A typical ethanol plant in West Burlington, Iowa (Big River Resources, LLC). Photo by Steven Vaughn/Agricultural Research Service. ID D802-2.
Biofuels, mainly ethanol, now account for one-tenth of car fuel consumed in the United States and that number is set to rise. But are biofuels the silver bullet for the looming energy crisis? This week, Citlalli and Lindsay tackle that question head-on. They start their journey following the life cycle of fats, oil and grease in San Francisco and end up with a startling conclusion about the future of fuel in America. Along the way, they reveal a number of ethanol’s secrets. Like, did you know that if you convert all of the world’s main grains (corn, wheat, rice) into ethanol, you would only be able to supply half of all petrol consumption? Yup, and there’s more where that came from. Listen below for the full story.
Produced by Citlalli Sandoval and Lingzhi Jin. Guests include: Dogpatch Biofuels, San Francisco’s only biodiesel gas station; Karl Knapp, Associate Professor for Stanford’s Department of Civil Engineering; David Lobell, Associate Director of the Center for Food Security and the Environment at Stanford; and Eric McAfee, entrepreneur, VC and philanthropist in the renewables field. Music is “Tony Dubshot 04-Beta Stability” from the Free Music Archive.
Stanford University made national news on mainstream media outlets last week, when the Board of Trustees announced the decision to divest the $18.7 billion endowment from coal investments. This is a story of the student activists who were called into a surprise meeting with Stanford administrators and walked out smiling and speechless.
Fossil Free Stanford, the student group behind the divestment push at Stanford since the fall of 2012, has been holding actions on the Stanford campus to raise awareness and mobilize support. (Disclosure: Diane is a volunteer for Fossil Free Stanford’s graduate student campaign). The group is part of a larger movement coordinated by 350.org to rid University campuses across the country from fossil fuel investments, due to the impacts that individual companies have on climate change. The Fossil Free Stanford story has appeared prominently in previous Green Grid Radio episodes.
Krishna (left of speaker) at a Divest Harvard rally in April 2013. Photo from firsttheretheneverywhere.org
Krishna Dasaratha participated in the Divest Harvard movement while enrolled at Harvard through 2013, then joined Fossil Free Stanford as a graduate student this year. The Divest Harvard students have faced some hurdles on their steadfast course for divestment, including the President’s “unequivocal” statement that the school did not intend to divest in late 2013, and the recent May arrest of a Divest Harvard activist.
Dasaratha notes that the big difference between the Stanford and Harvard campaigns has been that Stanford’s Board of Trustees is held to investment responsibility, and have therefore been more receptive to discussions with the students who have been arguing that climate change causes “substantial social injury.” And in Spring 2013, The Leland Stanford Junior University Board of Trustees accelerated the time horizon of their decision to divest from coal.
Krishna Dasaratha. Photo from Fossil Free Stanford.
Featuring Stanford students Krishna Dasaratha and Mikaela Osler. Hosted by Diane Wu and produced by Shara Tonn and Derek Mendez. Further resources include Krishna’s recent op-ed in the Boston Globe.
This week we have a special guest contribution from Stanford student Christina Morrisset. Christina took the Your American Life course this Winter (along with our producers Mallory, Erik, and Shara), and chose to tell a story about identity, transformation, and . . . fish.
Like Christina, we also learned a bunch from the book Four Fish, and for more on fisheries and aquaculture check out S3E4: Overfished or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Cocaine Cowboy Fisheries and Love Catch Shares.
Coming up (very) soon: Stanford has divested from coal! We get an insider’s peek at the process behind the decision with an interview with Fossil Free Stanford member Krishna Dasaratha. Tune in at 6 PM tonight at KZSU 90.1 FM, stream it online catch it later this week right here.