Professors examine spirituality of energy conservation

first_imgTaking a bike ride or turning off the lights can be transformative experiences, according to Wednesday night’s interfaith discussion panel at Saint Mary’s about the spirituality of energy conservation.Associate professor of English and environmental studies Christopher Cobb said he makes an effort to see the value of basic actions, which helps him relate energy conservation to his Quaker faith.“What we call energy conservation often, usually even, comes down to simple everyday activities: I ride a bike, I put on a sweater, I eat a meal without meat,” Cobb said. “These are not glamorous activities, and these are the sort of activities I might do, or might not do, without thinking much about it.”Cobb said his choice not to obtain a driver’s license has strengthened his Quaker faith.“Riding my bike to get where I need to go day-by-day has deepened my spirituality,” Cobb said. “It’s very easy not to drive. You just never learn.”He said that riding his bike instead of driving also contributes to his understanding of the right use of energy, which he sees as a spiritual practice.“My awareness of the spiritual aspect of riding my bike helps me to do it everyday,” he said. “I see that I am not doing so with the intent to conserve fossil fuel energy for someone else to use. My hope is that no one else will use it. Rather, I have the intent of improving the right use of energy in my life.”Cobb said recognizing a spiritual presence in activities such as biking or walking helps him engage with nature.“I feel connected to my surroundings,” Cobb said. “I am aware of the weather, the light, the direction of the breeze, the presence of animals. I am able to speak to people, to encourage geese to get off the path. When I bike, I adjust my approach to be in harmony with the conditions around me.”According to Cobb, his Quaker faith aligns with his practices of energy conservation.“What comes to us in prayer and worship from God, we seek to understand and follow in our lives,” he said.Rachel Novick, assistant professor of biological sciences at Notre Dame, said North Americans use significantly more energy than those on other continents. She said this is one main reason she practices energy conservation.“As much as we want to care about nature and protect it, we still think we own it,” Novick said.She said that principles of the Jewish tradition encourage people to think more simply and to eliminate unnecessary energy usage from their lives. Novick said the Sabbath, the most central aspect of Jewish life, prohibits activities such as driving, cell phone usage and shopping for 24 hours.“While the Sabbath only comes once a week, it defines our lives in ways that influence our choices more broadly,” Novick said. “For instance, we choose to live in walking distance of other people so that we have people to socialize with on Saturdays.”According to Novick, it is not uncommon for people to take two-hour walks or to visit parks on the Sabbath because people enjoy activities at slower paces.“The Sabbath is a powerful anecdote to the way we become so accustomed to technology that we can’t imagine life without it,” Novick said. “It can be really nice to take things slowly. If you ask people who keep the Sabbath if it’s a sacrifice every week, they’re actually really excited about it.”Novick said everyone has this opportunity to build community with others through a shared prioritization of energy conservation.“We live in a country today that grows enough corn to feed every hungry person on this planet,” Novick said. “The choices we make about how to use energy, and its impacts, all come back to us.”Tags: spirituality of energy conservation, theology on firelast_img read more

Caffine High.

first_imgIf coffee lovers want to get that morning caffeine jolt at thecoffee pot, they first have to survive the sticker shock at thegrocery store.Drought and poor flowering in Brazilian coffee trees has pricessoaring. In Atlanta, the price of a 26-ounce bag is approaching$6. There’s no relief in sight, says a University of Georgiaeconomist.”Brazil is the largest coffee producer in the world,” said BillThomas, an agricultural economist with the UGA College ofAgricultural and Environmental Sciences. “Its production will bedown an estimated one-third from last year.”Short Supply, High DemandWhile 1999 was a record production year for Brazil, Thomas saysmarkets were unable to maintain the low prices.”Once you have a record year, usually the next year will go down,and that’s what happened,” Thomas said. “We expect production todrop from 36 million bags last year to 24 million bags thisyear.”Coffee drinkers can expect to continue to pay more for some time.The crop is harvested annually. “If we miss one harvest, we haveto wait a full year for another harvest and for supply to catchup with demand,” Thomas said.”Brazil is just recovering from the damage their trees sufferedin 1994,” he said. “Most of the damage seems to be to fruit,rather than the trees, so production could come back as early asnext year.”Until production comes back to build up the supply — or peoplestop drinking coffee, to lower the demand — expect prices toremain high.”There aren’t a lot of alternatives for the coffee market,”Thomas said. “Brazil produces such a high percentage of thehigh-quality beans. Colombia and other South American countriesdo produce coffee, but Brazil is a major exporter. When Brazilhas a problem, everybody in the world knows about it.”last_img read more

IOC says it’s committed to Tokyo Games amid coronavirus concerns

first_imgRelatedPosts Italy introduces compulsory virus testing for travellers from France Nigeria records new COVID-19 infections, more deaths as figures rise to 57,242 I was in best of forms before Tokyo Paralympics was postponed — Powerlifter Ejike The International Olympic Committee is committed to the Tokyo Olympics going ahead on schedule this summer in spite of fears around the outbreak of the coronavirus, its president, Thomas Bach, says. “Bach told Japanese media in a conference call that the IOC is fully committed to a successful Olympic Games in Tokyo starting July 24,” the Kyodo news agency reported on Thursday. Bach, when asked on possible alternatives to holding the Olympics as scheduled, said: “I’ll not add fuel to the flames of speculation.” Japanese authorities reported an eighth death from Covid-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus, and over a dozen infections, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to over 900. Some 705 came from the cruise ship Diamond Princess. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, however, ordered all primary, junior-high and high schools to close from Monday to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. dpa/NAN.Tags: CoronavirusInternational Olympic CommitteeKyodo News AgencyThomas BachTokyo Olympicslast_img read more