Green alternatives such as wind and solar may be touted as the solution to our environmental problems such as climate change, but how green are they really?
Wind and solar rely on technologically-sophisticated industries and infrastructure including rare earth batteries, highly-processed composite building materials, computer controlled switching and balancing programs and continuous maintenance.
There are natural alternatives to such technologies that are arguably “greener”. So, why aren’t we looking to make our technologies truly green?
Wind, solar … wood
Fire is probably the greatest discovery of humankind, if not the discovery that set us on the path to becoming civilised and social.
Wood still fuels the energy needs of millions in Africa, China and India. Perhaps surprisingly, it also fuels the energy needs of many thousands in Europe, Canada, the US and even Australia. Why do we in the developed word seem to have forgotten its power?
Wood fuel has numerous advantages over wind or solar. Wood can be grown right where it is needed – even along the boundaries of residential properties, around commercial enterprises or even in urban and peri-urban parks.
While it is growing, trees look good and provide a temporary home for birds and other wildlife – certainly not something that can be said for every wind farm.