Happy Earth Day!
By bnitz on Apr 21, 2009
We just returned from 9 days in Spain. We traveled from Madrid to southern Andalusia without noticing coal power plants, white skies or other environmental ugliness you'd see in many other parts of the world. We did see lots of wind turbines including one huge wind turbine blade on a semi-truck ready to be installed somewhere.
We saw many solar farms. It was really obvious that Spain is a leader in alternative energy technology. Spain already produces more than 16 Gigawatts of wind power and about 1/3rd of its electricity comes from renewable energy sources.
We stayed at cortijoloslobos, a horse farm in a beautiful unspoiled part of Andalusia. The white roof, thick walls and other design features help keep the place cool in the summer. The owners took it upon themselves to care for and try to find homes for animals left homeless during this recession.
We saw Olive groves and other farms, well suited to the dry Mediterranean climate. We drove a Citroen diesel minivan which sipped little more than 1 tank of fuel in the several hundred mile journey from Madrid to Andalucia and back. Why don't Ford and G.M. release their small diesel engine powered cars in the U.S.? We saw more of the moorish architecture with deep set (often star shaped) ceiling windows. When my wife saw these in Istanbul, she noticed that they were very similar to the Solatube we had installed in our Wisconsin kitchen in the late 1990s, allowing in light without heat.Stars I hadn't seen since my childhood in the southwestern U.S. desert suddenly reappeared in the dark Andalusian night, reminding me that they've always been there just above the smog, clouds and light pollution. Happy earth day! Yes, it is possible to enjoy the best of this earth and still leave something for the grandchildren.