Some great ideas are astonishingly simple

I noticed this morning that I have 45 ‘followers’ on this site.  This is astonishing to me.  This site is intended to go into some detail on issues and technology.  It provides easy access to more in depth analysis than is possible in blogs, in print or even on Twitter.  I have a complimentary page on Facebook that is very new, more topical and more accessible for people without necessarily much background.  Like the page to get Facebook updates on your timeline.   By all means comment and criticize.

It is about feeding into the global network and helping to create a new dynamic for development and the environment.

Ecomodernism is a ‘neologism’ – and not one that is novel. It is mostly used for pants, toasters etc for designs that have have an element of the eco-friendy with a trendy design. I do, however, embrace the intent.

“We offer this statement in the belief that both human prosperity and an ecologically vibrant planet are not only possible, but also inseparable. By committing to the real processes, already underway, that have begun to decouple human well-being from environmental destruction, we believe that such a future might be achieved. As such, we embrace an optimistic view toward human capacities and the future.”

I have offered Iriai as an alternative term – a Japanese word meaning to enter into the common use of resources.

It leads to the three elements of the Iriai.

1. Social and economic

At the core is peaceful and productive civil societies. The most peaceful societies evolve in stable democracies by and large. Economic freedoms and property rights drive the most productive economies.

2. Design of social institutions for managing land, water, air, fisheries, forests etc in the 21st century.

I’m not sure anyone understands this but Elinor Ostrom came pretty close.

3. Effective use of a wide range of technologies to achieve defined ends.

This is the easy and fun bit.…/…/28/a-classic-liberal-utopia/

Some of the best ideas are astonishingly simple and cheap. Some cardboard, black paint, aluminium foil and clear plastic gives 3 billion people an alternative to burning wood and dung in open fires. Smoke contains black carbon particles that kill 1 in 13 people.

This one uses 50% less firewood with efficient combustion, emits 90% less particulates and charges phones.


Regardless of net climate forcing or other environmental and economic downsides, all black carbon mitigation options bring health benefits through reduced particulate matter exposure.

‘The best estimate of industrial-era climate forcing of black carbon through all forcing mechanisms, including clouds and cryosphere forcing, is +1.1 W/m 2 with 90% uncertainty bounds of +0.17 to +2.1 W/m 2. Thus, there is a very high probability that black carbon emissions, independent of co-emitted species, have a positive forcing and warm the climate. We estimate that black carbon, with a total climate forcing of +1.1 W/m 2, is the second most important human emission in terms of its climate forcing in the present-day atmosphere; only carbon dioxide is estimated to have a greater forcing…’ Bond, T. C. et al, 2013, Bounding the role of black carbon in the climate system: A scientific assessment, JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH: ATMOSPHERES, VOL. 118, 5380–5552, doi:10.1002/jgrd.50171

And if you think that addressing climate change is urgent – reducing black carbon emission is the single best way to do that.

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2 Responses to Some great ideas are astonishingly simple

  1. Hans Erren says:

    These people don’t have to cook in the wet season?

    • It only works if it works for people – and the testimonials say that it works. It is far from a complete solution – but one cheap and simple way of making life a bit easier and a bit healthier for 3 billion people. .

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