View from the boat: Members of a scientific expedition on behalf of a melting Antarctic ice shelf (from www.globalgreen.org)

View from the boat: Members of a scientific expedition on behalf of a melting Antarctic ice shelf (from www.globalgreen.org)

Ok, so climate change was only one component of the Youngstown Sustainable Energy Forum on June 21-23, but the picture’s a pretty cool concept. The real focus of the forum was bringing together corporate, non-profit, academic and government leaders from the “Ohio/Pennsylvania/West Virginia tri-state area” to look at clean energy as a regional driver for economic development. Participants talked about creating a “clean energy belt” from Cleveland to Pittsburgh, shared exciting new technologies and business practices, and more importantly, put a hopeful spin on our energy future. A couple of my favorite takeaways?


Takeaway 1. “Myth: Resources are infinite; energy is finite.”

It’s actually the other way around, according to Josh Tickell, director of the Sundance Film Festival award-winning documentary “FUEL”. All energy comes from the sun, which we hope (fingers crossed) will be around for awhile, so it’s about time we learn how to harvest that energy in a sustainable way. Resources, at least on human timescales, are limited when we turn them into unusable waste.

Takeaway 2: Tens of thousands of years ago, humans had to find their food by hunting and gathering… it wasn’t until they learned how to grow their food that their existence changed and societies as we know them began to develop. 

Up until now, we’ve really been hunters and gatherers of energy – a sustainable energy future that depends on our ability to grow energy as well.

Many thanks to the US Business Council for Sustainable Development, Parsons, Youngstown State University, NorTech and all the others who hosted this fantastic event!