Life Supporting Infrastructure
in the Age of Climate Change
As Vinay Gupta put it, there are essentially six ways to die (see the picture1) and the infrastructure products are meant to protect human life – that’s why we call them life support products.
Also in this case we will address the problem in the same way, pointing out dangers and needs, then proposing some solutions in a form of sustainable and easy to make (and replicate) products.
Healthy people are dying when the temperature is to high to make the body cool itself with evaporation2. In 100% relative humidity, it is 35*C. In 50% humidity (typical for Samos in summer) it is 42*C. It is also the temperature where evaporating coolers stop working, due to the same reason.
Our solution will be to develop sustainable (solar or wind-powered) cooling devices, based on closed-cycle absorbtion3 or adsorbtion4 mechanisms. They are known already – only need creative implementation.
Installed in an adequately built shelter it will provide protection against heat waves.
Hypothermia is an extreme example of death due to low temperature. More common are cases when low temperature weakens people to the point when any infection, can kill them, especially vulnerable ones: already ill, elderly and children.
Technically, keeping people warm in cold weather is easier than keeping them cool in hot one. It breaks down into three elements5:
- adequate shelter, thermo-insulated, wind and waterproof, ventillated.
- adequate cloths6 and behaviour (diet included) keeping people warm inside and infection-resistant.
- adequate sources of heat, cheap, sustainable, clean and safe (solar air/water heaters, biogas or rocket stove heaters).
Hunger is not just a lack of calories. It is also lack of specific nutrients or oversupply of other. So, to prevent hunger we need to take care of the volume of food, but also its quality (aka “diet”). As mentioned above, dietary requirements change even with the season. So the solution will include:
- Food preservation devices, using safe and sustainable technologies (coolers, refrigerators, dehydrators, simple conservation technologies)
- Cookers and ovens (flameless cookers aka hayboxes, solar cookers and ovens7, biogas and rocket stove installations).
- Dietary and cooking guidelines based on locally available and seasonal food.
Lack of water kills slower than lack of air, but much faster than lack of food. Dirty (contaminated) water makes people ill and colludes to kill them along with other adverse factors.
Solutions will include:
- Water purification methods (portable and permanent filtering systems, solar stills)
- Water cooling (evaporation and other technologies)
- Water storage and transport
We are not in a position to offer medical supplies or training. But the foundation of health is hygiene – and in this area we have solutions to offer. They are partly embedded in previous topics (food, water), so here we will only list the rest of them:
- portable solar showers
- human-powered, solar heated washing machines
- solar (or wind-powered) water heaters
- composting toilets
- waste segregation and composting systems
- biogas installations
Again, we cannot offer neither medical nor security solutions, but for those with limited mobility, resulting from illness or injury, we can develop simple crutches, walkers and even wheelchairs, done in a sustainable and easy to replicate way.
We are now developing a series of products, supporting human-powered transport. It will include foldable and kittable bicycle trailers, convertible to handcarts, made out of wood or bamboo8.
We also plan to develop wood/bamboo framed bicycles and tricycles and equip them with assisting electric motors.
Another product in development is a standalone/portable USB charging station, powered by solar panel and small wind turbine. It will feature LED lights, powerful battery bank and optionally a wi-fi access point.
6 Including, for extreme situations, personal warming devices.
7 Solar and flameless cookers are important in context of growing plague of forest fires. Many people, living outdoor, use open flame to cook, which creates fire risk. Solar and flameless cookers can mitigate it substantially.