Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Students take part in joint summit on alternative energy

Students in Professor Vanessa Ghaderi's Gateway class and Professor Ada Chrisman's 500 GLS class met recently for a joint summit on alternative energy.

Students watched two videos — one a debate on sustainable versus nuclear power, and one by David MacKay, who explores the mathematics that show worrying limitations on sustainable energy options and explains why we should pursue them anyway.

Students then worked in groups to decipher what they had learned and attempt to influence each other while forming their own opinions.

"I really enjoyed this kind of activity because it gave you an opportunity to share with other students that are not your daily classmates," says Chrisman's student Mariela Ochoa from Guatemala. 

"The topic is very interesting to me because I think the environment is a shared responsibility. ... I strongly support the idea that nuclear energy is not the solution, and we have to consider all the risk that this implies. Aside from this, it is important that we change our consumer energy patterns, because if we still consume energy in that way that we do now no energy source will be enough." 

Offering another side of the debate, Texas, a student from China, writes: "As the most important new energy, nuclear energy plays a crucial role. First, according to the nuclear fission theory, we just need a tiny amount of uranium, and we can get a large amount of energy to use. Second, compared with some sustainable energy, like wind power, nuclear energy is developed, which means that it can be used as common life, and it has a completed protection system. In conclusion, we need to insist on the development of nuclear energy, trying to find a better way to control its disadvantages."