een wereldwijd elektriciteitsnet een oplossing voor veel problemen  GENI es una institución de investigación y educación-enfocada en la interconexión de rejillas de electricidad entre naciones.  ??????. ????????????????????????????????????  nous proposons la construction d’un réseau électrique reliant pays et continents basé sur les ressources renouvelables  Unser Planet ist mit einem enormen Potential an erneuerbaren Energiequellen - Da es heutzutage m` glich ist, Strom wirtschaftlich , können diese regenerativen Energiequellen einige der konventionellen betriebenen Kraftwerke ersetzen.  한국어/Korean  utilizando transmissores de alta potência em áreas remotas, e mudar a força via linha de transmissões de alta-voltagem, podemos alcançar 7000 quilómetros, conectando nações e continentes    
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Asking the Right Question for Spaceship Earth

World leaders, probably with the best intentions, hold summit meeting after summit meeting to discuss environmental problems, but nothing seems to change. It is time to consider another approach — one that seeks a global cure for a global problem.

By Peter Meisen

Five years ago, the largest ever gathering of world leaders met in Rio de Janeiro for the Earth Summit. They pledged to take better care of our planet; reducing pollution, protecting biodiversity and saving rainforests. At the United Nations earlier this year, Rio+5 convened to assess our collective progress. In almost every category, any objective reporter would give us a failing grade. The headline nearly screamed, World leaders say Earth is sick, but fail to agree on a cure.

World population has grown by half a million people. Atmospheric pollution, especially greenhouse gases have climbed to all-time highs. The gap between rich and poor countries has widened. The onslaught against forest continues for their fuel and hardwoods. In addition, Secretary General Kofi Annan summarized the UN Development Program's annual report saying 100 nations are worse off today than 15 years ago, with 1.3 million people earning less than $1 per day.

Razali Ismail of Malaysia, President of the General Assembly, admonished the Rio+5 delegates saying We as a species — as a planet — are teetering on the edge, living unsustainably and perpetuating inequity, and may soon pass the point f no return.Environmental champion US Vice President Al Gore declared that we must roll up our sleeves and go to work. At the Denver Summit of the Eight, US President Clinton bragged about the robust US economy, but was chided one week later for his country's 5% increase in CO2 emissions.

Next month world leaders will convene again in Kyoto, Japan to set carbon emission targets and deadlines. Who are we trying to fool? Our leaders convene with good intentions, make terrific speeches and go home to business as usual. The ancient proverb states the condition best: Unless we change the direction we're going, we're likely to end up where we are headed.

Maybe we're asking the wrong initial questions! Of course it's natural to try and put out fires when you see them, but are we attacking the problems from their causes, or just putting Band-Aids on one problem after another?

I suggest a different approach — one that was developed 25 years ago by the genius inventor, architect and critical thinker, Dr. R. Buckminster Fuller. Bucky was called the Leonardo da Vinci of the 20th century, and posed the following global question: How do we make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological damage or disadvantage to anyone? Isn't that a better place to begin with?

A World Wide Web of Electricity

Designing the systems to meet the needs of all people, while protecting the environment for the long term is a superior engineering approach. From this global question emerged a premier strategy for peace and sustainable development. Simply stated, the strategy is to link electrically the renewable energy resources around the world. Or in today's vernacular, a world wide web of electricity, tapping renewable sources.

Unknown to most people, half of this energy network is already in place around the world. It is the freeway for electrons that delivers the energy to run our homes and businesses. Yet one-third of all humanity has no electricity for even the most basic needs: clean water, lighting, and refrigeration of food and medicines. Two billion people still burn wood and cow dung to meet daily energy requirements. The global climate problem is rooted in the fact that 80% of energy production comes from some nonrenewable energy source: gas, oil, coal or nuclear which produces increasing levels of pollution or toxic waste.

Interconnecting electrical systems east to west levels the daily energy power demand, and north-south linkages level seasonal variations. Our planet is blessed with enormous renewable potential from winds, hydro, solar, geothermal, tidal and biomass -- yet these are often located in neighboring countries, far from our cities and industry. With economic power transmission now reaching thousands of miles, these renewable energy sources can begin to replace some of the aging fossil and nuclear plants.

A Plan for the Distant Future?

Such a visionary plan may seem fated to future generations. However, the last ten years have seen international connections between the most unlikely neighbors: East and West Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Israel and Jordan from the Washington Declaration treaty, and just this year, cross-border grids are being built between Turkey and Iran, Argentina and Chile, even India and Pakistan. This international infrastructure development fosters trade, cooperation and peace.

Two decades ago, the United Nations and numerous experts corroborated this development strategy. At that time, Cold War politics stymied any real progress. Now the enemy has become pollution, over population and poverty. To put out these fires we've held the Earth Summit in Rio, the Population Summit in Cairo, the Social Summit in Copenhagen, the Women's Summit in Beijing and the Cities Summit in Istanbul. Yet the problems persist and grow every year.

Attacking these issues as separate problems ignores the nature of our interconnected society. Maybe it's time to ask the bigger question: how do we make it work for all humanity and the environment? The solutions are guaranteed to offer a better cure than the recent global prognosis.

About the Author

Peter Meisen is president of Global Energy Network International (GENI), a US-based nonprofit corporation conducting education and research into the interconnection of renewable energy resources around the world. This was proposed as the highest priority objective from the World Game of 20th century visionary, Dr. R Buckminster Fuller.


Updated: 2016/06/30

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