Tag Archives: Earth

Ecological Imagination: Listening to the Heart of the Earth (Audio)

By Leslie Davenport, who will be presenting Deepening Climate Advocacy at Hollyhock on June 19-23.

Imagination is often misunderstood, defined as a fanciful flight away from reality – and sometimes it is. But there is another kind of imagination, one that is based on deep inner listening with a quality of calm presence, and a curious, open-minded focus. When images arise into that kind of spacious awareness, imagination is tapping into a source of wisdom, a type of intuition, that puts us in touch with more of reality, not less.

With deep listening, we bring our ourselves into relationship with the unknown. This is similar to the creative process, whether we are facing a blank canvas with a handful of paints, jotting notes for a speech on a napkin at the café, or in the scientific crowd, pondering how quantum gravity helps explain the origin of the universe. We step outside what we already know, send our inner critic on vacation, and make room for messy, confusing bits and pieces of insight to swirl and shift before connecting in new and meaningful ways.

Cultivating creative imagination has a powerful role to play at this pivotal time in human history as scientists around the world are reporting that the impacts of climate change on civilization and the natural world are accelerating. We need to cultivate a pragmatic form of hope by discovering clarity followed by empowering actions, resilient individual and systemic support with effective methods that support eco-harmonious change.

Continue reading Ecological Imagination: Listening to the Heart of the Earth (Audio)

Geothermal Energy: Tapping into the Earth's Natural Source of Heat

by Brooke Spencer

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Here at Hollyhock, we place great importance on ecologically sound practices and are interested in ways that we can harness sustainable energy and share what we learn with all of you.

Our  lodge on Cortes Island uses solar panels to preheat water in the hot tubs and cottages, and we have various methods and tools to conserve water in our campus.

On our quest to stay up-to-date with energy efficiency news, this article on The National Geographic Magazine about geothermal energy caught our attention.

Geothermal energy has been used for cooking and heating purposes, tapping into the world’s internal heat source. Beneath the Earth’s crust, rock and liquids are home to thermal energy which can be found close to the Earth’s surface or several miles down.

This type of energy can be used to heat individual homes as well as larger buildings and offices, greenhouses and even pipes on streets to melt snow on the roads.

Underground, areas of steam and hot water can be used to create electricity that can heat or cool surrounding buildings.

To harness geothermal energy, they use what is called a heat pump system . This allows the Earth’s internal heat to warm houses in the winter and transfer heat from the house back into the ground in the summer, making the house cooler without the need for air conditioning.

There are three different kinds of geothermal power plants: binary, flash and dry steam. Dry steam is accessed through cracks in the ground which draw up steam which is used to power turbines. Flash plants pump high pressure water out of the ground and turn it into cooler, low pressure water. The steam that appears, is used to move the turbines. Inside binary plants, hot water passes through another liquid with a lower boiling point than the water. This causes the secondary liquid to vaporize, which again, turns the turbine. Binary plants are said to to be the most popular in the future.

Like anything, nothing is perfect and it does have some downsides. While it isn’t necessary to burn fossil fuels, a particular gas is released that smells of rotten eggs called hydrogen sulfide. Also, the disposal of some geothermal liquids may contain low traces of toxic material. The energy can be used for decades but eventually the heat source will deplete.

With this being said, the biggest advantages of using geothermal energy relate to the cost, extraction process, the lack of fossil fuels and its accessibility. Geothermal energy has little cost and can be extracted without the use of burning fossil fuels like coal, gas or oil. It costs less to use than burning fossil fuels. The fields only produce one sixth of the carbon dioxide that natural gas plants produce. The binary plants produce little to no toxic emissions. Geothermal energy has little limitations to its accessibility, it can be used 365 days a year.

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Please find the original article in the National Geographic.