Issues in Energy, From Global to Local

Date:  Sunday October 14, 2012
Speakers:  Professor Joseph Tainter and Temis G. Taylor

Joseph Tainter received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from Northwestern University in 1975. Dr. Tainter has taught at the University of New Mexico and Arizona State University. Until 2005 he directed the Cultural Heritage Research Project in Rocky Mountain Research Station. He is currently Professor of Sustainability in the Department of Environment and Society at Utah State University, Logan. He has authored, co-authored, and edited several books, most recently Drilling Down: The Gulf Oil Debacle and Our Energy Dilemma, with Tadeusz Patzek.

Temis Taylor earned her MS in Bioregional Planning at Utah State University and is completing a PhD under the direction of Dr. Joseph Tainter. Her research interests focus on social aspects of energy and sustainability.

“The modern world is an increasingly complex one, yet that complexity comes at a cost. Complexity demands energy. We face the same dilemmas that ancient civilizations did. How will our civilization survive in a world where complexity takes a greater toll, while at the same time we face diminishing returns from our energy sources? What do we understand about the costs and complexities of our energy systems? How well do we understand energy resources and their inherent risks? What tradeoffs are we willing to make?

These questions will be applied in a case study of the discourse and generation of common knowledge in an energy resource decision in Western Colorado. It explores changes in public opinion over time and the types of knowledge and information that are discussed in the media.”

Speaker-Suggested References:
Film and Television

2008 Blind Spot, produced by Adolfo Doring.
2007 The 11th Hour, produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, Leila Conners Petersen, Brian Gerber, and Chuck Castleberry. Warner Independent Films.
2010 Collapse. National Geographic Channel, broadcast nationally 18 September 2010.
2010 After Armageddon. The History Channel, broadcast nationally 5 January 2010.
2009 Earth 2100. American Broadcasting Corporation, News Division. Broadcast nationally 2 June 2009 (3.7 million viewers).
2012 Tainter, J. A. and T. W. Patzek. Drilling Down: The Gulf Oil Debacle and Our Energy Dilemma. Copernicus Books, New York.
2003 Allen, T. F. H., J. A. Tainter, and T. W. Hoekstra. Supply-Side Sustainability. Columbia University Press, New York.
2000 McIntosh, R. J., J. A. Tainter, and S. K. McIntosh (eds.). The Way the Wind Blows: Climate,History, and Human Action. Columbia University Press, New York.
1996 Tainter, J. A. and B. B. Tainter (eds). Evolving Complexity and Environmental Risk in the Prehistoric Southwest. Santa Fe Institute, Studies in the Sciences of Complexity, Proceedings Volume XXIV. Addison-Wesley, Reading.
1988 Tainter, J. A. The Collapse of Complex Societies. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.