Introductory note: With each passing week, there are an increasing number of critical issues, personalities and inanities to write about. Invariably, selecting any particular issue or crisis upon which to devote a weekly column will result in many people asking me "Why didn't you write about X instead of Y?" Any attempt to offer an explanation or give a defense is futile - and in my humble opinion unnecessary. In point of fact, the very process of choosing a topic is almost as difficult and time consuming as researching, pondering and writing it. Why just this week alone, I could be writing on the senate election in Alabama, the President's announcement concerning Jerusalem (and all it entails), the resignations of Senator Franken and Representatives Conyers and Franks, the annual White House Hanukkah gathering to which not a single Jewish Democrat was invited . . . and on and on. Whenever selection becomes more insuperable than composition, opt for a change of pace. Remember, the subtitle of this blog is "Politics and a Whole Lot More."
So this week, let's opt for a lot less "politics" in favor of "a whole lot more." This essay is about the future. It is decidedly more positive and upbeat than any essay about the present. It is planned to the first of several occasional pieces on people, ideas and projects which ultimately will make tomorrow far more hopeful, nurturing and civilized than today . . .
For every 10 people who know the name Manoj Bhargava, there are likely 100,000 who have used the product which made him a multi-billionaire: "5-hour ENERGY." Manoj, who was born in Lucknow, India in 1953, is the founder and CEO of Innovations Ventures L.L.C., which, among other things, produces 5-hour ENERGY. Manoj, who is worth an estimated $4 billion, is a member of the Giving Pledge Campaign and already well on his way to giving away 99% of his fortune to philanthropic causes. Towards that end, he has created the Billions in Change Foundation which includes an "invention shop" called Stage 2. This Farmington Hills, Michigan shop creates "useful solutions to the world’s most pressing problems." To date, Stage 2 and Bhargava's Han Foundation have invented a diverse array of devices and techniques to capture and generate free energy, clean, purify and make potable water that is brackish, overly salinized and thus undrinkable, and make non-chemical manure that permits soil to absorb water even while increasing crop yield by an exponential amount.
Stage 2 has created and put into use:
- A stationary bicycle which, if pedaled for but an hour, can create and store enough energy to light a home, charge a cell phone, and run a fan.
- A solar-paneled briefcase-like device which can can generate and store even more energy. In both cases, the net result is free, non polluting energy.
- Two devices, the "Rainmaker for Grey Water," and the "Rainmaker for Brackish Water" which simply attaches to a well and starts working immediately, cleaning water at a rate of 5-10 gallons per minute. And unlike other water filtration devices, this one uses very little energy. It takes just 1.5 kilowatts, which is about as much as a hair dryer,.
- Shivansh Fertilizer - a cost-free fertilizer that can transform unproductive land into a thriving farm, enabling farmers to reduce reliance on chemicals and increase profits. Shivansh Fertilizer is made by gathering whatever is laying around—dry plant materials, fresh grass, crop residues, animal manure—and then using a simple-to-follow layering method to construct a shoulder-high pile.
To date, these devices and techniques are already in use and making an important difference in India. Manoj's plan is to introduce them to the poorest parts of Africa, Asia and the Americas.
We who live in the world's developed countries might find it hard to grasp that easily more than a billion people on this planet don't have access to electricity or a source of clean water, and can barely make a living through farming. Manoj Bhargava and his colleagues have already made vast inroads into solving these problems. Besides saving lives and bringing light where there currently darkness, Manoj is also helping clean the atmosphere by creating non-polluting, free sources of energy (which I am sure the oil, coal and gas companies are going to hate), and above all, giving hope . . . a desperately needed commodity.
I strongly urge you to take less than a half-hour to watch the following video. Not only will you be amazed at what is happening; it just might restore a bit of faith in the human race:
45 years ago, Maureen McGovern gained instant fame when she sang "The Morning After" for the 1972 blockbuster hit "The Poseidon Adventure." Its lyrics are, in light of this week's essay - and other such future pieces about the future - especially poignant:
There's got to be a morning after
If we can hold on through the night
We have a chance to find the sunshine
Let's keep on looking for the light
Oh, can't you see the morning after?
It's waiting right outside the storm
Why don't we cross the bridge together
And find a place that's safe and warm?
It's not too late, we should be giving
Only with love can we climb
It's not too late, not while we're living
Let's put our hands out in time
There's got to be a morning after
We're moving closer to the shore
I know we'll be there by tomorrow
And we'll escape the darkness
We won't be searching anymore
(© Warner/Chappell Music, Inc)
324 days down, 1,136 to go.
Copyright©2017 Kurt F. Stone