Are you a student, teacher, or mentor with skills to share? Do you want to solve real-world problems while working together in teams using a lot of common sense and a little money? The Champlain Maker Faire (CMF) is developing two programs to help solve real-world climate problems, RAD1and Scrounge-a-thon.
What is RAD? Reduce, Adapt, Drawdown. CMF has small grants available to help teams of Vermont students to solve the five problems outlined below.
1. Bio Launcher. Maybe your team wants to design an affordable (under $500) method to move wood pellets. CMF, with help from Bourne’s Energy and Pellergy, will provide your team with a piece of flexible auger and a piece of grounded tubing if you want to vacuum the pellets. While $10,000 systems exist to move wood pellets, we need one that costs around $500 and that anyone with a pellet stove can afford.2
2. Ride-share. Are you alone in your car driving from here to there and know a neighbor’s kid is going in the same direction? Have you ever wondered why we all drive separately to team sports or conferences? There has got to be a better way. If your team wants to improve our existing transportation system, CMF has grants for your team to use open source software like libretaxi.org and others to solve the ride-share problem safely for rural communities or check out wheeli.com or carpools for kids.3
3. Weatherizing. Does your team want to build a DIY blower door? Does your team want to develop a high-R sheetrock or develop a zero-carbon concrete? Apply and complete Certificates of Proficiency to weatherize tens of thousands of houses that need weatherization. We have some money for your team of students to propose good solutions.4(see article on page 18 of this issue)
4. Water quality. “It would take a single tree 53.46 days – or almost two months – to offset the carbon emissions of a single six pack of beer”5. Another option is algae, when used in conjunction with artificial intelligence-powered bioreactors, is up to 400 times more efficient than a tree at removing CO2 from the atmosphere.6Algae in lakes and seawater can be used to make organic, bio-degradable plastics, flip-flops, surfboards, food and other cool stuff. CMF is looking for water-quality funding for teams, but if your team wants to clean up lakes and get plastic out of the world, think about entering this RAD challenge!
5. Dirty Plastic into fuel. Take dirty, floatable plastic,7 melt it down in the absence of air and (depending on the temperature) pour the resulting diesel, kerosene or gasoline into your favorite internal combustion engine. This is not perfect, but since they predict four times more plastic will be used in 2050 than are used today, we have to do something with the amount of plastic we have created over the last decades.
CMF is looking for funding to develop Certificates of Proficiency in RAD projects for whatever you can do or dream you can do. We need students, teachers, mentors. Help make a difference with real world solutions!8
Lori Barg is a builder, geologist and hydroelectric developer. Her new patent for a modular, environmentally-friendly hydroelectric system could power some of the 80,000 existing unpowered dams in the U.S. (The U.S. has only about 2,000 hydroelectric sites, about the same as Sweden).
8 And some inspiring ideas: http://stisolutions4sdgs.globalinnovationexchange.org/innovations/sistema-biobolsa just about everything done by Practical Action https://practicalaction.org/, https://ecovativedesign.com/ , https://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/25/business/energy-environment/german-building-uses-algae-for-heating-and-cooling.html