Thursday, 30 May 2013

How Shall I Appreciate You, Mother Nature? Love, Sensuality and Devotion—Within and Without

Image: "Eve" by Paul Morley
Source: Redbubble: Paul Morley › Portfolio › Eve

How shall I appreciate You, Mother Nature?

I. Without

Lush hues beam tinted daylight through my eyes, stroking my chest with long painted fingertips. Your breathe swirl-winds down and around your trunk in and out through slender arms before cascading across moss, warmed and glowing golden in shafts of light caressing from high above.

From afar You tantalize me with majestically sailing plumage, all downy and content floating on the pooling draughts from the hills above. Lilies stage baroque baritones for bumblebees, a brooding soundtrack for gulls fishing away the afternoon.

We’ve been here before, You and I, when Your canopied grove snowed countless pinky-white caressing kisses delighting so many. So many dreams of cherries, sweetness plucked from the “someday” heart of Your bosom. So many digital snap-dragons coveting these moments of Your infinite loving affection. 

Now we are together here again, with efforts stretching mind and heart into Your breadths and depths. So much to take in. So few the fleeting moments of our senses’ arousal.

Whose is the more sensual experience? That of the wandering stroller tip-toing across Your body, touching with care the limitless wonder and aweing beauty? Or Yours? Your sweat-soaked body after the lingering downpour, hanging humid and squeezing from Your ramblers thoughts of peeling back our sticky skins to our Adam and Eve?

II. Within

Image: “Mother Earth” by Paul Morley 

Sun sets. Moon awakens deep hues of Your every contour. Raptured from deep within, mere senses beckon forward to taste Your dewdrops, voluptuously dangling their glistening pearls of sweet moonlit nectar. Mind quietly melts away and the heart kindles its calling. The soul stirs.

We are in each other’s company again. Light descends from within; our illusions dissolve in the dark matter at hand. Now nothing stands between us. So close. We are Adam and Eve in the chilling breeze of cold, hard, reality in hand. The fires of Divine Mother Nature warming us in the crucible of love and devotion.

Your slender arms descend. A lullaby trickles over Your Goddess’s stoneware façade, quenching my thirst momentarily to slip into Your dreamy heavenly likeness. Painted fingers lovingly canvas my body in search of a slumbering masterpiece and I meld into a whole other body of You.

Am I dreaming? I survey the length and breadth of these strange new lands of Yours in the night even as every fibre of my being calls out to awaken in me that which will pay You the devoted attention owed You. My sense of self disappears into the eternity stretched out across the moonstruck hills and vales and I follow the epic laid out before me. Your breathe soothes and invigorates my every waking moment of dreaming.

Am I in heaven? A lost soul held in the bosom of Love’s limitless sensuality? Just a wandering pilgrim on a journey of endless devotion. I could lie here forever watching, listening, breathing You in. Your Divine Self, the miraculous infinite body. We are one; within and without.

Remember me in these moments of appreciation as I contemplate You, Divine Mother Nature, the wandering pilgrim of your loving affection. You, the object of my love, sensuality and devotion.

Inspired ‘Without’ by High Park and ‘Within’ by PeapodLife

Attila Lendvai

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Slow Up (not Down)!

Image: Slow Up
Image Credit:

The Virtues of the Slow Movement in our Crazy Fast-Paced World

We don’t mean to burst anyone’s bubble, but slowing down is not a viable option for today’s world. There’s too much at stake politically and economically for that. Plus, things are accelerating. There are forces at play on this planet which cannot be avoided, since we are all a part of the planetary body.

So what about a different take on slowing down. How about slowing up? What’s the difference, you ask?

Slowing down has this backward-looking connotation. A sort of nostalgia for “the good ol’ days” when human beings were happy, healthy, content, in touch with nature (depending on just how far back your particular flavor of nostalgia takes you).

Image: Slow Cars Roundup

This kind of slow thinking is romantic, yet terribly naïve. There’s never been a so-called “Golden Age” in the recorded history of humanity. Throughout our journey as a species, we’ve looked at expanding ourselves onward and upward beyond the plight of our state—however we defined it at the time.

Evolution, devolution and revolution are the only constants in the universe. Slowing down connotes a kind of devolution. This planet is not quite there yet. As humanity we still hunger for evolution; and are caught in the early stages of a worldwide planetary revolution.

Slowing up is a forward-looking way of thinking. Being slow is not so much about doing less or doing things in an old-fashioned way, it’s more about doing not doing. Slow is about presence, awareness. Take a moment to actually be in the moment. In short, APPRECIATE. To appreciate is to raise-UP.

Slowing up embraces both evolution (advancement), and represents a revolution for this humanity because its number one characteristic demands a revolution in attention: a shift from being largely asleep (hurriedly and mechanically rushing through every experience) to being intensely awake.

Slowing up is all about getting involved: intimately experiencing each and every moment; every facet of life. Slowing up takes its time to appreciate the finer things in life, the subtleties, the details. Slowing up expands awareness and raises our level of experience to new heights of wonder and awe.

Most of all, slowing up expands awareness and raises the level of our experience of ourselves and our relationships with the universe.

Slowing up is really about growing up. Like the great old growth sequoias of the West Coast, growing up takes time. It’s not by accident that the wisest of humans are the ones who embrace the pace of living relative to their station along the journey. Treasured moments. Measured words. Eternal wisdom.

Sometimes slowing up is really fast! We cannot control the speed at which life hits us. Being slow is not about slowing down our external circumstances. Ironically, that only accelerates our mind and causes more stress! It’s about slowing up to the rhythm of perennial nature. Sound like a paradox?

No matter how hectic your life, it’s always possible to experience the moment as a singular eternity frozen in time. Be in the moment. Don’t think. Try it. When you begin to practice slowing up, something incredible happens: you relax, become more aware, healthier, more in touch with your own humanity.

Slowing up raises your awareness of the fact that all this time there has been no hectic, crazy world “out there.” Rather, the hectic pace of your world was set by your own internal clock. The alarm bells, punch-cards, schedules, responsibilities, all of it…the fast-lane was painted by your own psyche: desires, fears, concerns, thoughts, emotions, et al.

So what does all this have to do with PeapodLife?

PeapodLife is a slowing up engine. No other technology so fully embraces the pace of Mother Nature and the forces at work on this planet at this time. The planet is changing. Mother Nature is in a kind of motion we have not seen for thousands of years.

PeapodLife embraces the flow of this pace, and in doing so has created a kind of living-art-in-motion, allowing anyone in proximity of one of our ecosystems to slow up and slip into the flow of that motion, even as it accelerates the pace of change.
“It is in that flow of accelerated turbulence that we can appreciate and fulfill our true potential as human beings.”
~ Wolfgang Amelung, EcoSystem Inventor

Each and every time you experience your ecosystem, you will discover something new. It’s dynamic. It grows and evolves and changes at a pace not common even in nature. And yet, there’s no artificial stimulants at work. No fertilizers. No genetic engineering. Only a proprietary technology in harmony with the highest vibrational potential of Mother Nature herself.

We invite you to experience all that such a higher vibration has to offer. Slow up to a more relaxed, aware, healthy and human version of yourself. Slow up and experience the essence of being rooted in sophistication.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

The Essence of Being, Rooted in Sophistication

Image: “The Essence of Being,” original Quilt Size 20”x32” created in August 2009 by Maya Brouwer.
Image Source: Maya Brouwer's Quilts

Type the term “the essence of being” into Google’s search and you’ll get “About 186,000,000 results.” Everything from transformational workshops to metaphysical philosophies to a Huffington Post Healthy Living editorial blog entitled “What is the Essence of Being?”

Said article, was contributed by Judith Ellis (Twitter: @judithellis ); in it, she shares a small snippet from the description of her own blog, “Being is the essence out of which all things evolve.” When we take a closer look at her blog, “The Being Brand,” we find in the expanded description Ellis intends to engage in:
“... an ongoing conversation of being in various facets and areas of life, including the personal and the professional from which relationships of all kinds are formed and teams built in all communities, virtual or real, at home, at work, in politics and at play.”
Source: Judith Deborah Ellis: The Being Brand

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. This above quotation is why we started PeapodLife: so that people can have that conversation of being with themselves, each other and nature in their BEST space of being: relaxed, aware, healthy, human...alive, supportive, evolving, loving.

What Ellis has done is communicate the essence of being rooted in sophistication.  Hers is neither a trite sound-bite appreciation of the essence of being, nor is it a solely grandiose oversimplification of matters.

For Ellis, it seems the essence of being is alive, at once the synthesis of the life’s work of those thinkers Ellis studied to arrive at her ideas (Georg Hegel, Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Frederick Nietzsche, Jean Paul Sartre, and then later Max Plank and Jacques Derrida) and the evolutionary source of each and every one of them and all of their valid, world-changing ideas.

Comprehending the essence behind complexity is sophistication. Put another way:
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
~ Leonardo DaVinci
Wikiquote: Simplicity

There is a kind simplicity in nature: the root of a level of sophistication completely lost on materialist scientists, biochemists and geneticists—despite their best efforts and claims to the contrary. A plant is not a biochemical machine; a living wall is not a designer HVAC system. The scientists simply don’t get it.

Like Leonardo, like the Creator of the Universe, one must be both an artist and an engineer; a genius craftsperson and an evolutionary genius. To achieve the utmost in anything, one must be the essence of that thing, rooted in the sophistication of every facet of that essence. One must be appreciation.

True sophistication arises from an appreciation of the finer things, the subtler levels of things, the essence of things. Sophistication is also the expression of this finer, subtler, more essential layer; the manifestation and evolution of the essence of being into the myriad forms we experience.

True sophistication is rooted in the essence of being. True sophistication comes from a deeply felt appreciation of that essence, and the ability to stand in awe and wonder at the infinite forms that essence can take. In art, nature, anything. True value arises through appreciation.

So it is with life. All life. PeapodLife…The essence of being, rooted in sophistication. 

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Rooted in Sophistication

Image: WHEN THE HORSE DIES 2008 digital painting 18 X 24 inches by Rick Simpson

Award-Winning Digital Art is a Metaphor for BEST – Building EcoSystems & Technology

“All great art is the work of the whole living creature, body and soul, and chiefly the soul.”

“It is the inspiration of the artist's knowledge and emotion that breathes life into ink, paper and other media.  Without it, art   ceases to be anything more than pure decoration.  Aesthetic, emotional or spiritual value derived from art results from self-discovery.  For [digital artist] Rick Simpson, this process is now purely intuitive, not motivated consciously with each element planned in advance. This is the true nature of art and his artwork embodies the essence of this philosophy.”
Rick Simpson: The World of Fantastic Imagination
Source: Rick Simpson’s website, “ALTKUNST”

These are the sentiments of Rick Simpson, ARTROM Gallery’s 2009 first-place award-winning digital artist. They are as appropriate to describe the work of living wall pioneer and Master EcoSystem Craftsman, Wolfgang Amelung, as they are for describing Rick Simpson’s artwork.

Of Rick Simposon’s work, Tony Shanuel, Jury Member for ARTROM Gallery 2009, said:

“I was intrigued by its primal yet sophisticated nature. Sophistication without purpose or context can be a gimmick and a clever sleight of hand. In digital art, this is an easy trap to fall into. There is none of this in Rick's work. There is a painterly quality to the work that merges seamlessly with the digital medium. I judge that's not an easy feat to accomplish.

“I also was fascinated with the archetypal imagery.”

Source: ARTROM Gallery: TOP TEN International Art Competition: An ARTROM Gallery Winners' Exhibition: 1st PLACE AWARD: Rick Simpson / USA

Clearly, substance is of utmost importance when it comes to art. True sophistication is rooted in substance; value; and, if we tie everything back to the quotation we opened this article with, that substance—true value—comes from “chiefly the soul.”

It’s not enough to make something complicated, technical, overly fancy or noticeably aesthetic. All these modern-day marketing devices are often just that: clever ploys at manipulation; superficial lipstick n’ rouge masking relatively shallow underlay. True substance has depth.

PeapodLife is the BEST precisely because it has real depth, rooted in sophistication. Hand-made, artisan-crafted technology enabling the very essence of life to thrive in ways no other technology currently available on the market can come close to, let alone duplicate.

There are many pretenders: hydropnic living walls, soil-based living walls, indoor gardens, indoor ponds, aquaponics, the list goes on. Each will say it is the most technologically advanced, most proven, most aesthetically pleasing, most...whatever.

None are rooted in the level of sophistication and artistry—true mastery— as PeapodLife. Over 30+ years of real-world research, development and commercial application in companies ranging from Club Monaco to Canada Life. Dozens of homes and small offices.

PeapodLife is that rarest breed of modern artisan natural technologies: substance, quality, integrity. Our customers know the BEST when they see it. They demand nothing but the BEST. Nature at Her very BEST so we can be at our BEST: Relaxed, Aware, Healthy, Human...AHH!

PeapodLife – Rooted in Sophistication.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Would You call THIS an Advanced Human?

Is Digital, Technological "Transhumanism" really the Next Phase in Our Evolution?

Quick math problem: 267 x 345. Go. What? Can’t do it in your head? Okay, how about the phone number of one of your friends. What? Don’t know that by heart? You just tap their image on your smartphone? How’s your sense of direction? Ability to read a map? Oh, you mean you just listen to a synthetic voice tell you "turn left, turn right," etc?

How's your handwriting, grammar and spelling, btw? fubar? lol!

Computers and technology have made our lives much easier and more comfortable in many ways, there’s no doubt about that. But have they really made us better human beings?

There is nothing humanizing about technology. The digitization of the world is the ultimate in reductive thinking, turning every aspect of our lives into strings of binary decision making processes: yes, no; right, left; with us or against us. One can see how fundamentalist extremism is fed by binary thinking.

But give credit where it’s due: digitization is also all about efficiencies. Numbers. In the years leading up to the crash of 2008 and the Great Recession, supercomputing trading platforms reduced peoples’ homes, lives and livelihoods into sets of investment variables and ROI figures.

If you listen to Simon Sinek, he will say the search for hyper digital efficiencies brought to bear in large corporations is cause for another interesting number: 90% of people who feel unfulfilled by their work. Why? Precisely because technology can only tell us what we do and how we do it. How to Find Fulfillment at Work
While 90 percent of American workers report feeling unfulfilled by their jobs at the end of the day, Simon Sinek has articulated a strategy for reversing that.
Uploaded by bigthink on May 20, 2011

It takes sentience to know why. It takes spirit to have meaning and purpose.

Individuals like Raymond Kurzweil and others dream of future dystopias in which human beings are augmented or surgically implanted with technology, under the grossly misguided assumption that somehow this will make us better as a species. They call it “transhumanism.”

Do these nerds not read/watch science fiction? Do they not comprehend the logical decision of any mechanical entity is to pursue its own highly limited binary thinking? Have they never observed the behavior of a virus?

Collage: Star Trek “The Borg” + Virus
Image: Star Trek “The Borg” 
Image: Virus 

Yes, a virus behaves mostly mechanically. We act like we invented mechanicity. But we did not. Our psychology is mostly mechanical these days, which is probably why so many of us become so identified with technological gadgets.

Like a virus we pursue our desires frenetically; incessantly, like the Terminator pursues Sarah Connors. Our programming is constantly being updated, refreshed, and re-written by advertising, media, and our own fantasizing…the worst application of our precious imagination; our higher operating system infected by our own egos.

It is our mechanicity, our binary intellectual thinking which is responsible for our species becoming the most devastating virus on this planet.

We need to embrace another aspect of ourselves. The higher aspect. We need to expand our awareness. Our consciousness.

We need to relax. Why this frenetic pace? Why this obsession with limitless growth?

We need to be aware. Why am I doing this or that? Am I really acting out of free will, conscious and alert to what I am feeling, thinking, saying and doing? Or, am I just reacting mechanically to internal and external stimuli?

We need to be healthy. Why do we shovel garbage into our bodies? Not just our physical bodies, but also our mental and emotional bodies? Why do we consume junk media? Gossip? Feed our darkest desires and think, feel and act in ways which serve as stressors on our minds, hearts and bodies?

Finally, we need to be human. It is imperative that we begin to comprehend what it means to be human. We need to awaken to the fact that our quaint notions of “the human condition” and “human behavior” are nothing more than conditioned ways of thinking about ourselves; convenient excuses for every kind of mechanistic, hedonistic, and animalistic activity causing harm to ourselves and others.

Relaxed, aware, healthy, human…AHH! We believe these are the corner stones of a truly Advanced Human. And they are the reasons why we create Advanced Human Habitats. Not just advanced habitats for humans; but also habitats which encourage and support truly advanced humans.

We believe in helping Human beings be at their BEST: Building EcoSystems & Technology.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

When are Human Beings at their BEST?

Image: ‘Last Child in the Woods’ Words by Richard Louv; Painting by Michael Malm

Achieving a State of Optimal Well Being and Peak Performance

Our “Best.”

It’s something almost everyone is looking for in one way or another. We want the best job, so we can get the best house, drive the best car, wear the best clothes, and attract the best life partner. We care most for our best friend. We follow the news to see who’s best in the world, knowing the most any of us can ever hope to achieve is our personal best.

And what is that? What does it mean to be “at our best?” And how does one go about achieving it?

There have been countless self-help books and lectures on topics ranging from “personal power” to “peak performance.” Their tone ranges from dry secular theory to borderline religious fervor.

The New Age movement promises an impending “Golden Age” just around the corner in which human beings are all at their very best. Allegedly, all we need to do is align ourselves with its higher vibrations (think positive, feel good, etc).

Regardless of what you believe it means to be at your best and what you can do on a personal level to achieve it, there is unequivocal scientific evidence (and common sense) to support the simple notion that we are heavily conditioned by our environment.

For instance: we are what we eat. “GIGO:” garbage in; garbage out. If we surround ourselves with negative people and influences, there is a good chance they will influence us in a negative way. Environment affects us mentally, emotionally and physically. Fairly straightforward.

So what is the best environment? Nature.

Nature is the only environment that simultaneously calms the nerves while elevating the senses. Our natural state as human beings is one of wellness, peace & harmony. It is the state we all strive for, and the state we are happiest when we manage to achieve. It is, in a word, our best.

To achieve our best state naturally, a natural environment is what’s best for us. It makes sense. The healthiest air, water and food is naturally produced air, water and food. It’s not called “the Great Outdoors” for nothing.

Practically speaking, we can’t work or study outdoors in the middle of January in Canada. The next best thing is to bring the best of the natural environment indoors: the ecosystem.

This is what PeapodLife does. We help you be at your best with the BEST—Building EcoSystems & Technology. Our ecosystems create living walls which not only look amazing, they make you feel incredible—revitalized and alert, yet soothed and relaxed.

BEST environments naturally promote a state of wellness, peace & harmony—the natural state of any high-order ecosystem—which is the natural state of human beings. It is in this state that we feel at our best, function at our optimal efficiency, and are most resilient to any threats to our health & wellness.

Everybody knows that relaxed yet elevated feeling of “AHH!” It’s why we call it Advanced Human Habitat. It’s not just advanced habitat for humans, it’s habitat for advanced humans. Humans at their best conditioned by environments at their BEST: at work, rest and play.

AHH! Be at your BEST with PeapodLife.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

The Most Powerful Force in the Universe

Image By PeapodLife: Where there is Love there is Life: like peas in a pod…PeapodLife

“Where there is love, there is life.”
~ Mohandas Ghandi
The Most Powerful Force in the Universe
Now Available for Your Home, Workplace, Health & Wellness Centre, more…

It’s the rarest thing in the universe (or so it seems). Life.

Do you take life for granted sometimes? How much life do you surround yourself with? At work? At home? Do you feel stressed? Rushed? Stretched? Maxed out, even?

What about love? Do you feel loved? Do you feel love itself? Do you feel love for others? Or, like so many in this day and age, are you filled with cynicism—sick and tired of the way things are?

If the above quote by Mahatma Ghandi is any indication, there is a strong connection between life and love. And does not love conquer all? Surely Ghandi new a thing or two about conquering with love.

All the stress. All the anxiety. All the suffering. What’s the one antidote? The warm yet cooling sensation of love. The relaxing yet invigorating feeling of love. The soothing yet strengthening presence of love.

Doesn’t nature, life, not have the same effect?

Where there is love, there is life. The reverse is also true. Nature is love, because love is the essence of nature: the most powerful force in the universe. Nature is integrity itself. It feeds the body, stimulates the mind, nourishes the soul.

“One Love, One Life, when it’s One Need in the Night.”

We could all use a little more of this most powerful force in our lives. For that reason, people have tried for millennia to describe it, capture it, create it, bottle it, etc. And certainly, we all are guilty of “looking for love in all the wrong places.”

Look no further. Life and Love are like two peas in a pod. Now you can enjoy the essence of life, love, the most powerful force in the universe, wherever you live, work, heal, etc.

Life and love as one. Peas in a pod. This is the essence of PeapodLife.

So what makes PeapodLife living wall ecosystems so special? What about other’s green walls, living walls, hydroponic gardens, etc? Don’t they accomplish the same thing?

Don’t take our word for it. Experience the difference for yourself…spend a few minutes, hours, days, weeks with our competitors’ living walls and other systems. Observe how they whither, atrophy, and die over time. How does all this make you feel? 

Now stand next to a PeapodLife ecosystem for 30 seconds. Feel the difference for yourself. Experience our ecosystems as minutes melt into hours, days, weeks, months, years. Observe how they grow, flourish, thrive, with no soil and no fertilizers. Only bi-monthly or quarterly Eco-care by PeapodLife specialists. How does living surrounded by the very essence of life itself make you feel?

So what about indoor gardens, potted plants, etc.? Surely they survive for years?

Not soil. That faint aroma of putrefying soil which you need to regularly change or fertilize is the telltale sign of perpetual death and decay. How do you think such artificial life support really affects you?

So what’s our secret? How has PeapodLife managed to accomplish what humanity couldn’t over thousands of years, and what took Mother Nature billions of years to accomplish!?

There is no secret, really. We simply observed; listened. Mother Nature showed us exactly what she needed. We helped her be at her very best, love, even amidst the largely lifeless, heartless spaces of modern society. In return, our indoor ecosystems thrive and produce the very essence of life.

Practically speaking, everything we need to feed our bodies, minds and souls: purest natural air, water, food…all with love. We reap what we sow. This is PeapodLife’s secret…where there is love there is life.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Tapping the Untapped Power of Human Nature

"Nature has set no limit to the realization of our hopes." "What must appear to us today to be a fantastic hope will in time become possible." 
~ Condorcet 


Image: Man contemplating his Nature, from “Human is environment” series by Denis C. Feliz

“In the Human imagination, the environment can be restricted to pristine forest, rivers of clear waters and wildlife endangered…lost paradises, far from our reality…a sharp cry of distress asking for help. Again, men understand themselves as different beings and do not comprehend that the urban areas, slums, the sewage system, insects and all other beings who inhabit the cities are also the environment.”
~ Denis C. Feliz

We love the above sentiments and digital artwork series entitled “Human is environment” by Brazilian digital artist Denis C. Feliz.

We do not share these images and sentiments in isolation, however. In the big picture that is PeapodLife, we offer the following sentiment from John Locke:

"Man is a product of his environment. Change the environment and change the man.” 
~ Locke

What is the implication of the unity of these two remarks? Well, for starters, man has changed. A lot. And not entirely for the better.

Since the dawn of the industrial revolution and the technological age, we have not only lost touch with the natural environment, we have lost touch with the fact that we are changing our own nature in the process, since we are no less a product of the environments we live in today as ever we were.

And then, as always, third one’s the charm:

"Nature has set no limit to the perfection of human abilities." 
~ Condorcet.

What are these abilities? Technological? Really?

Has modern economics, industrialization and indeed, technology, made us more human or less? Are we more connected to one another and all living creatures, or more connected to economics, technology, and consumption itself?

Are we more conscious, or do we need some form of external stimuli, technological crutches, psychedelic and psychotropic drugs? Do we have more natural energy, or do we rely on energy drinks?

Are we evolving, naturally, or is our vision of human evolution limited to how we can meddle with our genetic code or fuse our physical bodies to machines and computers?

Have we taken Marshall McLuhen’s terribly misguided conclusion that “the medium is the message” to the nth degree, and fallen into the trap of believing that the medium is the meaning (of life)?

Image: African Woman, from “Human is environment” series by Denis C. Feliz

“The work "Human is environment" shows how we are integrating a complex and interdependent system. The paintings illustrate in a critical and direct way how we are perishable and increasingly distant from our own animal nature. It makes us reflect on our presence and action in the world and how our capacity for domination can lead to environmental chaos and therefore our own annihilation. This is a work which shows the latent blindness of human pride.” 
~ Denis C. Feliz 

Feliz’s work (and words) reveals the great humbling power of nature. Humble power. It’s not an oxymoron.

Patience is a virtue; so too is humility. There was a time when humankind put virtues on a pedestal and aspired to greatness by overcoming their more base animal instincts. In other words, we aspired to our true nature. Which is, as it turns out, the true nature of nature itself: sacrifice, non-attachment, love.

Feliz suggests we have a romanticized view of nature as “lost paradises,” he might just as well have been talking about any old-school notions of virtue: “far from our reality.”

Humankind now puts vices on a pedestal and aspires to greatness by indulging in our most basic animal instincts. Like the worst kind of parasites, we carry plagues and pestilence to all four corners of the globe and call it “progress.” Like bottom-feeders, we slip ever deeper in the muck of our own psyche.

And yet, there is hope. There is no need to wallow in the mud. We can still immerse ourselves with the cleansing, ever-giving ocean of love that is nature in its highest form. We can swim in an ocean of that positive energy, even in our own homes, offices, workplaces, etc.

Image: Man’s Connection to the Ocean, from “Human is environment” series by Denis C. Feliz

Yes, we can once again attune ourselves in harmony with the highest frequencies and vibrations of Mother Nature. We can create environments which resonate with her best qualities of sacrifice, abundance, evolution and love.

We can literally put her on a pedestal and just BE with her again. Her best qualities become our finest qualities. Her infinite wisdom and incalculable timeless intelligence inform our intelligence. Her infinite beauty inspires our greatness. Her power to at once soothe and invigorate us empowers us to evolve, naturally.

"We will have no other goal than the absolute perfection of the human race."
~ Condorcet

PeapodLife is a simple way to reconnect with nature’s highest life-giving values: clean air, living water, freshest organic local food, all of which support the perfection of health & wellness.

PeapodLife is also an easy way to put Mother Nature’s highest values back where they belong: soothing our suffering, invigorating our consciousness, both of which support the perfection of our hearts and minds.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Does the Solar Industry have a Dark Side?

Image: Dilapidated Solar Panels.

"One of the greatest pains to human nature is the pain of a new idea."
— Walter Bagehot - British businessman, essayist and journalist

In the light of Global warming, low emission renewable energy sources such as solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies are growing rapidly. In 2009 there were 9 GW in PV power installed worldwide, half of it in Europe.  According to the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) this number will increase and reach 22 GW in 2013 [1]. The installed PV power in Canada grew from 94.57 MW at the end of 2009 to 291.13 MW in 2010 [2].

The Motto is: "Go Green and promote the PV Industry!" And why not? The sun produces enough energy in one hour to power the Earth’s population for an entire year [3]. Let’s use this energy that comes free to us. But the problem is that the PV Industry is not as green as it seems. Just because there is no waste produced during the operation of the solar module does not mean there is no waste produced at all. It is not so much the waste produced during production of the solar modules as the solar module itself when it reaches the end of its life cycle. For example: 20 MW of installed PV power equals to approximately 1 Million modules [4]. Given 22 GW in 2013, we are talking about more than a billion spent modules that will need to be dealt with. What will happen to these modules at the end of their lifecycles? 

The PV industry relies on the use of toxic materials like Cadmium and Lead.  Cadmium and Lead are toxic substances that effect the cardiovascular organ system as well as the development of the organ system during periods of growth [5].  The average consumer has no means to recycle a spent solar module and will most likely take their modules to the next landfill. The government should assume its environmental responsibility and regulate the PV manufacturing industry to ensure the recycling of solar modules.

Europe has two directives that deal with the problem of toxic materials and the manufacturing responsibility: The directive on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHs), which includes substances like Mercury, Cadmium, Lead, Chromate, PBB and PBDE. Its goal is to avert or to substitute these substances.  The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE-Directive) imposes the responsibility on the manufacturers of such equipment and aspires to establish an infrastructure for collecting WEEE to use the collected waste in an ecologically-friendly manner [6]. But these policies currently allow an exemption for solar modules.

To prevent or to delay the admission of solar modules to the RoHs and WEEE Directive, the solar associations, EPIA and other solar companies formed in 2007, a voluntary PV recycling initiative called PV CYCLE which as of this date is only a European pursuit.  PV CYCLE represents approximately 90% of the European solar market today [7]. Consumers, who, having purchased solar modules from members of PV CYCLE, get to recycle their spent solar modules for free if they transport their modules to one of the collection points of PV CYCLE. There are 272 collection points which are located in all EU Member States as well as in the European Free Trade Associations (EFTA) countries, which include Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Solar modules which were collected at these points are transported to specialized recycling facilities.

Image: Solar Power Recycling   

There are only two recycling plants which operate on an industrial scale. The pilot plant SUNICON is located in Freiberg (Germany). This plant is recycling modules made with solar cells using crystalline silicon. The plant has a capacity of 1000 tons per year [8]. There is also a recycling plant for cadmium telluride (CdTe) modules owned by FIRST SOLAR [9].  The cost of the recycling is covered by their revenue. In addition they claim to be able to recover 95% of the Cadmium they recycle, furthermore FIRST SOLAR created funding for modules that may need to be recycled when the company does no longer exist.

Unless there are efforts made by the industry to accommodate the expected 35 000 tons of spent solar modules expected annually by 2020 [10], they will not be prepared. The industry has been facing this problem for several years now but the investments to solve it have been minimal. This is mainly because recycling is not an economically favorable option and as long as it stays this way the industry has little reason to maintain the existing voluntary initiatives to recycle.  A study undertaken by N. C. McDonald and J. M. Pearce shows that “the initial cost of landfill disposal for…  solar modules is lower than the cost of recycling the modules, which will still make landfill more favorable than recycling for companies with short-term thinking even if the recycling is profitable overall [11].” Therefore the government needs to step in to keep solar modules and their hazardous substances out of our landfills.

The concept of producer responsibility in the traditional energy industry is new. The average consumer is not presented with the means to deal responsibly with the hazardous waste from a spent solar module. Should the government decide to use the concept of producer responsibility for the solar industry as suggested in Europe’s WEEE directive, it should not lead to a competitive disadvantage for the solar industry. It would be unfair and most tragic to possibly destroy a truly sustainable energy industry over the issue of recycling their waste, since their waste is miniscule in comparison to the waste associated with the traditional energy sources like nuclear, oil and coal energy.

Anna Schwaer,
Environmental Scientist,

[1] EPIA - European Photovoltaic Industry Association
[2] cansia - Canadian Solar Industries Association: International Energy Agency: Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme: National Report 2010
[3] Photovoltaics - Your sun your energy
[4] SPIEGEL online - Recycling von Modulen: Solar-Konzerne kämpfen um ihr grünes Image by Von Sascha Rentzing
[5] ATSDR - Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry - Cadmium
[6] - European Commission
[7] PV CYCLE - Non-for-profit association managing a fully operational collection and recycling scheme for end-of-life photovoltaic modules throughout Europe
[8] SolarWorld AG - Hochwertige Photovoltaik-/ Solaranlagen: SolarWorld
[9] First Solar - Committed to Reducing Our Carbon Footprint and Environmental Impact
[10] SPIEGEL online - Recycling von Modulen: Solar-Konzerne kämpfen um ihr grünes Image by Von Sascha Rentzing
[11] - Energy Policy - Producer responsibility and recycling solar photovoltaic modules

This article was contributed by Anna Schwaer, an Environmental Scientist from Toronto, Canada. Anna has four years of wide ranging work experience in the photovoltaic industry. She studied Environmental Science at the Carl von Ossietzky University in Oldenburg, Germany and focused her study there on Limnic and Marine Ecology.
Since April 2013 she considers herself as a freelance collaborator of PeapodLife Building EcoSystems & Technology. She can be reached at LinkedIn: Anna Schwaer.