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Energy and Environmental Education at Adlai E. Stevenson

On March 15 Dave Wilms, Sustainability Coordinator at Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire collaborated with Maggie Waldron, Project Coordinator with the Office of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Education Partnerships at Northwestern University to host a professional development session addressing sustainability and renewable energy. The purpose: Awareness and integration of environmental and energy stewardship into the educational curricula. Check out what Maggie and Northwestern are doing here: http://osep.northwestern.edu


Over 40 participants attended to hear Dr. Dick T. Co's talk: "Energy and the Environment: The Past, Present and Future & Why Change is Needed". Dr. Co of Northwestern University's Chemistry Department is involved with Northwestern's Initiative for Sustainability & Energy and ANSER: Argonne-Northwestern Solar Energy Research Center.


Stevenson High staff, area university Sustainability coordinators and renewable energy industry leaders heard Dr. Co's talk, had an interactive Q&A and teamed up in discussion groups to address the educational contribution in meeting our energy and environmental challenges.


Dr. Co offered a fact based, macro view of our rapidly changing world due to population growth (over 9 Billion by 2040) and the increasing middle class of developing nations. These two dynamics were correlated to increased energy demand - from 15 terawatts to 40 terawatts by 2040. Dr. Co addressed meeting increased demand in the Geo-political context while simultaneously protecting our environment from further destruction caused by the burning of fossil fuels.


The United States with 5% of the world population, consumes 20% of the world's energy output. Dr. Co presented scientific, understandable, alternative solutions to emitting green house gases (GHG) such as methane and carbon dioxide that increase the temperature of our planet and contribute to climate disruption.


Dr. Co gave insight to developing low cost, environmentally benign, renewable photovoltaic (PV) solar collectors - using the sun's energy to generate electricity. In one hour, the sun provides more energy than the world uses in one year. Two technologies Dr.Co discussed are using dye sensitized solar cell collectors and an organic, artificial photosynthetic method of capturing the sun's energy.


If only everyone out there could hear Dr. Co, we would be well on our way to appreciating the challenges and educating future generations of environmental and energy stewards.


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