I teach a class called Renewable Energy and the Environment. We recently had students studying the impact the natural gas boom has had on energy economics, the transportation system , electricity generation, carbon footprint, etc.
Cheap natural gas has nearly shut down plans for any new coal plants in the US and has hastened the retiring of old plants. There are just 5 planned and 50 being retired in 2016 alone, Sourcewatch. These older coal plants are being replaced by cleaner, more efficient and cheaper natural gas generators. Ten years ago, prior to fracking, no one would have predicted this transformation. I can only think that the coal industry has to be thinking “I did not see that coming.”Continue reading →
Doug is a dairy producer (about 1700 cows). I met him a few months back and at a Dairy Conference at Cornell. I was recording some interviews with researchers and farmers on the topic of climate and animal agriculture. I am still reviewing the interviews as I continue to put together more instructional videos on the topic. In any case, I thought what he said was good wisdom on how educators approach the issue of climate change and animal agriculture. Continue reading →
I have always wondered why people think rocket science is so hard. Not to say that it is easy, but think about it, everything is space is predictable. The speed of the earths rotation is known and is constant (rotates once every 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4.09053 seconds). We know the locations of the stars and the orbit of the moon. There are no surprises. Yes, if we need to send a space ship to Mars there are some serious calculations that need to be made and I am far from qualified. But I am convinced that working with the unpredictability and complexity of natural systems is far more challenging. Continue reading →
Every time there is a big weather event, like the current rainfall and flooding in South Carolina, I am reminded that human civilization is at the mercy of mother nature. (I also think of man vs nature and nature winning when I am battling the weeds in my garden : )Continue reading →
I was at a Climate Convening yesterday in a small city in Southern Minnesota (Owatonna). I was invited to facilitate a small group discussion on agriculture and climate change. I was talking with one of the conference organizers before the meeting about agriculture and climate change and she came up with the line that agriculture is victim, contributor, and solver when it comes to climate change. I think it describes the situation well. Continue reading →