"We must be concerned in this country about energy," President Bush
told reporters in December 2000. "We must be concerned about shortages and at the same time,
obviously, concerned about conservation."
Energy Resources on the Web takes this statement seriously.
The inspiration for this site was research I conducted for my
thesis project here at the College
of Journalism and Communications at the University
of Florida where I am a candidate for a master's degree in
mass communication. The project -- a series of four magazine articles --
was titled: "American Society at the Threshold of a New Era in
Environmental Policy: An In-Depth Look at Our Myopic Approach to
Transportation, Energy, Economic, And Climate Issues and Fresh
Perspectives for the New Millennium." My interest in the subject matter
did not abate after my successful defense of the project in April, 2001.
Rather, the research and discussions piqued my curiosity about these timely
issues of national and international consequence.
With politicians warning of an imminent energy crisis, it seems
worthwhile to explore a number of strategies to avert such a situation.
This site is intended to introduce a brief overview of our current
energy and transportation situation and what the future holds in these areas.
This is not a one-sided, brainwashing site. My research was conducted as
an objective journalist, and I am presenting facts as well as multiple
web sources for you to use as you choose.
An energy crisis???
- 18 million barrels of oil are consumed each day in the United States.
- Oil and gas companies have contributed $100 million to political parties
- Transportation accounts for 65 percent of U.S. oil consumption.
- Today's cars go 50 percent farther per gallon of gas than in 1970, when
the average was 13 miles per gallon, but vehicle miles have increased
90 percent since that time.
- With 5 percent of the world's population, the United States consumes
one-fourth of the world's oil and produces 25 percent of global greenhouse gases.
- The decade of the 1990s was the hottest on record.
Are we, in fact, on an irreversible course toward blackouts like those
in California or gas lines akin to those of the 1970s? Hardly, say some:
"...An 'energy crisis' is convenient for an administration to justify its
about-face on carbon dioxide emissions and its hunger to drill in the
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Though if there really is a crisis,
shouldn't we be pulling out all the stops." -- The New Republic, April 2, 2001.
Indeed, Vice President Cheney warned on NBC's "Meet the Press" that if we
don't develop more energy resources, we could face "rolling blackouts
in the entire country." More and more people are now scared of this
fate: According to a March 2001 CNN/Time poll, 1 in 5 Americans think the
country is in an energy crisis. But wouldn't "pulling out all the stops"
entail a pinch of conservation and a dash of alternatives to mix in with all that
drilling? That is what you will be able to explore on this site and across the web.
Why the Web?
The energy situation in our country will become more important as
time wears on and as energy supplies decrease. While people tend
to rely on the media to inform them on issues
with which they have little direct experience,
the proliferation of information on the web is unprecedented.
"Surfing the web" is an increasingly popular way for people to seek
out information, and it is a great way to get a message out and
get people involved. For the purposes of this site, you can learn more about the current
energy situation as well as how your transportation and energy use impact the
environment. With the web, people can cater the information to their own needs -- sign up for listservs,
get email updates, conduct searches and browse the web. As I found out during my
thesis project research, the web is a bountiful resource for inquiring minds.
Although I conducted a great deal of my research in the library (for
a list of useful "pulp-based" materials, please go to the Sources page),
I spent what some would consider an unhealthy amount of time logged on
to the Internet. But the countless hours of web research paid off,
and I've chosen a few of the best resources for this site.
To get you started, the following are some great web resources for news related to
energy and the environment:
Environmental Media Services provides
a ton of information on every conceivable environmental issue.
The World Resources Institute has a
comprehensive section of Online Resources related to environmental issues.
Try the Earth Island Institute
for a variety of issues, including energy-efficiency and climate change.
For cutting-edge articles about environment, politics and other issues,
check out Mother Jones.
The New York Times not surprisingly
covers important environmental issues on almost a daily basis.
Try both The New Republic and
The Weekly Standard for different
takes on political, and sometimes environmental, news.
HOW THE SITE IS ORGANIZED
All of the issues included on this site are interconnected in this web
I've chosen to call "Energy Resources on the Web" and have divided up in the following manner:
Each page contains a brief background of the issue and a list of
key links to other related resources available on the web. The text of
this site is intended solely to introduce you to the basics. If you
would like to learn more, the links cover most of the bases and, whether
you are a consumer, student, teacher, or other, should lead you
to the information you are looking for.
- Fossil Fuels
- Talks briefly of our dependence on fossil fuels as well as current
efforts to increase energy supplies. Addresses the Bush administration's
determination to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
- Examines the popularity of and problems with Sport
Utility Vehicles and the issue of fuel economy.
- This page looks at alternatives to fossil fuel consumption.
Included is information on hybrid and fuel cell vehicles and solar, wind,
and geothermal power. This section also touches on the issue of global warming.
- Here you will find strictly "pulp-based" resources: those that
you'll actually have to venture to the library or bookstore to find.
They are mostly academic books and journals, but I found them to be
both interesting and useful.