In the USA, surprise, helium is subsidized. If you need to find out more, check the Helium Stewardship Act and Balloon Council. With all this helium at a low cost, it is not beyond my imagination that airships could become the new mode of green travel for people and cargo.
A less revolutionary idea that takes a spin on the past is the rebirth of sailing ships. Harnessing the power of wind is just as easy as putting sails on a boat.
Probably beyond practical use, but still interesting to consider would be paragliding long distances in the jet stream. The Jet Stream extends about 7-12km high which is below the Armstrong Limit; however, anywhere above 8km without pressure help is dangerous for oxygen levels. So, the safe range for this is about 7-8km.
A probably more practical idea that is being tested right now are solar-powered airplanes which could possibly replace gasoline powered airplanes someday.
Some people in places that get snow still go dog-sledding to and from places.
A few other things I know are out there are biogas cars, woodgas cars, compressed air vehicles, electric/hybrid cars, and public transportation. Also, the HyperLoop is currently in the early development phase.
Instead of those boring commutes to work, maybe we could create networks of ziplines and towers to get from one place to another. I would sure enjoy that!
Some things that most people already know about are hybrid cars, electric cars, hybrid bikes, and electric bikes. Here are some neat examples of them: Copenhagen Wheel, YikeBike...
Some things people might not know about are human-powered cars, or Velomobiles. There are also human-electric hybrids like this and this; However, until these newer industries mature, they might have some trouble getting buyers. Used cars, hybrid/electric/gas are cheaper and easier to get. Just check Craigslist.
For those in windy areas, adding a Kite Wing to your daily travels may make travel more enjoyable. It extends the concept of Land-Surfing to beyond just beaches.
For those near rivers and bodies of water, paddling together on large boats could be a new/old form of commuting. One of the benefits is you get to work out those arm muscles while chatting to your coworkers.
In colder places, it may be feasible to ice-skate or go tobogganing as a means of travel.
Any other ideas on alternative travel? What is out there? What do you know of? What crazy ideas are out?
The first link has a few more links to related stuff.
Fantastic stuff! And unlike most of the other things mentioned, it's clearly established that the sort of vessels required can be built with very basic tools, in a pinch. Too bad we don't have more quality timber around, though...
I don't really expect this will be a pivotal, broadly-used technology any time soon, barring a really, really sharp collapse... but having a handful of going concerns would make a tremendous difference if it became urgently needed. And in any case, I find this resurgence disproportionately exciting!
Has anyone seen any other examples?
Electric auxiliary engines are bound to come into their own sooner or later, and would fit nicely with a sailboat grain-fleet...
Helium being a non-renewable resource last I heard, it seems an odd fit for a permaculture-aligned transport option, subsidy or no!
I think sail an awesome model and says a lot about the company when the deliver as expected. They need to be able to deliver promptly and keep it cool. Thank full that's exactly the conditions in the hull below the waterline. Relative to the surface and atmosphere that is.
I like the idea of airships. And who doesn't like hot air balloons? Asshats at boeing and the FAA that's who. And in my experience most of the people associated with those two groups are pretty cool. I mean most of them aren't permies... not yet... but there not Asshats either.
But yeah. Wind. Wind is awesome. Way lots power.
Have you seen skateboards with sails? The consumer safety bit isn't quite figured out on those but it's pretty sick stuff.
More prosaically, my friend here in Ladakh got a little folding commuter bike and would catch a ride with someone one way and ride the other way. Those commuter bikes are unheard of in India, though we saw them everywhere in Singapore; so people really did a double-take -- it looks like an adult on a little toy thingie. Made plenty of comment. He rode over the pass to Ladakh on the last day it was open last winter, several dozen miles.
Rebecca Norman wrote:When the weather is too cold for bicycling, some cities might have frozen canals along major arteries of the city and you can skate everywhere, I saw a cool link recently, but sorry, have forgotten it now.
Old news. You know that happened in holland? I'd bet a permie nickle no-one here has the right date for that though.
Rebecca Norman wrote:Yes yes, of course it started in Holland as a big event, a race in the rare years when the canals would freeze. But just recently I saw an article where a city in Canada had a whole lovely proposal for urban skateways through the city, all charmingly landscaped to look right in summer and winter, with special rubber crosswalks for people on shoes, and everything.
That sounds cool. did they have to pour a bunch of new concrete?