Articles by Maywa Montenegro
Maywa Montenegro is an editor and writer at Seed magazine, focusing mainly on ecology, bidiversity, agriculture, and sustainable development.
So this weekend I had the great pleasure of roaming around Manhattan, popping my head into generally closed-to-the-public spaces as part of the annual Open House New York. Among my favorite stops was a small shop in the East village called Build A Green Bakery. Apart from its divine chocolate-chip cookies, the bakery has made a small name for itself for being environmentally conscious, in everything from its supply chain to its ultra-green storefront. (Take a virtual tour and check out the materials they used).
E.O. Wilson is perhaps best recognized as a lifelong champion of biodiversity. For the past 50 years, Wilson has been reaching beyond his core discipline of entomology to make connections with evolution and social science, in the 70s becoming the founder of the controversial science of sociobiology.
Now, at the age of 77, Wilson is plunging into yet another contentious territory, hoping to bridge the science/religion divide for the sake of salvaging the planet. His new book The Creation, in fact, takes the form of a series of letters written to a Southern Baptist minister.
Although today an acknowledged atheist, Wilson himself is no stranger to evangelical Christianity -- having been raised a Baptist and "born again" as a teenager.
You can read more about Wilson -- who I admittedly have a "science idol" crush on -- in the current issue of Seed magazine (sorry, it's not available online, but for a mere $4.95 you'll get the feature plus some great photos).
Ultimately Wilson recognizes the power of numbers. "In order to get a response from political leaders, and of course, a response from the media," he says, "you have to have enough people who are interested and who care."
But his use of the word "creation"?
This approach may be more than just a good deed, well intentioned and exemplary of the power of cooperation. It may be political genius.
While I don't have NYT Select access and haven't read Friedman's recent column, I did see the Discover Channel special earlier this summer ("Addicted To Oil") in which he similarly pumped Brazilian ethanol.
We could argue until we're blue, green, or yellow in the face about the long-term viability of biofuels in the U.S. But the best and most thoroughly researched rundown I've seen is here. This article -- which is essentially a synopsis of the 2005 NRDC report "Growing Energy" embellished with other expert opinions -- says that even cellulosic ethanol stands a chance to meet our transportation energy needs only if the U.S. cuts fuel consumption by 50%.
Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology is being discussed as a promising way to stave off emissions from coal-fired plants. I know some environmentalists scorn the idea of pumping CO2 into the ground, but many experts believe that CCS could help keep global warming in check. For better or for worse, they say, coal will remain an important energy source, because it remains cheap and abundant even as oil prices climb.