"That is awesome, dude! That is so cool!"
The thin young man in black T-shirt with student backpack was staring in delight at a small man in a lab coat. The researcher was framed by two tall glass vials that reached above his head. They were glowing green, illuminated by fluorescent grow lights, and their contents slowly rose and bubbled, like a cross between a lava lamp and a potion for Dr. Jekyll. The scientist, Pengcheng (Patrick)Fu, PhD, was making fuel out of water, sunlight or grow light, carbon dioxide, and algae treated with a bacteria he had developed. The result was a small amount of ethanol.
Let me say that again: Dr. Fu was making fuel by photosynthesis.
Pond scum rules!
This sight stirred my sense of wonder. The young man seemed to me to experience not only wonder, but hope -- the real possibility that he might not be condemned to live in a dystopia of fossil fuel emissions and their exhaustion -- that earth-friendly energy might be within human grasp.
Pengcheng (Patrick) Fu, Sunnol Biotechnology LLC, 3636 Kanaina Avenue, Honolulu, Hawaii 96815, USA, email firstname.lastname@example.org. My attempt to look at his website was complicated by the fact that it's in Chinese.
I saw other energy adaptations. Solar energy collectors on the hood and roof of an electric car kept it recharged. (At night the garage needs a big grow light.) Indoor lights nourished hanging plants that absorbed toxins from the air. Sculptural whirling vertical semi-helices made an urban wind turbine, ready now to attach to a roof and provide part of a family's energy needs.
NextFest inspired me with a sense that where there is a will to find clean and cheap sources of fuel and electricity, there is a way. The will to save the environment expresses itself through politics, as well as through personal recycling and conservation. Everyone can help.