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“The star of the show was Mike,” Konarski said. “He made sure that everything was cohesive, that the speakers made sense, that they were people who were clearly on the cusp of innovation and creativity who understood this issue of energy from many different facets. We could not have done this without Mike.”
Since the theme of the symposium was “powering our future planet,” all of the dialogues and presentations revolved around geography and energy production or consumption. To non-scientists, those fields might seem unrelated, but Konarski said that our energy system is dependent on geography; for example, a discussion about solar energy will include where solar panels can be placed and where there’s enough sunlight to feed them.
Besides Pasqualetti, several ASU faculty, staff, students and affiliates spoke at the symposium on topics such as energy policies and futures, universal ethics for the U.S. energy transition, environmental consequences for energy supply and demand, the energy context, and social dimensions for energy access. ASU speakers included:Gary Dirks: Director, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability
Konarski said that these experts from ASU brought well-rounded and informed contributions to the table. “I think the ASU contingent was absolutely critical to us being able to pull off an energy-focused symposium,” he said.
In particular, Konarski cited Gary Dirks’s perspective as vital, as Dirks was the president of British Petroleum Asia-Pacific and BP China before he became involved in sustainability at ASU. Dirks’s session at Geography 2050 was called “The Global Reach and Geographic Implications of China's Energy Demand.”
Overall, the symposium was a thought-provoking and energizing discussion of knowledge, ideas and innovations surrounding geography and energy. “It will be a very, very high bar for future symposiums,” Konarski said.
Photos courtesty of the American Geographical Society.