Tag Archives: human energy

Exercise + Ingenuity = Green Energy

There are ways to convert our physical energy – calories we spend from movement, particularly when we exercise – into energy that powers lights, computers, cell phones, TVs and much more.  This site is a place to grow the human energy movement.

Thousands of diligent geniuses are working right now on green technologies. Some work with generous corporate or grant funding; others are laboring in garages and basements.  Many place their hopes on turning water into fuel.  For others, it’s about reducing the amount of fuel their cars, homes and gadgets consume.

This comes with great precedent. The human mind has always found better ways to do things. This crisis point in our history – and it is a crisis – is birthing a renaissance of energy ingenuity. We will soon emerge from a dark age, when 19th century technologies (combustion engines, coal plants) are doing a bad job in the 21st century. 

This is not unprecedented. As history proves, our species prefers to survive.  That used to involve brute force and strength, but as civilization unfolded so did ways of ensuring survival and prosperity. It was the inventors, the tinkerers, the Da Vincis and Franklins and Edisons and Wrights and Farnsworths (Philo T., who invented TV) who took us forward.

There is no reason to expect this juncture should be any different. Just bigger, better and wildly imaginative.  

Small energy ideas add up

Evidence already suggests the answer to the energy crisis and climate change may not be One Single Thing, a silver bullet such as the Salk Vaccine was to polio.  Instead, the sustainability solutions might come about on multiple fronts, the way children now survive cancer so much more than 30 years ago. The greatly increased survival rates in pediatric leukemia result from a collection of interventions.  

With energy sourcing and consumption, we’re seeing scores of solutions being explored and many of them already being implemented. How much more will we see in two years?  In five, ten and twenty years?

This blog is dedicated to one factor in the equation to reduce use of dwindling fossil fuels and their toxic effects.  That factor?  It’s YOU. It’s how you can employ your own physical strength to generate energy.  

Human current goes beyond bicycling to work – although, kudos to all who do that.  It’s how you might set up your bicycle on a home trainer to create electricity to power a reading light. Someday, the technology might also power the TV you watch as you ride. Or, it’s how you as an inventor create something like the Krank Light, a simple table lamp that needs no plug or batteries, just someone to wind it up every 40-60 minutes. Maybe you would follow the path led, literally, by kinesiologist Max Donelan at Simon Fraser University, who invented a 3.5 pound device that straps to a walker’s knee to harvest biomechanical energy that can be used to recharge cell phones and other devices.

Because as coal and oil lobbies, utility companies and automakers dither on the costs of conversions to alternative and clean fuels, we can’t wait. We are willing to try new things, incrementally but assuredly moving off the grid.

Your exercise can power the world

We have too much stored energy in our bodies. It’s called adipose tissue – fat. It’s energy we try to spend in a health club. We run on electric treadmills when an outdoor track might not be practical.  We lift weights, then lower them – with no energy captured.  We spin furiously on bicycles in ride classes, but friction, sweat and body heat are left behind in the classroom. Wood floors move when 25 people jump in unison in a fitness class, yet the music is played with electricity from the power grid.

So what’s your idea?  Or do you have a general concept for another person to develop?  Maybe you’ve seen or heard about someone who has a neat trick, technique or practice that either conserves energy use or generates new current.  If so, share what you can here.

Even if you’re not inventive, you can do so much to push the human current revolution. Products need markets to succeed – so if something looks like it makes sense, by all means, buy it, use it and tell your friends about it.

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