Our First Guest Speaker

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Guest speaker President Obama joined our class this morning.  We watched his recent climate change address online, which outlined his new national climate action plan for the U.S.  Considering that we are studying sustainable energy in class this week, the speech could not have happened at a more timely moment in history.  The President spent no time trying to convince the public that global warming is real, that was a given; instead the president cleverly blended classic environmental metaphors with real solutions to end the U.S.’s dependence on foreign fossil fuels.  The President reinforced Amory Lovins’ Ted Talk lesson on the economic advantages of sustainable energy systems.  Both argued that higher pollution standards would not destroy the economy; in fact, new legislation would merely serve as a continuation what the EPA started.  The class was overwhelmingly supportive of his address, although a few of us were concerned about his stance on hydro-fracking.  The President shook off whatever weariness was left from the previous night of cost analysis and spreadsheet madness.

After Professor Randolph’s lecture on power plant systems, we disbanded for a delicious lunch prepared by Chef Luigi: fresh salad and vegetable lasagna.  After lunch we divided up into small groups in order to research various European case studies that exemplify model sustainable behavior.  The class gave impromptu presentations on building efficiency, solar and wind energy, combined heat & power, as well as sustainable land use and transportation policies.  The presentations proved to be an efficient way of covering a wide variety of sustainable practices in Europe, all of which could potentially retrofit to the U.S.

03Botta_Bianchi House

When class was over, a group of us went to relax by the beautiful Lake Lugano.  A few of us went out to search for the Bianchi house, a house in Riva San Vitale that was designed by the well known architect Mario Botta.  We were successful in finding the house (see photo).  From there, we enjoyed a pleasant walk back to the villa.

Guest contributor:  Clarke Templeton

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