The message was clear and straightforward at C-OFOKLA’s recent Speaker Series event: we must convert from fossil fuels and we can convert. A deeply engaged audience of 75 people ranging from high school students to retirees listened to Dr. Sandra Stiengraber explain the why’s and Dr. Tony Ingraffea explain the how’s.
Dr. Steingraber opened with a personal story of growing up in a polluted region of Illinois and contracting environmentally-induced cancer as a young adult. She observed that we are impacting the health of our children with the pollution from fossil fuels and we are robbing them of their future with climate change. These two important concepts should galvanize any parent into action.
Professor Ingraffea shared research he and his colleagues conducted to determine the optimal energy sources for New York State. While fossil fuels were initially considered, they were quickly eliminated due to high environmental and health costs. Nuclear power was eliminated because it takes too long to develop and has significant up-front capital costs. The resulting mix of wind, water and solar solutions (WWS) can be implemented in New York to completely transition from fossil fuels by 2050, according to the research.
The research team went on to develop similar plans for all 50 states. These can be viewed at The Solutions Project
After the two briefings, the audience engaged with a panel including Stiengraber, Ingraffea, Joe Heath, Esq., Chris Carrick of Solarize CNY, Melissa Kemp of Solar Tompkins, and Bob Eklund of Solutions Grassroots Project, moderated by Central New York Land Trust, Director, Meredith Perreault. A lively discussion was held for nearly an hour on a variety of renewable energy topics. Most of the audience stayed through the end even though it was 45 minutes longer than scheduled.
The next Speaker Series event is Art and Ecology: Artists and Their Passions on Sunday, May 17th from 3-6 pm at the Homer Center for the Arts.