World leaders convened Thursday and Friday at the Hoover Institution for the inaugural Global Energy Forum to discuss the future of energy worldwide as the field continues to undergo major changes.
In the shifting baselines of our perceptions, we rarely ask what’s been paved over by roads and shopping malls. Where our uncles once competed to catch the biggest fish, we never think to drop a line. Where our grandparents once came to the stark edge of civilization, we now zoom by arching overpasses. But we have to call these views into question. We have to ask ourselves what things used to be like and how they have changed. That’s the only way that we’ll be able to keep some track of reality, the only way we’ll tether ourselves to the ground on which we’ve built.
It’s actually agriculture that applies 80 percent of the 1.1 billion pounds of pesticides used in the U.S. each year, quelling insect outbreaks, smothering weeds and ensuring un-nibbled produce. Of course, when we nibble that produce — or eat animals who’ve nibbled it — any residues and leftover toxins transfer to us. How did we become so chemically dependent?
Author and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman called for technological innovation and government regulations that support global clean energy while lamenting “a values breakdown in both the market and in Mother Nature” over the last decade. He spoke on Wednesday at the second and final day of the Stanford Global Climate and Energy Project’s (GCEP) research symposium.