New Energy Club Starts at JSerra High School

logo-stampEnergy conservation is a huge factor in environmental problems of any kind, and as such, the International Energy Club (IEA) is devoted to raising awareness of these issues at high schools and businesses in the Orange County area. The IEA’s purpose at Jserra Catholic High School is to educate the school and its students as to how they can reduce their carbon footprint by using less energy and relying on renewable energy as much as possible. The club will focus its efforts on conservation on campus, but will also extend its efforts to how students can practice these methods at home.

The goals of the club for the 2015-2016 can be broken up into short-term and long-term goals: the short-term goals include gathering support and participants for the upcoming “Two Degrees Awareness Conference” at Haverford College, in Spring in 2016. At the conference, Haverford College and the IEA are joining together to bring participants and attendees the most current information regarding energy, and how it relates to nation prosperity, economics, government policy, security and global warming. Much of the conference will focus on carbon gas emissions; carbon gas emissions are largely responsible for the increase in the global temperature, due to large amounts of burning coal to produce energy. The focus of the conference is to better understand these interrelated global issues in order to better rationalize what can be done with energy to limit global warming to no more that the widely adopted international standard of two degrees Celsius (by 2030). JSerra students will be provided with the opportunity to attend the conference, as well as speaking at or otherwise participating in the conference.

In regards to the long-term goals for the club, the IEA hopes to conserve energy at JSerra by inviting electricity companies to have a tour of the school and provide recommendations about the school as to what should be done in order to save more energy, and consequently save money.

Impact of Google fiber on computer energy usage

Google-FiberUtilizing the recent development of fiber optic technology in a service titled, “Google Fiber,” Google has become their own Internet provider. Unlike standard cable wiring used by competitors, Google Fiber operates through fiber optics, a significantly more consistent and rapid transmission that sends signals of light through flexible glass tubing rather than cable wiring. Network providers pale in comparison to the exponential speed provided by Google Fiber.

Downloading a movie, large game, or over 200 songs can be completed in less than 10 seconds, unlike the multiple hours a typical provider may occupy. The amount of time it takes to download files directly corresponds with the amount of energy a device typically uses. On average, a computer operates on approximately 65 to 250 watts per hour. When downloading a large file, that figure increases between 100 to 200 watts per hour. Leaving a computer on for 4 hours to complete a download uses between 400 and 800 watts. Google Fiber operates on approximately 60 to 120 watts.

Using current network providers, the entire United States population could simultaneously download a large file, such as a game or numerous songs, and use 128,064,240,000 to 256,128,480,000 watts. With Google Fiber, the same downloads would use, 19,209,636,000 to 38,419,272,000 watts. It is clear that the use of Google Fiber can make a substantial difference in the utilization of time, energy, and money.

China’s Pollution Documentary “Under the Dome” Goes Viral

Chai Jing's January Talk on China's Air Pollution Featured in the Film

Chai Jing’s January Talk on China’s Air Pollution

Former state television reporter, Chai Jing, released the groundbreaking documentary highlighting China’s pollution entitled “Under The Dome.” Since its release on Saturday February 28, 2015 via Chinese video platforms such as Youku and Tencent, the film has had over 100 million views. Some have compared it to Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth.

Chai Jing is a famous journalist and a best-selling author that left her job at China Central Television last year after she gave birth to her first child. During her pregnancy she discovered that her daughter had a benign tumor and that she would need surgery after she was born. Although this tumor is unrelated to pollution, Chai Jing began to recognize the detrimental health effects pollution has had on her fellow citizens and could potentially have on her daughter.

This self-financed 103 minute film is framed with a talk Chai Jing gave in January on China’s increasingly vile air pollution, which includes numerous charts and statistics. In addition to the talk, the film includes on-the-ground interviews with children, factory workers, scientists and regulators among others.

The 39-year-old journalist who grew up in the coal mining dominated province Shanxi and has now spent over a decade in smoggy Beijing, also criticized China’s two most powerful state-owned oil companies. Despite this taboo in Chinese journalism, the state media is not just supporting the film but also promoting it. People’s Daily dedicated a special feature on its site and shared it on Weibo.

The release of this film comes at a convenient time. China’s two key political meetings are taking place this week in Beijing: the National People’s Congress and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. It is unclear if the timing of this film was intentional or not.  The newly appointed party chief of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Chen Jining, praised Chai’s documentary and said that it reminded him of Rachel Carson’s 1962 book Silent Spring.

This is one of, if not the, first Chinese environmental documentary to have been recognized and supported by the state media. We can only hope that there will be an effective conversation regarding China’s air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions in the important political meetings this week in China.

Review of Elizabeth C. Economy’s The River Runs Black

The-River-Runs-BlackAt the beginning of The River Runs Black, Elizabeth C. Economy paints the horrifying image of the Huai River, a body of water running murky and thick with “garbage, yellow foam, and dead fish.”  The Huai has essentially become a trashcan for the factories operating nearby, a place to easily dispose of chemicals, dye, and miscellaneous waste.  Despite its status as the fourth most polluted river system in China, upwards of 150 million Chinese citizens are dependent on Huai River as their water supply.  In this river, Economy argues, lies the central paradox of the Chinese environmental approach as a whole – while economic and industrial prosperity can bring reform and environmental protection, the industry itself is contributing to China’s already problematic levels of pollution and contamination.

Economy breaks down her book into eight sections, layering the history and context of the Chinese individual’s relationship with nature atop the government’s mentality of “first development, then environment,” before delving in to the problems and possible outcomes of the environmental state.  In particular, chapter two, which discussed the major religions of China and their bond with nature, was one of the book’s highpoints, as it provided a rich insight into the importance of protecting these natural bodies of water and land.

Elizabeth C. Economy’s The River Runs Black is a must-read for those looking for a comprehensive history and analysis of China’s environmental situation.  Additionally, those interested in globalized economy and the environmental future of the world should also invest in this book, as Economy discusses the influence of China’s situation on the world.  As a whole, The River Runs Black is well-written and well-structured with information that substantiates the relevance and significance of environmental reform in China.

The Frackers

THE FRACKERSThe Frackers book review by Michelle Morris

By: Gregory Zuckerman
Review Revised: 12/30/2014

Gregory Zuckerman’s The Frackers documents the lives of energy tycoons, intertwining the accounts of their personal and professional losses and gains in a dramatic narrative.  Each of these men greatly impacted the economical and environmental spheres of American history.  From the introduction of fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, which is a technique of pumping gallons of various liquid substances, including water, into shale rocks to create fissures for gas to escape – to horizontal drilling, a method that involves drilling narrow strips of rock that are loaded with oil beneath the ground – Zuckerman shows the cunning and innovation of the leading men in the industry.  The Frackers details the transformation of the United States from a country dependent on foreign imports for its energy industry to the world’s largest producer of natural gas.

The Frackers is an excellent introduction to the behind-the-scenes of the gas and oil industries.  Zuckerman provides detailed explanations of key terms and also delves into the scientific and historical backgrounds of the recent, revolutionary energy methods and movements.  Zuckerman’s choice of a dramatic narrative structure should be applauded, as it keeps the book from just being a regurgitation of facts and numbers – and instead, makes it a work that is both compelling and informative.

However, despite the many positives to Zuckerman’s work, there are drawbacks.  In fact, Zuckerman’s colloquial language often competes with the economical and environmental jargon of the book.  Zuckerman’s narrative voice – the very aspect that sets the book apart from the rest and appeals to a wider audience – is, at times, as much of a negative factor as it is a positive one. Furthermore, there are times when the book is redundant, especially when defining key words (such as fracking and horizontal drilling).  While this can help cement ideas and re-emphasize them in various ways, it may also appear as demeaning or unnecessary.

Overall, The Frackers is a recommended read, especially for those looking for an introduction to the business and economical sides of the major energy industries.  Zuckerman’s book delves into both the advantages and drawbacks of fracking.  Although the author does not explicitly choose a side, he does suggest that the negative aspects of fracking are “overstated” and that an increase in energy production has numerous benefits, including mass employment, economic growth, and a decreased trade deficit.  The Frackers is an overall positive read, one that subverts the typical outlook on American economics and business and instead, focuses on six men, who proved that even when everything seems futile, there are endless opportunities for expansion and revolution.


GEORGE MITCHELL (Founder of Mitchell Energy)

AUBREY MCCLENDON (Cofounder of Chesapeake Energy)

TOM WARD  (Cofounder of Chesapeake Energy)

HAROLD HAMM (Founder of Continental Resources)

CHARIF SOUKI (Founder of Cheniere Energy)

MARK PAPA (Chief executive office at EOG Resources)