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What’s Up with Electric Cars?

Positive Future #7 (Feature photo – Positive Future Info Graphic) The condition of the atmosphere in terms of toxins and volatility is really everyone’s problem. The meteoric rise of plug-in-car sales is to everyone’s benefit. The rapid rise of solar energy is only matched by the rapid rise in car sales that are either fully electric or have some battery range. The graph above illustrates the global sales volume of plug-in cars for the month of September for the last four years. Estimates for 2017 (full year) global plug-in sales are in excess of 1 million cars (maybe 1.1 million). Global plug-in sales through September 2017 stand at 775,370 units.…

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What’s Coming after Fossil Fuels?

Positive Future #6 (Feature photo – Concentrated Solar Facility – by BLM) The debates go on about how fossil fuels will continue to dominate for decades into the future. However, the realm of solar power – that includes CSP facilities – is a stunning leap into the future. CSP stands for concentrated solar power. Mirrors reflect sunlight onto a central point which heats water to create steam to run turbines that create electricity. While much of the turbine technology is presently driven by coal and natural gas, don’t let that fool you. Recently being completed in Morocco is the Quarzazate facility – capable of producing 580 megawatts of power (enough…

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Futuristically Beautiful

Positive Future #5 (Feature photo – Floodgates on Dutch Dikes – by Rens Jacobs, copyright free) Albert Einstein once said “If it isn’t beautiful, I don’t want anything to do with it, even in mathematics.” Recently the nation of the Netherlands retrofitted an upgraded some of their famous dikes. In the process, 60 historic 1932 floodgates were retrofitted with artistic reflectors, creating a world of wonder when car lights hit the towers when driving through at night. The architects said they tried to recreate how butterfly wings reflect light. In addition to the grand reflectors, special kites tied to luminescent cable connected to the ground fly at night. The kites fly…

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Forget Free Trade – Just Buy Food Producing Assets

Touch the Soil News #867 (Feature photo – Holstein Dairy Cow – USDA public domain) Our economic system is complicated. First, working people and businesses must translate their efforts into dollars. Then in the intense competition over dollars, many get externalized. To top it off, speculators play all kinds of tricks when it comes to the price of food. Is free trade – within the present economic paradigm – really that smart? The world’s largest nation – China – doesn’t think it completely is. That is why their economic goals are often not focused on free trade, but ownership of food producing assets. Recently, the largest and oldest dairy in…

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Getting Back on Track

Touch the Soil News #866 (Feature photo – Seoul University Student Press Building – photo public domain) Seoul National University (SNU) realizes the natural world is important for development and well-being. Seoul (South Korea) is the center of a metropolitan area of almost 26 million people. SNU has realized that rooftops can begin to serve as an answer to so much of the natural world that has been extinguished. SNU’s foray into a rooftop urban farm solves many things – rainwater storage, heat absorption, food production, save the bees, social gatherings and communications between people. In 2015, Thomson-Reuters ranked Seoul National University as the 31st most innovative institution in the…

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Fossil Fuels – Is the Writing on the Wall?

Positive Future #4 (Feature photo – Norges Bank – photo in the public domain) What is your take on fossil fuels? We know that it’s permeation into our culture is extensive, particularly in agriculture and the food chain. However, are fossil fuels headed towards extinction? One way to figure out what is happening is to follow the money trail – that is the number of investment funds exiting fossil fuel stocks and bonds. Investments funds controlling some $5.5 trillion in investments have either divested or are in the process of divesting their portfolios of fossil fuel investments. That number is about to grow by another $ 1 trillion as Norges…

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Seedling Farm – Quiet Social Revolution

Touch the Soil News #865 (Feature photo – CCA SA 3.0 Unported) The South Dallas area of Dallas, Texas is known for its poverty and lack of access to healthy food. It is considered one of the largest food deserts in the U.S. Folks in the South Dallas area are trying to lift themselves up by the bootstraps through an urban farming initiative. Called the Seedling Farm, here is how it works: Meet with a seedling farm manager to discuss your situation and resources. Select the best types of plants for your project. The selected seeds will be started at the seedling farm until they are ready to replant. You…

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The Robots Are Coming

Touch the Soil News #864 (Feature photo – 1932 Robot – Bundesarchive, Bild 102-13018 / CC-BY-SA 3.0) While robotics has definite applications in our world, it is a mixed economic bag. The basic economic message for people is that you MUST translate your labor into dollars first and then (and only then) do you have purchasing power to sustain yourself. There has been no study done to prove that the employees needed to build robots are equal to the number of employees who lose jobs to robots. Those studies may well become the focal point of political issues in the near future. Until then, investors with an interest to eliminate…

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Time to Get a Different Job?

Positive Future #3 (Feature photo – CCA 2.0 Generic) One of the most powerful undercurrents in a powerfully positive world is the growth in solar related jobs. The direction of sustainable energy will help redefine the direction of sustainable agriculture. If nothing else, it will allow northern climes and urban settings to start establishing their own food security. Last year, the solar industry added 51,000 new jobs, bringing solar employment to more than 260,000. The U.S. government now says that the solar installer will be the fastest-growing job in America over the next decade. Projections are that solar photovoltaic installer jobs will grow over 100 percent in the next ten…

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Bee One Third

Touch the Soil News #863 (Feature photo – Jack Stone with Bees – photo courtesy of Bee One Third) Brisbane is a large city down under in Australia – some 2.4 million people. But that does not mean it stifles creative change. Meet Jack Stone, sole owner and operator of Bee One Third. Over the past five years, Jack and a friend (Kat Skull) have built and installed 150 bee hives around the city. Overseeing the bee operations has now become a full time job for Jack. Bee One Third is an urban and regional beekeeping organization working to increase local bee populations and providing local honey. Jack recently came…

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