My university launches a new “Center for Renewable Energy.” Among my favorites:
The new center will also focus on the health impacts of changing energy resources. For example, researchers from the University’s sciences, engineering, and humanities departments will work closely with its Medical Center on inhalation, exposure, and toxicology studies to understand the health effects of both existing and new energy technologies.
Until the press release today I was not even remotely aware that such an institute was being created. Not that I am a serious scholar, but I do happen to teach the course on Environmental Economics here, so I may have a middling interest in something like this, and certainly our students might. Further, unless they are rolling economics under “sciences” departments, economists are almost uniquely capable of evaluating the impacts of existing of new and energy technologies. Why do I say that? Because by training we are ingrained to focus on ALL of the effects of various policy choices, not just the narrow impacts of particular aspects of such policies. And while I myself enjoy the humanities, I am having a hard time seeing how training in those areas is going to be particularly effective at analyzing the impacts of various energy sources on human health outcomes and economic outcomes.
And I am sure our new center is going to be a hotbed of research and seminars and lectures of this sort. And I am sure there will be myriad seminars on the potential health benefits of things like fracking.
By the way, the entire term “Renewable Energy” is close to being a chimera, perhaps we’ll dedicate a future post to it.
“And while I myself enjoy the humanities, I am having a hard time seeing how training in those areas is going to be particularly effective at analyzing the impacts of various energy sources on human health outcomes and economic outcomes.”
Because nobody is more uniquely positioned to discuss — scratch that, agitate against the ontological — not to mention structural! — power dynamic of energy disparities and the — mon dieu! — narrativity of carbon dioxide than an associate professor of gender studies at a research university. Homer and Judith Butler have little in common, but they do both have something to say about this whole “sustainability” thing.