Sustainability

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LakeThere is a lot of talk these days about something called, SUSTAINABILITY. Though most have a vague idea what the word means, a similar number treat the subject as something of an unattainable brass ring for humanity. When something is sustainable that means simply that it has the ability to be sustained. The term’s broader meaning, as something that, “is able to be upheld or defended,” often is attached to good business or educational practices, or even forms of governments. If something is not built to last, or able to stand the test of time then the implication is that it may not be worth pursuing from the outset. In today’s jargon, however the word is almost exclusively used in relation to conserving ecological balance by avoiding a depletion of natural resources.

Trying to find ways to live our lives in a sustainable manner is not a new-age idea. A two thousand year old battery was found in Saudi Arabia, and may indicate an attempt to harness a synthetic energy source (though to what purpose, we have no idea).

Whole civilizations (Aztec-Mayan, Egyption, Roman to name a few) some having lasted thousands of years, have all but disappeared from the Earth because (as historians put it) a practice, a changing weather pattern, or a foundation belief made a certain way of life unsustainable. Burgeoning success is believed by many to be directly tied to how we use the resources available to us, how we make our lives even easier and give ourselves, as a species more free time to think and create. One theory emphatically states that social advancement and the rapid evolution of humankind is the direct result of the establishment of permanent settlements and the mass production of food along with the availability of water. In addition, whenever a group or individual finds new ways to maintain the basic requirements for life (water, food, shelter) for their community, the discovery is sometimes viewed as magical, giving status to the individual or group who controls the information which affects the discovery.

Take for instance how the many machines and discoveries of the industrial revolution, the pursuit of atomic energy

San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant

San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant

(or any other kind of energy source) or the creation of a system of writing have granted special status and power to countries or individuals. Albert Einstein is often cited as the most intelligent man (or greatest mind) who ever lived, for instance.

However, as with Einstein’s unlocking of the mysteries of the atom, or the invention of plastics, there can be unforeseen downsides to discoveries when their initial benefits drastically alter the core human goal of creating for mutual benefit by skewing the desire to merely maintain the status quo. The use of plastic (invented by Wesley Hyatt as a substitute for the ivory in billiard balls in 1868) skyrocketed—literally–when lightweight and indestructible materials were needed for human flight and space exploration. As an unintended but direct result, piles of plastic fills huge plots of land and are said to be washing ashore on every continent, as the indestructibility of plastic, in a world filled to over capacity by humans now has become one of humanity’s biggest problems.

Pristine Beach

Pristine Beach

Plastic Polluted Beach

Plastic Polluted Beach

A belief that nuclear energy would become the preferred energy source by the end of the 20th century has also been overshadowed by the creation of the atom bomb.

While we scurry to keep up with the rapid changes, which are our responsibility, we are still, basically the same human creatures we have always been. We must therefore find new solutions to problems, or find ways to mitigate the harm our previous solutions may have generated. So, in this premier issue we attempt to put into perspective the legends and legacies of the core human need for sustainability. Are the problems real? Are there solutions to the problems we’ve created? Is it possible to maintain a level of comfort and connectivity, while meeting our most basic human needs?

Let’s look more closely at plastic as an example of how what once seemed like a good idea now requires major modification in our thinking and new solutions to old problems. Alexander Parkes is generally credited with inventing the first plastic. He publicly demonstrated his creation at the 1862 Great International Exhibition in London. The material called Parkesine, and was an organic material derived from cellulose. This substance, once heated, could be molded, and retained its shape when cooled.

Celluloid is derived from cellulose and camphor that has been treated with alcohol. John Wesley Hyatt invented celluloid as a substitute for the ivory in billiard balls in 1868. However, the material was not strong enough to be used for that purpose, until the addition of camphor, a derivative of the laurel tree. The new celluloid could be heated, molded and pressed into a durable shape. Celluloid later became famous as the first flexible photographic film used for still photography and motion pictures. John Wesley Hyatt created celluloid in a strip format for movie film. By 1900, movie film was an exploding market for celluloid.

The next product to advance the technology of plastic was cellulose nitrate and formaldehyde around 1897. Efforts to manufacture white chalkboards led to casein plastics (milk protein mixed with formaldehyde) Galalith and Erinoid are two early trade-name examples.

In 1899, Arthur Smith obtained a British patent for phenol-formaldehyde resins to be used in electrical insulation. In 1907, Leo Hendrik Baekeland improved phenol-formaldehyde techniques and invented the first fully synthetic resin to become commercially successful; this was trade-named Bakelite. Today, most plastics are petroleum based and can be molded into every conceivable shape and size.

Is this the end of the road for plastics innovations? Not so fast. Finding solutions to problems is what humans do. Take for example a company called, ECOSPAN.

Ecospan’s (www.ecospan.com) proprietary bioplastic resin compound formulations, marketed under the trade name BioFlowTM, are currently derived using a base biopolymer, IngeoTM, sourced from NatureWorks (www.natureworksllc.com), a subsidiary of Cargill Corporation (www.cargill.com). IngeoTM is currently derived from Number 2 Dent Field, Corn grown within a 50-mile radius of NatureWorks’ Blair, Nebraska manufacturing facility. NatureWorks’ overall footprint of its Blair facility is small – at full capacity IngeoTM will use less than two tenths of one percent of the U.S. corn production – an amount equal to less than 1/20th of 1.0% of the global corn production. By contrast, about 30% of the U.S. crop is used for ethanol production – a difference of more than 300-fold. By any measure, bioplastics are a tiny factor regarding global demand for crops. Despite the negligible impact of bioplastics on demand for corn, Ecospan and NatureWorks aim to transition into cellulosic raw materials (i.e., feedstock) sourced from non-food plants and agricultural wastes. This innovation is a journey, in which corn is only the starting point, not the destination. In North America, corn has been used first because it is the most economically feasible source of the plant starches used to produce IngeoTM. IngeoTM doesn’t require corn – it requires a sugar source – whatever is the most readily available depending on the geography.

Based on peer-reviewed studies, the production of IngeoTM uses 65% less fossil fuels and emits 65% less greenhouse gases than traditional oil-based plastics. Greenhouse gas reductions associated with IngeoTM will be further improved with imminent enhancements to the bio-technology and increased scale.

Another benefit of using this type of resin comes with expanded disposal options. From a closed-loop “cradle-to-cradle” viewpoint, Ecospan’s compounds and products provide more end-of-use options than any other plastic. They can be mechanically recycled, as well as composted. And, in geographies where appropriate, they can be cleanly incinerated creating no dioxins unlike traditional oil-based plastics. When landfilled, decomposition occurs much more rapidly than oil-based plastics. Ecospan also strongly encourages its partners and their customers to promote closed-loop systems and/or to reuse Ecospan’s products wherever possible. Many organizations and even government operations (Los Angeles County Jails, for instance) are fast replacing petroleum-based products with eco-friendly or (wherever possible) eco-neutral products. “By looking backward and forward at the same time, seeing how and why things worked or were done in the past keeping in mind the economic drivers of the present and the ever changing landscape of business in the future, we’ve been able to demonstrate that green technologies can and will be economically sound ventures for business in the future.”

Some of the current GREEN technologies have been around a while and improvements may make them more feasible for modern needs. Wind power is a good example. When we think of wind power, we think of the Dutch. A very small percentage of their current power needs are satisfied by wind power. However, the government in the Netherlands is committed to increasing the use of this old standby to supply a greater percentage of the population in the near future.

Holland Windmills

Holland Windmills

Wind power Near Palm Springs, CA

Wind power Near Palm Springs, CA

What about those who say, “this is only one aspect of the problem” or “our solutions should take into account the big picture.” That leads us to one company that has integrated all available technologies into one, livable space. This is THE PLARRS SYSTEM of home building.

If we concede that technology is only as valuable as the average persons ability to utilize it, and that regardless of how advanced we might think of ourselves as a species, our primary concerns have not changed. We, before anything else need clean water, air, shelter and food. Creating an acronym from his last name, Robert PLARRS says that the letters stand for Profound-Living-Advanced-Renewable-Remediation-Solutions.

bulldozer
Mr. Plarrs is an enthusiastic spokesperson for a complete system of sustainability, not merely because of the financial gain that is possible, but because it is “the right thing to do.” He has, in fact, sold this type of home for millions of dollars (for over 35 years), and now is making them available for an average price ($125,000) that is well within the ability for most people to benefit, especially when you take into account that one of these homes may actually save you money in energy consumption, food, waste and water, while relieving artificial stresses that a modern life can often bring. “Your home actually becomes like a personal hospital and farm that will provide for your every need while eliminating harmful….”

In fact, these days many of those who promote the Plarrs system, do so because a percentage of all profits go to fund sustainable, humanitarian projects throughout the world (Haiti for example). Robert Plarr now boldly announces that his homes offer THE BEST AIR, WATER, ENERGY & ORGANIC FOOD. “That’s what we call true homeland security, social security, healthcare, real currency and the ultimate insurance policy… ALL-IN ONE!”

Engineered Earth

His modular system features the latest in cutting edge automated sustainable technologies with complete mechanical overrides, designed to keep you living the good life with abundant and redundant point of use clean energy, water, food and comfort in any situation. “Our homes are fully self-sustained, mechanically triple zoned, compartmentalized, encapsulated building structures that take care of the dweller and gives them renewable power, food, shelter and water.” Robert identifies this unique perspective as: Self Reliance and Thrive-Ability, which is enabled by Response-Ability.
“This is not theoretical,” Robert emphatically states. “We now offer FULLY sustainable, on or off-grid, affordable homes. We’ve perfected the Science of Sustainable Integration.”

Living in a home that “takes care of you and your health,” says Plarr, “Reduces human stress because it reduces transportation costs and massively reduces the cost of living by reducing waste output, indoor and outdoor air pollution, and mold production. According to the EPS: indoor air pollution is the #1 cause of cancer.” Instead of forever trying to “get rid of waste” a Plarrs home uses it to create rich soils, natural pesticides and therefore bigger, healthier foods for human consumption.”

Buying one of these homes can also benefit one on other levels “by increasing in return on equity, both financially and energetically. By letting our homes take care of us, we demonstrate that conservation exceeds creation in natural resources because our living space heals the mind, body, soul and pocketbook.”
With a Plarrs home, if the utility power grid goes off, it doesn’t matter. This home is true currency. “You can’t eat money and you can’t eat GOLD, but you can actually consume high quality, clean food that is produced by this integrated system, that replicates a rainforest-like environment within each home.” Having one of these homes is also an insurance policy against natural disasters. When everyone else is shut down, a Plarrs dweller will be safe!

If you are buying a new home, and your choices We have applied the cooperative and sustainable models to our own business structure by making sure all of our strategic partnerships honor and respect the planet, empower people and society, and are financially viable… thus the three pillars “Planet-People-Profit” or the “Triple-Bottom-Line.” Our new business model also has the core principles of cooperation, compassion and thrive-ability. We have become a movement of empowerment that is far greater than what we could have done independently. We lived these solutions and proved their viability to work in synergy. Now two years later we have improved upon the model, upgraded some of the sustainable technologies and have moved into manufacturing the Human Havens homes with the PLARRS technology. Within this new way of looking at old problems, the Plarrs team stresses conservation of materials, waste management and and a concern with the amount of waste each home generates. Also of concerned is the distance the materials must travel and the resources required to create those materials. Those are just a few of the considerations that go into our PLARRS Smart Design Process to create a true FULLY Sustainable Home.

Here are some of the highlighted features:

Special “breathing walls” requires 80% less energy for heating and air conditioning; prevents any molds, mildews or bacteria; is fire, earthquake, hurricane and flood resistant! These panelized and optimized “breathing walls”, roof and green house attachments are assembled as one quick compartmentalized construction system.

On-site construction time is minimized to weeks instead of months or years. Low Cost, high quality manufactured building, optimizing, efficiency, quality strength and extremely low waste, meeting or exceeding many of the green building standards.

The waste material from construction are the lowest in the industry and will likely exceed all LEED standards. Quality is superior as our homes are built in perfect weather… indoors… 24/7/365; they also offer a customized roof venting systems with manual control to mitigate any potential electrically automated challenges. These designs reduce electrical, water, food, material, heating and air conditioning costs. Under the green house and rain forest are special 2 zone wetland cells 6 to 8ft wide 30 to 40ft long and 4ft deep in wetland fiber glass cells. These connect to a waste water tank that by the time the system is in place, with the multi-stage filtration process, it will delivers class 1 water to compartment wetlands and 2 functional water-units.

For more information on Ecospan go to:

For more information on Plarrs Homes, previous experiments in design development or current contacts click any of the links within this article.

ECOSPAN, LLC Receives RedHerring Top 100 Award

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Legends & Legacies About Legends & Legacies

L&L Magazine, seeks to both entertain and inform with a clear understanding that there is a difference between the two goals, but that one should not be compromised for, or confused with the other. Therefore, while attempting to reestablish standards of integrity and excellence as criteria for publishing in any form, we also acknowledge that seeking the truth and doing the right thing, are honorable Core Human Goals, unto themselves.