Sea Briefs is a report on the results of the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium.
Editor: Valerie Winn
Front page kayaking photo: Leah Bray
This newsletter is available in PDF
MASGC supports applied, interdisciplinary marine science research, education and outreach efforts to foster the sustainable development and management of the Mississippi and Alabama coasts and nearshore ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico
From the Director
I oftentimes find myself spending a great deal of time worrying what the community at large should be doing to interact with the environment in a more sustainable way. Most everyone talks about the cost of energy, especially fossil fuels, on a daily basis. With gas prices expectedto surpass $4 per gallon (maybe by the time this newsletter is published), no wonder people worry.
Fuel costs not only affect our driving habits, they affect us on many different levels, including food costs. There are weekly, if not daily, reports from news services explaining why we must search for new sources of fossil fuels and an equal number of stories on breakthroughs in alternative fuels.
Energy efficiency, while widely published, has traveled under the radar for some time. That may explain my surprise as I listened to a story on National Public Radio about our relationship with energy conservation. For example, I was not aware that today it takes 50 percent of the amount of energy it took in 1970 to produce one dollar of economic output. Further, the report predicted an additional 25 percent increase in energy efficiency over the next 25 years.
This data supports the notion that we should think global but act local in regard to energy conservation; just like we have been taught to think about pollution prevention. In essence, the little things each of us do to conserve energy really has had a positive impact on overall energy conservation. Your and my actions could be as simple as replacing burned-out incandescent light bulbs with the compact fluorescent bulbs. These highly expensive and highly efficient bulbs do save energy. Insulating hot-water pipes, upgrading to energy efficient windows and upgrading appliances as they wear out with more energy efficient models not only conserves energy, but also saves you money over the long term. Recycling is another area where we could conserve a great deal of energy. Unfortunately, household recycling in the Alabama and Mississippi coastal counties is still in its infancy, and we should expect, if not demand, that our local governments provide user-friendly and readily accessible recycling services.