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Mitra Ardron's blog - Natural Innovation

Anyone intelligent believes in climate change ? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mitra Ardron   
Thursday, 10 May 2012 07:16

Anyone intelligent believes in anthropogenic climate change

A strong statement, which you might think was overstating the issue?

I'm not going to try and give you the science - because if you are reading this website I'm presuming you are intelligent enough to understand that when >95% of the scientists in a field agree then its probably true, and at least it makes sense for the rest of us to act as if it was true and leave the dissension to the remaining 5% to try and convince their colleagues.

So what about the Republicans in the US Congress, aren't they educated.  Well I dare say there are a few who don't believe evolution or science, or I should rephrase that - a "belief" in evolution isn't required since there is science to back it up. The belief is in the creationist myth, and while I love myths - whether its biblical or greek or nordic, I'll leave it to the reader as to whether a belief in their literal truth qualifies you as intelligent.

My strong suspicion is that most of them are educated, and convinced by evolution and climate science, but when someone is offering you a large bribe to deny reality, and when your career depends on both taking the bribe, and aligning with whatever the polls say about your electorate then it just becomes another lie to spout for the media.

So what about the oil companies, the ones who pay the bribes. I've had a number of (off the record) conversations with fairly senior oil company executives over the years - not one of them denied the science of global warming, and their only question about Peak Oil was when, rather than if. They'd tell me of the amount of money they were spending to adapt to climate change & peak oil, which they not only know is happening but know will hit us hard BECAUSE of the bribes their bosses are paying to politicians.   Remember a company has a fiduciary duty to its shareholders, and staff bonuses are tied to profits, and its very easy to then consider that narrow interest, and bribe a politician to extend the amount of time you have to make money off of destroying the atmosphere.

So who is left … unfortunately with a public that gets its news more and more from TV like Fox News, who are also driven not by educating their viewers, but by the adverts bought by many of the same people above (the ones who believe in climate change, but don't want anyone else to).

And so the cycle goes on …. companies buy the media to convince the masses, and buy politicians who also listen to the masses. Don't we wish the most polluting country in the world was a democracy with a free press.

Of Cyclone's and Bulls PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mitra Ardron   
Saturday, 03 March 2012 14:16

A story of how a little thing like a cyclone bring us into the moment.

December 28th I went to India to spend some time with a project we are helping there that trains village mechanics to make wind turbines. The plan was to sit around with the founder and the CEO I'd helped find and work on the business plan.

I noticed as we flew that the plane's track didn't go direct from Singapore to Chennai but flew north all around the Bay of Bengal, to avoid a storm, but we landed fine in some rain, and as we drove south a few hours the rain disappeared.

Auroville devasted by cyclone PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mitra Ardron   
Monday, 02 January 2012 23:48

Just a short post ... to say that I'm in Auroville, in Southern India. I arrived a few hours before Cyclone Thane, which took out 70% of the trees, there was one down every 10 meters on the road, and that took out power; water; internet; phone (fixed & mobile). Many farms lost their crops, and the project we are supporting here - low cost wind turbines for rural poor - lost its workshop and one turbine when a tree came through it.

If you feel to help ... please donate here, on  and put "MinVayu" or "Wind" in the comments, I'll pass that on to help them rebuild.

There is more about the damage to Auroville here.

I have limited internet acces / laptop charge, so may be slow responding to email.

National or International identity PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mitra Ardron   
Saturday, 20 August 2011 21:19

Last night I went to a party in Auroville, southern india. Outdoors - lit by christmas lights strung between trees, with a dirt floor and cast concrete tables with inlaid mosaic.

My neighbours over the Middle Eastern dinner were a couple of Australians and she was studying how people relate, or don't, to their national identity. She talked about a couple she'd met, she French/German born in India; he Mexican/Canadian; their kids in theory could have five passports at birth. (Two more than me).

So I looked around - I was sitting with an Ecuadorian; German; South African & Faroe Islander (part of Denmark). The musicians were a Portuguese couple playing West African Kora and Imbira (harp and thumb piano);

A future powered by 100% renewables PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mitra Ardron   
Thursday, 19 May 2011 16:03

There was a question on Quora recently "Can anyone imagine a future powered by 100% renewable energy".

It has been interesting to me that parallel efforts are showing that this is very much possible: There are papers in the UK and Australia on exactly this topic - looking at the cost and feasibility.

In the US there is also a really good report which looks at how ten sectors could achieve 1 GTonne emission cut each - which is almost the same answer.

In fact by some analysis would be cheaper (even without the cost of dealing with climate change) than coal, natural gas and of course cheaper than nuclear.

Of course - we still need to make this work in developing countries - which is what Natural Innovation is all about.





March 2011 equinox newsletter PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mitra Ardron   
Monday, 04 April 2011 00:00

mar 2011 equinox newsletter

I've just sent out my second newsletter, and you can read it here, and you can subscribe here to get future issues.

Citizens of the World ? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mitra Ardron   
Friday, 13 January 2012 00:00

Who would believe its only two weeks since Cyclone Thane took out 70% of the trees, roads, power, water, phone, and Internet and trapped most of us wherever we spent the night for 36 hours.

They must have power on in the village now because I wake up at 5:30 to amplified chanting from the village temple a couple of km away. We still haven't got power back, but at least Steffen (German) borrowed a generator yesterday to pump water, so I can wash clothes as I take a shower.

With the pumping oddities, I don't trust the water yet so breakfast, with my neighbors (Indian / French couple) is porridge & hot tea. First stop of the day is the Town Hall, where Min (indian), a colleague on the wind turbine project works. He's got power and more important Internet, so I can setup logistics for tomorrows meetings in Chennai. The net drops out mid-morning so I head over to the workshop where Jorge (Ecuadorean) is teaching a 5 day seminar on renewable energy to a class including participants from Nepal, Belgiam, India, and Canada.

Australian Solar industry celebrates grid parity PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mitra Ardron   
Wednesday, 02 November 2011 19:12

Solar industry celebrates grid parity ... via ABC

The [Australian] Photovoltaic Association says the drop in cost of producing power from solar panels has made solar power competitive with coal-generated grid power.

Solar power generated by photovoltaic cells on Australian rooftops has become so cheap and efficient that they now produce electricity for the same price that is charged by the electricity grid.

A typical day in Auroville PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mitra Ardron   
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 11:34

Its my second day in Auroville, jet-lag has kicked in, and I wake at 4am, tired but not able to sleep. I read for a while and around 4:30 the first birds start calling, followed by the frogs and crickets. Finally I give in to the inevitable, and grab a shower  - its cold, and just dribbles out the shower-head, but I'm not complaining.  A short walk across the farmyard, past the cows rattling their buckets to my rented electric scooter - which I've left charging in the barn, and then a drive through the forest to the bakery in the village.   The chocolate croissants look like they have been made for westerners, but at this time of the morning its only indians buying.

Schools of Appropriate technology PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mitra Ardron   
Monday, 18 April 2011 17:09

Over a long breakfast with Chris Watkins of Appropedia recently, I realised that there are several distinct schools of Clean/Appropriate technology where different sets of assumptions drive optimisation for different outcomes. I found it helpful to think these through in the table below. I believe that if we understand the different ways of thinking then it helps to look at how to build on each other's work without expecting that "improvements" we need will necessarily translate back to a different set of assumptions.

Potassium Iodide for Japan PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mitra Ardron   
Wednesday, 16 March 2011 21:33

I just landed back in Australia, and Marshal Rubinstein, co-founder with me of the OneFridge project is getting Potassium Iodide tablets made and shipped to Japan as it is supposedly the best protection against radiation danger. We have heard they are very hard to get (even in the San Francisco bay area) at the moment, and the ones available are being sold at high prices by profiteers.

There are a number of challenges we are working on - both here and in Japan, and help would be useful with a couple of the points in our brief below relating to Import regulations and Distribution.

We could also potentially use a manufacturer in Japan and ship all the 150kg or what is left of it.

Below is a fact sheet - I'm updating this as things change - as often as hourly as its a rapidly moving project.


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