Ideas from Contributors

Send in your idea in under 250 words, with subject title 'Ozidea'

An energy-based currency

from Dennis Spain

It is becoming increasingly obvious that we as a species need to be more far-sighted with respect to energy sourcing and distribution, and many people are starting to recognize the pressing need for a transition to a world economy based on hydrogen as the main energy source.  As fundamental as this shift to a hydrogen-based world economy will be, however, an even more encompassing shift in economic outlook will result from the adoption of a hydrogen-based monetary system.

Humanity is presently enslaved to monetary systems that support an energy production and distribution network that is wreaking havoc with the biosphere, while concentrating wealth in a financial elite at an ever-increasing rate.  Worldwide the agricultural, industrial, and service economic sectors are all being based increasingly on systems of activity that do not have sustainable, renewable energy inputs, and that create outputs which are doing irreparable harm to the natural order.  

A true strengthening of the economic life of nations ultimately depends upon an intact biosphere and an appreciation for sustainability in all its forms.  I propose that a renewable currency based on a novel definition of wealth is necessary to support the perspective of sustainability. Presently money is created out of thin air in the governmentally-authorized accounts of certain central banks. The amount of money created is decided by a handful of economic experts. That currency or credit is backed only by the faith that a populace puts in it.

A renewable monetary unit could be constructed in the form of currency backed by stored hydrogen that has been generated exclusively >from renewable energy sources.  Any entity, whether individual, corporate, or governmental, that generates hydrogen from renewable energy sources would be creating by that act the backing for currency or credit that could be used as a medium of exchange throughout the world economy.  This hydrogen energy currency would function in the same way as do the present currencies, but subject to the constraint that the hydrogen backing the currency could be produced only by capturing and transforming the available cyclical energy flows that exist on the planet's surface, all of which can be traced back to solar energy.

The primary energy producers in the system would become the creators of credit and currency in a new, decentralized banking structure. Banking would essentially be the process of accounting for the production and use of the hydrogen in the economy.

We must come to realize that energy is the fundamental wealth, whether in the life of an individual or in the economic life of a nation.  In a hydrogen-denominated monetary system, stores of hydrogen and the hydrogen currency would be yoked together into a single system. 

Only the production of energy units in the form of stored hydrogen would create credit in this proposed system---not central govenrments, as is presently the case.  The primary producers of this energy create the backing for the currency that all elements of the society then use as a medium for exchange.   The beauty of this idea is that no individual, group, corporation, or even government entity is barred from creating hydrogen-backed money, as long as the energy required to create the hydrogen comes from renewable sources. The hydrogen becomes part of a "pool" which supples the energy demands of the society for all the various processes of production and service.

The hydrogen currency associated with the renewable production of hydrogen is circulated in the same way as any currency is now.  The value of these hydrogen units will rise and fall naturally with the amount of hydrogen that the primary producers in a society create, and the value of these units would ultimately be proportional to the production and service that results from the actual use of the hydrogen by the society as an energy source. 

At some point in the normal circulation of the hydrogen currency some entity must actually purchase hydrogen for use as a fuel in manufacturing or transportation, or any other acutal energy utilisation, and at that time the currency is automatically "consumed" by its endpoint use in the actual purchase of hydrogen fuel. The hydrogen currency that is used by any entity to purchase actual hydrogen fuel is removed from the books by the simple act of extinguishing the currency, in the same way that credit issued by a federal  bank is now  extinguished whenever a principal is paid off.

Hydrogen, nature's simplest and most energy-dense, oxidizable fuel, may be the answer to the question of how  to organize man's economic activity most justly.

Collecting ideas from the lonely elderly.

From Eliza Foster

To ask welfare recipients to volunteer an hour of their time each week to visit a lonely elderly person whom they know, to interview them and ask them what social inventions they can offer. From here comes the promise of some truly great ideas, as the elderly have lots of time to think about such things and probably do!

(This is an excellent idea, and not only welfare recipients could take it up. Security for the elderly makes it essential that others know who is visiting and when, and that there is some organisational link, except for established friends. No old person should be contacted by someone they do not know personally, or accept a visit from a stranger.

Telephone interviewing is also possible, through a voluntary organisation, especially for those who are bedbound but alert.

Taping is a good way to go about it, unless the interviewer has a shorthand.) 

A Web e-zine for Seniors,

from Alan Wheatley

Solar power for cooling units

from Alan Wheatley

Solar technology could be used to cool houses. Solar panels on the roofs of buildings could be connected to a cooling unit. When the temperature reaches say 30 degrees, the cooling system kicks in. So the sun provides its own source of power to make people comfortable instead of heat-stressed.

Internet access packages for seniors

from Alan Wheatley

A trade-union that I have read about has brokered a deal with a computer company and an internet service provider to offer packages to its members. My idea is that a socially responsible organisation such as an insurance company, health fund, retilrement village developer or radio station, could do the same, for a package that seniors could more easily afford. This might even be a drawcard to attract more customers.

Some earlier Ideas

  1. Reducing costs of elections - M. Tomlinson
  2. Slow-talking tapes for stroke patients - Ethel Date
  3. Pocket-cards for communication by language-handicapped people - Ethel Date
  4. A good sleep before a diagnosis is made of mental illness - Ethel Date
  5. A Community Room for your home - Geoff Smith
Reducing costs of elections - From M. Tomlinson.

Aim. To reduce the excessive influence of donations on the political process, so that governments are not influenced by the big donors, as with concessions to tobacco interests and Czech privatisations of state companies. Ineffective countermeasures have been imposing total limits on party expenditure (easily evaded) and state funding of political parties (which continue to raise more cash from donations.) Ideas:
• A cap on individual donations, such as limiting individuals to under $10,000 and companies to $20,000 and all donations must be declared. In this way individuals and companies would be free to make donations, parties would be free to solicit them; the only restriction on liberty would be on the freedom to make donations so large they have the effect of distorting the democratic process.
• A cap on campaign expenditure to 50 cents per voter would reduce shocking waste of Australian resources and allow a more level playing field. Even so, that means a very great expenditure in say, popular voting for a President, which can very well mean only millionaires need apply, as in USA.

Slow-Talking tapes, with repetition, for stroke victims to listen to.

These could help some stroke victims recover their language abilities because it can be difficult for them to follow the normal pace and lack of repetition in the usual tapes to listen to. Many of the old stories told orally down the generations contained a great deal of repetition in a way that added to the style of the story and helped to make them memorable. Ethel Date of Western Australia promotes this idea.

Pocket cards for people with language/literacy difficulties.

These cards contain basic messages relevant to the individual person, such as address, where they want to go, what they want to find, medical treatment in emergencies, could have logos on them so that the card-carrier could recognise each and select the one they wished to show someone. Possibly spirex-organised. Suggested by Ethel Date of Western Australia.

Sleep deprivation and diagnosis of mental illness.

Ethel Date of Western Australia suggests that sometimes lack of sleep produces symptoms of mental illness, not just the other way round, and that before a diagnosis for treatment is made, patients should be assured of several nights good sleep. To which could be added, some assurance of a little exercise in the fresh air, and of people in their normal environment who are friendly to them. Many people depressed because they feel rejected are in fact rejected, and as long as the environment is rude and hostile, verbal therapy can help little.

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