Wind, Water, Sun – Energy For the Long Run

The fundamental theme of my global seminar project is sustainable energy. We are just beginning to trot down the narrow path leading to the much-anticipated end of the research paper. Throughout our research, we have discovered that mass-energy consumption is only expected to escalate and impose a burden upon the environment. Essentially, by utilizing fossil fuels to provide energy, greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere. In attempts to mitigate the burden from the growing populations’ need for electricity, conversion to sustainable energy sources continues to increase. During the various fieldwork and assorted lectures, it is evident that we need to look to new research, perspectives, and innovations to address the concerns of maintaining sustainable communities. 

In order to process or produce goods, electricity is ultimately required, as observed during the trip to Plantation Road (powering lights in the barn, powering ventilation systems, etc.). The buildings across the farm are located in open areas that receive large amounts of sunlight. Therefore, I believe that eventually installing photovoltaic panels on the given roofs will allow for the harvesting processes to be more environmentally friendly. For sustainability purposes, the excess animal defecation is spread across the pastures to act as natural fertilizers. Personally, I feel it would be incredible to eventually convert some of it into biomass fuels for perhaps campus transport to further reduce fossil fuel emissions. 

Image result for sustainable energy

Image Source: Sustainable Energy Technologies

The overarching ideologies behind sustainability are present throughout the entirety of VT. Whether that involves the employment of solar panels to power instruments for stream management or the 2012 solar panel installations on the Perry Street Parking Deck, it is evident that the mindset of Virginia Tech is to strive for sustainability.  By using renewable resources such as solar power, wind power, and hydroelectricity (among other forms), in place of fossil fuels, VT emphasizes meeting current energy needs without the compromisation of future energy needs.

The resplendent part about being in this program is that my viewpoint on agriculture has changed tremendously. Previously when I considered the word “agriculture”, I solely associated it with farming. However, that is just the tip of the iceberg. It involves engineering for greater crop yield, caring for/researching animals, flying drones to scout cropland, and more. Agricultural studies have a global impact and GSA has allowed me to broaden my perspective and even begin to truly consider a career within this sector of the economy. 

This blog post was written by Skylar Jackman, a 2019 GSA student

Edited by Dami Alegbeleye, a 2019 Governor School Leader

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