Finally!! A week of no classes but that does not mean that the work stops. Nope, I am loaded down with assignments that need to be submitted in the coming week, naturally.
On Thursday and Friday last week, we attended a two-day conference in Albany (the capital of New York State) at the Marriot Hotel, hosted by the New York State Environmental Research Development Agency (NYSERDA). They were showcasing their current scientific research (very cutting edge) on the chemistry of climate change and its impact on land, water and air.
A lot of the research revolved around elemental mercury (Hg) speciation, particulate matter (PM 25), forest acidification through nitrogen oxide (NOx), sulphates (SOx) and carbon dioxide (CO2) and their impacts on the environment.
Presenters at the conference did not paint a very pretty picture. They did however show that levels of mitigation are possible if we begin to implement these measures now. Another thing that was evident, was the levels of commitment shown by New York State and other states (particular in the industrial North-west, North-East and agricultural mid-west)around the United States to drastically reduce emissions of toxic chemicals by 2009 and beyond.
It is clear that there is a lot of research being done towards finding realistic solutions to mitigating the adverse effects of chemistry on the environment. What is still not too clear is how to go about it. It is however apparent that there is need for a change in the way humanbeings interact with the natural environment.
Alternative energy solutions such as biofuels need to replace fossil fuels which are the source of a large percentage of air pollution. One of the major obstacles to implementing fome of these alternatives is the high cost. Again, there is a need to factor economics into the equation and at this conference (unlike the previous ones) there was a conscious effort to consider the costs and benefits of each alternative.
The burning question is; where do we go from here?