SEVEN WONDERS


T HE BREAD AND BUTTER OF FUTURISTS IS TECHNOLOGIC- AL WHIZZBANG, THE COMING AMAZING INNOVATION THAT PROVES THAT NOTHING WILL EVER BE THE SAME, AND YOU, DEAR READER, HAD BETTER GET ON BOARD.


A very different take on technology can be found in an unassuming book entitled: Seven Wonders: Everyday Things for a Healthier Planet, by John C. Ryan of Northwest Environment Watch. Admittedly, there is less drama here. No “gee whiz”—just some startlingly simple things that meet people’s needs and are good for the planet.


HERE ARE RYAN’S SEVEN WONDERS:


THE BICYCLE is the most efficient form of transportation ever devised. A biker expends less energy than any creature or machine covering the same distance. Fewer than 10 percent of humans can afford to buy a car, but 80 percent can afford a bike. Bike-friendly communities offer mobility to those without cars—like very young people—opportunities for exercise, greater safety, fresher air, and quiet.


THE CONDOM More than 100 million times each day, people will have sex; about 350,000 will catch HIV/AIDS or other diseases from their partners, and about one million women will become pregnant—about half of them unintention-ally. Fortunately, about one out of six of the couples will use a condom.


THE CEILING FAN. In 1960, just 12 percent of U S homes had air conditioners. Today, air conditioners use up to a sixth of the electricity in the US. Ceiling fans, even running at low speed, make the air feel 9 degrees Fahrenheit cooler, and at top speeds, a fan uses no more electricity than a 50-75 watt light bulb.


THE CLOTHESLINE. The solar-powered dryer can save a family $85 each year in electricity and reduce their carbon emissions by almost a ton.


PAD THAI . (Thai noodles) are delicious, low in fat, low in environmental impact, and nutritious. Similar dishes in other Asian countries also help keep down rates of heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and cancers.


THE PUBLIC LIBRARY may seem dated in the digital age, yet the library is an indispensible gateway to our cultural, scientific, and literary commons—available to all.


A LADYBUG will eat about 5,000 aphids and other crop-destroying bugs in its lifetime. Worldwide, the sale of pesticides total about $30 billion annually; the pest control services provided by lady bugs and the thousands of other creepy-crawlies are worth an estimated four times that amount.


THE SEVEN WONDERS in Ryan’s book are humble, but if the goal is protecting life on this fragile planet, these technologies, and others like them, may be exactly what we need.



Seven Wonders: Everyday Things for a Healthier Planet, by John C. Ryan. is available at Northwest Environment Watch: www.northwestwatch.org or by calling 888/643-9820.

 


                                                             SOURCE:

                                                      YES! Fall 2001 (Pg. 31) (Issue #19.)

                                                             A Journal of Positive Futures.

                                                             284 Madrona Way NE, Suite 116,

                                                             Bainbridge Island, WA 98110-2870

                                                                        206 842-0216 Fax: 206 842-5208



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