Sustainability Studies Program alumna Shameika Hanson needs YOUR help!

Dear Students and Alumni,

My name is Shameika Hanson I am the Volunteer Coordinator at Hudson River Sloop Clearwater (a New York-based environmental action and education organization), as well as a Stony Brook University Sustainability Studies Program alumna, class of 2014.

Upon graduating last summer, I was stressed trying to figure out what I would do next. At the urging of Dr. Heidi Hutner, I attended Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival at Croton-Point Park in Croton-on-Hudson, New York, with another Stony Brook friend in tow.

We spent the weekend camping, volunteering, eating food until we felt we’d burst, and listening to various types of music. It was at Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival that my friend and I kayaked for the first time in our lives. We also enjoyed brushing up on our juggling in an area devoted to circus acts/ games. It was a great experience that I was a bit skeptical about at first, but was in the end delighted to have had so much fun, not to mention to have met so many new people from all over the world.

A photo of me driving up to Beacon for the first time to meet Clearwater's director, Peter Gross. I was so surprised to learn I was actually about to be interviewed to work for Clearwater!

A photo of me driving up to Beacon for the first time to meet Clearwater’s director, Peter Gross. I was so surprised to learn I was actually about to be interviewed to work for Clearwater!

To my surprise, less than two months later I ended up being hired by Clearwater, and I am now living in Beacon where the office is located. I see many people I met at the festival last year and now get to facilitate this opportunity for others, all because I volunteered. Don’t miss out on a chance to experience the 2015 festival, it is approaching very quickly and there are still spaces left to sign up to volunteer.

Please visit to apply or you can call, e-mail, or even text me with any questions you may have. I really hope you will join us for another epic festival as we volunteer to help deliver for the river!


Shameika Hanson

Volunteer Coordinator
Hudson River Sloop Clearwater Inc.
724 Wolcott Ave.
Beacon, NY 12508

Office: 845-265-8080 x. 7160
Work Cell: 845-464-5913

Congrats, Sustainability Studies Program grads of 2015!

Dear Grads,

What does it feel like to be just over one week “graduated” thus far? We are very much looking forward to seeing the amazing places you will go and the great things you will do with your “new” degrees. We will also miss you very much, but invite you to come visit any time you’d like and encourage you to keep us updated with your latest news and achievements by email, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

Please enjoy these fun graduation photos! And best of luck in the “Real World!”

– The Stony Brook University Sustainability Studies Program 


Congrats, grads!


Our Director Dr. Heidi Hutner waves from the turf at the Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium.


Walking toward a bright future!


They made it!

The next chapter in my sustainable career: Harvard

John Harvard statue, Harvard University campus, Boston, Massachusetts.

John Harvard statue, Harvard University campus, Boston, Massachusetts.

It’s fitting that today, May 6th–the final day of the HUD Energy Innovation Fund grant, which brought me to Boston two years ago to work with New Ecology, Inc.–is the day I close one chapter and officially enter a new one…

I’m incredibly excited and honored to officially accept a position with Harvard‬‘s Office for Sustainability‘s engagement team as sustainability manager of the Harvard Longwood Medical Campus!

The position is responsible for initiating, implementing and continually improving cutting-edge sustainability programs on Harvard’s Longwood Medical Campus in coordination with the facilities teams at the Harvard Medical School (HMS), the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH), and the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. I will partner with students, staff, and faculty to manager a robust engagement initiative aimed at achieving the University’s sustainability goals, commitments, standards, and aspirations as envisioned in the Harvard Sustainability Plan.
The University has set forth ambitious goals for energy and water reduction among other things, but relative to many other areas of the University’s campus achieving these goals will be particularly challenging at the Longwood Medical Campus. The lab spaces, used for conducting research, have a disproportionately high energy use intensity ratio given the level of air exchanging, plug loads, and water requirements. Engaging with these lab spaces will be a significant portion of this position’s responsibility.
Additionally, I will have the opportunity to co-direct the activities of the Longwood Campus Green Team, participate on various committees to promote sustainability, education, well-being, and other program efforts, and develop a robust sustainability program to meet goals of HMS and HSPH.
On a personal level, I’m excited about the diversity of the position’s responsibilities and the breadth of the University’s Sustainability Plan. Though I’ll report directly to the Office for Sustainability, the position basically has a client-relationship with HMS and HSPH. One day I may be performing a waste audit with rubber gloves, the next a walk-through with researchers in their lab spaces in a white coat, and then meet with a Dean from the HMS in a suit.
The Harvard Sustainability Plan encompasses not just energy and resource reduction goals, but is progressive and holistic in its approach towards sustainability. In addition to energy and emissions, the plan includes campus operations, nature and ecosystems, health and well-being, and organizational culture and learning.
While some may assume an institution like Harvard is isolated in an Ivory Tower, the University understands that it is integrated with the communities it exists within and around. They also see the process as iterative and have developed (and continuously develop) feedback loops to expand learning and measure outcomes. I also see resiliency as being increasingly important for the community, a conversation I’ve been a part of since prior to Hurricane Sandy and see as extremely important as we work and live within the new paradigm of anthropogenic climate change.
Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 8.58.55 PMBy Adam Meier
Adam has just accepted the position of sustainability manager at Harvard Longwood Medical Campus as part of Harvard‬‘s Office for Sustainability‘s engagement team. Previously, Adam has worked as senior associate at New Ecology, Inc., and also at the Garrison Institute as a Climate, Mind and Behavior Program associate.

Japanese atomic bombing survivors share their testimony at Stony Brook University


Hibakusha Stories visits Stony Brook University.

More than 50 Stony Brook University students, faculty, staff and visitors packed the university’s Film Studio A on Thursday afternoon to attend a Hibakusha Stories presentation, hosted by the Stony Brook University Sustainability Studies Program.

The program, led by Hibakusha Stories Director Dr. Kathleen Sullivan, featured Japanese atomic bombing survivors (known as Hibakusha) Nobuko Sugino and Reiko Yamada, who gave their testimony on what it was like to live through the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Also featured in the presentation was author and anti-nuclear activist Dr. Kristen Iversen, who discussed her investigation of, and experience living near and working at, the Rocky Flats Plant, a secret U.S. plutonium trigger factory located near Denver, Colorado.

“The Hibakusha come to you today not asking for you to feel sad for them, or for what they’ve been through,” said Sullivan. “Instead, they ask that you listen to their testimony and become inspired by their words to work toward a better future.”

While listening to the Hibakushas’ words, which were translated into English by two interpreters, the audience watched on, wide-eyed and open-jawed. Sugino and Yamada described their lives, marked by death, darkness and disease, as extremely challenging and, at times, even hopeless.Yet, the women also expressed that they felt it was their responsibility to warn others, particularly young people, of the dangers of nuclear weapons.

“The Hibakusha are getting older,” said Yamada, “and we may not be around to tell our stories for much longer. The next generations must learn about what we have experienced so that they can stop these weapons.”

Dr. Heidi Hutner, director of the Stony Brook University Sustainability Studies Program agreed with Yamada. Hutner said she felt it was important to bring Hibakusha Stories to the university and to film the group’s presentation so that the Hibakushas’ messages could be preserved “before they leave us forever.”

“There is an old adage: ‘We must never forget’,” said Hutner. “History tends to repeat itself when we do not remember and learn from the past. Hearing stories firsthand from survivors brings history alive and forces us to think in an up-close-and-personal way about nuclear weapons and war and whether this is something we want to engage in and support, or not.”

Iversen added to the conversation on nuclear weapons, discussing her experience “growing up in the nuclear shadow of Rocky Flats,” where nuclear waste stored in rusting metal barrels subsequently leached into the area’s soil and water table, a story she detailed in her book, Full Body Burden. Iversen showed a visual presentation which included contamination and cancer cluster maps, and photos of deformed farm animals, which were presumably impacted by the presence of plutonium in their environment. Some members of the audience said that they were shocked to realize such a place existed, especially in the United States.

“I can’t believe I did not know about Rocky Flats,” said one student in the audience after hearing Iversen give her testimony.

Hutner said she felt it was important to incorporate the oral histories of the Japanese Hibakusha with Iversen’s story in the U.S.

“It’s all part of our world history,” said Hutner. “Japan and the U.S. have deep historical ties.”

According to Hibakusha Stories, there are an estimated 19,000 nuclear weapons still in existence on Earth, and nuclear proliferation has spread from five to nine countries in a matter of decades. Since 2008, the group has given hundreds of presentations and workshops all over the world, mostly to students. For their presentation at Stony Brook University, Sugino and Yamada had traveled to New York all the way from Japan.

“I’m honored they could make the journey,” said Hutner. “The speakers were elderly and traveled for thousands of miles to come to us. I am grateful to Kathleen Sullivan and all of her speakers.”

The filmed event will be available for viewing on the Stony Brook University Sustainability Studies Program website, the SBComm YouTube channel and Dr. Hutner’s and Dr. Christopher Seller‘s coming website on environmental disasters. 

Sustainability Studies Program faculty member co-edits and contributes to new book!

Congratulations to our very own Dr. David Taylor, who joined the Stony Brook University Sustainability Studies Program in fall 2014 as a visiting professor of sustainability. In addition to his role as a professor, Taylor is a writer, and his work encompasses many disciplines and genres, from poetry to creative non-fiction to scholarship and science/technical writing. Yet, at the center of all his writing is the concern for environmental sustainability and community.

61Mbu5wIteL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_This central idea common to all Taylor’s works can be found in a new book he worked on with his co-editor and co-contributor, Dr. Steve Wolverton, associate professor of environmental archaeology at the University of North Texas. The book, Sushi in Cortez: Interdisciplinary Essays on Mesa Verde, is published by the University of Utah Press. In the book, Taylor and Wolverton join an interdisciplinary group of academics, artists and cultural witnesses to explore the landscape and cultural history of Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, a place distinguished by both its renowned archeological sites and well-preserved cliff dwellings.

The contributors’ highly personal works featured in Sushi in Cortez include poetry, film, environmental philosophy, nature photography, native Pueblo perspectives and archaeology, respond to questions common to humanity, including those about the value of work and life, and of visiting timeworn places like Mesa Verde.

Me on the ferry crossing Bahia de CienfuegosDavid J. Taylor, Ph.D.
Visiting Professor of Sustainability
Sustainability Studies Program

Sustainability Studies Program ’14 alum Jayme Liardi to publish his first book!

Congratulations to Sustainability Studies Program ’14 alum Jayme Liardi, who will be publishing his first book, Revelation: A Return to Virtue, this summer. Inspired by the way veganism, connecting to nature and simplicity changed his life, Jayme has developed his own health and lifestyle coaching philosophy to help others achieve success and happiness. His book, which details his transformation, will be available on his website in ebook, audiobook and paperback forms. Read the press release, below!

Revelation: A Return to Virtue

The Forgotten Voice of the Millennials

In a world of increasing decadence and disillusion, many of us simply abide by the conventions of this modern world without second thought simply because we believe it to be the apex of human ingenuity — that there is no alternative to the path of shallow materialism.

We Millennials are said to be the perpetuators and proprietors of said system. We buy into the Cult of Consumerism hook line and sinker; completely unaware of its malignant nature and become complicit in our own degradation from the inside out.

There is however the forgotten millennial who loathes the degenerate cultural conditions which dominate the modern world today — those who strive for something more…

Living in a comfortable trance of relative normalcy, we maintain a docile decorum. We allow ourselves to be sedated, placated by the latest gadgets, programmed by the decadent influences of Hollywood — distractions that keep us pacified, demoralized and reluctant to pursue a life of true nobility.

This book aims to strengthen the disenfranchised youth of today — to appeal to the virtuous spirit within that simply awaits awakening from its long slumber.

A w a k e n

This is my story
I left a world of comfortable complacency
Entered the realm of the living
On a quest
To analyze my beliefs
Discover my inner truth

They say we need a revolution
I say we need a R E V E L A T I O N

Question everything you understand to be true
Relentlessly examine established ideas
Meticulously challenge ingrained dogma
Test theories using praxis
Take back your power and awaken the warrior spirit

A r i s e

Perhaps you are ready to face the great delusion. Only by virtuous revolt will we stand a chance at combating this modern moral decay. The ideas, stories, and life experiments in this book are meant to enliven the warrior within—to awaken a dormant desire to live with greatness, dignity and honor. Perhaps my story, my struggles, can aid you in the battle for sovereignty.


Jayme Louis Liardi is a Long Island native and a graduate of Stony Brook University with a degree in Environmental Humanities and Theatre Arts. While Revelation: A Return to Virtue is his first venture as an author, Jayme plans to further develop his vision and refine the ideas expressed in this book. You can reach him at:

“Reading Revelation: A Return to Virtue, is an uplifting lesson on reflection and praxis shared through a personal journey. This book proclaims, challenges, motivates, and models. It is an important contribution to a swelling tide of independent thinking that just might lift humanity out of the muck and mire of a dispiriting age of delusional commerce.”
Marc Fasanella, PhD

Jayme Liardi
Sustainability Studies Program ’14
Environmental Humanities Major
Theater Arts Major

Star student Emily Nocito attends her first Bard C2C Fellows Network workshop

Emily Nocito (middle row, fourth from left) attended Bard’s recent C2C Fellows Network Spring Workshop in NYC.


Recently, we featured a story on Sustainability Studies Program student, Emily Nocito, on her acceptance into Bard’s prestigious C2C Fellows Network. Here, Emily gives us a peek into her experience as a C2C Fellow thus far:

Just a couple of weekends ago, I had the honor of attending Bard College’s C2C Fellows Network Spring Workshop, a 3-day conference in New York City organized by Bard’s Center for Environmental Policy (CEP). Going in, I knew I was going to be a bit out of my element–the focus of this workshop was sustainable business…

In my three years of attending Stony Brook University, I have yet to take a business class. Business, as a whole, scares me; as a person, I feel as if I am too disorganized to understand the inner workings of the subject. Dr. Eban Goodstein, the head of Bard’s CEP, ran this workshop. He immediately put me at ease; all my fears of being wholly underprepared went away. Program highlights included leadership skills, the role of business and sustainability, fundraising and more.

The best thing I got out of this C2C workshop was, by far, the amazing connections I made. The other fellows were a mix of undergraduates, graduates, and professionals. While sustainability was the overarching theme that brought us together, our passions were diverse. At the “Ideas Marketplace”–where you were given 60 seconds to pitch a sustainable idea–I heard pitches ranging from dealing with food waste to sustainable sanitation. I spent three days bouncing ideas, passions, hopes, and dreams with a like-minded community. I am sure that I met future environmental lawyers, policymakers, scientists, and activists…and feel more confident about my future in sustainable politics and…even business!

10911472_10153531166023916_321178869789920400_oBy Emily Nocito
Sustainability Studies Program ’16
Coastal Environmental Studies Major
Ecosystems and Human Impact Minor

Day 6: My Costa Rica Journal

The beach at Punta Mona.

The beach at Punta Mona.

Day 6:

Before my trip to Costa Rica, I followed the packing list I was provided with, carefully selecting what I thought needed to come with me, and what I should omit. The day finally came to drive to meet the Stony Brook University study abroad group at the airport for our departure. I was sure I had everything I could possibly need on the trip while still traveling lightly. I packed my iPhone and iPad knowing very well that I would not have any service besides the occasional “treat” of Wi-Fi. The technological luxuries that were my iPhone and iPad would only serve as slender cameras for the three weeks to follow.

The first thing we did after landing in Costa Rica was travel by bus for five hours through the cloud forest, all the way to the southern tip of Costa Rica on the edge of the Caribbean Sea.

Our group’s plan was to stay at the hotel there for one night, hike into the jungle on foot, and send our luggage to the Punta Mona Center for Regenerative Design and Botanical Studies—the real destination of our trip—by boat. We reached the hotel only to find out that the sea was too rough for a boat to pass. Our only option was to backpack to Punta Mona with what we needed for two or three days, selecting items from the luggage we had on us.

Yet again, I had to pick and choose what would make the cut and what I was willing to lug around during a three-hour trek through the rainforest. Item by item, I sifted through my belongings. I felt like I was being stripped of my necessities, but made the difficult choices I felt I needed to make. By the end of the hike in I was completely exhausted and felt the burden of the heavy load on my back, making me wish I actually brought less than what I had. I went to my room and unpacked my Jansport, which contained a few shirts, shorts, body wash that doubled as laundry soap, flip-flops, a notebook, and one towel. Not exactly the most luxurious stay I’ve ever had, but I planned to mix and match my articles of clothing to make it work during our stay.

A sloth sighting!

A sloth sighting!

Each day the adventure continued; I never knew what I was going to wake up to. Would it be howler monkeys with their deep, rumbling dinosaur-like groan? Or the pounding of raindrops pouring down? Or an array birds chirping high above in the treetops? There was so much for us to do and see— hundreds of edible plant species, so many exotic animals, new friends from all over the world, a tropical rainforest just outside our cabin, and a beautiful beach. I was able to connect with the land in a way I never thought possible. So many indigenous cultures have lived this way for hundreds of years and I realized why. We had so many things we needed right there. We didn’t rely on big businesses to ship us food or clean water. If we wanted a snack, we could walk out to the nearest fruit tree and pick whatever we wanted. We didn’t have to worry about pesticides or chemicals and everything was fresh off the tree. As we care for the gardens and the chickens, we were immediately rewarded. This for me is the ultimate harmony. Everything our group did was intentional and rewarding.

After meals, our leftover food scraps were set aside and fed to the chickens. The chickens returned the favor by providing us with eggs that were devoured the next morning. As the course went on, we learned about fertilizing the soil with chicken manure and were able to build our own vegetable gardens that also benefitted from the chickens. The energy from our food scraps was able to be recycled back into more food. It was such a simple concept, but to practice the most efficient methods rather than being wasteful was inspiring.

The Winter 2015 Costa Rica study abroad group (Amanda, front).

The Winter 2015 Costa Rica study abroad group (Amanda, front).

One night during our trip, we had a party where we all made chocolate by hand. Before this trip, I wouldn’t have been able to describe where chocolate even comes from. During the process, we ate the cacao fruit and collected the seeds, or cocoa beans inside. The next step was to bake the seeds so that the protective skin becomes crunchy and separated from the bean. This part was much harder than I had expected, and my fingers quickly grew tired from all the prying and peeling. As I peeled, I thought about all the times I’ve eaten a piece of chocolate. Whether it be shaped like a Santa Claus, or in a bag of M&M’s, or carefully molded into a Hershey’s bar, I had never in my entire life stopped to think about where chocolate actually comes from.

It may be the special bond I have with the caffeine-rich treat that helped me to appreciate the situation, but I really had an epiphany. While making cacao I realized how disconnected we are from our food. Everything I normally eat comes from hundreds or even thousands of miles away. Cocoa beans are harvested, shipped to the factory, mixed with milk that is probably filled with other chemicals, processed by heavy machinery, and eventually shipped to the store where it could sit on the shelf for months before I pick it up. When we got to the final steps of grinding the cacao by hand and mixing them with sugar then rolling them into small cookie shapes, a sense of joy and achievement overcame me. At that point, I instantly had a newfound appreciation for food as a source of fuel and energy. After all, food is a very powerful thing and can either be the best medicine or a slow poison.

Six long days after arriving, we are still without our luggage and doing just fine. We’ve overcome the challenges of washing clothes, bathing, and living with the bare necessities. We had wonderful food to eat, clean water to drink and shower with each day, sunshine, and so many awesome people to learn and grow with. It didn’t matter that we wore the same shirt from two days ago and then washed it that night in anticipation that we would need to wear it again in another two days. Nobody cared. Vanity was not a concern, and we were all very happy with fewer material things.

IMG_8646By Amanda Rooney
Stony Brook University ’15
Biology Major
Sustainability Studies Minor

Worms and Lemurs: The Mariah Donohue Story

After suffering through calculus and chemistry as an undeclared sophomore, I jumped at the opportunity to study abroad in Madagascar with Dr. Patricia Wright, the world’s foremost expert on the finest animals to vertically cling and leap across the rainforest canopy—lemurs. In Madagascar I experienced lots of firsts, like hiking, pooping on the ground, camping, and being hungry. I also started my very first research project with my good friend Hannah Manning (who is now a vet student at Ohio State University). Together, we investigated the correlation between Red Fronted Lemur vocalization frequency and group size. I loved every second of data collection and as the project progressed I knew I’d found what I was always meant to do. In many ways, however, Madagascar disappointed me. I watched deforested areas erupt into flames for slash-and-burn agriculture; I heard rumors of villains mining for gold within the park; I watched a critically endangered lemur cross a busy highway in the middle of the afternoon. I never wanted to forget the imminent dangers threatening the rainforest, so after study abroad ended, I continued to work with Dr. Patricia Wright. Even while she was in the middle of becoming a movie star (everybody should go watch IMAX’s Island of Lemurs ASAP), Dr. Wright always made time to answer my questions, critique/fix my work, and teach me about effective conservation.

Mariah in the worm lab.

Mariah in the worm lab.

Dr. Wright reminded me of the environment I left behind in Madagascar, while Dr. Sharon Pochron introduced me to the majestic qualities of (invasive) earthworms here on Long Island. In Dr. Pochron’s lab, we use earthworms to conduct research on the impacts of Cadmium and Roundup on mortality and soil microbial respiration. Dr. Pochron has united students from sustainabilities, biology, and chemistry to congregate in the (sometimes stinky) confines of the Life Sciences Greenhouse, where we work together to feed, water, count, and weigh earthworms exposed to varying concentrations of toxicants. I have enjoyed working with Dr. Pochron because she dares her students to write with active voices, to think like statisticians, and to try to keep Mo, her aspiring guide dog, from eating squirrels and poison.

As an undergraduate senior in the Anthropology major and Ecosystems and Human Impact minor, I’ve had the opportunity to learn from a unique synthesis of biology, primatology, writing, and conservation. My classes and research experiences have inspired me to become part of the solution our planet needs. So, next semester, I will be returning to Stony Brook University as a graduate student in the department of Ecology and Evolution. I look forward learning more about environmental issues, conservation policy, and quantitative system modeling. While pursuing my master’s degree, I will return to Madagascar to investigate the nutritional ecology of two sympatric lemur species in Ranomafana National Park. I also look forward to participating in future ecotoxicology studies in Stony Brook’s Greenhouse. After earning my masters, I will pursue my PhD in ecology, so that I can spend the rest of my life answering research questions that address climate change, ecosystem degradation, and species endangerment. Because of my education, I will be more than my carbon footprint.

LemurBy Mariah Donohue
Sustainability Studies Program ’15
Anthropology Major
Ecosystems and Human Impact Minor

On falling gas prices

The holidays have come and gone and a new year is upon us. Life is good here in Stony Brook: the future is bright, and a fresh semester is under way. As we enter into this new year though, I find myself confounded by a recent phenomenon: falling gas prices. From passing conversations to national news, cheap gas seems to be making headlines everywhere. And while falling prices might mean good news for the average consumer, the ensuing consequences of cheap oil weigh heavily upon my thoughts.

As a Sustainability Studies major at Stony Brook University, I am trained to see the world through a holistic lens. I study the interface between man and nature and learn of the global imbalances that we have created over time. From sea level rise, to poverty and resource scarcity, the challenges we face as a result of human behavior are abundant and compounding. So, in response to falling gas prices, I began asking questions. Primarily, why are oil prices dropping? Furthermore, how long can they continue to do so?

These are my findings:

The price determinants of oil range from economic, to environmental and political/social circumstances. Firstly, oil exploration and production is entirely dependent upon investments. Investments are put forth on the basis of expectation and with the purpose of generating profit. If prices are high and predictions are positive then investors invest. That wave of incoming capital typically results in improved infrastructure and increased production.

Too much investment though can result in overproduction and an eventual drop in prices. As it turns out, the S&P 500 Oil and Gas Industry Index shows a steady climb in investments throughout the last year, as well as a subsequent drop in prices right around the time gas prices began to fall (1). (In order to offset overshoot, investors will typically reduce their capital inputs into oil production). Based on these trends, we can at least partially attribute falling gas prices to economic overshoot.

In addition to economic influence, oil supply is also subject to political and social conditions. While more and more oil is being produced, fewer countries are producing that oil. Therefore, political controversy of any sort can have an enormous impact on oil supply. In November of 2014, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) failed to reach an agreement on production curbs (2). As a result, production levels soared, sending oil prices down further.

Finally, just as the global market has begun to falter, the U.S. has become the world’s largest producer of oil. With the advent of new fracking techniques, oil is now cheap and abundant in the U.S. and global supply continues to grow. However, the U.S. does not export any of its crude oil, so that surplus of fuel remains local, in effect nullifying American gas imports (3). As a result, American gas prices are at their lowest point in years.

So from economic, to political and environmental reasons, the recent trend of falling gas prices basically boils down to the issue of oversupply. As consumption climbs though, and investors allow the scales to balance, the issue of oversupply will eventually subside. And so the oscillating pattern of supply and demand will forever continue, with prices high one semester and low the next, until we are one day forced to confront the realities of climate change, or we run out of oil altogether.

As our population grows and the effects of climate change manifest, we will eventually be forced to make a decision – do we carry on down this short road of oil dependency, or do we make the switch to more efficient alternatives? To me, the answer seems obvious. However, it is not so easily attained. In order to move on from oil use, a global effort is required. And as an environmentalist, it is my goal to promote that effort. So, in consideration of these realities we face, I implore my readers to use less, study often, and share more.

IMG_0528By Richard Robinett
Sustainability Studies Program ’15
Sustainability Studies Major


  1. “S&P 500, Treasury Yields, Oil – Trading Range Patterns.” Bespoke Investment Group. 6 Jan. 2015. 10 Feb. 2015.

  2. “Why the oil Price is Falling.” The Economist. 8 Dec. 2014. Web. 9 Feb. 2015.

  3. Helm, Dieter. “Peak oil and energy policy – a critique.” Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Volume 27, Number 1, 2011, pp. 68-91. Web. 11 Feb. 2015.