Immoral Energy: Slavery and Fossil Fuels in the Anthropocene
Energy systems are permeated with political and ethical questions, and no historical system demonstrates that as well as transatlantic slavery. Before fossil fuels, the bodies and labor of enslaved peoples powered trade. While at first slavery helped support the expansion of fossil fuels, eventually fossil fuels replaced slavery. This course will explore the ethical/moral valences of energy systems through a juxtaposition of transatlantic slavery and modern fossil fuels. The first half of the class will focus on the abolition debate.
In CEE 3000, we learn about civil engineering systems and how to apply the systems approach and a sustainable engineering approach to planning, design, implementation, operation and renewal of systems. Per the Civil Engineering Code of Ethics, the concept of sustainability is the operating paradigm for making decisions across the life cycle of civil engineered facilities. A primary goal of the course is the expand the way we think about civil infrastructure systems from primarily physical to sociotechnical.
Sustainability initiatives, from green development to alternative energy projects, aim to fulfill the needs of the present without sacrificing the well-being of the future. In collaboration with Serve-Learn-Sustain, this class investigates the history and meaning of the of the future through popular media, early modern literature, and sustainable development inititives in Atlanta in order to better understand what lies ahead.
Biomass is the only renewable source of organic carbon. Many efforts have been made in recent year to develop economically viable processes for converting biomass into novel products like fuels, chemicals, and materials. Examples of products include ethanol and alkanes as biofuels, bulk chemicals like ethylene glycol and phenol, and composite materials containing biomass-derived fibers. However, the complexity of the feedstock and required process conditions have presented significant challenges for many applications.
This independent study is dedicated to completing Georgia Tech’s entry to the US Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon Design Challenge for 2019. A team of students will ultimately produce a design for a net-zero ready building according to the DoE’s requirements and, should the team be selected as a finalist based on an interim report, present this to industry experts at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado in mid April 2019. This design will be documented at a level that it could be handed to a general contractor as-is for construct
After completing the first course module on personal branding, students will turn their attention to climate-related issues. Working in conjunction with several programs and initiatives both on and off campus, students will consider how climate-related issues affect us both as individuals and employees. For the second course module, students will select a Georgia-based company within the industry they hope to enter, or within which they are already working.
The rapid change in climates across the globe requires us to determine which human and ecological systems will be most affected and how to alleviate climate vulnerability, which is captured by the concept climate resilience. While past studies have largely focused on climate resilience through the lens of either ecological or social systems, there is great potential in quantifying and optimizing climate resilience through the study of integrated social-ecological systems. Social, agricultural, and ecological systems are spatially and functionally integrated.
The Freshman Seminar course is designed to help students prepare for success in college and reflect on their values, academic plan, and career. Georgia Tech students interested in climate change will not find a clear pipeline from matriculation to graduation to develop skills and knowledge in this area. Our section of GT 1000 is designed to help students chart a course through Georgia Tech, however windy it might be, so that they emerge as climate-conscious citizens prepared to educate others and implement solutions.
In this course, we partner with Central Atlanta Progress, who recently completed the Downtown Atlanta Master Plan (https://www.atlantadowntown.com/initiatives/master-plan), focusing specifically on the goals outlined in chapter 5 regarding restoration of the urban forest downtown and enhancing green infrastructure. Students will break into disciplinary teams to accomplish two goals: 1. Compile or create evidence to support the planning goals and their outcomes outlined in chapter 5, and 2. Identify opportunities and implementation strategies to enhance green infrastructure downtown.
The class will introduce students to energy technologies, with specific regards to markets and policy. The objective of the course is to provide the economist’s perspective on a broad range of topics that professionals in the energy industry will encounter.