Thursday, October 14, 2010

Earth Science Week

This year's theme for Earth Science Week is "Exploring Energy"

In thinking about Earth Science Week, I tried to come up with a way to tie theme for the week to my role as an educator. Two articles from the popular press caught my attention. First was an article in NEWSWEEK that mentioned flows in the trans-Alaskan Oil Pipeline are down to less than 700,000 gallons (I think they mean barrels) a day out of a capacity of 2,000,000 barrels per day, and that future production was projected to decrease even further.

This article suggests to me the importance of people understanding the economics of oil. It is surprisingly easy to believe that as technologies increase we will simply be able to maintain our level of oil supply. This was reinforced by another column in NEWSWEEK that points out we have been expecting "peak oil" for nearly a century, but that technology advances have allowed us to continue to bring on line more and more resources. However, the second article also mentions that the cost of extracting these new resources is increasing. I think it is vitally important to get the general population to understand that an economy based on fossil based fuels is only going to become more expensive, and  this poses one of the great challenges to our future.


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