Innovation, Communication, Energy, and the Planet from a different perspective

This is song is a contribution by Rebecca Dawn, a wonderful young woman who worked with me on a number of research projects. She is about to defend her Master thesis and become a music sensation.

The idea of a rap on energy, efficiency and how to communicate the need for change in a different way came about from my discussions with colleagues at the World Bank and the InterAmerican Development Bank. The challenge they are facing in working with many countries in the Americas is the disconnect between policy and implementation. You might have the best regulatory and legal framework in place, but if the politics are disconnected and the message never gets to the people, there is no buy in and it simply doesn’t happen. How do you bridge this divide?

The way I figure, it has got to be fun. Work with music, telenovelas, soccer, and dance, and let the youth take over the message.  I turned to Timmy, who is an emerging artist and asked her to write a number for this blog — after she delivered her thesis to her supervisor! Here is the product of her efforts, done while she waited for comments and the request for revisions on her thesis… which are sure to come.


3 Responses to Innovation, Communication, Energy, and the Planet from a different perspective

  1. waterfriend says:

    GLOBAL WARMING IS A MYTH- circulate among friends.

    Such terms as carbon credit find a place in newspapers almost daily. I don’t know what is all this about. To me CO2 sustains life on earth. Has the level of CO2 in the atmosphere gone up? Has it been proved experimentally?
    Before Industrialization
    The whole of America and most of the old world were inhabited by a comparatively small population, a majority of whom depended upon meat and fish. Farming depended entirely on rain water as big dams were unknown. The grasslands of America and Australia didn’t produce food grains. Coal and other fossil fuels were not commercially exploited. In those days we may presume that a proper balance existed between CO2 and other ingredients of the air like N2 and O2 in spite of forest fires, the like of which we witnessed in California recently.

    After Industrialization
    Commercial exploitation of coal began first followed by oil and natural gas, resulting in increase in the level of CO2 in the atmosphere. Simultaneously two other developments followed: increase in population (both human and animal) and corresponding growth in food grains production. Big dams were constructed and more and more areas of land were brought under cultivation. Mechanization and the use of artificial fertilizers made leaps and bounds in production of food grains, fruits and other commercial crops. The Prairies of North America became the granary of the world. Compared to grass, food grains and sugar fix a large quantity of CO2. The major items responsible for such CO2 fixation are:

    food grains like wheat, corn, rice, oats, soybean etc
    underground vegetables like potato, tapioca, beetroot etc
    fruits like apple, grapes, banana, dates, cherry, pineapple etc
    sugarcane etc

    Experts can calculate the total quantity of CO2 produced by industry and that absorbed by vegetation as mentioned above and the marine vegetation in order to find out whether the net balance is favoring CO2 concentration in the air. An easier way would be to experimentally ascertain the percentage of CO2 in the atmospheric air (being heavier than air CO2 is available near the surface of the earth). If CO2 level increases O2 level should decrease. In my childhood (I am 70+) O2 level was 20% as mentioned in my text book. Has it changed? An atom of carbon combines with two atoms of oxygen to form CO2 which is absorbed by the leaves of the plant to form starch. In the process two atoms of oxygen are released into the atmosphere. We may say that each carbon atom burnt ultimately results in the release of two atoms of oxygen, thus resulting in increase in the level of O2. Level of CO2 dissolved in the ocean water should also be checked. If this level increases, fishes would die en mass. Has this happened? If the level of CO2 dissolved in ocean waters decreases, plant life in the ocean cannot produce enough starch by photosynthesis. This will be a hazard for fishes and other marine life.

    The volume of animal and hence plant life in the oceans is much more than that on the continents. This is because the area of the oceans is seven times the area of the continents. Also, the oceans are deep. Hence the volume of water is very much more and can contain a large population of marine life. The necessary starch has to come from plant life. So, the total bio mass in the oceans is considerably higher than that in the continent. The carbon di oxideàPlant starchàAnimalsàCarbon di oxide cycle is there in the watery medium, just as in our atmosphere. All the gases, including nitrogen, will be present in dissolved state in the oceans too. Here industrialization has not affected the ‘atmosphere’ of the ocean. This fact has to be recognized in any discussion on Global Warming.

    [The percentage of various components of atmospheric air as obtained from the websites is given below:

    Nitrogen 78.1
    Oxygen 20.9
    Argon 0.9
    Neon 0.002
    Helium 0.0005
    Krypton 0.0001
    Hydrogen 0.00005
    Carbon di oxide 0.035!!!!!!!! (Poor, innocent CO2 has been maligned unnecessarily)
    Methane 0.0002
    Ozone 0.000004

    This would suggest that the percentage of oxygen has slightly increased. If this is true it augers ill, as forest fires may become uncontrollable with increase in the level of oxygen in the coming years. Therefore, this line should be investigated separately by experts. My guess is that with unchecked use of nitrogenous fertilizers, the total bio mass in the earth could have increased. The requisite extra nitrogen must have been drawn from the atmosphere along with CO2 releasing extra oxygen into the atmosphere as pointed out above.]

    The importance of proper scientific study cannot be over emphasized. Mother Nature maintains her balance, whatever her children may do!
    The density of water at zero degrees centigrade is 0.9999 grams per cm. The density of ice at zero degree centigrade is 0.9150. In other words, 1 cc of ice weights only 0.91 gm and hence will displace only 0.915cc of water, when the ice is floating in water. When the ice float, almost the whole of body sinks below the surface of water, expect a small portion projecting above the surface. In the North Pole area, there is no land. The crust of the earth forms a huge bowl filled with seawater and a huge mass of ice floating in it just like an ice cube placed in a bowl of water. The volume of ice submerged below the ice may be almost 9 times more than the icecap which we observe above the surface of water. The molecules covering the underwater portion of the icecap absorb heat from the sea water in which it floats and melt into water. This is a continuous process happening round the clock, allover the year, irrespective of summer or winter. As I have explained in my booklet, the necessary energy is supplied by the earth itself. The role of the Sun which shines only for a limited period is too insignificant to have any impact on this process. As the density of water is more than that of ice, the volume of water generated by the melting of ice is less than that of water originally occupied by the ice block in the ratio 9999:9150. Therefore the sea level will actually come down because of the melting process. In practice, this may not happen because of the continuous deposition of snow in the polar region which will continuously push down the ice cap.
    A lot has been talked about the rising of sea level because of Global warming. This is a misconception. In some places, the sea level goes up and in other places, it recedes. This phenomenon has been extensively discussed in Milner’s geography.
    My contention can be tested by a simple experiment. Place ice cubes in a tumbler and fill it with water until the water overflows. Leave it until all the ice melts. Watch for any overflow of water during this process.

  2. Nikki says:

    Rebecca Dawn, you are a breath of fresh air! The world thanks you for sharing your wisdom through your rhymes. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You are amazing!!!

  3. Alejandro says:


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