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Costa Rica is now running completely on renewable energy


WOW! Thanks to some heavy rainfall this year, Costa Rica’s hydropower plants alone are generating nearly enough electricity to power the entire country.

Originally posted on Quartz:

Costa Rica is running without having to burn a single fossil fuel, and it’s been doing so for 75 straight days.

Thanks to some heavy rainfall this year, Costa Rica’s hydropower plants alone are generating nearly enough electricity to power the entire country. With a boost from geothermal, solar, and wind energy sources, the country doesn’t need an ounce of coal or petroleum to keep the lights on. Of course, the country has a lot of things going in its favor. Costa Rica is a small nation, has less than 5 million people, doesn’t have much of a manufacturing industry that would require a lot of energy, and is filled with volcanoes and other topographical features that lend themselves to renewable energy.

Nonetheless, it is both a noble and significant feat for a nation of any size to eschew fossil fuels completely.

Costa Rica is not the only place in the area committed…

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Wanted: Systems Changers


The good news is that systemic change happens all the time. So, there must be a way… :-)

Originally posted on Mind the Post:


From climate change to poverty to healthcare, the large, complex social, environmental economic and political problems we face today are too big for any one organisation to tackle alone. A widespread perception that many of the systems that underpin modern life need radical overhaul is spurring interest in ‘systems innovation’.

Systems or Systemic innovation(1) isn’t amenable to simple recipes or toolkits. What makes systemic innovation possible? What prompts it to happen?

  • In some cases a technology may prompt change – the emergence of mobile phone technologies; electricity; fuel cells.
  • In some cases a crisis disrupts (or delegitimises) the existing structures and systemic change happens. War is the extreme example which has sometimes been a particularly powerful accelerator of systemic change.
  • In some cases a new idea may be so powerfully compelling that systems change around it.

The bad news is that even on a small scale, systemic innovation is much…

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Permaculture and Art- Innovation linking art to nature


Permaculture is a philosophy of working with nature rather than against it and to develop architecture and self-sustained agriculture and ecosystems.

Originally posted on INNOVATION FORUM:

Permaculture and Art- Innovation linking art to nature 1

Corporate houses these days use a fancy phrase to motivate their stakeholders. This phrase also links them to their social responsibility, ethics, nature and to the universe. Almost all companies, groups, politicians and influential persons use this term. This simple phrase, popularised during the current decade, is GO GREEN. A rat race has ensued between various corporate segments, NGOs and groups of influential people to remain ahead in Go Green campaign.  Some do it for branding, some for taxation benefits, few others for carbon credits, some as a marketing tool while others do it as a selfless cause to help the needy and to reverse the ecological degradation over the years. One such effort in this mission is Permaculture which serves multiple purposes by reviving nature and increasing vegetation cover especially in urban centres. ‘Go Green’ is a symbolic phrase which is now used for anything which spreads positivity and…

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The Rise of Solar Gardens

Originally posted on Deeper Green Blog:

At this point, it’s impossible for even the most ardent old school energy guys to hide from the bright sunny truth that solar energy is blazing a new path in the U.S.  It’s easy to choose from a multitude of statistics that support this point. For example, as of the third quarter of last year, solar had made up more than 1/3rd of all new generating capacity built in the country. That would have been unimaginable just a few short years back. Here’s another – 6,500 MW of solar was expected online for 2014, a 36% growth over the previous year.  And one more – the industry is 3x as big as it was just three years ago and growth is only expected to accelerate.

Solar’s growth has been fueled by on-site installations on commercial, government and residential properties as well as utility scale projects. These two drivers will…

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Get Started

Originally posted on D.I.C.E:


Our latest conference here at the Helix was Get Started. A line up of entrepreneurs explained some of the aspects and their own personal experience of starting up a new business inspiring many including myself to hopefully do the same one day.

Niamh Bushell – Dublin Commissioner for Start Ups

Niamh spoke about her experience starting her own company in the United States and herNiamh-Bushnell-150x100 work as the first Dublin Commissioner for Start-ups. Niamh cofounded her first company Pan Research in 1996 with her brother in Dublin. She later became a mentor to entrepreneurs with Enterprise Ireland where she consulted and advised entrepreneurs on their businesses. Some of the key tips she gave us was to focus on the mission statement of the business, that scale and the ability to sell were key and to stop solely focusing on the functionality of your product. However, this is easier said than done as Niamh…

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An inspiring way to learn English? By watching TED Talks

Originally posted on TED Blog:

We’ve partnered with National Geographic Learning and Cengage Learning to roll out three English-language curriculums, each digging into TED Talks. Photo: Sacha Vega/TED We’ve partnered with National Geographic Learning and Cengage Learning to roll out three English-language curriculums, each digging into TED Talks. Photo: Sacha Vega/TED

“The world has a new mania — a mania for learning English,” said Jay Walker on the TED stage in 2009.

English is accepted as a shared language of science, a language of global business and the language of the Internet, with at least 1.5 billion students learning it worldwide. So the TED Distribution team wondered: What if students could learn English through TED Talks?

To test this theory, we’ve partnered with National Geographic Learning and Cengage Learning to roll out three English-language curriculums, each grounded in the ideas of TED speakers. The first in the series: World English, a four-level survey course that teaches basic reading, listening, speaking and writing skills. For those a little more advanced: 21st-Century Reading, which is designed…

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Custodians of living history

Originally posted on National Trust Press Office:

The Woodland Trust’s Ancient Tree Specialist, Jill Butler, writes about her favourite National Trust trees and the threats facing the UK’s historic trees.

“As a tree archaeologist, I don’t find it very surprising that the National Trust for England, Wales and Northern Ireland is one of the major custodians of ancient and other veteran trees.

The ancient Ankerwycke Yew at Runnymede in Surrey. Credit John Miller The ancient Ankerwycke Yew at Runnymede in Surrey. Credit John Miller

“One of the most special on my list would be the Ankerwycke Yew at Runnymede in Surrey. It is thought to be the location where King John, almost 800 years to the day, sealed the Magna Carta. Yews, which can live such long lives, were often used to distinguish burial or religious sites or venues for special occasions.

“The National Trust’s Ankerwycke Yew, Shugborough Yew and Newton’s Apple Tree were, quite rightly, shortlisted in this year’s Tree of the Year competition for England run by the…

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