Symposium to address global level of energy use

Fourteen environmental science graduate and undergraduate students will host a symposium Monday to address local and global energy usage. Stephanie Eady, who is an environmental science graduate student and one of the 14 organizers of the symposium, said the panel of speakers attending will comprise a variety of backgrounds to highlight the necessity of a variety of perspectives in order to determine what the future holds regarding energy.

“We’re committed to have carbon in the next 20 years,” Eady said. “To find one single alternative to carbon is ridiculous.”

Speakers attending will represent traditional and alternative energy providers, major energy-using corporations and environmental law experts, Eady said. Provost Nowell Donovan will also speak to represent a geologist’s perspective regarding climate change and energy.

Donovan said he will open the symposium by expressing the need for a firm background in data before any decisions are made in energy policy.

Michael Slattery, the institute of environmental studies director and geology professor, said he hopes the symposium will be a medium through which an array of stakeholders of the energy industry engage in dialogue about energy issues and how they affect the community.

Eady and Donovan said they see a solution to energy issues in a diverse range of options. They said energy policies should depend on the regions concerned.

Eady said West Texas, for example, is rich in wind, so taking advantage of wind power in that region would be logical. However, not all regions are rich in wind, so advocating a national policy for wind power would be irrational, she said.

Ellen Schwaller, a junior environmental science major, said she hopes to see the university become a model of sustainability for the Fort Worth community. Schwaller is also one of the students who organized the event.

The symposium is a part of a Vision In Action grant the environmental science department received in agreement to send a group of students to Oxford University every other year for three weeks to learn about energy policy and climate control, Slattery said.

The students would then organize a conference to address energy futures in the interceding years, Slattery said.