1. Should companies be liable for law suits from civilians that have been injured or harmed, experiencing chronic diseases resulting from the harnessing of natural gas? 

2. If it was your property being asked for, would you take a set amount (such as $100.000) or ask for a certain percentage of the profit margin? 

3. Will the overall natural gas production outweigh the social and environmental damage done by obtaining it through hydraulic fracturing? 



          The video, “Power Surge,” courtesy of NOVA, took initiative to explain the modern ecological problem regarding climate change and possible solutions that may save us. I believe that regardless of what happens, the modern human will be able to gradually evolve to adapt any changes in the atmosphere, whether it means to integrate an automated filtration system in the mouth and nose, or to learn how to effectively use chemicals in the air that have previously been toxic to us. However, assuming this theory is false, I believe I would side with the solution the video provides: the Wedge Theory, as proposed by Stephen Pacala of Princeton University. The theory states that the modern problem regarding climate change will have to be solved by technology, but not by one technology alone. Many diverse ‘technological wedges’ will have to fill in the triangular gap -consisting of current and projected carbon emissions- to solve the problem. For this to work, we will have to put our current carbon levels at a standstill over the next fifty years and establish a seven billion ton reduction per year to accommodate our projected living standards for the future. Pacala divides this seven billion ton piece into a more understandable seven one billion ton pieces. Each wedge is symbolic of a different carbon emission reduction method and each individual wedge can be rated in effectiveness based on the following four categories; energy efficiency, nuclear energy, removal of active carbon emissions from coal plants, and the generation of solar power.


      This is one method to cope with the problem, but I believe it is not the most effective. I believe it would be much better to abandon the modern world as we know it, meaning dropping electricity, harvesting energy, and the use of technology altogether. We should go back to a civilization as we knew it prior to industrialization. We should manually take apart factories, plants and other unnecessary facilities and use the parts to assemble more useful structures such as houses and infrastructure. Cars should be scrapped and everyone should live in small communities where everything is accessible by foot or by horseback. Government should disintegrate into the common people as over the course of history we have discovered that no matter how you put it, the government always ends up greedy, corrupt, and  is usually detested by most civilians. Food can still be accumulated by farming and hunting, and cooking would be over open fires, as microwaves and gas stoves and grills will be a thing of the past. This would be the most effective way to reduce carbon emissions and terminate the accumulating problem we have in our world today. It would practically eliminate the carbon emissions we are outputting and it would allow the earth to naturally reset it’s carbon levels over time.


          However, this concept seems impractical. The world has come to far to give up the technologies and the globalization we have taken so long to generate. No one wants to give up their office jobs to go back to the dirty work of farming and self sustenance…except for me. So perhaps realistically, Pacala might have found a good solution to the problem, though he does not really go in depth about the effects of such technologies on the environment, economy, or society.  

Class Discussion: 10 July 2013

         Like many countries around the globe, Brazil and the United States are both making valiant efforts to push for alternative energy for power. Although both nations are on the same path, a major difference lies in the time frame in which the nations’ politicians are planning on making the switch. The United States has installed several programs to promote the ‘green movement,’ from gradually reducing the carbon emissions released by power plants to coercing car manufacturers to gradually increase the gas efficiency of any new models put into the market. Brazil on the other hand has already shown that there will be a heavy reliance on ethanol in the very near future, as their ethanol production and use has drastically increased in recent years. They have already increased the number of sugar cane plants in farms to increase the supply, so one can expect the accumulation of ethanol-powered vehicles and other devices to keep up the demand. Both countries have also started to use hydroelectric, wind, and solar power as additional forms of alternative energy. However, there is a major difference in the manner by which the respective politicians in the two countries plan to change. Brazil has decided to export a stolid amount of their domestic oil, and use the funding to research and execute their plans for alternative energy. Meanwhile, the United States has been saving their oil reserves, waiting for universal oil depletion in order to be able to place their own price in the global market and maximize profit. Unfortunately, the United States has come to realize that the world is moving away from oil and is looking at other sources for energy. Realizing that the business plan for oil marketing is flirting with failure, the United States has decided to start rigging our own oil under the Obama administration. Because we are increasing our domestic oil production, one would expect the price per barrel of oil to drop significantly. However, this is not the case: because the big American oil tycoons have overspeculated their predicted incomes, they decided to keep the prices high to make up for the loss they would encounter in the failure of their anticipated international oil monopoly. Meanwhile, as the United States is very slowly moving towards alternative energy in small increments, the American oil tycoons are planning to deplete their supplies and make some money before oil is abandoned as an energy source altogether. Other countries, such as Brazil, do not have this problem, as they have been rigging oil regularly. Therefore, they can immediately start the ‘green revolution’ without any anxiety over any lost revenue on oil. This is especially true in Brazil, where the country seizes ownership of any oil found, unlike America, where private companies control the market. Unlike the United States, the Brazilian Government has the option to claim ownership of whatever makes money, so whenever oil is no longer profitable, they can drop that market and start the taxation of any alternative energy technologies to make their money, which is why they can so suddenly start the movement, unlike the United States.


            In Brazil, the effects could be immediate, but the problem lies in the initial cost of the installation of the technologies. The country is already struggling sustain their contacts for the upcoming World Cup and Olympic Games, and has resided to raising the cost of public transportation. Therefore, the government currently cannot pay to put alternative energy into active practice, and it is even more implausible that the barren pockets of the civilians will be able to afford to install solar panels, wind turbines, or other forms of alternative energy for themselves. Thus, until the revenue from the Olympics and the World Cup are deposited into Brazilian accounts there will be great monetary debacles in the push for alternative energy.


     However, although there are so many options available for alternative energy, they all have their prices. Some of them are expensive to produce, some need constant maintenance, in which case it would not be worth the economic investment to start with, and others produce a great amount of carbon emissions in their manufacturing stage, which would almost make their use counterintuitive.


         I believe that the best option is yet to come and will be a major breakthrough when it is discovered. Because energy is never lost, but rather only converted into different forms, theoretically, there has to be a way in which an energy can convert back and forth between two where both forms can be used in retroconversion. This would mean that an energy would exist that would emit no by products and would automatically recharge itself in conversion. I believe such a technology would be the best option for the future; it just has to be discovered first. 

Inconvenient Truth

  1. What image started the modern day environmental movement?

The Earth Rise movement was the origin of the modern day environmental movement.

  1. What is considered the most vulnerable part of the earth system?

According to the video, the atmosphere is said to be the most indispensable part of the earth system.

  1. Relatively speaking, compared to the earth, how thick is the atmosphere?

In comparison to the actual earth, the atmosphere is but a layer thinner than a table cloth on a thick wooden table.

  1. How can trapping infrared radiation by the earth’s atmosphere be a GOOD thing?

Infrared radiation is a key factor in keeping thermal homeostasis on earth, which allows for biological stability amongst the organisms it bears.


  1. How can trapping infrared radiation by the earth’s atmosphere be a BAD thing?

Hyper-absorption would lead to an augmented level of infrared radiation, which would consequently result in a direct thermal incline in temperature, which would affect individual organisms that cannot cope with increased temperatures, which would eventually harm and alter entire ecosystems.


  1.  What percentage of people depend on glacial melt for their drinking water?

Approximately forty percent of the population depend on the glacial melt for drinking water.


  1. Why is studying ice cores important?

The study of ice cores is important because it can be used to identify the environmental effects on polar habitats.


  1. What is the relationship between carbon dioxide (CO2) and atmospheric temperature?

There’s a direct correlation between carbon dioxide and the atmospheric temperature,  so when one goes up, so does the other.


  1. Over what time period have the hottest 10 years on earth occurred?

Ten of the past fourteen years have been the hottest in modern recorded history.


  1. As the water temperature under a hurricane increases, what happens to the wind velocity of the


         The wind velocity increases proportionally with technology water temperature in a hurricane.

  1. What has happened to Lake Chad over the years?

It has dessicated from a large lake to practically a puddle in comparison to its original size.


  1. How much of the suns radiation gets reflected by ice?

Approximately 90 percent of the sun’s radiation gets reflected by ice.

  1. What redistributes energy from the equator to the north and south poles?

The redistribution of energy from the equator to the poles I generated by the Coriolis Effect.

  1.  If the ice sheets of Western Antarctica were to melt, approximately how much would sea level


               The sea level is projected to rise 20 feet globally if the western Antarctican ice sheets were to melt.

15.  List the three factors causing the collision between civilization and earth

1. Science/technology

2. Recognition of ecological destruction and the ‘go green ‘ movement

3. Rise in global population

16. Approximately, what percentages of global carbon dioxide emissions come from forest fires?

               An estimated 30 percent of carbon dioxide emissions come from forest fires.

17. What country is the largest contributor of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere?

              The United States is the largest greenhouse gas donor in the world.

18. Which country has the lowest government standards for gas mileage of automobiles?

             The United States has the lowest standards.

19. Which two nations have not signed onto the Kyoto Protocol?

           The two countries that have yet to sign the Kyoto Protocol are the United States and Australia. 




I recently did a survey to trace my carbon footprint from heel to toe, and I discovered Mine measures about 55 tons of carbon dioxide a year based on energy waste at my house, travel habits, and diet. According to the survey, 33.8% of my footprint comes from home energy waste, 58.3% from driving and flying, 1.7% from food and diet, and 6.2% regarding recycling and waste. This means I accumulate two times the carbon footprint emission of the average American. The percent breakdown was at a similar ratio other than the food category for which I amount much less of a footprint.
This means that my footprint is the equivalent of ten international footprints. I could easily reduce any of these categories by getting more efficient lighting and insulation, traveling less and eating less meats.

About Me


       My name is Panagiotis Katsaros and I am a Biology major at Northeastern University. I am currently in Brazil, wanting to learn about various alternative energy sources that are either not available or not widespread in the states. I have been here for only three days, yet I have already come to realize that I have come to visit during a crucial time in modern Brazilian history. The people of Brazil may have been attempting to revolt for decades, but the political ability to silence the media has thwarted anything from developing into a full scale revolution. But now, political power and monetary compensation can no longer control the media because of one reason: social media. Brazilians may not have the living standards of the United States or other first world countries, but the people are adept enough with the electronics they have access to, to create a social media platform for themselves,from where they can act as unfiltered journalists for the rest of the domestic and international population to find out what is actually going on. In this manner, the Brazilian people may be able to pull through for once.