Biologist discusses sacred nature of sustainability

GoodenoughThe hot topics of global warming and environmental sustainability are concerns that fit neatly within the precepts of religious naturalism, according to Ursula Goodenough, Ph.D., professor of biology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis. In addition to being a renowned cell biologist, Goodenough is a religious naturalist and the author of The Sacred Depths of Nature, a bestselling book on religious naturalism that was published in 1998. Religious naturalism neither requires belief in God nor excludes such faith. Rather, the movement is based on what Goodenough describes as “an exploration of the religious potential of nature.”

Washington University research to advance clean coal technology

Washington University Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton announced during a Dec. 2 news conference the establishment of the Consortium for Clean Coal Utilization. The university has dedicated more than $60 million in financial resources during the past year to advance education and research related to energy, environment and sustainability.

Population growth puts dent in natural resources

CrissIt’s a 500-pound gorilla that Robert Criss, Ph.D., professor of earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, sees standing on the speaker’s dais at political rallies, debates and campaigns. Its name is population growth. And sometime during President-elect Barack Obama’s first several months in office, he will have to factor it into future environmental policy, says Criss.”Population growth is driving all of our resource problems, including water and energy. The three are intertwined,” Criss says. “The United States has over 305 million people of the 6.7 billion on the planet. We are dividing a finite resource pie among a growing number of people on Earth. We cannot expect to sustain exponential population growth matched by increased per capita use of water and energy. It’s troubling. But politicians and religious leaders totally ignore the topic.”

Groundbreaking held for new building devoted to energy and environmental engineering research, education

A groundbreaking ceremony for a new energy, environmental engineering and biomedical engineering building on the Danforth Campus of Washington University in St. Louis was held Wednesday, Oct. 29, on the parking lot adjacent to Whitaker Hall, near the corner of Skinker Boulevard and Forest Park Parkway. The building, which will be named in honor of Stephen F. and Camilla T. Brauer, will be east of and adjoining to Whitaker Hall, home of the biomedical engineering department.

Groundbreaking set for new building devoted to energy and environmental engineering research, education

A groundbreaking ceremony for a new energy and environmental engineering building on the Danforth Campus of Washington University in St. Louis will be held Wednesday, Oct. 29, on the parking lot adjacent to Whitaker Hall, near the corner of Skinker Boulevard and Forest Park Parkway, according to Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton. The ceremony will begin at 1 p.m., with the groundbreaking scheduled for 1:45 p.m. The building, which will be named in honor of Stephen F. and Camilla T. Brauer, will be east of and adjoining to Whitaker Hall, home of the biomedical engineering department.

Population growth puts dent in natural resources

Who can ignore this 500-pound gorilla?It’s a 500-pound gorilla that Robert Criss, Ph.D., professor of earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, sees standing on the speaker’s dais at political rallies, debates and campaigns. Its name is population growth. “Population growth is driving all of our resource problems, including water and energy. The three are intertwined,” Criss says. “The United States has over 305 million people of the 6.7 billion on the planet. We are dividing a finite resource pie among a growing number of people on Earth. We cannot expect to sustain exponential population growth matched by increased per capita use of water and energy. It’s troubling. But politicians and religious leaders totally ignore the topic.”

Professor’s video series explains all of Earth’s facets

Image courtesy of NASA”How the Earth Works” is a boxed set of 48 30-minute video lectures developed and delivered by WUSTL’s Michael E. Wysession. The lectures explore every aspect of the Earth and are designed to appeal to the curious lay public.Videos have been the bailiwick of rock stars at least since the days of Bob Dylan. But now they’re spilling over into a new arena — academia. Michael E. Wysession, Ph.D., associate professor of earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, has 48 lectures on planet Earth coming out in a video format in February. It’s a sort of brainiac’s boxed set. Each 30-minute lecture focuses on an aspect of the Earth, from its origins and composition to its climate, orbit, pollution and relationship to human history.

Homeland security spurs another increase in federal regulatory spending for 2008

WarrenSpurred on by steady increases in staffing and spending within the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. government is budgeting yet another increase in the amount of tax money it spends on federal regulatory activities, according to an annual regulatory spending analysis compiled by the Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government, and Public Policy at Washington University in St. Louis and the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

Washington University in St. Louis to invest $55 million in renewable energy research initiative

Washington University in St. Louis is creating a new International Center for Advanced Renewable Energy and Sustainability (I-CARES) to encourage and coordinate university-wide and external collaborative research in the areas of renewable energy and sustainability — including biofuels, CO2 mitigation and coal-related issues. The university will invest more than $55 million in the initiative, according to Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton.