Rachel Crandell Earth Day, April 22, 2001 
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Tom Wigley of the National Center for Atmospheric Research estimated that "the world must generate half of its power from wind, sun and other non-carbon sources by the year 2018 to avoid quadrupling of traditional atmospheric carbon levels which would most certainly trigger catastrophic consequences." His team suggested "researching, developing and commercializing carbon-free primary power technologies...with the urgency of the Manhattan Project or the Apollo Space Program." (Sierra, May June 2001)

Cliff Foerster, husband of a Principia Trustee, Maggie Foerster, is on the board of Alternative Energy Institute. You can check them out on their website, www.altenergy.org. They have worked to encourage, disseminate, facilitate and connect inventors, scientists, and investors interested in all kinds of alternative energy. The best ideas get shared faster and more widely through Alternative Energy Institute and made practical. That is an angel message.

Another example of an alternative energy that a Principia graduate is engaged in is UEK Technologies: Green Clean Power. Wayne Hawkins is Vice President of Finance and Operations of UEK which produces a device that can take free-running river or tidal flows and, without a dam or other obstruction, use these flows to drive a turbine and generator to make electricity. Imagine no dam. No flooded habitat. No displaced people. No sacred sites lost. No warm water killing fish below the dam. The turbine blades revolve slowly so fish passage is not an issue, but with great torque to produce the power. California is short of electricity. Many developing nations are in need of power. This system can deliver power from the day it is installed, no pollution, no emissions; no blocking of the river for transportation or fishing and for much less cost than building a dam. There is tremendous power in flowing waters. Why not harness it? They have. That is another angel message.

A global energy transition will require a great deal of money, but not nearly as much as ignoring the problem. Building and maintaining the necessary new energy facilities will take an army of skilled workers that organized labor can provide. More jobs, not less. That old Global Climate Coalition made up of oil companies and auto manufacturers who hired scientists to say that global warming wasn't real has collapsed. Texaco and Mobil Exxon were the last holdouts. But the world is waking up and so must we.

We have an impact on the planet. Everyone does. There is a way to measure impact; a formula that helps put things in perspective. It is I=PAT. That is impact equals population times affluence times technology. In other words one nation's impact might be less even though their population was large, if they were not affluent or didn't have much technology. On the other hand you might not have a very big population, but if you were an affluent nation with lots of technology, you could have a huge impact. Guess where we in the US stand? Our impact leaves massive footprints since we love gadgets and convenience, have plenty of money to buy them, and we waste a lot.

The question remains what are we doing individually to help, to wake up, to change our old bad energy habits? Dr. Jane Goodall, who will be visiting this campus in a few weeks, believes that the individual is important. Instead of thinking, "What can just one person do?" and not doing anything, she asks what if all 6 billion of us did a little something in the right direction? That would be a lot! We can purchase simple technologies that will lighten our stomp, or our step, maybe even help us tiptoe on the planet. For instance do you have low flow shower heads on your shower? Do you use compact fluorescent bulbs in your light fixtures? Does your family's water heater have an insulated jacket? Do you have your own tire gauge to check inflation pressure regularly for maximum efficiency while driving? Do you have timers on your thermostats that can be set to automatically lower the heat during the night and turn it back up just a little in the morning? Timers that turn on and off hot water heaters and air conditioners only at the hours you need them? Do you recycle everything you possibly can? Do you know that in the phrase "throw it away" there is no away? Do you "close the loop" by buying recycled products whenever possible? We help create the demand. Are you purchasing the most energy efficient appliances? Is good gas mileage a priority when you buy a car? Do you consistently do all the things your teacher told you to in grade school about turning off the water while you brush your teeth, taking a 3 minute shower, deciding what you want in the fridge before you open the door and shutting it as soon as you are through, and turning off lights and TV when leaving the room, and writing on both sides of the paper, and only printing from the computer when essential? Do we carry our own bags to the grocery store? Are we willing to ask store managers if they could please carry recycled products? Do we ask ourselves "How much is enough?" Do we weigh mere convenience with true needs? Are we willing to break some of our wasteful habits? Can we eat lower on the food chain? Remember "a penny saved is a penny earned?" How about a gallon saved is a gallon not drilled. So many things we can do to help!

Since forests play such a big part in regulating climate I have a bit of good news. Over the last 3 decades a huge experiment has been taking place in the tropical dry forest of Costa Rica. Dr. Dan Jansen and many others have been working to restore the forest, and they have done it! Where forests were routinely burned to clear the land for cattle ranching and agriculture, once again lush green native vegetation covers the northwest portion of Costa Rica called Guanacaste. William Allen, the award winning environmental writer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, has just come out with a book "Green Phoenix: Restoring the Tropical Forests of Guanacaste, Costa Rica".

Bill will be speaking May 5 in St. Louis at the Missouri Botanical Garden at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night. The evening is free, the slides will be beautiful, the information amazing, and the company inspiring. You can purchase his book and get it signed then, or you can do it today at the table marked St. Louis Rainforest Advocates right over there. The hardback is $35 and worth every penny. We need success stories like the one Bill tells. Everyone is invited on May 5th. You might even want to arrange carpools and cut down on your CO2 emissions!

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