Last Thursday I attended the Renewable Energy Meeting held at the University of Maine and
finally witnessed the politics that rule our lives firsthand.
I observed as 20 representatives from the University of Maine System laughed and hugged in complete agreement on the direction and material future in which students will learn.
From here on out, the UMaine System will be indoctrinating our children into believing the myth of “free energy.”
At a meeting regarding energy, I figured I would hear mostly engineers talking about what incoming students will need to learn to be successful when they enter the work force. Instead, I heard economics and law professors discuss schemes to use taxpayer money to push their agenda through. That agenda fails to recognize our energy problems by applying expensive, inefficient technologies as the solution.
Don Zillman, president of the University of Maine in Presque Isle, said Maine’s future curriculum needs to teach students that we need to rid ourselves of the carbon economy.
He spoke of five reasons we need to do so — global warming is an immediate threat; China and other developing countries are increasing their demand of oil; the threat of peak oil is real; we don’t have the infrastructure to ship and deliver our own natural resources; and the threat of terrorist attacks is too high to trust the far most efficient energy source of nuclear power.
Although each of these reasons is highly debatable, I’ll give him the benefit of doubt. So assuming we have to leave the carbon economy, what are the solutions?
This meeting had one direction and they held a tight ship. There was no straying away from the consensus that students would be taught the benefits of renewable and alternative energy. By teaching only these benefits, there would be no room for children to question the efficiency of wind and solar technologies or the direction our lawmakers are pushing us in.
In fact, one brave man named Jim LaBrecque — from the UMaine Mechanical Engineering department — spoke up against all the suggested changes in the energy curriculum. He was the only person with a differing opinion in the group.
LaBrecque presented common sense facts explaining why there is no hope for alternative energies making a substantial difference in quality of life here in Maine. We have such rare conditions in Maine where it’s cold, hazy and full of trees. The gray days and cold temperatures turn solar panels into gold shingles.
If we put up wind turbines, we must clear-cut the trees which sequester our carbon dioxide. The new wind turbine at UMPI can’t even pay off their interest in energy savings.
According to LaBrecque, we can’t control our supply because it is influenced by global markets, but we can improve our energy demand by becoming more efficient in the “stuff” we already have.
Instead of investing in dead-end technologies, we could be re-engineering setups and systems we currently have. For instance, instead of pumping $500 per day of heat out of Little Hall all winter at UMaine, we could just reprogram the building to claim it as useful heat. This would save more energy per day than six residential windmills would per year.
Imagine if we invested in real solutions instead of garbage.
Before LaBrecque could finish his complete thought, he was rudely interrupted by Evelyn Silver, the senior advisor to UMaine President Robert Kennedy. Throughout LaBrecque’s moment on the floor, Silver shook her head and spoke with her neighbors. She was very close-minded on the issue, cutting off all naysayers.
Our children will be trained to invest time, money, effort and life into a bottomless pit of failure all because of meetings like these. Administrators sit behind closed doors and turn their noses up at public opinion.
I write this in hopes that someone else will see public injustice firsthand and start getting involved in public actions. It is getting near the time we all make a stand for right rather than wrong. We’ve fallen to half-truths and hidden agendas for too many decades.
Alexander Polk is a fourth-year mechanical engineering student.
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