Our New Green Overlords

Leaf Sheep Sea Slug, costasiella kuroshimae, supplements it’s diet of algae by photosynthesis. Image found online. Original photo credit unknown.

Back in the years circa 2004 to 2007 there were several scientific journals discussing the potential uses of algae. Something most of us think about with distain. We often think of algae as something that either inconveniences us by making a surface slick or something that can make us sick. Fortunately, the Science-minded people also ask, how can we harness the properties of algae?

I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes Science-minded people come up with terrible ideas. They can get so carried away with “Can I?” that they don’t stop long enough to ask the question, “Should I?” This the basic premise behind the 1896 novel The Island of Dr Moreau by H.G. Wells. (For context, The Origin of Species was published by Charles Darwin in 1859 and the subsequent theories of Darwinism were at the forefront of the social minds of the day.)

I’m consciously using the term “Science-minded” because I don’t believe that a person needs to hold a degree from a prestigious university to be a “science-minded” person. You only have to be willing to explore your ideas with a sensible set of standards that can be shared and replicated by another person. By this perspective, science is not so different from art in many ways. I know not everyone shares this perspective though.

When I first moved to Seattle in 1998 to attend the University of Washington, I lived in a house with six other college roommates. One of my roommates was a Danish fellow studying material science. In the beginning, he always had this smile on his face as if everything I said amused him. So, I “dragged the cat out of the bush” as we poor rural American folk might say and asked him if all Danes were elitist snobs or just him? He was surprised at first then said, “Well you are studying a ‘Soft Science’ major.” Apparently, Social Science (aka Sociology) is not real science because it’s not “hard science.”

We had many good discussions after this first exchange. It was important to me to illustrate that anything that worked towards the betterment and/or understanding of the human race was no less important than the flesh and bone that we are made of. It has been my passion since then to be a bridge builder between different personalities and schools of thought for a common cause. My new mission is to marry all that with the belief that nature is not our adversary, but our ally in making the world better for all species and the health of the planet itself.

Why can’t electric cars be solar-powered?

Because they don’t have enough surface space for the photovoltaic cells to collect enough solar energy for the battery to be reasonably recharged.

Science-minded researchers then must ask themselves questions like; How can we take advantage of the full surface of the vehicle then? Most obvious solutions would be either by the paint or the material the vehicle is made of. In the links below you can see that algae has been added to bricks to store carbon and as a pigment for natural dyes, but not currently for solar storage or transference.

I have two hypothesis based on the current uses of algae: 1. What if it could be used to help collect solar energy for electric vehicles by adding some sort of film or layer? And 2. What if it could help insulate people in desert regions from extreme heat? Something similar in idea to Frank Herbert’s Stillsuits in his 1965 novel Dune.

Sometimes I think of the realm of magic and fiction writing as science concepts we don’t yet understand. There are charlatans that claim to be scientists and charlatans who claim they can tell you your future. Remember when bloodletting was a thing? Or when germs were thought to be a superstition? Invisible bugs you say? Hogwash! We are flesh and bone and blood. We are hair and teeth and nails. We are mucus and sperm and eggs. We are mind, body and spirit. We are a lot of things and so too are many elements in the natural world including photosynthetic eukaryotic organisms (Chlorophyta, i.e. algae) and heterotrophic eukaryotic organisms (fungus, i.e. mushrooms). Our own digestive systems are unique biomes unto themself with their own specialized organisms in the form of bacterial flora!

What I like about using algae or fungi to help solve global problems is that it does not require digging into mountains for more metal alloys. It is nurturing truly sustainable options that have what environmentalists call a “cradle to the grave” lifecycle. We are not left with polluted waters or land and deplorable working conditions to extract or attempt to recycle it.

I for one look forward to our new green overlords.

What if we could learn to photosynthesize to supplement our diets?

Algae links:

The Leaf Sheep: Meet The Sea Slugs That Can Photosynthesize – Planet News

Cutting Construction’s Climate Impact with Algae Bricks | TIME

Studying ways to maximize environmental benefits of green algae (phys.org)

Brilliant Planet – A company working to sequester gigatons of carbon by absorbing it through algae and burying it.

Scientists Power Computer Continuously For A Year Using Algae (unilad.com)

These robots are powered by algae balls living inside (fastcompany.com)

Researchers created eco-friendly, biodegradable flip flops made from algae | CNN

How Pond Scum Could Lead to Eco-Friendly Fabric and Paint | WIRED

Fast Company’s: Climate Change Survival Plan

This is not a sponsored post. I’m just genuinely excited about the articles that Fast Company, a magazine & digital media company, has put together on Climate Change. Free! One post in particular really resonated with me to the point where I joked to myself; “Well, I can shut down my blog because someone has written the perfect article about what we can do and how we can do it!”

That would be letting myself off too easily though, wouldn’t it? Many of us need avenues to meet as individuals that help us feel connected and engaged with other people. So I’ll be here, spooling out the best ideas I can find on Nature and Community related subjects.

If you have time, I encourage you to read these articles.

The article I liked the most: https://www.fastcompany.com/90680284/heres-how-to-push-for-action-on-the-climate-crisis

The main landing page to the Fast Company Climate Survival Plan: https://www.fastcompany.com/section/climate-change-survival-plan


My socially awkward dog attempting to engage in polite dog behavior by offering pets.

Dog pets dog By Melanie Reynolds

It’s only Thursday, but I’ going to start early and wish you all a nice weekend!

From “Dream On” to Climate Action

Photo by Maria Tyutina on Pexels.com

When I’m working through something complex I gravitate towards certain songs. I play them over and over as if the cadence can help me weave or unweave the threads of an idea. I find myself in this mode right now. The three songs I currently have on repeat are “Dream On” by Aerosmith, “Indomitable” By DJ Shub and the North Cree Singers, and “You Can Never Go Home” By Ganstagrass.

What’s interesting is that I had to look up who sings “Dream On” because even though I knew it was one of Aerosmith’s earliest hits it doesn’t sound like the Steven Tyler were used to hearing. I looked up the Wikipedia page on the song. It references an authorized biography of the band called Walk This Way By Stephen Davis. In it Steven Tyler describes how he liked to lay under his father’s piano while he father played when he was a small child and something in that experience prompted the first catalyst for the song.

As a child, I too loved to lay under my Grandmother’s baby grand piano while she played! What a funny thing to have in common with a Rockstar! Both Steven Tyler’s father and my Grandmother were classically trained pianists. The final elements of the song came together when he was 14. In the biography he says the song is sung in his “real voice” which he was insecure about on how it sounded on tape. This is also interesting to me. I always try to get under or around “the Public face” that we all tend to wear when we’re out and about in society. Authenticity has always been important to me. I find it easier to bond with people when we’re both being “real” with each other. So now I know why this song appeals to me so much.

The next song I’ve been playing a lot is called “Indomitable” By DJ Shub and the North Cree Singers. This attraction feels natural to me. Growing up some of my very closest friends are Indigenous Americans and our friendship continues to this day. As an Ally, I care deeply about Indigenous issues like the Murder and Missing Indigenous Women whose cases don’t get the same attention as Gabby Petito. Once again mainstream media deserves to be called out for its own systemic habits of “missing white woman syndrome.” If my best friend goes missing you better damn well give her case the attention it deserves! By choosing which stories get the most national attention, the media signals what our collective values are supposed to be. Indigenous people are still here! Many live in cities, not on reservations, and yet the broader collective consciousness of our nation sidelines their voices to historical archetypes or reservation/tribal “issues” as if what happens there doesn’t have relevance to influence the rest of the country, but it does. Who took bold action against the XL Keystone pipeline project? The Standing Rock Sioux tribe! That’s who! This is one of many examples of how environmental and social justice issues are woven together.

Finally, we have the last song I’ve been listening to a lot by a band called “Ganstagrass.” The name and band is a combination of Gangster Rap (urban music) and Bluegrass (rural music.) I really like one of the comments someone named Patrick Riot made, “When the hood and the woods unite, we’re unstoppable.” That’s what I believe too! I’m frustrated and disheartened by the current US political climate and animosity in the public sphere, but I have to believe that we can still bring people of different backgrounds together. Our democracy is at risk and what are we without our democracy? I’m trying to think of a framework for a new path forward that is relevant to people’s lives where they can feel heard and push through the politically divisive rhetoric. Can it be done? I don’t know, but I’m willing to try.

I’m ready for action! I’m now obsessed with the idea of creating a “regenerative society” as a path forward. This prompts the questions: How can we create a “Regenerative society?” and What would a “Regenerative Society” look like?

Call it serendipity or stream of consciousness, but of course I’m not the only one to pull these two words together. My short working definition is – a society that works towards restoring the basic needs of the people and the environment; Food, clean water, shelter, access to healthcare, sanitation, education, and a sense of community.

I feel that a regenerative society would have equality and social justice as intrinsic values built into its DNA. Education for all. Period. Not just the rich, not just the men, not just the people in the cities…etcetera, etcetera,.. everybody! Educated people doing meaningful work on behalf of themselves and their communities. Working with purpose and being valued for your place in the world because of it! By “educated” I mean a society where everyone has a basic primary education (reading, writing, and basic math skills) with opportunities to do advanced academics, trade schools or apprenticeships to find your social-environmental niche. Any society can work towards being a regenerative society. Several countries are already ahead of the U.S. on that. The area where I grew up was poisoned by a government project but we, the people, are expected to pay out of pocket for the health consequences of it until the day we die. More on that in a future post.

I was debating with a friend who argued greed was good because it motivated people to competitively innovate and take risks. My point was, why should greed be the motivator though? I’m motivated to innovate and take risks to make life better for me, my family, my human community, my wildlife community, my plant community, and my soil community. She told me I was being delusional. I told her she was being lazy if greed was her only motivation for existing. We laughed and left it at that.

What would a Regenerative Society look like to you?

Please share your thoughts below or email me.


Here are the songs mentioned via links to YouTube:

Dream On – Aerosmith:

DJ Shub and the Northern Cree Singers – Indomitable:

Ganstagrass – You can Never Go Home:

Additional Links:

Dream On (Aerosmith song) – Wikipedia

Home | MMIW USA (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Official Website)

FBI missing persons cases list: 43 unsolved cases that need leads (usatoday.com)