Réka’s (17) entry

“An average-sized tree evaporates 400 liters of water on a warm summer day, thus reducing the temperature below the tree with 3 degrees Celsius, and produces 1.75 kg of oxygen per hour, which keeps alive 10 people.”

I think the biggest environmental problem in my hometown is the free distribution of firewood by the municipality to the socially needy during the cold winter months. Municipal workers cut down trees on the outskirts of the village,they even cut down fruit trees for firewood a few times. This is an environmental tragedy because tree is one of our most valuable weapons in the fight against climate change. An average-sized tree evaporates 400 liters of water on a warm summer day, thus reducing the temperature below the tree with 3 degrees Celsius, and produces 1.75 kg of oxygen per hour, which keeps alive 10 people. And a fruit tree can also even give people food, which can be a partial solution to feed hungry people in need.

Instead, we could give power directly to those in need. To do this, the municipality would have to build a windmill or solar park on the outskirts of the village, along with a liquid accumulator capable of storing industrial-scale energy. This liquid accumulator could be vanadium-based, which is already mass-produced, or could be a system using the redox potential of organic molecules, which is still being tested. This requires a one-time investment by the municipality, since it has no self-discharge, it can store energy indefinitely, and it has an infinite life, as it is a completely closed system. The electrolyte is sulfuric acid, pH 0 or acetic acid, but sulfuric acid has higher redox potential values, so installation and operation should be entrusted to professionals.

With this system, the municipality could operate public lighting, the lighting of public buildings, assist the people in need, and could even ensure the full energy supply of public buildings. It is important that all this remains within the competence of the municipality, to prevent the waste of energy. If we would allow to have a liquid accumulator in the basement of family homes and a solar panel on the roof, we would have virtually free energy, the air conditioner would run at full capacity and we would buy the most powerful computers even if we don’t need them, and we would warm the environment even more.

The other option is to realize waste sorting in addition to selective waste collection. Many polymers are made of polyethylene or polypropylene, from low-density ones for example disposable PEbags, which are mistakenly called nylon bags,although they have nothing to do with polyamide. From high density ones, pet bottle caps, cosmetic bottles, food boxes, margarine pack, etc. These materials, if they contain no dyes, are white or translucent, and burn exactly like natural gas. In mixed-fuel boilers, they could be burned instead of firewood. Dye plays an important role when I intend to recycle the polymer, since the antioxidant in the dye is as much anti-aging as it is in cosmetics, there will be less degradation, so I can get a better quality raw material through recycling.

Waste sorting does not appear to be an attractive occupation at first, but vocational training centers could train specialist waste sorting workers. In the book of Dennis Gabor, Inventing the Future I read that gambling is popular because people love to get a great prize or reward without having to work for it. Therefore, if the municipality allowed everyone to take home the objects they found in the trash, it would be more attractive to do this job. Of course, workers should present what they have found to ensure that it is not hazardous waste.

I hope an entrepreneurial municipality will implement these ideas.

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