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First Earth Club Meeting Today

The first Earth Club meeting of the semester will be held today, Tuesday at 5:00 in the McMillan Greenhouse at UNC-Charlotte.  We will be making awesome earth club t-shirts and discussing plans for the upcoming year to see what people want to this year in Earth Club.    We will also be hosting Carly Queen from the National Wildlife Foundation and Campus Ecology.  We hope to see you there.  Keep it green.


Pictures from 2008-2009 year

Here are some pictures from the 2008-2009 year of Earth Club.


Tree Planting 042409 004EARTHstreamclean08 022Cooking Demo Spring 2009 002CampusCleanUp041409_141Awards09 008

Earth Club Update

Here are some updates for Earth Club for the summer of 2009.  The niner night SOAR sessions will be starting on Thursday, June 11th  Here are the rest of the dates for the SOAR niner nights:  June 15th, June 17th, June 18th, June 22nd, June 24th, June 29th, July 1st, July 6th, July 8th, July 13th,  and July 15th.   We will be having our first Earth Club meeting of the 2009-2010 year on August 25th at 5 PM in the McMillan Greenhouse.  We hope to see you all around in the fall.

Montana School District Bans “The Story of Stuff” from Classrooms

Missoula County Public Schools in Montana has recently declared the online video “The Story of Stuff” to be too controversial for classroom viewing.

According to the Missoulian, Kathleen Kennedy showed her biology class  at Big Sky High School the video last October in order to generate a discussion.  One parent, Mark Zuber, objected to the video and brought his grievance to the school board.  He argued that the video The school board first ruled 4-3 in favor of showing the video, however, they ruled 4-3 on another vote that it was a violation of Missoula County’s academic freedom policy.

The Story of Stuff blog has a drafted letter that you can send to the Missoula County School Board asking them to reconsider their decision. You can write them at publiccomment@mcps.k12.mt.us, and the blog is also asking readers to cc and bcc the Missoulian at newsdesk@missoulian.com.

Post a comment on here if you decide to write, too. We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Earth Club Election Results

The Earth Club elections for 2008-2009 are in, and here are your officers for next year:

President – Heather Williams
Vice President – Megan Smith
Treasurer – Brock Bowden
Secretary – Catherine Okafor

Congratulations to the officers-elect!

Clean Coal at the Joe Biden Rally

I saw my first clean coal shirt and hat today.

A few of my friends and I decided to go vote after attending the Joe Biden rally on campus. As we were waiting in line, a tall fellow stood in line behind us, and I noticed that he was wearing a blue shirt that said, “Clean Coal: America’s Power.” The shirt also had on it a coal briquette with a plug protruding from it. It was the first clean coal shirt I had seen in person, and along with it, the fellow also had the white hat with block letters that said, “Clean Coal.”

I asked the fellow where he got the shirt, and he said that someone came up to him and asked if he was cold, to which he replied, “Yes.” The person then gave him a clean coal shirt and hat.

I then asked him how much he knew about clean coal, and coal in general, and he said, “All coal is dirty.” We then talked a little bit about other solutions, and while he wasn’t completely convinced that wind and solar could provide all the energy that we needed, but he was convinced that we had to move in a different direction. He also knew about mountaintop removal coal mining. After we talked energy, we began talking about the humor of elections, and other subjects.

Americans for Balanced Energy Choices just wasted another t-shirt and hat, it seems.

Family Conversations

The following is a recent email exchange I had with a family member who will not be named. It’s important to realize the influence that even small conversations carry. I forwarded to her the U.S. Oil Consumption Graph that I posted a few days ago, and this was my family member’s response:

“OK – isn’t the REAL point to be released from the bondage of the oil cartel in the Middle East – who seem to me to be controlling the world? We need this stuff – we are going to keep using this stuff no matter what – SO it may not be the ultimate answer to our crisis BUT at least we’re trying to take the focus away from the oil cartel in the mid-east by finding solutions ( however slim) on our own. And maybe, just maybe, we will learn to provide for ourselves -given enough time. THAT is the solution.
There is no quick fix to this – as you know – we have to start somewhere.
Love you”

Here’s my response:

“Crude Oil and Total Petroleum Imports Top 15 Countries

“Take a look at the bottom table, entitled “Total Imports of Petroleum (per day).” If you add up the contributions to our oil imports from Canada, Latin America, and the Middle East (I included Algeria) in June 2008, you’ll note that each provides the US with about one-third of the majority of our supply (82%). To say that we are under the bondage of the Middle East oil cartel is not entirely accurate, since Canada, Latin America, and the Middle East provide us with similar percentages of petroleum. For comparison purposes, the United States produced an average of about 5,125,000 barrels per day, which is about 1 million barrels per day less than the total Middle East and Latin American imports we received.

Americans have been tricked into thinking that [offshore oil drilling] is a good decision by deceptive advertising and messaging. We should be trying to release ourselves from oil, period, no matter who controls it. We’ve had the technology available to do it since the 1990s, yet oil and auto executives made sure to pull the plug on plug-in electric vehicles (terrible pun, I know) in California before they were available to the public on a wider scale. They’ve also killed public transportation initiatives, which are integral to a more sustainable society. Conservation initiatives also need to be in the forefront of the government’s agenda, not tapping into our meager supply. We’ve been given a false dichotomy, which is that we drill and begin to move toward “energy independence” or we don’t drill and allow the terrorists to win. That is far from a realistic assessment of our energy crisis.

If we do drill, there is no guarantee that US citizens will even be able to use the oil, as the companies who are drilling are multinational corporations; the oil will be used by the global market. Our oil could possibly end up in Europe, Africa, or even the Middle East. Granted, transport costs and other considerations will dictate where the oil travels, but we can’t be so sure that it will end up in US cars; the market just doesn’t work that way.

Americans want lower gas prices, but we’re not going to have pre-2000 prices any time soon, even if we do drill. We have less than 3% of the world’s oil located in our offshore areas, which are quite sensitive, as there is no safe way to drill in the ocean. It is true that we won’t see the oil for years, nor will it have a substantive effect on gas prices. The only thing that will affect gas prices dramatically is if we lessen the demand, which is currently happening. US citizens drove 9.6 million less miles in May 2008 than in May ’07. If we stop using oil, gas prices will go down.

Basically, we can get off of oil. We have the technology, and pushing industries to produce electric vehicles at a larger scale will create more jobs, resulting in a more prosperous economy. We should focus on furthering non-carbon emitting fuels.  We also have to change our driving habits. Carpool when necessary, and take public transit if it’s available. Granted, Hendersonville’s rural landscape makes it difficult, but if you can cut down the number of trips you take, it will save gas and save money. Maybe you could arrange a carpooling schedule for Will in the mornings with some other parents. Well, I guess that’s technically what Will and Dad do in the mornings, which is great.

One more point: the Middle East is NOT controlling the world. We have to stop accepting that as appropriate justification for ridiculous government actions, like wiretapping, suspending habeas corpus, and worst of all, going to war in Iraq.

Love ya,


My unnamed relative had a final follow-up:

“Good arguments John. And just why aren’t YOU running for public office? We need more young men to take a stand for what’s right.
I stand corrected.
Love ya”

If you haven’t figured out who my unnamed family member is, then I’ve done a good job. I haven’t done a good job.

It was nice to see a shift in my relative’s opinion; I felt like I had accomplished something.

Every little victory counts.

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