SunGlacier Director of Communications, Matt Luna, attended the second week of the COP and talked with participants about water solutions and innovation. Representatives of global organizations reacted with surprise and interest to the relatively simple concept of solar-powered water as a step in adapting to a changing environment.
While negotiating parties in plenary sessions wrestled over single words in an agreement to limit emissions, groups holding side events were discussing adaptation, forest preservation, green growth and smart cities. Use of renewable energy such as solar was of course a key point to numerous discussions. It was remarked that wealthy financial institutions is where many solutions lie, as money is needed to fund green growth toward a leaner use of the planet.
Our team has been strategizing with UNESCO-IHE, the Institute for Environmental Security, the European Space Agency and others to design a program of alternative water supply and resource management that can be a step toward solutions for vast changes in our planet’s water resources. The artistic design of Desert Cascades can also help create a broader project impact by using art as a universal means of communication.
The problem is evident, the focus is clear and we are moving forward. Desert Cascades has very real potential to help water scarcity in growing parts of the world. With more hard work and vital support, places like Lima could see an innovative step in drinking water resources for communities in need.
SunGlacier is an art project that pushes the borders of theory and present technology. A marriage of art and innovation has proved the value of “dare to dream about making the impossible, possible.” Yes, we can now build a glacier in a hot, dry desert and yes, we can generate drinking water from air.
It’s time for the next phase of building an autonomous water-generating structure that carries a zero carbon footprint. All technology developed in research has been compiled in an accessible report that provides answers to questions such as: how much drinking water can we produce out of thin air powered by only solar energy – and what does it cost?
The ultimate goal is to not only to build the art projects SunGlacier and Desert Cascades, but to see our technology applied where it can benefit people searching for an independent water source. This is art; this is climate adaptation; this is a new business concept that can make rain for investors willing to plunge into previously unexplored edges of technological applications.
Our starting point is the production of pure drinking water in dry situations for a relatively low cost. In going beyond the artistic impact of the project, we have developed promising applications for SunGlacier to be put into use in various situations.
Although SunGlacier was not initially designed as a commercial project, an investment structure now allows organizations to participate in supporting the widespread success of the project. The potential to draw positive attention to a business with an environmentally-friendly art project that makes usable water is no longer science fiction.
The technology is real, just as the inspiration that can motivate broad sectors of industry to follow in applying innovative resource adaptation.
More information: Ap Verheggen at <email@example.com>
Project SunGlacier’s research and awareness of water’s place in nearly all levels of human security have led to the design of the autonomously functioning structure: “Desert Cascades.” This design that we’ve already previewed will create a cascade of fresh drinking water from humidity, driven purely by solar energy. And were still pushing boundaries by aiming to install this “oasis” in the extremes of a hot, arid desert.
Desert Cascades is a sculpture that can make a tangible contribution, through art, to adapting to rolling changes in the climate. Simply: It makes water from air, powered by the sun.
A sea of adaptation solutions is around us, and it’s up to us to harness resources we already have. This week we started further design tests in our laboratory that simulates desert conditions. And think, what can we accomplish working together now and in 5-10 years when the efficiency of solar power has increased exponentially?
The Discovery Channel has taken interest in the project, and sent a crew to film our successful round of testing at the laboratory last week. Andras Szollosi-Nagy, Head of UNESCO-IHE, (in photo, right) was also at the site last Thursday and said, “This is a historical moment, and of great importance for the future of our planet.”
We’re not going to stop until we plunge straight off a cliff and into a sea of positive solutions!
|by Ap Verheggen|
How many of the millions who are now familiar with the term had heard of a polar vortex before last week? The sub-zero freeze in the United States feels like a flashback to the 2004 disaster film The Day After Tomorrow in which an eerily similar climate pattern brought on another ice age.
Is this swirling vortex of Arctic air over America so bizarre? Not really. As we’re enjoying a relatively warm winter so far here in Europe, a look out our window to the West reminds us that extreme climate events have passed the point of becoming the new norm, and are now a reality. Mother Nature seems to make her voice heard somewhere each month with a monstrous howl. It’s up to us to live under these new skies.
Working on SunGlacier is a chance to build 10% of inspiration that can lead to the 90% of perspiration that just may make some kind of positive difference in the lives of people in a forgotten corner of the planet – or in the growing urbanized part of the world. It’s important to stay positive and keep open minds for now and for the next generations. They will need solid shoulders to stand upon when searching for future solutions that just may be found in unexpected places.
Speaking of unexpected places, the Discovery Channel plans to come to the Netherlands later this month to film a segment on SunGlacier. More details will be made available soon.
Also, we previously posted about deadly tornadoes in the U.S. Midwest and the need for protective structures. Three new schools have opened in Missouri with protected rooms. Such an initiative is a simple idea in adaptation, but it requires a change in mindset and methods to be made possible.
Stay tuned, stay focused and most important: Stay Positive!
Photos from the polar vortex
Ap filmed himself on 5 December 2013
Nature will always be the stronger force. If there would have been more rain in the area when the latest storm tore through last Thursday, many may have experienced flooding at their doorsteps, even with barriers that have protected us from the water on the other side of the dikes for more than 50 years.
It’s in our survival DNA to preserve life – but relying on standard systems that have “worked so far” can have disastrous consequences. Approaches need to be as dynamic as humanly possible (and a bit beyond) to help man coexist with a more powerful nature. This is of course on a global scale: droughts are more severe and longer lasting, and super storm Haiyan made it clear that the climate slot machine is changing – and not necessarily in man’s favor. The house always wins?
So let’s just hit the pause button to allow time to find solutions that will better enable generations to come. But wait, that’s not an option. In fact, extreme weather events are becoming stronger and more frequent.
It’s right now that SunGlacier is working to create a functioning work of art aimed at inspiring a unified push for more innovative designs on adaptation. It takes a change of mindset. It takes human effort. And it takes money.
SunGlacier has had an explosion of international press coverage lately (see a few article links below), and our team has been meeting with potential financial partners to discuss carrying this unique approach forward, but more support is needed. Like-minded parties are invited to join us in what promises to be a globally intriguing art project that hopes to make people stop and say “Look at that; we can and should do more.” But more what? That is exactly the point of our exploration: to inspire discovery of the what and the how.
Find out more about becoming a part of the SunGlacier innovation. Contact Ap Verheggen at firstname.lastname@example.org
Recent media coverage – selected links:
The Weather Channel
TV program in Bulgaria
Developments in technology are ever increasing in speed. What appears impossible at the present can quickly become a reality within a number of months or a few short years. However, I believe that we can expand the benefits of technology when we accelerate current thinking on how to use potential applications in the future. An art project like the Cascades can inspire people and science to look beyond known horizons and become a type of generator for new possibilities. Consider science-fiction films from the 1970s; many Star Wars era dreams are becoming everyday tools in one form or another.
An earlier post looked at the extreme tornadoes last May in Oklahoma, and how more storm shelters in homes, schools and businesses could save lives in this area. There’s now such an initiative from parents there who lost their children. Their goal is to ensure that storm shelters are installed in every school in the state.
Adaptation has throughout history required a departure from common notions and routines. If governments are not providing adequate protection in some areas, it’s up to us to find ways to take care of ourselves. Creative thought can lead to solutions that hold promise of being effective, but people will have to adjust their mindset. Infrastructure and technology that may have offered protection for years might not be the most effective choice moving forward.
So it is up to all of us to continue a positive push to benefit our future lives. Innovation is often considered unusual – at least until the masses embrace positive results from those who dared to try a different approach.
|Moore, Oklahoma. (Jason Colston/American Red Cross)|
It’s clear that conditions are changing, but are we actually experiencing more destructive weather? Or is it just that denser populations over larger areas make bigger targets for extreme weather that is reported more frequently by the media? Spring tornadoes in the U.S. Plains states are not a new phenomenon, but storm chaser videos bring the twisters online and into our living rooms.
Scientists don’t all agree on what’s happening or why. SunGlacier’s purpose is not about answering fundamental questions of why the weather spins the way it does – or who’s to blame. The project is about inspiring belief in out-of-the-ordinary solutions that can help people adapt, survive and prosper.
(UPDATE: Another massive tornado hit a suburb west of Oklahoma City just hours after this blog was posted, killing 18, including three storm chasers. The F5 twister was the widest tornado ever recorded at 4.2 km, or 2.6 miles, across.)
|Moore, Oklahoma. (Jason Colston/American Red Cross)|
Science is of course not close to being able to prevent tornadoes, hurricanes and droughts. We can, however, take steps in adapting to conditions, while still investing in long-term solutions that at least contain hope of keeping current conditions form getting worse. Phillip Muller wrote, “The Republic of the Marshall Islands is accelerating its transition to low-carbon development, using solar power and exploring promising ocean-energy technologies. But our efforts will put only a tiny dent in this problem.”