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Energy news, lessons for our students


I’m grateful that almost every day the Watertown Times covers some aspect of energy and the environment. The April 13 paper reported that “Humans did not cause drought,” although at the end of the article a prominent scientist is quoted that yes, it was “natural variability,” but, like other recent worldwide droughts, it was “exacerbated by global warming,” which we are causing.

And in the same paper a Chicago Tribune editorial is quoted advising President Obama to approve the Keystone pipeline for Alberta’s tar sand and to expand hydraulic fracturing for natural gas. Energy independence is a great goal. Unfortunately there’s less and less room for fossil fuels in planning our energy future.

As an earth science teacher, I try to have students discover how the data on carbon dioxide and temperature have been linked for the hundreds of thousands of years of ice core data. Their graphs show carbon dioxide reaching levels today beyond any during the history of civilization. The warming to come will have these same students wondering why we kept burning fossil fuels as if there were no tomorrow.

They will wonder why we let petty conflicts prevent our seeking sustainable energy solutions like conservation, wind and solar. And they will wonder why we let the big oil corporations control the debate and fund most of our elected officials in this great democracy. But I have hope these same thoughtful students will not be duped by false advertising. They may want to live here in the north country using local food and local energy and have rich, satisfying lives.

Thank you for continuing to report all the energy news for the sake of these generations to come.

Thomas B. Van de Water


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