Could the sun resolve Greek (and Spanish) problems with national debt? Some three years ago now Dreaming Realist lamented the inability or unwillingness to capture the power of Greece’s annual 2,000 hours of sunshine. Perhaps the current European economic crisis means the time is now right to revisit this omission. The Greek deficit is alarming. Carbon (sunshine) now has formal monetary value. Northern Europe needs much more energy. Investment in Greek solar energy infrastructure would benefit that national economy….
What will be the fundamental ‘currencies’ of the future? What, if we are serious about global sustainability in all its forms, should these currencies comprise now? It’s likely, if we collectively are ever going to achieve a level of long-term viability for the human race, that we will have to shift the emphasis from money (or the gold standard) to the really basic requirements for life on earth – carbon, water and nitrogen, plus knowledge of all sorts to keep the whole show on the road.
Recent advice is that, to ‘save’ the planet, we in the developed nations should eat meat at most four times a week; but we should also recognise the current fundamental economic centrality of meat in many parts of the developing world.
Discussion of these recommendations has produced some interesting ideas about what might constitute almost zero carbon food, even zero carbon meat. Hill grazing sheep, jellied eels and lobster aquaculture are amongst the food items and techniques proposed.
Energy is a commodity with variable value, it seems, depending on where you are. ‘We Greeks,’ said a fellow-traveller on the train as we departed Athens, ‘could have free hot water and free lighting all year; but we prefer to pay… Why put an annual 2000 hours of sunshine to good use, when we can produce energy more expensively in other ways?‘ He was, of course, being ironic.
Food is rising rapidly up the agenda. Allotments, biofuels, calories, customs, eating disorders, famine, farming, fats, fibre, foodmiles, GM, health, organic, packaging, processing, salt, seasonal, security, sell-by, sustainability, vitamins, water…. Where do we begin with what to eat and drink?