The world’s population has more than tripled since WW II, putting great demands on our natural resources. Will we have enough food, enough water and enough energy, or is human existence, as we know it, doomed to decline?

Dru Bacon, a chemical engineer, who has pursued environmental issues since he and his wife, Regena, moved to PebbleCreek in 2001, says that decline is not inevitable –- if we are willing to adjust old habits and make changes in our lives.

Bacon will open LifeLong Learning’s 2018-19 season at 10 a.m. Monday, Oct. 22, with a discussion of the looming shortages of natural resources and what modern science offers in new ways to meet our needs and maintain or even improve our standard of living. As an example, he cites indoor vertical farms that use only five percent of the water used by traditional farms.

He will discuss why, despite considerable political and economic power, the coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear energy industries are eventually going to lose to renewables, as cheap electric power and cheap batteries make gasoline and diesel vehicles economically unattractive.

“Massive disruptions in the oil and gas industries will result,” he says, noting the U.S. has 260 million fossil-fuel cars, which will make the transition to electric transportation long and difficult. “Although the journey will be painful, the transition to a cheaper, cleaner world will make the journey worthwhile.”

Bacon will also clear up the confusion that conflicting media reports about the viability of wind and solar have caused and will trace the progress made in developing cheap and reliable sources of renewable energy, both for industry and the individual consumer.

Bacon is a graduate of Virginia Tech and had a 32-year career with the chemicals division of Eastman Kodak, where he was vice president responsible for chemical manufacturing and environmental matters. He lectured at Estrella Mountain Community College for six years on environmental law, renewable energy and environmental issues, wrote a “green column” in a local magazine and was recognized as a “green hero” by the "Arizona Republic."

In 2007, Bacon founded the Environment Club in PebbleCreek. In early 2008, two PebbleCreek residents put solar electric panels on their roofs, and the club invited those homeowners to tell about their solar experiences at the March 2008 meeting. From that day forward, Bacon has been an activist for solar energy in Arizona, working mostly as a volunteer and currently leading a pro-solar nonprofit organization. Although he does not take credit, PebbleCreek now has more than 1,450 homes with rooftop solar, which is the highest percentage for a community of its size in the U.S., according to industry sources. 

Tickets to all Monday Morning Lectures are $5 at the door of the Renaissance Theater.

For more information:

Washington Post: How will 9 billion or 10 billion people eat without destroying the environment? 

Books: 

Websites:

  • Utility Dive - News and analysis for energy and utility executives.
  • Rocky Mountain Institute - An independent, nonpartisan nonprofit that works with communities, institutions, and entrepreneurs to accelerate the adoption of market-based solutions that cost-effectively shift from fossil fuels to efficiency and renewables.