Coffee and Orangutans

Just rolled into the Microtel Inns & Suites in Klamath Falls, OR. It is a gorgeous drive from Portland. Green, green, green, and not many other vehicles. Also the most remote wifi – 10 miles west of Oakridge, OR, on the 58.

Not sure how this popped into my mind, maybe because I was in Portland earlier today and had the best cup of ever at a Stumptown. If you don’t know what a Stumptown is, think Starbucks before it went national. We bought some friends of ours some beans from the Stumptown Roasters cafe. Fair-trade they are labeled.

Oh, I remember what made me think of all this. Sitting in our gas guzzling F-150 truck in the parking lot of a Safeway. Seeing how far apart all the shops, restaurants,and homes, how large all the vehicles are, how fat everyone is, seeing how large the grocery store is, made me realize that the American way of life is unsustainable.

The great coffee my wife and I enjoyed in Portland,while fair trade, was grown in another country. How did the beans get to Portland? Were they flown there? Was It on a ship? On the backs of donkey led to the great Northwest by Juan Valdez? For all of our crunchy goodness and wanting to keep the world for our children, should we even be drinking coffee?

And then from the Safeway, my wife purchased some gluten free crackers. Very exciting to find those. As I was coming back up to the room from the truck with the crackers, I took a look at the ingredients. Palm oil is one of the ingredients. Palm oil, in case you didn’t know, is, or rather the growing of trees for palm oil, is leading to the destruction of orangutan habitat.

You just can’t win

Geothermal energy is a bad idea.

a really bad idea.

First let us start with the idea that there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Geothermal, as I understand it, involves tapping into the molten core of the earth for energy. This can be done in several ways. Some methods are more passive – using a heat exchanger to heat water to heat house and water. One place I have experienced this is at the Breightonbush Hot Springs in Oregon. Their sauna is right over an open geothermal pool, capturing the heat and steam that would be lost into the atmosphere anyways. Another method, enhanced geothermal system, involved drilling into the earth ( i.e. !!!WARNING Not using naturally occurring sources of geothermal energy WARNING!!!) and injecting cold water into the “hot dry rock.” The water then heats, expands and is converted into electricity using either a steam turbine or a binary power plant system. This method has lead to earthquakes. Granted they were only 2.9. But man made earthquakes are not a good thing.

But what worries me is not the possibility of man made earthquakes, but the assumption that geothermal energy is a sustainable source. Sustainable in comparison to coal – less CO2 emitted and maybe more sustainable than nuclear power plants – no radioactive waste to deal with. But the long term consequences are much more frightening. And our collective inability to see down this road is what is really frightening.

The earth’s magnetic shield, the magnetosphere, “provides protection, without which life as we know it could not survive. Mars, with little or no magnetic field is thought to have lost much of its former oceans and atmosphere to space in part due to the direct impact of the solar wind. Venus with its thick atmosphere is thought to have lost most of its water to space in large part owing to solar wind ablation. ” The shield, which protects all life on earth, is generated by the Earth’s FLUID core spinning. See dynamo field.

For this to work, the core must be liquid. And if we suck more and more energy out of the core it will cool. This will lead to solidification. This will lead to death of the magnetosphere. And this will lead to the death of everything on the planet. Except for roaches and those bacteria that live down near the vents at the bottom of the ocean. Oh, but wait, Mars lost it’s ocean due to solar winds. So I guess everything on earth will die.

But, wait, you say – The Earth’s core is so huge and we could never extract that much energy. Humans can’t have that much impact on our planet.

Overfishing anyone?
Deforestation?
Global warming?

When humans started using petrochemicals for fuel, did we even have a concept of running out of them or that we would affect the atmosphere? We, as a species, cannot look that far ahead.

You heard it here first – Geothermal energy is a BAD idea.