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For the love of the motor car: For the love of the planet! Solar Cars needed Now!

Developing solar cars by Ford.
Chinese Solar car.

image image image imageSaying goodbye to an old and faithful friend was hard but the decision had been in the making as the expense of owning, insuring and maintaining 3 old motor cars did not add up. Living in the countryside we are dependent on a car working so that we can get into the nearby market town of Aracena. With work on the house more or less our job at present we also have to go into the builders merchants and other DIY stores for this and that. It is true that we could get most provisions from the village and we have at times done that. It is a one kilometre walk and would need to be done early in the morning in the heat we are having now. The last few days the car had been cleared and was probably feeling more looked after than ever with no general clutter. However it was given a couple of final jobs to do. One was clearing all the metal fencing and rusty barrels from my Huerta. For this we packed the car with as much of the fencing and metal scaps as we could and drove off to find the escombrera or dump. We had been told that it was up the road from the supermarket about a kilometre. We were then lucky to see the sign but then found ourselves on a long, dusty and rutted track. We were relieved when we saw a small lorry coming down and also that it was Manolo of the builders we had had last year, Garcia Romero de Oso. We spoke with him and he looked at the back of our car and said it was a bit further on but wait as there was a big lorry coming. And indeed one did. Am not sure what all the builders make of us as we try to do so much ourself. And when will we finally finish. Similar to when we finally bought the house maybe there will be smoke signals over Aracena. We carried on along this dusty track,mast some real farming of animals with major sheds and at one point a beautiful view down the valley towards Aracena and a view of the castle. The old car valiantly made its way along until we found the top of a hill with lots of rubble. This was no recycling dump known to me, but this was where landfill really happens. We looked around but could not find any area for metals. There was some rubble with metal piled up so we ended up leaving it there. Still no one in sight. The car bravely returned along the bumpy track with its engine getting a little hot in the 30 degrees heat. But not quite its last On Friday morning with the car all clear we headed for the Desguace. The car was finally going ‘bajo’ or under. It seems to the Underworld rather than the high heavens for cars. I drove the other car.  As we drove in I had expected to see compacted bricks of metal cars but instead there was a large parking area and office for parts and beyond a high fence and gates, the old cars were on trailers, stacked up almost 10 by 10. Is this what it is like in limbo and without limbs. All the cars were tyreless, and a little torn apart, probably even more with their vital organs taken first. The reception area was staffed by a pretty spanish lady amid a majority of mechanico men. She had to send out an intercom message to the man responsible as she was not sure about our forms. At this point we wondered if the car had been saved but no its demise was near. With a bit more discussion and stamping it was all agreed; a paltry 50 euros, but we were not keen to bargain, and we kept the battery, we departed in one old green car, leaving our old white one to its recycled fate. Have tried to capture the information about how much of each car is recycled by the desguace branch of Melli. Big car dealers in the town. For the love of the motor car we had a wake in Aracena with tinto verano and cerveza sin  and I researched the Internet on how much progress was being made with solar cars. Cars the sacred cow of the West and now the East. But it seems China has started to produce solar charging cars. And about time too. From Naomi Klein’s research for her book it seems to me now that the western world is hanging on to fossil fuels when it is no longer necessary. She reports how companies like Shell have divested from renewable research and development and as we all know headed out to get more oil from the Arctic. Have the Chinese regained an ancient wisdom through suffering Dickensian pollution from dear old carbon? I think I could afford one of their solar cars. It would be ideal for our life here in the country and not keep costing the Earth. It is also much needed in rural economies like ours that seem so dependent now on the motor car. Without vehicles the economy of this region would grind to a halt. The building vans, trucks, delivery vehicles, market town services, pharmacies, tourism, car repair garages and sales; so much now depending on the combustion engine and not the donkey cart. In the past many people here lived a very poor life: Subsisting off the land and with a lot of inequality. Now in Spain there is still the effects of the crisis and youth unemployment and a lot of campaigning against the Austerity economics and policies in place. How will ordinary folk be affected if the power needed to drive the economies we know isn’t replaced with renewables? How long can we all afford to live off fossil fuels ? And if we do how much infrastructure breakdown will happen because of climate extremes and disasters? How will the Spanish pueblo survive? Can we put into action NOW all that we can do to keep our planet a safe place for all creatures. For the love of the planet let’s move on from the motor car.  Roll on Solar and maybe save a little fossil fuel for the classic cars to have a summer outing. ( Coming in another post : the classic cars and motorbike of the Sierra Aracena Classic car society )

The Wedding Gift

Life Is Full of Sweet Spots


Of all the gifts you might desire,

I offer one—a wish that speaks of wonder,

bids you rest by the side of the wandering river,

watch it idle through meadows and fields, be soothed

by the opus of crickets and frogs, caressed with the velvet

dust of flight song, and feel earth’s soul.

Together, may you suckle the honey of pure wild fragrance,

lay your head on a pillow of russet leaves. Drawn by the truth

of the sun and dreams of the moon, the peace and beauty

of nature will be yours and you will reap a life simple

and magnificent forever, imprinted with love.

This is all I choose for you.

Dreams of a Wingless Child, Mary O’Connor © 2007; photo © 2013 Mary O’Connor

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Welcome Spring! Lights out March 28

So much interest in the solar eclipse today. Let’s do the planet some good with lights out on March 28th. And get the media to cover it as they are doing today!

Green News Update

Big Blue Marble - our only home Big Blue Marble – our only home

Welcome Spring! Earth Hour is coming March 28, 8:30-9:30 p.m. local time. Ask your city or town to turn out the lights. And at home or at work,  take one hour starting at 8:30 p.m.  – or more –  on the 28th toturn out your lights, turn off your power strips and all those dandy electronic gadgets. Get the details and watch a powerful video  with young people, celebrities and officials from around the world. Take a pledge on the Earth Hour web site

High Line at Night, Courtesy Parks Department, NY City Government High Line at Night, Courtesy Parks Department, NY City Government. Will they turn off the lights ?

Timex watch.OR, take the Timex Indiglo pledge and share it.  For every shared pledge, Timex will donate $1 toEarth Hour 

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Anthropocene Apocalypse – Conservation starts at home! It is not just elephants, rhinos and chimps who are being butchered!

Following my thoughts on Ecocide. We can all do our bit! Thanks Opher!

Opher's World

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There is a world-wide massive decline in all types of animals and plants. As man’s numbers explode the natural environment is being decimated. The loss of habitat, bush-meat, deforestation, road-kill, pollution and pesticides has taken its toll globally.

There is also a decline in our own wild-life. Birds that used to be common are becoming scarce. Animals that used to be a regular sight are not becoming extinct. The hedge-hog, barn owl, hare, slow-worm and dormouse are just a small number of those at risk.

Insects and other invertebrates have declined by a staggering 56%. These are the food for many of our birds and mammals.

They too are subject to the same problems as the larger animals abroad.

  • All too often the first instinct of anyone finding an insect, snake or rodent is to kill it.
  • Hedges, trees and areas of natural vegetation are being scrubbed up for industrial farming…

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First bird shots with lumix bridge camera

A kind of Egret in the almond orchards with Bermuda buttercups
A kind of Egret in the almond orchards with Bermuda buttercups

My hat goes off to all those bird photographers out there. I am often amazed by the clarity and closeness of the images. I will persevere but spotting these rather large birds and then zooming in on them wasn’t easy.

Along the shore of the Ria Formosa in the Algarve at this time of year is a wader’s paradise. Of course some of them like the meadows nearby and on one of our walks we heard a lot of croaking. So the frogs are busy along with the bees in the almond blossom.

we have been without our binoculars so the camera helped with some identification and we think we have seen the following : turnstones, dunlin or knot, ringed plover and grey plover, curlew and cormorant, and maybe some green shanks.

Egret on the shore at Cabanas de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal.
Egret on the shore at Cabanas de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal.