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The Year of energy: 2018-2019

“I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait till oil and coal run out before we tackle that. I wish I had more years left!”Thomas Edison, American InventorThomas Edison was uncannily prescient when he speculated about the opportunity to develop renewable energy sources to replace nonrenewable ones, over 80 years ago. Today when we talk about energy, the topic is broader than perhaps even Edison could have conceived. Discussion of energy as a resource fuels debate and discord around the world. It is a priority for every country and every person; it is central to human existence.

Over the course of the 2018-2019 school year, Pace students, faculty and staff are embarking on a broad study of this bold topic—looking at types and uses, issues and problems, and future opportunities.

We’re probing the topic of energy as it relates to the Isdell Center for Global Leadership’s (ICGL) five organizational centers: Science & Technology, Culture & Arts, Social Entrepreneurship & Business, Community Engagement & Environmental Sustainability, and Public Policy & International Relations.

Our study builds on our explorations of previous years’ ICGL themes, making connections to each one: water, food, climate and conservation. Students and faculty are applying plenty of their own energy in our yearlong investigation: studying energy close to home and around the globe; engaging with scientists, authors and energy experts; and looking at the impact of energy in our own lives and in the lives of fellow human beings around our planet.

Our Energy Investigators

Annually, a cohort of upperclassmen engages in an intensive independent study of the ICGL theme for the duration of the school year—committing to in-depth reading, supplemental assignments and out-of-school time for hands-on exploration of the theme, including two field research trips in the U.S.

These students, known as the Isdell Global Leaders (IGLs), are selected through a competitive application process. The 2018-2019 cohort for The Year of Energy includes seniors Madeline Arenth and Veronica Sandoval and juniors Virginia Hobbs and Sandy Lum.

ICGL Director Trish Anderson and Upper School science teacher Kaylan Haizlip serve as faculty advisers for the students, supervising their energy-related reading and assignments, and accompanying them on the study tours.

In the fall, IGLs venture on a two-part journey, traveling first to West Virginia for a look at the coal mining industry, and then to Burlington, Vt., where the focus will be on renewable energy. In the spring, IGLs travel to Colorado, where they will visit the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the National Wind Technology Center.

Recommended Reading

  • Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America's Energy Future by Jeff Goodell (Goodell is the 2018-2019 Annual Global Scholar)
  • The Great Transition: Shifting from Fossil Fuels to Solar and Wind Energy by Lester Brown
  • The Grid: The Fraying Wires between Americans and Our Energy Future by Gretchen Bakke
  • Taming the Sun – Innovations to Harness Solar Energy and Power by Varun Sivaram
  • Understanding the Global Energy Crisis edited by Eugene D. Coyle and Richard A. Simmons
  • Windfall: How the New Energy Abundance Upends Global Politics and Strengthens America's Power by Megan O'Sullivan