Blog — Environment

Yet Another Bone-Chilling Summer

In the Boston Globe this past Sunday, Leon Neyfakh argues for jettisoning what UC Berkeley architecture professor Gail Brager calls the "thermal monotony" of our air-conditioned lives.  It's well worth the read, if only to remind us how thermally resilient we all used to be.

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Wind Farms & Prairie Chickens

A 7-year study just released by Kansas State University has found that wind turbines have no serious impacts on greater prairie chickens or their reproduction.  This discovery is monumental.

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Wind News from the North

We've been hearing a lot about the perils of tapping Canadian tar sands, but our neighbor to the north has a happier story to tell about its growing commitment to wind energy.  There's enough installed wind power in Canada today to supply all the electricity needs of more than 1.2 million homes, according to the Canadian Wind Energy Association, and that figure is expected to more than double by 2016.

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West Coast Winds of Change

Recent wind power talks in Seattle and Portland gave me a chance to experience two vibrant American cities where sustainable architecture, downtown revitalization, and multi-modal transportation are setting examples for the nation.

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Mitt Romney's Energy Doublespeak

Mitt Romney's rallying cry for "clean coal" rings hollow when viewed in the context of his call for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to be stripped of its authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.  Since carbon dioxide emissions from coal plants are the greatest single contributor to U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, how does Romney propose to rein in these dangerous pollutants?  In an op-ed that appeared in the Des Moines Register on October 23, I look at this and other inconsistencies in Romney's energy posturing.  A similar version of this op-ed ran in CSRwire Talkback on October 24.

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Cloud County Revival: Wind Power's Ascent in Rural Kansas

"Ruin and Revival" is the theme of this season's Terrain.org: A Journal of the Built & Natural Environments.   Tapping into the happier half of this theme, the journal includes an updated version of the first chapter of Harvest the Wind under the title, "Cloud County Revival: Wind Power's Ascent in Rural Kansas."

 

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Speed-Dating for the Mind

Last week took me to Chicago Ideas Week, described by its organizers as a "global hub for new ideas, an ecosystem for innovation and a playground of intellectual recreation."  I participated in a panel called "Energy: Scalable Solutions."  The experience felt like speed-dating for the mind: each speaker had exactly 12 minutes to lure the audience.

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Human Fallibility in the Nuclear Industry

Three civilians armed with nothing more than bolt cutters and hammers were able to penetrate the defenses of the the Y-12 National Security Complex at Oak Ridge, Tennessee.  Some time later, they were noticed by a lone guard, but only after they had managed to spray-paint a number of slogans on the facility's walls.  The ease of entry that this thankfully pacifist trio enjoyed should remind us of the perils of relying on a technology that presumes an impossibly high level of vigilance in protecting the public from potentially catastrophic hazards.

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Mainstreaming Wind Power in the Lone Star State

If Texas were a nation, it would rank sixth in the world as a wind power producer.  In an interview on Texas Public Radio, I recently had a chance to bring Harvest the Wind to Lone Star State listeners.  You can hear this interview with Dan Skinner, host of TPR's "Living Green."

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China's Environmental Movement Comes to Life

Citizen activists in several Chinese towns and cities have recently taken to the streets to protest polluting industries.  This represents a dramatic break from the decades of government-enforced silence that have allowed heavy industries to contaminate the country's air, water, and soil with relative impunity.  Amidst this rising tide of citizen engagement, it remains unclear whether concerns about the siting of new wind farms - a non-issue to date despite their rapid development - will become a focus of greater Chinese public scrutiny. 

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Kansas Public Radio brings Harvest the Wind to the Sunflower State

Veteran Kansas radio journalist Richard Baker brought Harvest the Wind to Sunflower State listeners via his weekly public affairs program, "Perspective."  You'll find a podcast of this show by clicking on "The Promise of Wind Energy" on the K-State Research and Extension's "Perspective" website.

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Harvest the Wind on NPR's Living on Earth

This week's Living on Earth, a show that airs on more than 270 public radio stations across the country, features an interview about Harvest the Wind with host and executive producer Steve Curwood.  The interview took place in the Living on Earth studio, just footsteps away from Somerville's Davis Square T station.

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America's wind potential featured in Audubon Magazine

Ever wonder just how much good-quality wind we could tap in America, on land and at sea?  On May 30, Audubon featured an excerpt from Harvest the Wind addressing this question in its on-line magazine, under the title, "The Path to Cleaner Energy."

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Interviews on Iowa and Wisconsin Public Radio

Harvest the Wind was featured on Iowa Public Radio's "River to River" news show and "The Joy Cardin Show" on Wisconsin Public radio this week.  These interviews coincided with Barack Obama's visit to the TPI Composites wind blade factory in Newton, Iowa, where he stressed the urgent need for an extension of the federal production tax credit for wind power. 

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Wind in the Flint Hills

An adapted excerpt from Harvest the Wind ran in today's Huffington Post.  It profiles Pete Ferrell, a rancher in the Flint Hills of Kansas who found himself facing bitter opposition when he allowed wind turbines on his land.

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Radio interview, April 30, 2012

Harvest the Wind made it onto the Napa Valley airwaves a few days ago, on KVON's Late Mornings with Jeff Schechtman

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Tilting for Windmills

An environmental lawyer goes on a cross-country quest seeking the substance behind the symbols heralding America's clean energy future. 

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Article in Guernica - Wind Power: America’s New Harvest

Unlike the battering that U.S. solar equipment producers have suffered at the hands of Chinese and other Asian competitors, America is well on its way to building a robust domestic manufacturing platform for wind.

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