Updates will be quite sparse for the coming two months. I am currently home in Montana and will be criss-crossing the Northern United States until late September. Being in Montana has made me painfully aware that there is one appropriate topic that perhaps has not been drawn into the Energy Anthropology fold as of yet: wildfires! In most of our work we are focused on harnessed energy that is put to use for cultural, social, economic and political purposes. We often forget that there is also a great deal of unharnessed energy out there in the world, much of which still has cultural, social, economic and political impacts. So today I begin by sharing a photo of a wildfire burning in the Bitterroot Mountains just behind my house. If you’re interested in learning more see the InciWeb post here
What most people in Montana have been talking about is the extremely wet Winter and Spring that led to rich growth in underbrush followed by an abominably hot and dry summer resulting in an explosive situation. Similar high pressure ridges creating these high temperatures and dry conditions have developed in California this summer, and, according to a Mother Jones interview with scientist Jeff Weber in Colorado, “persistent heat ridges are expected to be more common in a “climate change scenario,” although one can’t point to a single weather event and say it’s due to global warming.”
And wildfires have been in the news across the globe this week:
One thing I find fascinating is how some people find wildfires to be a normal event, something that occurs every year, while others (such as my mother) find such events disturbing regardless of the fact that they do occur every year. My mother is particularly sensitive to the smoke and usually “evacuates” for the months of August and September to go see family in Wisconsin. She has been a traveling nurse for more than a decade and so acts like a modern day nomad at times. Long story short, there could be some excellent ethnographic opportunities for examining the impact of the unharnessed energy in wildfires on society. Or, perhaps such a study could even draw into question whether we ever have control over energy at all.
The butterfly effect that has rippled out from the explosion of the fuel tanker last month is more widespread than I could possibly have imagined.
Very significant developments in the S. China Sea, we’ll see how long this decision holds up.
Oh yes! You can hear the phone call here at Vesti
Vaclav Smil on Transformers (obviously not the variety seen on the silver screen)
New meters mean Seattle City Light won’t visit homes anymore (Seattle Times)
I love the headline :-p Feels like something out of National Enquire
Only slightly hypocritical…
NASA Seeking BIG Ideas for Solar Power on Mars (EnergyTrends)
The anthropology of interplanetary energy politics is just around the corner
BTW, the panda solar projects are not goin away ;-p