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isabel Kuniholm

Global Growth Prospects for Uranium stirs Concern - 0 views

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    I thought that this was an interesting article because it discusses uranium mining and the possible environmental contamination concerns that increased production are causing. Specifically, inappropriate clean-up processes are leading to contamination of aquifers and drinking water in areas where mining and production are occuring. This article relates to many of the energy debates and concerns that are brought up in many current environmental books--specifically in many of the books that were reviewed in ENVS 400. -Isabel Kuniholm
isabel Kuniholm

Whole Earth Discipline: Why Dense Cities, Nuclear Power, Transgenic Crops, Restored Wet... - 0 views

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    This is a book by ecologist and environmentalist Stewart Brand who is previously known for helping create and write the Whole Earth Catalogue. In this book Brand discusses the current state of our environment and specifically focuses on climate change. He then spends the rest of the book discussing radical modern approaches that he believes will help combat climate change. Some of these methods include using nuclear power as our main source of energy and genetically modifying all of our crops to be more resilient to climate change. He also argues that densely populated cities are more efficient and that new technology must be used to help fix the environmental problems that have been caused by previous technologies. This book is well written and offers a perspective on environmental issues that most other current environmental books do not agree with. I would recommend this book to all environmental studies majors.
Micah Leinbach

Wind power: Clean energy, dirty business? - 0 views

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    Perhaps alternative energy technology's most promising industry, wind, is finding itself to be far more controversial as it becomes far more common and popular. Partially, this is just a good old example of showing us how nothing is perfect. But it does beg the question of large scale energy industry period - are those who see no place for that, in any form, on to something?
Jim Proctor

Game Changer | This American Life - 1 views

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    Just heard this podcast, and it's a really great example of situated research, in this case on fracking in Pennsylvania. The story is divided into two acts: the first concerns the role of scientists in the controversy, and the second concerns the politics of small towns caught up in gas exploration. I'd strongly recommend it, if only to suggest to your families over the winter break what situated research can look like!
McKenzie Southworth

7 Issues Facing the 7 Billion - 1 views

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    As most of us are aware, the world's population recently passed the 7 billion mark and we're scheduled to hit 9 billion by 2050. This article discusses 7 problems that we'll have to worry about as population continues to rise. We, as ENVS students, are already aware of these issues; water, climate change, and food security to name a few. However, some of the academics interviewed have very interesting ideas about solutions to these challenges (no-growth economy for example). For the feminists among us, Roger Short states that "We need to feminise the world and look first and foremost at the interests of women because they're the ones that are going to decide our future and it is their determination to limit the size of their families which will be the saviour of the world," which I thought was pretty interesting.
McKenzie Southworth

Future of Technology - 'Artificial leaf' makes real fuel - 1 views

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    A silicon solar cell was recently developed at MIT. This "artificial leaf" breaks down water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen gas, which can be used as a fuel source. I just thought it was really cool.
    And here's a video!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEEhxk-CiOQ&feature=player_embedded
McKenzie Southworth

Jeremy Rifkin: The 'Democratization Of Energy' Will Change Everything - 1 views

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    "Rampant unemployment, rising food prices, a collapsed housing market, ballooning debt -- to Jeremy Rifkin, the American economist and president of the Foundation on Economic Trends , these are not simply symptoms of a temporary economic malaise. Rather, they are signs that the current world order -- long infused with and defined by fossil fuels -- is collapsing around us."
McKenzie Southworth

Thorium, possibly the biggest energy breakthrough since fire - 1 views

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    Thorium, a naturally occurring radioactive metal can be used to generate nuclear power without most of the problems associated with uranium reactors (i.e. high cost, toxic waste, and danger of meltdown.) Lately, it's been heralded as the solution to climate change and energy crisis concerns and some new start-ups are experimenting with reactors in the hope that thorium will be at the forefront of an energy revolution.
Tom Danz

Turbine being built in Narragansett - 0 views

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    This article, from WPRI.com (the website affiliated with the Rhode Island news channel), discusses the plans to build a wind turbine in the town of Narragansett. As someone familiar with the area--I grew up in Massachusetts--I am aware of the intense debate revolving around wind power on the New England coast. The case of the Narragansett turbine is notable due to the town's status as a tourist destination. The argument is centered around the fact that, although new forms of energy are universally considered to be important, the region's primary economic facet is tourism. Those opposed to the turbines argue that their presence negatively impacts the aesthetics of the coast, while proponents of the turbines take the position that sacrifices must be made to ensure a bright future. The building of the Narragansett turbine could perhaps be a step towards acceptance of the turbines' presence.
Laura Schroeder

Around the world on solar power alone - 0 views

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    A brief article about the project PlanetSolar, led by Raphael Domjan, and its efforts to prove that solar power is a viable and wise alternative energy approach, especially in the shipping industry. Domjan has overseen the construction of a solar-powered catamaran with 5,300 square feet of solar panels and hopes that its voyage across the world will encourage a re-examination of fuel efficiency and popularize solar technology.
Julian Cross

Michael Pawlyn TED Talk on Biomimicry Technologies for a Sustainable Future - 4 views

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    Michael Pawlyn, arguably the foremost contemporary expert on biomimicry, gives a TED talk on how the principles of this field can be applied to energy, food and agricultural systems to close the loop and build a sustainable future. Biomimicry, for those that don't know, is the a field of engineering and development that bases designs off structures and systems found in nature. This talk covers a lot of what we learned about systems and loops from 160 and I am sure a lot of information from our other classes. I am personally very compelled by biomimicry and I have always thought that it is the obvious way to innovate sustainable technologies. Enjoy.
Jack Andreoni

The oil we eat: Following the food chain back to Iraq-By Richard Manning (Harper's Maga... - 0 views

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    an examination of the issue of resource overconsumption in our modern agrifood system
Darya Watnick

This Company Turns Plastic Bottles Back Into Crude Oil - 0 views

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    A company called Vadxx in Ohio is taking the "picked-over" scraps of plastic and converting into a low-sulfur crude oil. I don't know how feasible this would be large scale but its nice to see this stuff out of the landfills and being put to use.
Micah Leinbach

Rebounding - back to Jevon's again. - 0 views

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    The above article is the Break Through Institute's semi-recent report on the Jevons' Paradox, which I posted additional links to here and debated in class. For the record, the report is favorable. Also for the record, I have not read it completely, and am not laying down final judgment. However:

    I promised Jim I would respond to this at some point. I still hope to. In the meantime, this is worth musing over (if the link doesn't work, I have the PDF).

    https://files.me.com/jgkoomey/0aqqfm

    I really appreciate Break Through and the dismantling of environmentalism's sacred cows, but I'm concerned about this one. Many of their other critiques and analysis seem to have the empirical evidence, but I have yet to be convinced by what I've seen here. Obviously it is a long report, and I have not gotten to read through it entirely, but so far I remain unconvinced. I think they're thinking about the problem in the right way (the economy is a complex social, political, and economic system, it does defy basic models and equations, and if the emergence idea continues to hold up it is a right environment for them) and I really enjoy reading their analysis, but I remain unconvinced by the numbers. Our economy is not composed in such a way that energy is a primary limiting factor to production, which would surely deaden the effect, among other theoretical threats to the idea on both a micro and macro scale. Politically, efficiency measures will continue to allow solar energy and other alternative competitors to carry more weight than they do now, allowing us to free ourselves from the need for energy intense liquids or solids like coal, gas, and oil in favor of less "compact" energy sources.

    Break Through Institute offers some excellent political analysis, and their efforts at getting outside and away from the usual political roadblocks and antics are appreciated. But I wonder if they
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    Obviously, its not my expertise either, and I'm woefully ignorant in all this ultimately. But their credentials don't seem to be in deep energy analysis and research, and one academic report where I do find Jesse Jenkins (of BTI, who helped write that report and is an energy expert) still encouraged energy efficiency measures (http://www.brookings-tsinghua.cn/~/media/Files/rc/reports/2009/0209_energy_innovation_muro/0209_energy_innovation_muro_full.pdf).

    I'm not bold enough to lay down final judgment, but I'm going to need a lot more convincing. BTI makes a lot of convincing arguments that I really like - so far, this hasn't been one of them.

    But like I said, I'm still reading. And trying to get a handle on what Shellenberger, Nordhaus, and Jenkins have under their belts in terms of economic, versus political (when the two are even seperable), analysis. If there is other stuff worth reading in that regard, I'd love to get my hands on it.
Kelsey White-Davis

Pain at the pump? We Need More - 1 views

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    Although ideas in the article are unoriginal, it presents an interesting argument that I am not entirely sure is the best method to go about oil dependency. The author is convinced that adding a fee to any greenhouse gas emissions will lead to a new and clean energy system. "This is what motivates changes in behavior and technological investments." Will this monetary burden be enough to change people's habits and lifestyle, or will we become creative in other ways to dance around this dependence? One major critique I have of this proposal is how slow this conversion process will be. It also seems as if we are simply designing a new way to herd the sheep of society without taking a moment to look up and recognize the bigger implications and options.
Kristina Chyn

Timeline: 70 Years of Environmental Change - 0 views

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    This is a neat setup and visual displaying environmental movements in conjunction with presidencies. Lots of cool facts included.
Micah Leinbach

For Green Tech junkies - 0 views

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    From Anti-Matter to floating wind farms, these are some practical and not-practical-yet energy alternatives. Many are well known, others are not, and some are new twists on older ideas. The question I still have is speed - can we implement these fast enough?
Kristina Chyn

A Curmudgeon's View of the Energy Challenge - 0 views

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    An NYT article highlighting Vaclav Smil's outlook on energy. We have read a few Smil articles in ENVS 160 about population and peak oil, in which he expresses the same ideas in this article. Smil does not oppose new energy alternatives, however he believes oil and coal are still necessary; we just need to be more efficient.
Kelsey White-Davis

Biofuel Startup KiOR Seeks to Raise up to $100M in IPO - 0 views

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    This article talks about KiOR's plans to use "non-food biomass" and convert it into gasoline and diesel through biocrude technology. KiOR plans to use both wood chips and crude oil to create gasoline. This procedure, KiOR claims, will reduce "direct lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by over 80% compared to the petroleum-based fuels they displace."
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