Oh, the whiplash

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Yes, readers, you have a right to be confused. The name on the blog is "Sustainably," but pretty much everything I write these days is on food, food policy, obesity, and addiction. As I've written before, there are parallels, but even so, what happened to the sustainability stuff?

And then comes a post like this one, after at least a couple of dozen "off-topic" posts! But I'm just going to live with the dissonance for now, and figure out what to do later. So, anyway...

NRDC president at MIT on Wednesday

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Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, speaks at an MIT Energy Initiative event on Wednesday, Oct. 7, at 4:15. 

The topic will be Copenhagen, but she'll also talk about the prospect for climate-change legislation in Congress. For many of us, the question has become, is the bill good enough. Or rather, is "any" bill worth supporting, at the potential expense of getting nothing at all. I have read on the topic, but yet have a satisfying answer, and hope she'll be able to help on that question.

MIT and sustainability

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My grandfather, who didn't go to college but nevertheless started a business in 1929 that thrives today, had a sign on his desk that said, "don't ask me, I didn't go to Harvard."

Well, I didn't go to MIT and I'm pretty sure I never will, at least not above the level of conferences, museums, and Edgerton Alley, a portion of a classroom building hallway devoted to luminary Harold "Doc" Edgerton, inventor of the stroboscope and the "E" in EG&G, who has been an influence on me since I saw him in a Junior Explorers Club session at Boston's Museum of Science when I was 12 or so.

But I am learning from MIT nevertheless, and another such opportunity is coming up on April 24, a one-day conference on sustainability. I regret that I won't be able to attend, but you can, I'm envious of your opportunity.

Other tidbits from the conference

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I just love shows like the just-completed MIT Energy Conference, for all the opportunities to learn in such a short space, and often directly from people actively studying in the field. Another such opportunity arises this week at NESEA's Building Energy '09.

Here's some orts left over from my walk through the poster session Friday night and the four-plus hours I was able to spend on Saturday...

* is a new website, still being populated but open for visiting, whose purpose is ...

Inslee on energy

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In the previous post, I alluded to US Rep. Jay Inslee, the Washington State Democrat with a very clear focus on energy issues. He said a bunch, both in his luncheon speech and in a generous discussion with journalists afterward. Some highlights:

Cap-and-trade legislation will pass this year. "I can't conceive of sending President Obama to Copenhagen empty-handed." "Coperhagen," of course, refers to the multilateral climate change conference scheduled for Dec. 7-18 in Denmark.

Transportation fuels in 2050

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For many, the question isn't "will cars be powered differently in 40 years?" but whichnfuel will dominate — electricity (plug-in, or batteries or both?), biofuels (food-based ethanol, or something more advanced?), or hydrogen? (Really?)

But in a session at the MIT Energy Conference Saturday afternoon, analyst John Casesa, a one-time GM employee who spent 17 years on Wall Street before opening his own consultancy, says he doesn't envision much change:


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