Blueprint for a better Planet — Part I

Before we start… The proposals in this series of blueprints are not for people who prefer instant coffee or 2 min noodles… this blueprint aims to fix the damage we have been doing to our environment / atmosphere for more than 200 years and it’s gonna take us a minimum of 30 years to start recovering from that damage, IF WE START ACTING SOON

Let’s get started…

It happened a long time ago, when I was a kid and I was not still exposed to all the “mean and don’t give a damn to anything/anyone around me” kinda society we have today. I was a kid, probably about 7 or 8 years old, I had a loving family my mom, dad, grand mom, lovely little sister who was just 3-4 years old I adored her and my late grand father(mum’s dad) who still is the closest to me in my heart and the picture of us together is always in my head when I think about him even though he died when I was just about 5. I was also in a really great school where the teachers are loving and caring and had wonderful friends. All I knew was only love and happiness and un-corrupt. I walk to school everyday, one day I saw a really old man on the way to schoool looking to find something to eat in a garbage tub on the street. I was shocked, I felt really bad for him and I told myself someday when I become rich I will build a home for all these old men/women and feed them. How naive!

When I started writing this and think about my plans it reminded me of a dialogue of Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight. He says…

Look, whoever the Batman is, he’s looking for someone to take his place. He doesn’t want to do (or can’t do) it forever.

So similarly at some point I will have to pass the mantle to someone else and there is no certainty that they will have the same vision/passion of doing it and also the impact is on a small scale which can be considered virtually to doing nothing. We need large scale plans and long term visions. The solution has to be long-term and should involve larger organisation structures like a government or something as huge as a government(I will explain what it is, in the last part of this series). This blueprint will help India as I know this country to an extent and traveled to quite a few places, you can customize a thing or two and make it work for your country as well. Let’s get cracking…

What are the basic needs of today’s and the near future generation.

Basic Needs

  1. Food
  2. Shelter
  3. Education
  4. Employment
  5. Self Defense Training (I will tell you why in a separate article)
  6. Electricity

So! There are two things that are very important more than anything else today and in the near future and something that we are paying the most for…

Food and Electricity…

We will come to the food challenge later in the article as it is far more complex and involves multi-layered approach. Let’s start with the electricity challenges we face today which are relatively simpler to solve.

According to this data source, in 2014 76% of electricity generated around the world uses fossil fuel sources like coal, natural gas, petroleum and nuclear energy. 24% percentage is generated through renewable energy sources like HydroElectricity, Solar Power, Wind Mills, etc. In about 2 years there was not much change in the percentage. The problem with fossil fuels/nuclear energy sources is, we will eventually run out of them one day and also they do a lot of damage to the atmosphere, the quality of air we breathe day in and out etc.

The two best alternatives to fossil fuel sources are Solar Power and Hydro Electricity(Wind mills are not as effective). Solar and Hydro have 2 key advantage over fossil fuel sources

  1. Electricity generation is more clean and does far far less damage or even we can confidently say virtually zero damage to the ecosystem.
  2. Both energy sources are abundant in supply, because possibly neither the Sun is not planning to disappear anytime soon nor the oceans gonna dry.

There is enough documentation and “How it Works” examples for solar power in the web and there are already large scale projects done, so we are going to focus on Hydro Electricity. The proposal here is a new type of HydroElectric generation that will get us close to something sustainable/renewable power generation over long term. Below is a diagram that shows the idea in its simplest form.

The blue line is a artificial river or a really wide canal which originates from the sea and goes back to it. The orange line is the hydro electric dam. The river starts from the top and goes back into the ocean at the bottom.

List of factors that affect/determine HydroPower generation

  1. Regular and abundant supply of water or quantity of water
  2. Rugged topography or degree of slope
  3. Existence of rapids and waterfalls
  4. Solid rock structure or geological stability for construction of dams
  5. Suitable climate, i.e., temperature above freezing point
  6. Presence of lakes
  7. Silt-free water, etc.

There are 256,000 kms of State and National Highways in India alone, that’s more than half the distance to moon. We practically built highways that’s halfway to the moon and that’s just India. The above image pictures a artificial river or a really wide canal that origins from the ocean and goes back to it, like building a highway. The only difference is that we consider the above factors in the list and plan the river accordingly and design it with a capacity between 10–15 gigawatts.

So we built the river, what’s next?

It’s a time taking process, even before starting to consider the construction of a dam across the artificial river, we have to observe the river flow for 3–4 years. The observation will help us with data like the amount of silt, the amount of impact it has around its surroundings like villages/cities/etc and any potential threats during heavy monsoon and so on. Once the observation is done and we do the fixes if any/necessary, we can start constructing the dam. Dam construction is relatively a walk in the park for us humans as we have built numerous dams across the world and it’s not as big as a gamble as building a artificial river.

How much does it cost?

It’s definitely gonna cost a lot, my rough estimate would be less than 1 billion USD including a river and a dam. The canal can be about 100 – 150 kms long and 200 meters wide and about 500–1000 meters wide near the dam.

It’s a long term solution and we have to pay the price for all the damage we have been doing to the planet in the last 100 years and made it into something as it is today, a mess. Let’s start to be responsible for our actions and leave something for the generations to come. Leave something better for them to live in, than leaving a planet that’s wasted and inhabitable.

Once the model works out and I’m pretty sure it will as we will do extensive research and can build similar/better/smarter dams as we evolve across the country and have the electricity generated through clean tech, virtually zero damage to the ecosystem and the atmosphere and practically pay only 1/10th cost of a cost that we are paying today after we recover the initial investment, which will be in about 10–20 years.

The above diagram show such multiple rivers and dams built. If you look at the map closely, all the rivers are made closer to the shores and not too far into the lands. Sea water is salty and it can contaminate the water source below the grounds(which is what we use for drinking…), so the system works best when the rivers flow closer to the shores and do less damage to the underground water source. Also all the dams are built at the end of the rivers so we can avoid floods if any, so the floods will drain faster into the sea and overflow less into the cities or surrounding villages.

India’s installed capacity as of June 2016 is 300 GW and we can produce upto 400 GW when we complete constructing these dams by around 2050 if we start acting soon.

We can build around 20–30 such dams on both east and west coast in India in about 30-40 years and meet the energy demands for the next 200 years or even more that that and say good bye to all the fossil fuels sources in 30 years, I like the sound of it, don’t you?

Let’s meet in Part II…

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