DelVal announces upcoming symposium on energy in transition

The Precarious Alliance, a sustainability symposium conceived by Delaware Valley College President Dr. Joseph S. Brosnan, will be exploring energy-related issues such as climate change, green design and technology, fossil fuels and renewables, boomtowns and transition towns during its spring forum to be held April 3rd and 4th at the college in Doylestown.

To get the dialogue started, three keynote speakers will be featured. Among them, renowned environmentalist Bill McKibben, best-selling author and founder of 350.org, the first large-scale global grassroots climate change initiative.  

The symposium will include a plenary panel, roundtables, workshops and more. According to Dr. Tanya Casas, Assistant Professor of Sociology, this year’s focus on energy is especially relevant to all who will be attending. “Whether you are impacted by the severe weather patterns the country has been experiencing, concerned about rising gas prices, or worried about the future of our environment, this symposium will offer open dialogue, creative ideas and real, practical approaches to addressing energy concerns.”

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Solar panels – A gift that keeps on giving

submitted by Mark Bortman, Exact Solar, mark@exactsolar.com

A lump of coal. What a lousy thing to get for Christmas. All kids know that they had better stay off of Santa’s “Naughty” list or that is what they are going to end up with in their stocking.

What kids might not know, however, is how bad that coal really is and what it is doing to the world that they are growing into. Coal leaves behind a long trail of pollution. Mountaintops are removed and acres of forest and wilderness are stripped to get the coal.

There is pollution generated to transport the coal to the power plant. Tons of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, small particles and hydrocarbons are released in the atmosphere when it is burned. Piles of ash and sludge are left over from the combustion. These end up leaching pollutants in the soil and water.

Coal’s negative impact to our environment and our health will be felt not only now by future generations, too. Unfortunately, about half of the electricity we use in Pennsylvania comes from burning coal.

Renewable energy sources such as solar panels, on the other hand, are everything that coal is not. There is no mining, no pollution or harmful emissions, no toxic residue.  Even better, the energy from the sun and wind is unlimited. 

Moreover, once solar panels are installed, they cost nothing to run. They just keep producing electricity – and savings on your electric bill month after month.

Now that is something I’d like to see in my stocking.

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New concept: Moving and Box Superstore has people turning green!

Box It, an innovative box supplier located in Doylestown, is good for the environment, and your bottom line.

Box It supplies recycled new, used and overstock boxes at rock bottom prices. This helps consumers and businesses lower their bottom line on box costs and, more importantly, keeps boxes out of landfills!

Since opening, Box It has sold 92,073 USED BOXES.

For every ton of boxes recycled, 7,000 gals of H2O are saved. Box It has saved 501,060 gallons of H2O, 214.74 cubic yards of landfill space, 33,070 gallons of foreign oil, and 1,217 trees.

If you would like to save money while helping the environment at the same time, contact Box It at 215-348-9269 or visit www.boxitstore.com.

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A win-win proposition

submitted by Mark Bortman, Exact Solar, mark@exactsolar.com

Major tornados have killed people in the Midwest. The heat and wind caused by devastating droughts in the southwestern parts of the US have fueled wildfires that are out of control.

Hurricane Sandy rumbled through our area last year. In recent years, our local weather pattern seems to be early snowstorms followed by unseasonably mild winters and summers with extended streaks of high temperatures and humidity.

Are these weather phenomena the result of global warming? Do you even believe in global warming?

Although the overwhelming majority of climate scientists (97%) believe that climate change is real and that human activity has been a major factor in causing it, in the public sphere there is still a debate as to whether this is the case. A response to this discussion is: whether you believe climate change is real or not, what is the harm in energy conservation and increased use of renewable energy? 

There are many benefits to saving energy: improved comfort, reduced costs, less dependence on foreign oil, cleaner air and water and less damage to the environment. The same benefits come from using more renewable energy.

The only argument that people make against measures that save energy and increase renewable energy use is that these will hurt the economy.  Evidence shows that this is not the case at all.

On the contrary many good, local jobs are created, and businesses and homeowners save money. The burning of fossil fuels has costs far beyond the price you pay at the pump or on your heating bill. We all end up paying these costs whether we want to or not. If we can lower these indirect costs while we lower the direct costs, too, why not do it?

There are not many times when a win-win situation is such a slam-dunk.  There are plenty of easy, low-cost (or even no-cost) ways to save energy and use more renewable energy.

The only way to lose is to do nothing.

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