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The national conversation on “college and career readiness” — driven in part by the development and adoption of the Common Core State Standards — has the potential to shine new light on, and bring new respect for, the role that career technical education (CTE) can play in preparing all students for success in the global community.
Unfortunately, as Donna Pearson argues in the March 2023 issue of Phi Delta Kappan, our Common Core implementation efforts have not yet broken down the silos that traditionally separate the academic subjects from the knowledge and skills of CTE. As Matthew B. Crawford describes the situation:
After all, as a November 2014 survey of CTE teachers by the American Federation of Teachers points out, nearly 80 percent of CTE programs offer connections between secondary and post-secondary courses (and most that don’t are offered at the middle school level). And more than half (55 percent) take local labor market needs into account in program planning.
CTE programs offer students a relevant context for applying academic knowledge to the real world, which can both motivate and engage them (answering the dreaded question, “Why do I have to learn this?”), and help them transition to post-secondary and career experiences.
But note that while they may be written regarding the Common Core, they can also be thought of simply as best practices — ways to break down the silos that exist between CTE and academic subjects in many of our nation’s schools. They are:
This dichotomy is certainly false, as Crawford points out, “If diagnosing machines could be reduced to simply following rules, a diesel mechanic working on heavy equipment in the North Dakota oil fields would not be earning $100,000 a year.” And it doesn’t have to exist. Pearson offers three actions that states and districts can take to tap CTE in meeting the potential of the Common Core State Standards.Toledo Technology Academy
One place that has put these actions into practice is Toledo Technology Academy (TTA). This career-tech school, part of the public school system in Toledo, Ohio, formed in 2002 as the result of a partnership between the district, local unions, and the business community. The school offers a STEM curriculum (science, technology, engineering, and math) for grades 7-12.
And in addition to traditional academic subjects, it offers courses in subjects like robotics, technical communications such as technical sketching and CAD (computer-aided design), electromechanical devices, computer-integrated manufacturing, and much more.
But early on, the school had a major problem: While they went through the motions of working together, teachers didn’t get along. Academic teachers (who tend to have college degrees in teaching) and technical teachers (who tend to come from industry) had trouble seeing eye-to-eye, lacking a common point of reference.
The faculty’s differences frustrated a series of administrators, until the school’s governing board hired Gary Thompson, a 34-year veteran of GM with a background in facilitating labor-management partnerships. A graduate of a vocational high school, he was also sensitive to the divide between the academic and technical worlds.
And he approached his job at TTA in the way he had always worked — listening to others, helping them find common ground, getting them to realize that they were on the same team. For example, he brought together the entire faculty weekly to discuss students and plan lessons. He made sure academic and technical teachers talked to each other daily, asked questions about what their colleagues taught and looked for ways to connect and support each other’s instruction.
Today, the school has a strong culture that emphasizes the importance of working together among both its faculty and its students.The Bottom Line
As we move forward in the era of college and career readiness, we should look to schools like TTA that respect and prioritize both academic learning and CTE for inspiration. Their students — half of whom come from low-income families — are thriving.
Approximately 96 percent of graduates continue in some form of post-secondary education, with many working while doing so. And all graduates leave the school with a career portfolio that, in addition to a high school diploma, includes certifications showcasing professional expertise and letters of recommendation from teachers and the company where they did their school-sponsored internship.
The portfolio is perfect for presenting to either prospective employers or college admissions officers. In other words, they truly are “college and career ready.”
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Clear regulatory bodies appear to be very different from traditional international regulation and standardization mechanisms such as the International Telecommunication Union (IUT), the International Standards Organization (ISO), or the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). Despite their limitations, ICANN, IETF, and W3C, through their combination, play an important role in the technical management of the Internet. However, it partly stipulates the socio-economic regulation of the activities the network supports. Indeed, in an Internet-type network, each participant has the opportunity to influence the way communication flows are managed. This possibility is expressed in the information encoding capacities offered by digital technologies. In a digital system, all information is encoded in the form of a digital string that is then easy to encrypt. That’s why encryption is the key to filtering information usage. Through its manipulation, access to all or some of the potentially available information can be granted, depending on the user’s identity or other criteria.
The combination of encryption capabilities and decentralized communications management produces different results. This opens up almost endless room for maneuver for economic agents who want to define the provision of information services, as well as for social actors who want to enforce certain rules of information interaction. However, there is an important limitation of interoperability. For players to enforce such specific rules, they must still be compliant with interoperability standards defined by the IETF or W3C. Through this medium, these organizations have a significant influence on the uses that may or may not develop on the Internet. Also, the way the addressing system is managed affects usage. It allows managing domain names, i.e. the recognition of trademark law or the classification and thus labeling of service providers. This affects the creation of categories and the definition of rules for inclusion in these categories, the conditions of competition between operators and thus ultimately the nature of services and uses. In light of these issues, and the technical mechanisms for the governance and regulation of the Internet, are neither completely legitimate nor completely complete. States have gradually intervened in the socio-economic regulation of the network. More precisely, the Internet only touches a coherent and closed community, the community of scientists, the American Government, and other States. The Internet has little interest in interfering with this community that operates by its own rules. The situation is ultimately subject to state control.
On the other hand, with the diversification of uses and actors, it is necessary to organize competition, allow commercial activities to flourish, protect citizens, etc. There was a need to complete the technical arrangement. Innovations cannot happen without delay, without conflict, questioning the boundaries between industries inherited from the pre-digital era. The Internet is a platform aimed at integrating all communication and information processing technologies that inevitably tend to blur the traditionally established boundaries between the respective fields of voice, data and video. In other words, it is among the telecommunications, informatics, audio-visual and broadcasting sectors in the industrial sense. For this reason, Internet activities have been subject to numerous regulations, sometimes contradictory, sometimes simply costly and complex to articulate. On the other hand, the global and open nature of the Internet is not conducive to the creation of national regulations. However, the Internet is territorial as long as it ignores the geographic location of its computing operations. Data transmitted by the network follows uncontrollable paths. The consulted or used knowledge bases can be fragmented or reproduced in various locations so that they are completely invisible to the user. Legal standards have proven to be largely ineffective if operations conducted on the network are not geo-fixed. The pre-existence and incompleteness of Internet regulatory mechanisms are within the limits of traditional government approaches. In fact, from the early 1990s the United States tried to impose a model of self-regulation demanded by the creators of the internet and industrialists. But the internet’s intellectual property, national security, public freedoms, etc. It soon became clear that it was impossible to maintain this logic, given the consequences for Beyond that, it was also necessary to adapt the existing legal framework to allow economic activity on the Internet, particularly e-commerce, to flourish. Thus, the idea of cooperation between the State and non-governmental organizations for the regulation of the Internet gradually emerged. This cooperation has three aspects:
Implementation of the principle of subsidiarity between the state and related NGOs, in particular
Informal delimitation of areas of responsibility;
Strong involvement of Internet stakeholders in the development of government standards, using network tools in general.
Flying in a silver airplane over the brown desert hills of Nevada, pilot Dennis Buehn prepared to roll us by pointing the plane’s nose upwards above the horizon. I was strapped in behind him, in the only other seat in the 38-foot long plane, and felt a push backwards as we climbed. He then deftly executed an aileron roll, quickly steering the aircraft upside-down and then right-side up again.
“Wow. Oh my god,” I said. I remember a brief feeling of disorientation, but the flip was over in seconds.
Just a few minutes later, Buehn landed his AT-6C aircraft—a restored plane originally made in 1942—at Reno Stead Airport. “[The] airplane’s quite capable of a lot more,” Buehn, a veteran of the Vietnam War and former test pilot school instructor with the Air Force, told me after the flight, leaning on the plane’s wing.
Unless they hop in a small aerobatic plane, most people don’t have the chance to fly inverted. Instead they sit upright on commercial flights, eating peanuts and watching movies like they would at home. But rolling in a T-6 or similar aircraft is a classic maneuver that’s worth trying out, or at least thinking about, if you’re in the I-love-flying camp.
That moment in the T-6 wasn’t my first time flying upside down. That honor goes to a physically punishing flight in an Air Force F-16, during which my pilot momentarily inverted us at the end of a steep climb, and then, later on, gently and slowly rolled the aircraft upside-down and back again. I said the exact same thing that time: “Wow. Oh my god.”
Image from a video showing the mid-roll moment in an F-16D. Footage courtesy of the US Air Force ThunderbirdsJust roll with it
Rolls actually come in different forms—aviators perform aileron rolls, point rolls, barrel rolls, and slow rolls—and pilots can discuss or debate their subtleties. You might think that the barrel roll is the simplest, but that stunt is actually slightly more complex than you imagine: It involves part of a loop within the roll where the plane changes heading mid-maneuver. A pilot flying north who does a barrel roll will briefly be oriented west or east during the stunt. Ultimately, the simplest way of thinking about a generic roll is that the plane rotates around on its long axis from upright to upside down to rightside-up again.
It’s also possible for a pilot to roll a plane in a way that the G-forces (known as just Gs in the aviation community) stay positive, so that someone doesn’t feel pulled upside down by the Earth’s gravity. The effect is such that a glass of tea on the dashboard could stay unspilled. That’s different from, say, flying steady and inverted, which leaves the pilot and passenger hanging upside down from the restraining belts; or flying with the wings consistently perpendicular to the ground, in which case you’re hanging sideways from your harness—a maneuver I experienced during that F-16 flight.
The most famous rolls in history may be the ones that aviator Alvin “Tex” Johnston demonstrated over Washington state in 1955—in a big Boeing 707 prototype aircraft. Transport airliners are not certified for aerobatic flight, so pilots are not supposed to do that; aerobatic-class planes are designed to withstand a certain number of positive and negative Gs, which makes them suitable for rolls and loops.
“When we talk about aerobatic maneuvers, there’s roll, loop, spin,” says Richard P. Anderson, a professor of aerospace engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a pilot. Most aerobatics combine those three actions in some way. “The roll is certainly one of the fundamental maneuvers that you do, and it’s one of the first ones you do in aerobatics,” he explains.
Buehn and his aircraft. Rob VergerBecome one with the plane
Mastering the roll helps pilots learn more about their relationship to the plane they fly and its abilities. It’s pretty eye opening for the passenger, too. “The roll is a classic maneuver that really broadens the perspective of pilots in the awareness of what an aircraft is capable of doing,” says Brian Dillman, an associate professor of aviation and transportation technology at Purdue University and a pilot. “They become more a part of the airplane through this whole experience” and see the aircraft as “an extension of themselves, rather than a machine that they sit in.”
Aerodynamically, “the airplane doesn’t know you’re upside down,” Dillman adds; the plane is just reacting to the medium flowing around it. One aspect that pilots have to consider, though, while the plane is inverted, is the angle of attack that the wings have against the oncoming air: They might need to bring the nose of the plane up more than they would when flying right side up, so that the wings still produce the right amount of lift.
Dillman says that one exercise he likes to do with student pilots to get them familiar with flying inverted is to have them point at the airspeed indicator in the cockpit, both when they’re right side up and upside down. That teaches them that no matter the plane’s orientation, the physical relationship between the pilot and the cockpit instruments remains the same. (Think about sitting at your desk, but suddenly the room flips. Your computer mouse would be in the same spot and hand as before, and the text on your screen would still be right-side up.)
Some pilots realize during that moment that “the relationship [of the instruments to them] hasn’t changed,” Dillman says. “It’s just that the picture outside is different.”
Popular Science was on the ground (and in the air) in Nevada covering the Reno air races. Check out our gallery of aircraft at the event, a by-the-numbers breakdown of the high-speed aviation competition in the desert, and a glimpse at the past and future of the planes fighter pilots train in.
This story was originally published on October 1, 2023.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of digital technologies to enhance education has significantly increased as many students around the world have had to shift to online learning. For example, investment in education for adopting innovative technologies increased from $7 billion to $20 billion during the pandemic as trends suggest. However, digital technologies also have the potential to transform the education experience in other ways beyond just online classes. The application of generative AI in education is an example to this.
Generative AI is a digital technology that can quickly create new and realistic visual, textual, and animated content. In other articles, we investigated its use cases in different sectors, such as healthcare and banking. While other technologies like conversational AI and robotic process automation (RPA) are implemented in education, generative AI is not properly implemented in education. Despite this, it has potential use cases for improving it. This article explains the top 6 potential ways to use generative AI in education.1. Personalized Lessons
Personalized lesson plans are a powerful way to ensure that students receive the most effective education tailored specifically to their needs and interests. These lesson plans can be generated by using AI-powered algorithms to analyze student data, such as:
Their past performance
And any feedback they might have given regarding content
AI-based systems can leverage such information to generate customized curriculum that is more likely to engage each student and help them reach their potential. This can be important for children with learning disabilities or disorders.
For example, Speechify is a generative AI-driven tool. It offers text-to-speech or speech-to-text generations on desktops or on online use.2. Course Design
Generative AI tools can help design and organize course materials, including syllabi, lesson plans, and assessments. They can also personalize course material based on students’ knowledge gaps, skills and learning styles, such as practice problems or interactive exercises.
Generative AI can create simulations and virtual environments once paired with other technologies, such as virtual reality. Consequently, it offers more engagement and interactive courses, improving students’ learning experience.
For example, a generative AI system could create a virtual laboratory setting where students can conduct experiments, observe the results, and make predictions based on their observations.3. Content Creation for Courses
Generative AI can assist in creating new teaching materials, such as questions for quizzes and exercises or explanations and summaries of concepts. This can be especially useful for teachers who need to create a large amount and a variety of content for their classes. By using AI, it is possible to create modified or brand-new content from the original content.
Furthermore, generative AI can facilitate generating additional materials to supplement the main course materials, such as:
Also, AI can generate scripts for video lectures or podcasts, streamlining multimedia content creation for online courses. Image generation is another important ability of generative AI for education. Teachers may want to generate images with specific modifications that respond to particular course needs.
For example, NOLEJ offers an e-learning capsule that is AI generated in only 3 minutes. This capsule provides an interactive video, glossary, practice, and summary for a target topic (see Figure 1 below).
More established companies are using AI to generate content that supports their main products. For instance, Duolingo, a language learning platform, uses GPT-3 to correct French grammar and create items for their English test. The company concludes that with the implementation of GPT-3, second language writing skills of customers are increased.4. Data Privacy Protection for Analytical Models
Using synthetic data, which is created by AI models that have learned from real-world data, can provide anonymity and protect students’ personal information. Synthetic data sets produced by generative models are effective and useful for training other algorithms, while being secure and safe to use.
For more on how generated synthetic data enables data privacy, you can check out these articles:5. Restoring Old Learning Materials
Generative AI can improve the quality of outdated or low-quality learning materials, such as historical documents, photographs, and films. By using AI to enhance the resolution of these materials, they can be brought up to modern standards and be more engaging for students who are used to high-quality media.
These updates can also make it easier for students to read, analyze, and understand the materials, leading to a deeper understanding of the content and, ultimately, better learning outcomes.
Using a version of generative AI, Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs), it is possible to restore low-quality images and remove simple watermarks. In Figure 2 below, you can see a prototype for image restoration via GANs. Such image restoration can be adapted to educational materials. For example, in art and design schools, restoring old images would provide the detection of important details of artworks. Also in history classes and research, scanning and restoring old documents can be facilitated.
Figure 2. Image restoration with GANs. (Source: Towards Data Science)6. Tutoring
Another use case of generative AI is to provide tutoring. Generative AI can be used to create virtual tutoring environments, where students can interact with a virtual tutor and receive real-time feedback and support. This can be especially helpful for students who may not have access to in-person tutoring.
According to academic studies, private tutoring children with severe reading difficulty improved their reading skills by 50% in a year. However, providing tutoring to all students can be a challenge. Generative AI can tackle this issue by creating virtual tutoring environments. In these environments, students can interact with a virtual tutor and receive feedback and support in real-time. This can be especially helpful for students who may not have access to in-person tutoring.
For example, TutorAI is trying to implement this kind of use of generative AI in education. It offers an educational platform that generates interactive content on a variety of topics.
Another generative AI work for teaching purposes can be the implementation of chatbots for tutoring. Chatbot Life’s 2023 chatbot report shows that education is the third biggest industry benefiting from chatbots.
Lately, Chat GPT from OpenAI stormed the internet with its ability to engage in highly personalized conversations and definitive answers. It can answer course-related questions from a variety of domains, and can even write essays on the target topic.
On the other hand, implementing generative AI-based chatbots specified and regulated for educational purposes is a future plan. However, it offers potential uses and benefits:
One potential use would be to provide around-the-clock support to students and their parents, including help with homework.
Generative chatbots can also assist with administrative tasks, such as answering student or parent questions, freeing up time for educators to focus on other tasks, such as grading and lesson planning.
The flexibility and natural feeling of generative chatbots make them useful in educational settings, particularly with elementary and middle school children.Challenges of generative AI in education
Although generative AI has a lot of potential to improve educational practices, it may also pose some potential challenges. These can be shortly listed as:
Biases in educational materials
False or inaccurate information
Abuse of it for self interest
Unemployment risks for some teachers or other education professionals
For a detailed discussion on the ethical challenges of generative AI, you can check our article.For more on generative AI
To explore more about generative AI, you can check our other articles:
Discover the top generative AI tools from our detailed list sorted by category:
If you have questions regarding generative AI, feel free to reach out:
Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.
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By Gordon Benett
Let’s begin at the end. It’s a few years down the road, and Web Services have succeeded beyond all but the wildest evangelist’s dreams. Bandwidth is infinite, storage costs a penny per gigabyte, and Quake (with user-configurable music and avatars, of course) is a cell-phone app. AOL and Microsoft own the consumer Internet like Coke and Pepsi own cola.
In business, software is a mesh of self-describing services communicating via XML-based messages. Standard vocabularies exist for every common human endeavor, and most of the uncommon ones as well, with the implication that software development takes place on a very high baseline of assumptions and embedded functions. Establishing that baseline used to preoccupy teams of programmers for months. No longer.
To write an “application” — though no one would use that quaint term in these modern times — a business analyst drags lines between blocks that represent business functions, things like ebXML-based contract negotiation and supply chain disruption management. These blocks are themselves composed of finer-grained services, many written by high school kids and available for free. The analyst, who might as easily be working on a smart phone as a desktop, uses her business knowledge to set parameters that tailor the generic services to the problem at hand. Reuse is a reality; very little software is written at the code level.
Does this scenario depict a utopia or nightmare for today’s IT professional? One doesn’t have to give a definitive answer to realize that the success of today’s major IT initiatives — ubiquitious connection, near-limitless resources, tinker-toy software assembly — are radically changing the profession.
Just as the invention of the automobile did for makers of horse-drawn carriages, the shift from traditional application development to software assembly is challenging assumptions about how people add value. Whether you suffer or prosper as a result will depend on how you adapt to the coming storm. Here are couple of broad trends you need to reckon with.
Two high-value paths will remain, one deeply technical, the other broadly analytic. This isn’t so much a far-fetched prediction as a stated agenda for Java and other distributed computing paradigms.
According to the book J2EE Technology in Practice, edited by Rick Catell and Jim Inscore of Sun Microsystems (Addison-Wesley, 2001), one of the fundamental design goals of Enterprise Java is to “commoditize expertise.” In order to add value, technical experts will require an under-the-hood appreciation of software tools and systems in order to ensure the robustness and scalability of discrete Web Services.
That means experts in Web Services design will need to focus not only on qualities that make the application itself work, such as performance and transaction integrity, but also on design features like granularity and parameterization, to ensure that the services can be adapted by non-programmers to new environments.
Expertise of a different type will be required to assemble granular Web Services into powerful systems of business automation. Business architects will use technologies descended from today’s Unified Modeling Language (UML) to model their organizations and knit together systems that expedite both internal and partner processes.
According to Sun’s Catell and Inscore, companies will increasingly “focus on recruiting developers based on their understanding of the business needs of the orgnization, not just their ability to solve arcane technical problems.” Indeed, an organization’s ability to analyze its markets and execute in terms of reconfigurable software services will become one of its most agile and potent differentiators.
If the analytic track is your cup of tea, study modeling, specifically UML and XML Schemas. Design patterns are useful here as well, while the emerging field of analysis patterns holds promise. Investigate, and if possible participate, in your industry’s XML standardization initiatives. Most importantly, begin to think about what it would mean to model your business’ marketplace, stakeholders, and processes in terms of a software services architecture. Don’t look for a shelf full of books on the topic — they haven’t been written yet.
If neither hard-core technology nor business architecture suits your profile, don’t despair. There will be a growing demand for support specialists, especially in the areas of security, database administration, network management, and legacy integration. But commoditization of skills will be hard at work here, too, so delve deep and seek out challenging projects.
Gordon Benett is a technology strategist with over 16 years of experience with information systems. He is a senior research analyst with Aberdeen Group, where he follows the Enterprise Java and Middleware markets. In 1996 he founded Intranet Journal, an chúng tôi site, where this story first appeared.
The Climate Crisis: Breaking the Fossil Fuel Habit The promise, and challenge, of shifting to alternative energy
Think of it as worldwide addiction. At least 80 percent of the energy people use to drive, heat their homes, and power gadgets comes from fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas, and the consumption of all of the above contributes to global warming.
Cleveland’s convictions come not only from his own research, but also from a series of eight seminars that brought environmental experts from universities in the United States and Europe to BU throughout the 2010–2011 academic year. The John E. Sawyer Seminars on Energy and Society were sponsored by the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future and supported by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
“We will have to engineer the transition,” says Cleveland. “And we’ve never really done that in the history of humanity.”
Some countries, however, have done better than others. In 2011, China invested $51 billion in alternative energy technologies and led the world in renewable power capacity with 70 total gigawatts, according to the international nonprofit Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century. That same year, the United States put $48 billion in such technologies and achieved total generation of 68 gigawatts. Germany, the third greatest investor in alternatives, spent $31 billion and reached total capacity of 61 gigawatts. Most other countries lagged far behind. No country has sworn off fossil fuels.
And while the federal government has not established benchmarks for wind and solar production, many states have. Here in Massachusetts, the legislature passed the Green Communities Act in 2008, requiring that 15 percent of the commonwealth’s electricity come from renewable energy by 2023. Massachusetts plans to generate 2,000 megawatts of wind energy within the next seven years and 250 megawatts of solar power by 2023. While far from reaching its wind energy goal, the commonwealth reports that it’s 90 percent of the way to accomplishing its solar goal. The commitments have helped Massachusetts tie with Texas for fifth place nationally in a 2012 Ernst & Young report on promising renewable energy markets.
Nuclear power, another low-carbon energy source, currently provides 3 percent of the world’s energy, Cleveland says, but its hazardous waste disposal and safety risks make it less desirable than wind and solar. “Nuclear energy has a higher life-cycle cost than wind and fossil fuel, because it’s very capital-intensive,” he says. “A routinely operated nuclear plant is benign, compared to a coal plant, but it does have this small possibility of going Fukushima on you.”
The United States has 65 operating nuclear power plants, most of them concentrated along the East Coast and in the Midwest and all of them built more than 30 years ago. Cleveland says that makes planning a new one relatively unknown territory, because there are no current price comparisons. It’s also politically risky, as most communities don’t want one in their backyard and are hesitant to adopt a technology that produces radioactive waste with a half-life of thousands of years.
Biomass—such as switchgrass, corn, or sugar cane converted to biofuel—is another alternative source of energy, but Cleveland is discouraged by the carbon exchange of the biomass process. “It involves removing vegetation from the Earth’s surface,” he says, “and humanity has a very poor track record of causing lots of other environmental problems when you start monkeying with changing land cover.” As a source, he prefers energy-rich sugar cane to corn-based ethanol, because corn is grown industrially with large inputs of oil, which increases carbon emissions.
“When you compare the energy in the ethanol and all the energy it took” to plant, cultivate, transport, and process it, “it’s only a very modest win,” he says. “It’s certainly way less than the energy gain you get from just producing oil directly from crude.”
What does Cleveland’s research tell him about the best way to break the fossil fuel habit? The first step, he says, should be using fossil fuels to build a sustainable energy infrastructure. “You need to shift away from coal and oil to natural gas in the short run, and probably leave a lot of coal in the Earth’s crust,” he says. “And you need to use fossil fuel to radically ramp up renewables and/or nuclear.”
That means “sticks and carrots, a lot of them,” he says. “If you want the transition to happen faster than it otherwise would, you’re going to have to alter incentives. And you’re going to have to change the price of carbon.”
Gas tax hikes, like the one Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick recently proposed, or divestment from fossil fuels are moves in the right direction. Cleveland thinks federal legislation taxing carbon or an international cap-and-trade system would put a bigger dent in emissions.
Finally, he says, politicians have to address the “third rail of U.S. energy policy”—demand. People need to know that their choices can have a negative impact on the environment. “Working 30 miles from home and driving a Hummer to work alone in the morning is probably one of the most absurd, extravagant behaviors,” he says. “We’ll look back and say, ‘Oh my God!’ The excesses of the Romans will look like Romper Room.” Commuters can do that only because “energy is dirt cheap. People are going to in the long run live closer to where they work and play.”
And perhaps more people should start thinking like Howard T. Odum, Cleveland says. The ecologist and author of A Prosperous Way Down argues that to survive, the human species must learn how to decline prosperously.
“No one wants to think that way, because we connect happiness and well-being with increases in the physical consumption of goods and services,” Cleveland says. “It’s a conversation that should be had, but good luck getting elected on that platform.”
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