Blog Action Day / Friends in Taiwan

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Good friend of Los Gázquez and globetrotter by foot Aaris also contributed to Blog Action Day. Read more and more by clicking HERE

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Blog Action Day / What Your House Can Do For You!

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Well it’s obvious, it gives you shelter. Shelter from the elements, from the wind, the rain, the sun and the snow. A house keeps you warm and safe.

However, reverse the perspective and you see a different picture. Wind supplies copious amounts of kinetic energy which can be harnessed by means of a small wind turbine above or adjacent to your house. This makes electricity. The sun releases infinitesimal quantum’s of light called photons which can be gathered by a photo voltaic panel on your roof. This also produces electricity. The sun also produces heat in the form of radiation which can be converted into conduction with the aid of a solar panel, again on your roof, producing hot water. Couple with these three elements, good insulation and (depending upon your climate) passive solar heating or cooling systems and there you have it. A micro power station!

But wait, what if you could gather all that rain water and snow melt from the roof of your house? You can store this water healthily underground for later use in the house. It’s a simple calculation to estimate a households water consumption multiplied by the average rainfall in your area to judge how big the water storage tank should be. Your home could be self sufficient with water.

And the waste water? Re-use it. Take the grey water from your bath and water the garden with it, grow fruit and vegetables. And as for the toilets? Build a reed bed, treat it yourself organically, and the resultant product can be 98% clean and can be used to irrigate your garden, grow food.

‘Ah, but the cost’ you say. Well the BBC whenever reporting on these stories always say’s ‘and the payback is around twenty years’. Well, if I build a new kitchen or a conservatory or a garage extension to my home I don’t talk about payback, I talk about added value. Imagine living in a house with no utility bills.

The very word utility means to be useful, profitable and beneficial. Is your electricity supplier carbon neutral, are they making genuine efforts to implement renewable energies? Mine is, it’s my own home. How is warm water made in your home, by burning natural gas? My home doesn’t release agents into the atmosphere that will cause global warming and climate change. And where does the water come from that flows so freely from your kitchen taps and where does it go when it leaves your house and what chemical agents go with it? Mine is rain water and when it leaves our home there are no harmful toxins in it. So, is your utility company useful, profitable or beneficial? Mine is, it’s my house.

It could be that we think ‘on the grid’ instead of ‘off’. Our systems of governance think corporate and the results are macroeconomic with all the built in entropic qualities such as those the global economy is suffering right now. If we could only initiate private or micro communal ecology systems to rid ourselves from our reliance of fossil fuels, global market forces and utility companies.

‘Ah, a return to the dark ages’ I hear some folk say. Absolutely not, these communities could operate like pearls on a string connected via the internet creating a giant forum to share skills and clean technologies.

What the world needs is not just a transition from fossil fuels but a transition from society to community. We need to appropriate material want away from the great single entities who put profit before people and put it where it counts, ethically, in the hands of those fellowships who share common goals to rid the world of poverty and disease.

It is estimated that the cost of environmental damage caused by the worlds largest 3000 companies in 2008 at 2.15 trillion dollars. (Trucost) I always thought a trillion was hyperbole but here it is, and in this case it equates to one third of the combined profits of these companies. Companies who we in the affluent west invest our pension funds. Let us not look to invest in any other entity than our own community. Here you have control and responsibility, here you have the opportunity to share.

This isn’t an argument only for environmentalists this is an argument for us all. Our home is our castle and it sits benignly on the earth. It neither despoils finite resources or fouls the land for future generations. What can your house do for you? It can save the planet.

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Comments (2)


Hola Amigos de Los Gázquez,

I wanted to let you know about an important online event I’m taking part in on October 15th, called Blog Action Day. Each year bloggers from more than 100 countries come together and blog about a single important issue, and this year’s topic is clean water. The event includes thousands of blogs - including the White House blog and The Official Google Blog - and they’re looking for as many blogs to participate as possible, regardless of their size and focus.

I hope you’ll think about joining me for this event. If you want more information, check out the Blog Action Day site at

Hope to see your post on the 15th!

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