A walk among ‘America’s Energy Landscapes’

UNH Today: Campus Life Articles

By Alexander LaCasse

EXETER — University of New Hampshire associate professor of English and journalist Tom Haines stared at his furnace in his Durham home during the winter of 2013 and wondered what the true environmental and economic cost of heating and powering his home was, multiplied by the hundreds of millions of homeowners across the country.His curiosity launched a four-year odyssey that would send him all over the United States on a series of solo hikes across several of the major energy generating hubs, such as the Bakken Oil Field in North Dakota to see fracking operations, the open-pit coal fields in Wyoming, wind farms on agricultural lands in Texas and tidal power generation plants along the Maine coastline.Haines published his observations from witnessing the production of energy from Maine to California in his new book “Walking to the Sun: A Journey through America’s Energy Landscapes.”“This journey is one that we are all on because in 2018 we have known for decades that we face an enormous challenge. We’ve built a towering industrial world that insulates us in our daily lives in rooms that can be warm when it’s cold, light when it’s dark,” said Haines, who has written for publications such as The Boston Globe, The New York Times and The Atlantic. “Looking at the furnace, that was really deepening my dependence on the fossil fuel system. So I looked at the steel pipe, it ran across the ceiling, out the wall of the house and into the world beyond. I thought what was going on out there? How exactly am I connected to all that?”Haines said his book operates with the acceptance of climate science and he stated 80 percent of all American energy is created by fossil fuel consumption. He said traveling as a lone wanderer in seemingly abstract …

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