Break down, from the ground up.
That is our simple motto. Question everything to its fundamental core. Simplify to the base tenets and no simpler. It is not sufficient to understand something by analogy alone. Rather to truly understand something, one must break it down into its first principles.
We are a couple of engineering graduates with a deep appreciation for the scientific process and its application to environmental subjects. We want to give our technical and personal take on things, and also provide you with the tools to understand the issues at stake. By using 'back of the envelope' calculations, we will show how rough estimates can help you quickly understand the gist of a complex idea. Click here to get the first episode.
The Dutch farmers protests had been heating up over the past summer.
What are the origins of the protests?
Are there technological solutions that exist to solve the issues?
Let's analyze from first principles!
Green Investment is a buzzword and if you are not careful, you could potentially be giving away your money to a bunch of snake oil salesmen!
We give an example of this phenomenon in this episode.
ESG stands for Environmental, Social, and Governance scoring.
These are criteria that corporations must follow in order to demonstrate compliance with meta profit initiatives.
But, do ESGs really do what they set out to do?
Climate Trace is the new brain child of Al Gore.
It purports to use satellite data, amongst other technologies like Artificial Intelligence to track and locate CO2 pollution sources.
There are several flaws with their methodology.
In this episode, we unpack some of these flaws and the dangers posed.
Why is nuclear energy ignored by so called 'environmental' activists? For example, the Green New Deal failed to make mention of it and countries like Germany have shut down their nuclear powerplants to rely more on coal and Russian oil.
We wanted to take a closer look at nuclear and see if we could make a case for its use, from First Principles.
Sustainability is definitely a buzzword.
Whether it's corporations or governments, everyone wants to claim they are doing things in a 'sustainable' manner.
But what does sustainable actually mean?
David Suzuki is a renowned voice for environmentalism.
He recently got himself in some hot water with some radical comments about blowing up oil pipelines.
Was David Suzuki advocating for eco-terrorism? We discuss the controversy surrounding these comments in this episode.
Global leaders recently gathered for COP26 to discuss the future of climate change and how countries would take actions to 'save the planet'.
What were the results of the talks?
You might be surprised at some of the findings.
What is the waste associated with electric vehicles? Surely it's not zero. Yet it's a question often ignored by mainstream content curators.
We investigate the environmental costs of electric vehicles.
Global greening is one of the interesting developments of climate change that was unexpected by most. It's the premise that with increased CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, trees and plant life will benefit, thrive, and generate greater yield. This seems logical as plants consume CO2 as their primary energy source.
Is the greening effect being overlooked, or worse, being demonized as a negative consequence?
The IPCC recently released another report documenting the status of climate change.
This has led to continual media hysteria with respect to a climate crisis.
Is the hysteria justified? Or is the media hype overblown?
Hydrogen is the most abundant molecule in the universe. It can be used for a multitude of applications, including energy storage and transportation.
In this episode, we analyze the potential use for Hydrogen in the current economy and environment.
There is a lot of doom and gloom surrounding environmentalists due to a supposed impending climate catastrophe. We hope to change this outlook by analyzing some of the positive elements of recent climate developments and technological innovations.
Elon Musk is a huge proponent of a Carbon Tax.
But what is a carbon tax and what does it do?
The idea comes from Nobel prize winning economist William Nordhaus, and states that we should include the cost of carbon emissions in the price of goods. This is because carbon has health externalities associated with it. So, if we price carbon into the cost of goods, this will encourage people to buy things with a lower carbon content as they will be cheaper, leading to a reduction in carbon emissions.
Let's take a closer look at various energy storage methodologies that can be used for the large-scale electrical grid.
We cover well known technologies such as battery storage and less prominent forms such as thermal and gravity storage.
With increased incorporation of renewable energies into the electrical power grid, it is more imporant now than ever before to consider how we will store energy when the sun don't shine and the wind don't blow.
In this episode, we look at a case study that tries to assess the feasibility of powering the Ontario electrical grid with 100% renewable energy, supplemented by battery storage.
With growing integration of renewable energy systems into the mainstream grid, it is crucial to ensure the transition is done such that we do not compromise people's access to electricity. That means, blackouts due to insufficient electrical availability from renewable sources are simply unacceptable.
What would an electrical grid powered by solar and wind energy look like? We tried to analyze this problem from a simplistic model, using some basic back-of-the-envelope calculations.
Listen to this podcast for a review of renewable energy technologies, some of the challenges (indluding policy), and how they compare to nuclear and fossil fuels in various countries.
Environmental discussions related to global warming and climate change are becoming more frequent. This was true in the Vice Presidential debate that took place between Kamala Harris and Mike Pence, where global warming, wildfires, forest management, renewable energy, and many such subjects were discussed.
We tried to analyze these segments of the debate to see the full picture and understand the issues from first principles.
House Resolution 109, better known as the Green New Deal, discusses ambitious environmental overhaoul of essentially all US markets. Though certain environmental targets are proposed, they are burried within a lengthy social (possibly socialist), economic agenda, which is what this policy is truly about.
GND hides its economic and social agenda behind a green "environmental" facade. All you need to do is read the first few lines and this becomes perfectly clear. Lucky for you, we took care of it so you do not have to waste your brain cells on that crap. Listen to our podcast analyzing the Green New Deal!
This documentary was recently released by filmmakers Jeff Gibbs and Michael Moore. It is an attempt to reconcile the current status of green technology and sutainability, however, the solutions proposed are grim to say the least.
There has been a recent surge of eco anxiety, which is defined as a feeling of fear towards environmental damage and disaster. We took a look at eco anxiety and analyzed its merits, how it has been misused, and also how to deal with eco anxiety based on our own experience.
Was the speech at the UN by Greta Thunberg based on merit or was it the typical outcry of an emotional teenager? We tried to take a balanced and honest approach at analyzing the speech given by Greta during the UN assembly.
The health benefits of a vegan diet are much proclamined. However, we were interested in analyzing the environmental impact of a vegan diet and a diet based on crickets as a source of nutrients. Listen to our podcast to find out the results because you may be surprised by the actual impact these diets have on the environment.
The carnivore diet has gained much popularity for its health benefits. We were, however, more curious about the environmental cost of a diet that relied explicitly on meat. What we discovered was that there was a large difference on your net environmental impact when the primary source of meat was beef vs. chicken.
Peak oil theory states that global production of oil must exist as a bell curve distribution. Opponents argue that empirical data does not match this theory as production has deviated significantly. Which side is right? Is peak oil just a myth, or do we need to start thinking about post-oil? We dive into these questions on episode 1 of First Principles podcast.
Email us if you have suggestions for future shows, feedback for an episode, or if you are an advertiser wishing to work together.
Sign up below to stay up-to-date with First Principles Podcast. We don't spam.