Liquid Sunlight Alliance?! Plus, climate champion, Allan Savory. Holistic Management International, and Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement.
Liquid Sunlight Alliance?! Climate Champion–Allan Savory, Holistic Management International, Tyler Prize For Environmental Achievement
LIQUID SUNLIGHT ALLIANCE—LiSA
So, you’ve heard of “lucy in the sky with diamonds,” right? Now there’s something called LiSA—or the Liquid Sunlight Alliance. The Liquid Sunlight Alliance—LiSA– is a Fuels from Sunlight Energy Innovation Hub led by Caltech and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy in 2020.
Its vision is to establish the science principles by which coupled microenvironments directly generate liquid fuels from sunlight, water, carbon dioxide and nitrogen. In other words, LiSA wants to figure out a way to put liquid sunlight into your fuel tank.
So why does such far-out and far-reaching research matter to us? According to the Liquid Sunlight Alliance website, the sun irradiates the earth with energy at a rate that is roughly 10,000 times larger than the rate at which civilization currently uses energy derived from fossil fuels.
If the folks at LiSA can figure out a way to collect sunlight and use the energy to combine carbon dioxide and water to form liquid fuels, those renewable fuels could displace fossil fuels in cars, trucks, ships and airplanes. Which means we wouldn’t have to replace 1 billion ICE cars and trucks with EVs. We’d just have to replace the fuel systems in existing vehicles. Game changer!
Inspired by photosynthesis in plants, scientists are designing materials and chemical processes that can convert sunlight into chemical energy using only the components of air: water, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen. Directly producing liquid fuels from these abundant feedstocks would provide an efficient way to store and dispatch solar energy on a pathway to energy independence.
CONTROVERSIAL CLIMATE CHAMPION, ALLAN SAVORY
Peter H. Diamandis once said, “The day before something is truly a breakthrough, it’s a crazy idea.” That phrase could be easily applied to the work of the great and controversial ecologist Allan Savory.
According to his Wikipedia page, Savory began his professional career in 1955 as a research officer for the Northern Rhodesian Game Department. At the time, he was trying to solve the problem of desertification.
At the time, he believed land degradation in that region was the result of an overpopulation of elephants. He managed to convince the powers that be that the solution was to slaughter excess elephants. And for the next decade, the Game Department did. To the horrific tune of 40,000.
Inspired and emboldened by the work of French agronomist André Voisin he came to realize overgrazing resulted from the amount of time plants were exposed to animals, not from having too many animals in any given area, too large a herd.
Savory has called the decision to advocate for the slaughter of tens of thousands of elephants “the saddest and greatest blunder of my life.
His subsequent work turned into a 2013 TED Talk, “How to green the desert and reverse climate change.” It’s been viewed millions of times. And it led to the release of his TED Book, The Grazing Revolution: A Radical Plan to Save the Earth.
“There is only one option, and that is to do the unthinkable, use livestock, bunched and moving, as a proxy for former herds and predators, and mimic nature. There is no other alternative left to mankind.”
While increasingly popular as a proven practice for natural restoration, holistic grazing practices is not without controversy because it literally is 180 degrees counter to what human beings have believed for centuries. To that criticism, Savory’s response is he’s learned Nature is far more complex than the capacity of human beings to understand it.
Among others, the influential environmental activist and writer George Monbiot said Savory’s statements “are not supported by empirical evidence and experimental work, and that in crucial respects his techniques do more harm than good.” Since then, American environmentalist and co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute, Hunter Lovins, delivered a blistering rebuke in The Guardian newspaper titled “Why George Monbiot is wrong: grazing livestock can save the world”
Why does Allan Savory matter to us? He believes grasslands hold the potential to sequester enough atmospheric carbon dioxide to reverse climate change. And if that’s true, we can combine grassland restoration with tree planting as a one-two punch to save the climate.
HOLISTIC MANAGEMENT INTERNATIONAL
Speaking of Allan Savory, in 1984, he created Holistic Management International, to put into practice what he now preached about the efficacy of managed grazing techniques to restore soil health. The mission of which is “To envision and realize healthy, resilient lands and thriving communities by serving people in the practice of Holistic Decision Making & Management.
HMI’s vision is a world where lands and communities flourish through the practice of Holistic Management, an internationally recognized regenerative agricultural practice.
If you don’t know what that means, Surfing HMI will be a delight. It’s like going to school for regenerative agriculture. Webpage titles like Addressing Climate Change, Our Role in the Food Ecosystem, Feeding the Soil, Growing More Nutritious Food, Strengthening Local Economies and Improving Wildlife Habitat.
- Helps family farmers/ranchers/pastoralists become more prosperous
- Helps strengthen local economies
- Improves local food quality
- Heals the environment
- Improves wildlife habitats
- Fosters community ties and preserves local culture
So far it looks like about 305 farmers, ranchers and trainers have become part of the Holistic Management community.
And every year, HMI offers a small number of “Outstanding Demonstration Site of Holistic Management” awards to recognize the ranches and farms that are such great examples of strong land stewardship and where the managers are integrating the practice of Holistic Management
HMI also offers Environmental/Conservation Awards. The last one, awarded in 2020, went to 3R Ranch owned by Betsy and Reeves Brown of Beulah, CO.
DEEPER DIVE: HMI,
TYLER PRIZE FOR ENVIRONMENTAL ACHIEVEMENT
In the 1960s and 70s, facing growing levels of pollution and ecological imbalance, the world refused to face the impending environmental crisis. Things were different then; there was no such thing as sustainable practice, and humanity faced self-inflicted wounds that were quickly growing to concerning proportions.
Critically concerned for the state of their beloved natural environment, dedicated conservationists, philanthropists and animal-lovers John and Alice Tyler were desperate to make a difference. They found that there was promising research underway by scientists in all parts of the world. As not enough attention was being paid to these matters, they decided to take definitive action.
President Ronald Reagan, then Governor of California, helped inaugurate the John and Alice Tyler Prize in 1973. The goal was to create an international award that would recognize those working to preserve and enhance our world, and inspire others to understand the importance of the environment.
During its forty-eight-year history, this spark of inspiration has ignited a blaze of passionate environmental science dedication across a spectrum of environmental concerns, including environmental policy, environmental health, air and water pollution, ecosystem disruption, loss of biodiversity, population, energy and food resources.
Recipients of the Tyler Prize are honored in an illustrious ceremony, presented with the Tyler Prize medallion and awarded USD$200,000.
In 2020, it’s latest year, The Tyler Prize recognized two pioneers in illuminating and quantifying the economic value of our natural environment. Conservation Biologist Gretchen C. Daily, and Environmental Economist Pavan Sukhdev. Each has trailblazed the valuing of natural capital – in rigorous scientific and economic terms – recognizing nature’s vital role in supporting human wellbeing.
So you know The Climate Daily’s gonna let you know more about Daily and Sukhdev!
DEEPER DIVE: Tyler Prize,