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On 3:19 PM by Rachel Preston Prinz in

In December 1973, at the age of 19, I stepped off a plane into the bitterly cold darkness in Winnipeg, Canada—the temperature was below -30 degrees, cold enough to freeze your breath. While driving across the flat, frozen prairie the next day I experienced the incredible power of the sun beating down from an impossibly clear blue sky—this seeming contradiction between hot and cold made an unforgettable impression on me.

In the following months, I was amazed to discover that almost no-one was building solar-heated structures in this part of the world, seemingly missing the obvious connection between predictable need (for warmth every winter) and ongoing opportunity (a sustainable, clean, endless source of free energy). An AOPEC oil embargo and “energy crisis” was in full swing, the price of fossil fuels was soaring, and futurists were predicting dire consequences for our planet if wasteful consumer attitudes and habits were not curbed. Having been exposed to recent eco-activism in Germany by the precursor to today’s Greens (their efforts to mitigate acid rain and pollution in particular) and seeing how environmental consciousness was gathering momentum in North America as well, it was clear to me that new solutions were called for.

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