Archive for February, 2010

ces, week 26: It’s all about Energy

February 21, 2010

One of the ideas floating around the room lately has been, “It’s all about money.” The point being that environmental solutions are only tenable if they’re economically feasible. After a weekend of hiking, driving, talking, and paddling, I’m coming back to the idea that the money doesn’t mean a thing if we don’t have clean air, clean water, and clean soil. You know, natural capital.

This week we’ll begin to untangle one of the thorniest issues in environmental science: energy. We’ll keep things pretty close to the surface, but we will have an opportunity to explore transportation energy, and electricity generation. The focus here is on you, your behaviors, and the cumnulative effects of individual action. Like the little signs around ASFA say, “Little Things Add Up.”

Monday (2/22/10): Introduction to Energy Resources

Tuesday (2/23/10): Transportation Energy 1

ces, week 24: Agriculture, continued

February 9, 2010

Nuts, bolts, pros, cons. What does it all mean? It means we’re all part of a food system. That’s the reality of the 21st century. You could take an entire class in any one topic that comes up in this unit. You could spend your life researching one aspect of agricultural science. Ever hear of a “cow college”? It’s a slang term for places like Auburn, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech. These are state “ag” schools, and the students who go to these schools may spend their lives wrestling with these issues.

We’re going to pick and choose our topics. Monday it’s all about local produce. Then we’ll look at global malnutrition, and finally at geneticially modified foods. There’s no “one way” to teach agriculture and food. This is our way.

Monday (2/8/10): Tour of ASAP gardens

Tuesday (2/9/10): Finish pros and cons of agricultural practices

Wednesday (2/10/10): Finish global malnutrition and introduce GM foods

Thursday (2/11/10): GM Food DNA extraction

Friday (2/12/10): Introduction to PCR: Polymerase Chain Reaction

CES/APES: The world is connected

February 4, 2010

Energy Experts Say Water Use and Energy Consumption Linked, Urge Conservation

Do you know how much water it takes to light your house? How about the electricity involved in watering your prize-winning tulips? As it turns out, it’s a lot more than you’d think.

Due to expected population growth and urbanization in the United States—especially in drought-prone Western States like Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Nevada—two top energy experts at a AAAS discussion urged the federal and local governments to explore new strategies to meet nation’s burgeoning water and electricity needs.

Water and energy resources are inextricably intertwined, the experts said. Electricity generation requires a massive amount of water usage and water delivery requires energy to move into your home, and therefore conservation efforts cannot focus on a single resource.

“Without efforts exploring how we can better use water and electricity . . . business as usual will put us on a collision course with these two natural resources,” said Michael Hightower, Water for Energy project lead at Sandia National Laboratories.

For more information, read the full story.