This site contains topics related to the course "Global Energy and the American Dream," taught in the Department of Anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis (Prof. Bret Gustafson). We explore the cultural, social, environmental, and political dimensions of fossil fuel use and the prospects for post-carbon futures around the world.

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Opinions expressed are the instructor's. They do not implicate students or faculty of any department or school of Washington University in St. Louis.

COURSE RESOURCES

Friday, December 7, 2012

McKibben and Hanley: Public Transit is One Easy Step


Think About the Transportation Sector

Superstorm Sandy has made it clear that no matter how hard some politicians try to ignore climate change, climate change will not ignore them -- or any of us. More carbon means higher seas, the kind that inundate subways. The U.S can also thank carbon emissions for contributing to the hottest summers on record, massive wildfires, and crippling droughts. The good news is, we can take some pretty serious steps to cut carbon pretty easily -- and make lives better at the same time.
Think about the transportation sector, which accounts for 27 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, mostly from cars and trucks. Tailpipe pollution is also a major source of asthma and other illnesses -- the transport sector contributes 80 percent of the harmful air pollutants that cause 1.3 million premature deaths each year. Road fatalities claim 33,000 lives per year on average, making traffic accidents the number one killer of people under 34 in the U.S. And traffic congestion is known to elevate stress levels and reduce quality of life for millions.  READ MORE: 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-mckibben/think-about-the-transport_b_2247048.html

Monday, December 3, 2012

Media Matters: The Anti-Science Capitalists at Work


Meet The Climate Denial Machine

Blog ››› ››› JILL FITZSIMMONS
Despite the overwhelming consensus among climate experts
that human activity is contributing to rising global
temperatures, 66 percent of Americans incorrectly
believe there is "a lot of disagreement among scientists
about whether or not global warming is happening." The
conservative media has fueled this confusion by
distorting scientific research, hyping faux-scandals,
and giving voice to groups funded by industries that
have a financial interest in blocking action on climate
change. Meanwhile, mainstream media outlets have shied
away from the "controversy" over climate change and have
failed to press U.S. policymakers on how they will
address this global threat. When climate change is
discussed, mainstream outlets sometimes strive for a
false balance that elevates marginal voices and enables
them to sow doubt about the science even in the face of
mounting evidence.

Here, Media Matters looks at how conservative media 
outlets give industry-funded "experts" a platform, 
creating a polarized misunderstanding of climate science.... READ MORE