Education and Alternate Fuel Sources: Time to Step it Up

In a few earlier posts, I mentioned that education and alternate energy sources are the two fields I think require the most development. I’d like to expand on that.

First, education. It’s simple: if you fund education, there will be better educated people entering college or the work force. If there are better educated people working towards an objective, the chances are better that the objective will be met. I don’t know where in the education system the money would be best used, but I can tell you that if we can fix the education system, we will see the benefits.

“The scores from the 2006 Program for International Student Assessment showed that U.S. 15-year-olds trailed their peers from many industrialized countries. The average science score of U.S. students lagged behind those in 16 of 30 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a Paris-based group that represents the world’s richest countries. The U.S. students were further behind in math, trailing counterparts in 23 countries” (Maria Glod, Washington Post). How is that acceptable? Instead of spending $700B on bailing out the big banks, pour some of that big money into education reform! If the United States is turning out brighter scientists and mathematicians and engineers and chemists or what have you, how many of the issues we have today do you think would be solved? Cancer, AIDS, Alzheimer’s, world hunger, etc, all of these things are huge issues in the world which could possibly be solved far sooner than later.

On that note, we come to the second issue: alternate fuel sources.

Oil is finite. Period. It will run out. Our children or our grandchildren may not see the day, but it will happen and when it does what will we have? Currently, the US spends $1.0 trillion on oil annually. That’s $1,000,000,000,000 leaving the country every 365 days. Wouldn’t it be better if we found an alternate fuel source that we could produce and renew, especially one that didn’t risk disasters like the Gulf spill? It would be real nice if the world were paying US that much money. Even if the world didn’t need to pay us for fuel instead of the other way around, we wouldn’t need to be spending like that.

I would love a car that ran on maple syrup or corn or sunshine. In fact, we have some that can. What’s one of the leading reasons people aren’t buying them? They’re expensive and there are cheaper, faster options that run on gasoline. So the answer is, find ways to build the hybrids or the “green cars” cheaper and make them perform better. I know it’s a very, very simplified way of looking at things, but when it boils down to it it’s what needs to happen if the switch to alternate energy is going to be made. Research, money, and time. Better education turns out better scientists which turn out better products. Trickle up theory? Makes sense. Water the roots and the leaves grow.

3 Responses to “Education and Alternate Fuel Sources: Time to Step it Up”
  1. Lizard says:


    Well written, despite taking two complex issues and paring them down to a blog post.

    If you haven’t already, you should pick up “Savage Inequalities” by Jon Kozol. It is getting a little dated (written in the early 1990s) but he looks at issues in education that I know are still pressing today. His other works are interesting as well.

    Alternative fuels are something we should chat about it some time…

  2. Ann says:

    Alternate fuel sources are probably the future, and they’re important. But I think making FOOD the alternate fuel source is a really bad idea. What happens when every farmer only wants to grow corn because it’s now gas and they can get the most money from it? Then instead of going internationally for oil, we’re going internationally for food, since every field in the US is now a corn field. And that’s only if international countries don’t jump on the corn train too, which they probably will. Meanwhile the price of food goes up, all around. If corn is more expensive (and it will be if it’s now fuel), then so is meat because cows and chicken etc are often fed corn. Other food is also now more expensive because no one wants to grow it, so there’s a shortage. Oh, and every once in a while we have a draught. Oops.

    And all of that leads to, oh joy, a bunch more government regulations for everything from what/how much/when farmers can grow certain things to what grocery store can carry to who’s allowed to drive in general. I wonder how many politicians have ever been farmers…

    So yes, maybe oil is finite/bad for the environment/everything else. But let’s not be hasty to shove our food in the gas tank.

  3. Agreed, corn is not the answer. I like eating it, not driving on it. Using food as fuel for anything other than our bodies is a complete waste. Ethanol is simply not a realistic replacement (or even a realistic additive) for gasoline, for many reasons, most of which I go into here:

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