Wednesday, January 1, 2014

IU SPH Students Travel to West Virginia to Explore Impact of Energy Production

This October James Farmer, Assistant Professor in the Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies, teamed up with Associate Professor Vicky Meretsky from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) to offer 27 students and 2 visiting scholars the opportunity to see firsthand the impact of energy production, specifically coal extraction, on rural residents. Students had the opportunity to visit several sites including a restored stream system, hydro plant, wind farm, and mountain top removal site, as well as hear from college students in the area studying the issue, industry representatives, environmental managers and advocates, as well as local residents and community organizers engaged in eco-restoration.

The trip allowed students the opportunity to witness individuals from the coal and gas industries and those engaged in watershed protection and restoration working together to solve human-environmental problems, “…problems that have had and will continue to have a profound impact on human health and quality of life,” Farmer noted.  He hopes that students became more aware of the need for collaboration in developing solutions to energy production problems, but that also the…learned where their energy comes from and what it takes (and how it affects both people and the natural environment we depend on) to turn on a light switch.”

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