By Donny Davis
Offshore wind is coming and the question is whether or not we decide to be a leader or be left out. History has shown that we did not invest in the future by anticipating emerging industries, therefore we only marginally enjoyed the benefits of the IT and BioTech Revolutions. If Ohio fails to embrace the “all-of the-above” approach to energy, we will miss yet another first-mover opportunity.
Global offshore wind investment will hit $104 billion by 2017, according to Pike Research. These private sector investments result in job growth for this booming yet still young industry. As of 2011, Europe’s offshore industry is employing 45,000 and may reach 300,000 by 2030. Even France, with 80 percent nuclear energy, invested $14 billion in offshore wind because they see economic development for French companies. Understand this is not just “Europe Being Europe.” Companies like Hyundai, Mitsubishi, Daewoo, Fuji, and Toshiba are poised to take advantage of offshore wind opportunities in Asia, India, Canada, South America, and eventually Lake Erie.
As usual, the current debate points at the complexity of energy cost. One side grapples over subsidy disparities and the inclusion of “real costs” like air and water quality. The other side upholds the argument that the free-market dictates all. To be clear, all forms of energy receive subsidies at both the state and federal levels. The government subsidizes all energy sectors because it avoids picking winners. Fortune 500 companies like General Electric or Siemens didn’t pick winners, they do it all. Energy is not just a commodity, it’s a major economy and committing to a diverse portfolio will continue building it.
The government has always invested in energy. In 1957, nuclear was 50 cents per-kilowatt-hour (kWh) and government investment helped play a role in lowering this by more than 80 percent. Onshore wind also started at 50 cents. Research investment (at NASA Glenn in 1974) helped make us a world leader until the 1980 divestment. Today most of this multi-billion dollar industry is located overseas. While it has come back here as a low cost energy source ($0.05/kWh), it is without jobs we could have had.
Look at hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) and George Mitchell, a Texas oil man who helped bring shale extraction to cost competiveness. Interestingly enough, the venture capitalist for this new process was what is now the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). In 1976, the DOE embarked with Mitchell on what was then called “slick-water fracking.” Today, Ohio sees this as an economic opportunity, but not until decades of continuous support helped make the industry successful.
In addition to shale, Ohio is home to a massive resource of offshore wind energy, one that the DOE wants to make investments in. Northeast Ohio-based regional non-profit Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation can help Ohio become beneficiaries of this investment with Icebreaker, a demonstration project seven miles out in Lake Erie.
Icebreaker is a $150-million blueprint for attracting a new industry to the region; an industry that can employ thousands of citizens. Demonstration projects are more costly than full scale deployment, but it is a necessary stepping-stone to drive future costs down. The magnitude of offshore wind paired with economies of scale will demand that towers and foundations are built locally; manufacturing will follow. By hosting the first project, Ohio shores of Lake Erie will become a launch pad for offshore wind development in the Great Lakes and a “know-how” hub for the nation.
As Energy Secretary Steven Chu said last month in Cleveland, “Our motto should be: ‘Invented in America, Made in America, and Sold Worldwide.” Ohio can lead the way in making this slogan a reality.’”
By Jessica Corbett
A leading environmental advocacy group marked Native American Heritage Month on Wednesday by urging President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Kamala Harris, and the entire incoming administration "to honor Indigenous sovereignty and immediately halt the Keystone XL, Dakota Access, and Line 3 pipelines."
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Returning the ‘Three Sisters’ – Corn, Beans and Squash – to Native American Farms Nourishes People, Land and Cultures
By Christina Gish Hill
Historians know that turkey and corn were part of the first Thanksgiving, when Wampanoag peoples shared a harvest meal with the pilgrims of Plymouth plantation in Massachusetts. And traditional Native American farming practices tell us that squash and beans likely were part of that 1621 dinner too.
Abundant Harvests<p>Historically, Native people throughout the Americas bred indigenous plant varieties specific to the growing conditions of their homelands. They selected seeds for many different traits, such as <a href="https://emergencemagazine.org/story/corn-tastes-better/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">flavor, texture and color</a>.</p><p>Native growers knew that planting corn, beans, squash and sunflowers together produced mutual benefits. Corn stalks created a trellis for beans to climb, and beans' twining vines secured the corn in high winds. They also certainly observed that corn and bean plants growing together tended to be healthier than when raised separately. Today we know the reason: Bacteria living on bean plant roots pull nitrogen – an essential plant nutrient – from the air and <a href="http://www.tilthalliance.org/learn/resources-1/almanac/october/octobermngg" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">convert it to a form that both beans and corn can use</a>.</p><p>Squash plants contributed by shading the ground with their broad leaves, preventing weeds from growing and retaining water in the soil. Heritage squash varieties also had spines that discouraged deer and raccoons from visiting the garden for a snack. And sunflowers planted around the edges of the garden created a natural fence, protecting other plants from wind and animals and attracting pollinators.</p><p>Interplanting these agricultural sisters produced bountiful harvests that sustained large Native communities and <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/eam.2015.0016" target="_blank">spurred fruitful trade economies</a>. The first Europeans who reached the Americas were shocked at the abundant food crops they found. My research is exploring how, 200 years ago, Native American agriculturalists around the Great Lakes and along the Missouri and Red rivers fed fur traders with their diverse vegetable products.</p>
Displaced From the Land<p>As Euro-Americans settled permanently on the most fertile North American lands and acquired seeds that Native growers had carefully bred, they imposed policies that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1086/ahr/87.2.550" target="_blank">made Native farming practices impossible</a>. In 1830 President Andrew Jackson signed the <a href="https://guides.loc.gov/indian-removal-act" target="_blank">Indian Removal Act</a>, which made it official U.S. policy to force Native peoples from their home locations, pushing them onto subpar lands.</p><p>On reservations, U.S. government officials discouraged Native women from cultivating anything larger than small garden plots and pressured Native men to practice Euro-American style monoculture. Allotment policies assigned small plots to nuclear families, further limiting Native Americans' access to land and preventing them from using communal farming practices.</p><p>Native children were forced to attend boarding schools, where they had no opportunity to <a href="https://doi.org/10.5749/jamerindieduc.57.1.0145" target="_blank">learn Native agriculture techniques or preservation and preparation of Indigenous foods</a>. Instead they were forced to eat Western foods, turning their palates away from their traditional preferences. Taken together, these policies <a href="https://kansaspress.ku.edu/978-0-7006-0802-7.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">almost entirely eradicated three sisters agriculture</a> from Native communities in the Midwest by the 1930s.</p>
Reviving Native Agriculture<p>Today Native people all over the U.S. are working diligently to <a href="https://www.oupress.com/books/15107980/indigenous-food-sovereignty-in-the-united-sta" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">reclaim Indigenous varieties of corn, beans, squash, sunflowers and other crops</a>. This effort is important for many reasons.</p><p>Improving Native people's access to healthy, culturally appropriate foods will help lower rates of <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/aian-diabetes/index.html" target="_blank">diabetes</a> and <a href="https://www.apa.org/pi/oema/resources/ethnicity-health/native-american/obesity" target="_blank">obesity</a>, which affect Native Americans at disproportionately high rates. Sharing traditional knowledge about agriculture is a way for elders to pass cultural information along to younger generations. Indigenous growing techniques also protect the lands that Native nations now inhabit, and can potentially benefit the wider ecosystems around them.</p>
By Jake Johnson
Amid reports that oil industry-friendly former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz remains under consideration to return to his old post in the incoming Biden administration, a diverse coalition of environmental groups is mobilizing for an "all-out push" to keep Moniz away from the White House and demand a cabinet willing to boldly confront the corporations responsible for the climate emergency.
Anger, anxiety, overwhelm … climate change can evoke intense feelings.
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An extremely rare North Atlantic right whale calf was found dead off the North Carolina coast on Friday.
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