FrackingSENSE Podcasts: Professor Limerick


Unfortunately for me, I have another class on Tuesday nights so I can’t run up to Boulder. but these podcasts will be available to everyone interested in this issue.

If you go here you can see what they will be doing on Tuesday nights, plus the link to Professor Limerick’s podcast.

This podcast is Patty Limerick on the history of the American West extractive industries, how scientific information is used, women’s rights and opportunities, and the difference between “laboratory” and “outdoor” science where the latter is “swirlingly awash in variables” (not an exact quote).

Interestingly to those of us who traverse the fields of science, they apparently have someone on this NSF study who is reviewing the work for neutrality.. A very interesting idea. Perhaps I should run up and interview him/her.

Professor Limerick is always a thoughtful and interesting speaker and hearing her on this subject provides some insights into our usual discussion topics. And I can safely say that she is never dull.

She has a great many points about the history of the West that suggest that the story of the “despoiling” of the west is a bunch more complex.

With regard to the analysis of health impacts, she mentions a feeling of “powerlessness” and how that may be a public health issue related to natural gas development as important as air quality. However, I feel powerless about a number of things including a proposed road near my house that would become a toll road, which seems to be inexorably pushed on our community. Is that a true health impact of the road? I’m not so sure.

But I think some elected officials and communities in the American west feel powerless about the nationalization of issues that occur next to their communities. But we haven’t yet analyzed the impacts of powerlessness of not doing things.

I certainly don’t know what the answer is, just suggest that it be universally applied.

Also the idea that the Law Center would be weighing in on whether enough laws currently exist (maybe I misunderstood) sounds a bit like conflict of interest. I wonder if they’re taking volunteers for the neutrality force?

Hoping that the drafts of all the papers for the ultimate NSF study are posted on the internet for public comment.

She also has a section on residential development that might interest folks…it looks like about 3/4 of the way through the podcast. Including “the locus of the disconnect between use of, and attitudes toward natural resources” (not an exact quote).

I would only add that my relatives in Kansas and Texas have a more positive attitude toward the energy industry. They are not suburbanites, but make their living from agriculture, so there might be something to this suburbanite idea Professor Limerick poses. She recommends social interactions with engineers.. I guess foresters could be the equivalent in our world. I’m sure many of us would be available for such interactions, especially if beer were available.

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