2 Dec Life in Santiago with New Zealand friends
My friends Leah and Peter are from New Zealand, we met in Arequipa in Peru. They have kept in touch with me here in Santiago as they have a son here who´s wife just had a baby. I walked to their place which is down the bottom of a very long road called Irarrazaval and they were not far from the station. It was around 1 hour to walk there. I am getting fit I have to say.
We had coffee and they told me it was Peter´s birthday and their son Mark had invited us all to dinner. So we walked there and it turns out it is half way to my host´s house. So we walked to the apartment and I met their tall son Mark and his Chillian wife Bibi. I saw their delightful child Sophie staring upon this new world. I wonder what she sees. We sat down with a beer, New Zealanders are so similar to Australian´s. I enjoyed my beer as my cold is getting better.
I started off by insulting Mark calling him a Geologist. His eye brows went up as he said he is a Geophysicist. What I like about Kiwi´s (that is what Australian´s call NZ´rs) is that they have similar sense of humour. I knew he would joke with me and he did. So let me say Mark is a Geophysist and he told me he had travelled the world for a year. He came to Chile for work and he really enjoyed working as a Geophysist here. He met his wife and they now have a lively baby. So he is staying. I told him isn´t it incredible how fate works, you would never have thought yourself living in Chile. He agreed. He told me he works with renewable energy, my ears pricked up there. I asked him if climate change is a real phenomenon, he said there are arguments about the science but he believes it is. We talked about renewables and I said I believed it is the future. I think people will move off the grid. The public opinion on fossil fuels would be in alignment with the idea that they are running down and contributing to CO2 emissions. I think once efficient technologies come to the market, people will adopt renewables, these include wind power, solar, biomass, thermal, hydro and ethanol to name a few. I might add here that sustainability is based on the theory that there is no loss that it retains balance. So this is why people push for renewables and others in the energy industry push to keep business as usual or go for nuclear power generation. One seeks self sufficiency the other wants a profitable industry.
Here is some information from Wikipedia…Renewable energy is energy which comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat, which are renewable (naturally replenished). In 2008, about 19% of global final energy consumption came from renewables, with 13% coming from traditional biomass, which is mainly used for heating, and 3.2% from hydroelectricity. New renewables (small hydro, modern biomass, wind, solar, geothermal, and biofuels) accounted for another 2.7% and are growing very rapidly. The share of renewables in electricity generation is around 18%, with 15% of global electricity coming from hydroelectricity and 3% from new renewables.
Wind power is growing at the rate of 30% annually, with a worldwide installed capacity of 158 gigawatts (GW) in 2009, and is widely used in Europe, Asia, and the United States. At the end of 2009, cumulative global photovoltaic (PV) installations surpassed 21 GW and PV power stations are popular in Germany and Spain. Solar thermal power stations operate in the USA and Spain, and the largest of these is the 354 megawatt (MW) SEGS power plant in the Mojave Desert. The world’s largest geothermal power installation is The Geysers in California, with a rated capacity of 750 MW. Brazil has one of the largest renewable energy programs in the world, involving production of ethanol fuel from sugar cane, and ethanol now provides 18% of the country’s automotive fuel. Ethanol fuel is also widely available in the USA.
While many renewable energy projects are large-scale, renewable technologies are also suited to rural and remote areas, where energy is often crucial in human development. Globally, an estimated 3 million households get power from small solar PV systems. Micro-hydro systems configured into village-scale or county-scale mini-grids serve many areas. More than 30 million rural households get lighting and cooking from biogas made in household-scale digesters. Biomass cookstoves are used by 160 million households. Climate change concerns, coupled with high oil prices, peak oil, and increasing government support, are driving increasing renewable energy legislation, incentives and commercialization. New government spending, regulation and policies helped the industry weather the global financial crisis better than many other sectors.
So I will study environment next year and develop a vision of peace with the planet. Mark liked that idea and we settled into eating dinner. I also talked with the Chillian grandparents that were at the table. The twoo grandmother´s were doting on this baby, who got very excited. The Chllian grandma could not take her hands off this little angel and she got responses in smiles etc. I sat back and thought I may ask a few questions. So i asked her what life was like when she was young. She said there were no high rises, some homes had 15 rooms and the families were very close knit. The husband said there was work around so they were not struggling. I told them I see many people kissing, they are so romantic here, I was told it is cultural. I wondered if that was why families were close, they really didn´t know why that was. It is just the way it is in this culture. Leah said there would be problems behind closed doors. Myself and Leah compared to Western culture. I felt our families are falling apart and people are competitive and critical in families. Leah said we are independent and you learn a lot when you leave home. I commented that culturally we are expected to be out by 18-20. In Chile they may stay home until 30 or for the rest of their lives, there is no judgement around it. In Australia you would be seen as holding on to your mum, not growing up or a mama´s boy. So it is not social acceptable. Independence is and making your way in the world. I am sure Leah is right in saying it does expand life experience, however the breakdown of family is a problem. Somehow to find the balance I feel is the key. It was lovely listening to translation and looking into the warmth of this grandmother´s face. I feel priviledged to be able to be there and share food in this culture.
I will be leaving in 2 days for New Zealand and I am ready to go. I have been mostly sick here so I have been limited. In some ways I don´t mind, as I am not into cities. However, when I see the Andes, I just marvel at their magnificence and it reinforces my desire to study the brilliance of nature.
We had a good time around the table and ate some delicious food with pisco the traditional drink. It is a lemon drink with very strong alcohol. So I was feeling comfortably numb.
The grandparents offered to give me a lift home as it was around a half hour walk. Their daughter is coming to Brisbane next year and I gave her my email. I will give her a hand if I can.
Anyway, feeling good and will head to bed in a moment. I had a good day after a fairly turbulent night thinking about my conflict. But I do feel better now and really want to put it behind me. You can´t change the ignorance of people if they are not open to learning and looking for truth. I can only do that, that is my business. Some people say why both, it is very important for you to speak your truth. It doesn´t matter if others don´t listen. It is to live in authenticity. To also be open that your truth may be incorrect, be open to learn. I am persistent but I am open.
I go to my bedroom and a little present is sitting on my pillow. I was really touched by that. I saw two stickers on it from Cristobell´s mum and grandmother. They wanted me to take something of Chile with me. I was really touched by the gesture. I really loved Cris´s mum she was giving and warm. I felt the love in her. She obviously felt it in me. Now I will have sweet dreams.