If you are old enough to remember a time when WWII movies were in theaters and on TV regularly, you’ll remember the famed ingenuity of the American GI. On the screen as in real life, GIs repaired or improvised seemingly anything and everything. The Jeep of the time was famous for its ability to be repaired or tinkered with, appropriate for a nation of tinkerers. Later, we had the (infamous) “Hillbilly Armor” improvised by soldiers in the Gulf. That spirit is alive and well all over the world in clever ways to reduce earth’s dependence on fossil fuels, saving time and money in the process.
The Mars, Inc. factory in Veghel, Netherlands, is the largest chocolate bar factory in the world. Its refrigerators produce a lot of heat, which the factory uses to heat water. The water then runs through a network of pipes, which keep the syrup warm and chocolate molten. The company saves energy costs and is now less dependent on fuel supplies from Russia. A similar process is at work in many small breweries in the US, UK, and Canada. Beer’s alcohol comes from fermentation, which releases CO2. A machine nicknamed “CiCi,” for carbon capture, funnels the CO2 from fermentation into pipes, where it is then filtered to 99% purity and turned into a liquid. This condensed gas is then used to carbonate the beer. The Alchemist Brewery in Stowe, Vt. has gone even farther. Its CiCi machine captures enough CO2 to completely replace the brewery’s need for commercially produced gas.
As the effects of climate change become more evident and costly, it is easy to become overwhelmed and despondent. However, we all have brains and skills,