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Do-It-Together Energy

By 04/14/2010 September 9th, 2014 All Posts, Green Economy, ParEcon, Ryan's posts

William Kamkwamba and windmill

The next bubble is bound to be green. Stock markets will rise and fall based on how people relate to new energy technologies. So why not learn to master these technologies ourselves? This post reviews a few promising trends in the renewable energy sector, and talks about how ordinary folks can learn to master our own energy futures. Only a few short examples are highlighted here, so please leave comments with inspiring examples of your own.

Make Your Own Windmill At the age of 14, William Kamkwamba built his own windmill to power his house in rural Malawi. After discovering a book called Using Energy, he simply started experimenting with discarded local materials and designed an energy solution to help meet his family’s needs. His story was quickly picked up by NGOs across Africa, and celebrated at global thought forums like TED. William’s story teaches us that you can control your own energy future, and that you don’t have to have much money to do it. You don’t even have to be an adult! Sometimes, you just need the basic knowledge, a knack for experimenting, and the ability to find leftover materials from the area where you live.

Here is an excerpt from the work-in-progress documentary about William’s story:

Find out more on the Moving Windmills site.

Solar-Powered Internet

How much energy does it take to power internet usage in the world? A whole bunch. Getting connected, powering communication and searches, and storing information online all require tremendous energy resources. When we think about the internet’s billions of users, where this energy comes from starts to matter in a major way. As more people get connected every day, we need to be creative with how we power our lives online. One emerging example of powering our web time with renewable energy comes from Project Focus , a group that is partnering with leaders from rural Uganda to build a solar powered internet café.

Check out their short video.

New Tools for Living Off-the-Grid

Getting our energy from the sun and wind will mean that people no longer have to be dependent on major electricity companies to live our lives. Rather than plugging into a privately-owned network of energy providers, technology is emerging that can help folks light up their own lives, literally. The Solar Pebble is an awesome demonstration of how people anywhere in the world can harness the sun’s power by day, to bring light to their night-time activities. As more technologies like this emerge, it will be vital for people to learn how they can develop and reproduce them on their own. Check out Shervin Saedinia’s story about the Solar Pebble on four-story.

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