineering student Segun Oyeyiola created a solar car from scrap materials and a solar panel.

Segun installed a giant solar panel on top of his Beetle and also inserted a wind turbine under the hood so it's essentially a solar/wind hybrid.

The wind turbine allowed air to flow into the grill while the car was moving, turning the turbine’s rotors and charging the battery at the back of the car. Using wind as well as solar allows driving during hours when no sunlight is available.

Resistance to change can slow or even stop important projects.

Electric cars of the 1990s are a good example of progress stopped by conflicting interests, and a documentary film from 2006: "Who Killed the Electric Car" examined this.

After the California Air Resources Board (CARB) passed the Zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) mandate in 1990 which required the seven major automobile suppliers in the US to offer electric vehicles in order to continue sales of their gasoline powered vehicles in California, nearly 5000 electric cars were designed and manufactured then later destroyed or donated to museums and educational institutions

The film details the California Air Resources Board's reversal of the ZEV mandate after relentless pressure and suits from automobile manufacturers, continual pressure from the oil industry, orchestrated hype over a future hydrogen car, and the Bush administration.

Now the 100% electric car (EV) as well as hybrid versions are common and driven by many.

Corporations and lobbying groups with deep pockets influencing media are powerful organizations and often stop change for the greater good with their myopic profit imperative. When considering information in media be aware of the source and its motive.

Innovation Needed!
via Steve

"Once you have an innovation culture, even those who are not scientists or engineers - poets, actors, journalists - they, as communities, embrace the meaning of what it is to be scientifically literate. They embrace the concept of an innovation culture. They vote in ways that promote it. They don't fight science and they don't fight technology." - Neil deGrasse Tyson

We need innovation to solve our sustainability issues. Many people are only comfortable with the familiar, but history confirms that progress requires change. New ways of thinking about a problem and new solutions are required.

Metro State engineering professor Aaron Brown (far right above) and his students created a simple design integrating basic materials for an inexpensive 'furnace' that burns no carbon emitting fuel. The heater consists of 144 aluminum soda cans heated by sun, using convection and computer fans to draw in cold air and push out warm.

The units require no special skills to build and the cost is equivalent to about one month's heating bill ($30) making it a viable low budget option.

The sun is still free!

Professor Brown and colleagues have created a Baccalaureate of Sustainable System Engineering curriculum at Denver's Metropolitan State University: "Sustainable development requires engineering engagement in the assessment and identification of potential issues. The development and improvement of science and technology has deeply influenced our daily lives. While the technology has led to a better, easier and more comfortable life for people, it also has had a profound impact on the global environment. Sustainable development necessitates a systemic methodology which utilizes fundamental engineering skills coupled with a holistic problem solving approach. Sustainable development requires identification, assessment and analysis of the issues for a potential development project. The lack of information and knowledge of our impact on the environment has been widely recognized." "Future engineers should be able to see a systemic picture of a proposed project. They should be able to understand the impacts of the prospective project on the environment, the economy, society and human well-being in both the short term and long term."

I wish a program like this existed when I was at college.

Eco-innovation covers a range of issues that affect the environment including: implementing sustainable energy sources that don't emit carbon, recycling to reduce waste and avoid resource depletion, effective waste treatment, and developing technology for abatement of existing environmental damage.

Ecovation is the process by which responsible capitalism aligns with ecological innovation to construct products which have a generative nature and are recyclable back into the environment for usage in other industries.

Eco-innovations should bring greater social and cultural acceptance for necessary change. The social acceptance component associated with eco-innovation also introduces a governance component that makes eco-innovation a more integrated tool for sustainable development that includes oversight.

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