An Earth Day 2013 prelude

The_Earth_seen_from_Apollo_17[1]Next Monday, Earth Day turns 44.

All about Earth awareness or planet conservation, the topic I’ve chosen to write on will, of course, have an air quality connection. But being today is not Earth Day that will have to wait.

For the time being, though, what I thought I would write on right now, very briefly mind you, is past air-quality-related activities.

Here is one I can think of right off the bat.

Working as an adjunct instructor in 1990 and 1991, it was in the latter year that I was tasked to teach a class in industrial electricity concepts to students at a local community college in Central California. To be covered were just the basics. The rest of the time and also on a part-time basis, I taught direct current (DC) and alternating current (AC) fundamentals.

It is a sad fact there isn’t much I remember about the teaching assignment itself. However, having said that, what I recall most vividly is the final assignment for reasons not too difficult to imagine.

The requirement was that students were to do outside research on the various types of energy production – biomass, co-generation, fossil fuel, geothermal, hydroelectric, nuclear, solar, wind, etc., and submit a write-up on what they found. Questions to be answered were: what was the most efficient and why; what was the least environmentally damaging and why; what was the most cost-effective means to produce power and so on and so forth.

As it turns out, after the write-ups were turned in many of the students expressed how much they had enjoyed the class and how much they had learned. And upon reading and grading the papers, it was a mutual feeling.

Which all brings to mind the relative ease with which energy is transmitted and distributed.

Coming into my home is electricity and natural gas. With that said, I can only imagine what it must have been like for my forebears and also for homesteaders who did not benefit from the conveniences of piped-in water, electricity and/or natural gas. I picture fireplaces used for cooking and home heating if not for warming bath water and water to wash clothes and dishes and eating utensils in. I’m also thinking of lit kerosene lamps and candles for interior lighting purposes. Incidentally, and as it relates, for people in some countries, this is standard operating procedure even in this current day and age.

In concluding, I realize that what I am about to share is common knowledge, but if it is all the same to you, I’ll share the following facts anyway.

In 1970 amendments to the federal Clean Air Act were enacted which just so happens to coincide with Earth Day’s commencement.

At any rate, back to Earth Day 2013, in the offing I’m sure will be scads of news and announcements of up-coming related events.

Image above: NASA

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