This week Earth Day Network sent me to two conferences to take notes, ask questions, and report back to the rest of the team. On Monday I attended a meeting titled: Towards 21st Century Energy Systems In Central & Eastern Europe. This meeting was held by the Atlantic Council located in DC. It was a very cool meeting to be apart of. The first person to speak at this event was the Vice President of the European Unions Energy Department. Here he spoke about what exactly was taking place in Eastern and Central Europe in the energy department. He mostly spoke of the idea that many of these smaller countries like Croatia and Poland are looking to participate more in renewable energy, but so far haven’t been able to find it feasible for their economy at this time. Throughout the conversation Ambassadors came out to speak of their initiatives to find ways to make the energy sources they have, more environmentally friendly, until they are able to afford more renewable energy. However, the most interesting part of this conversation was at the end when the Ambassador-at-Large for Energy Security, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Hungary spoke of the Energy Security of Eastern and Central Europe. He stated he had a lot of concern for the lack of attention being paid to these smaller countries within the EU. There is a lot of combative relationships between these Eastern and Central countries with Russia and Italy. Yet, the EU doesn’t seem to do much to pay attention to or help these smaller countries who don’t have the economy to fix these situations on their own. He stated that Russia has created a pipeline that goes straight to Turkey, however, Turkey doesn’t have anywhere to store or transport this gas that is being sent to them. So they are being forced to take dangerous measures in order to ensure that they don’t get trapped with this gas they have no where to put.
The second meeting I went to was on Capitol Hill, titled: New Ideas for Strengthening Partnerships at DOE National Labs.
While I thought this was going to be about efforts the DOE National Labs were making for the environment, it was actually more of an event for smaller businesses to pitch their companies to be funded by the National Labs. While it may not have been exactly what I thought it was going to be it was very interesting. However, during this conversation, all I could pay attention to was the amount of plastic being used. Plastic plates, forks, knives, water bottles, and serving utensils. Many of the speakers spoke to the idea of plastic pollution as they sipped out of their plastic water bottles. I came back to my office after the meeting and spoke with my supervisor about it and she said that another intern went to an event on Capitol Hill and said the same thing. This made me think about trying to create a more sustainable Capitol. I have now begun some research to see if it is feasible for the Capitol’s catering to become more sustainable. Being that they hold numerous events a week, it would be a benefit that they become more environmentally friendly. Hopefully, next week I’ll have more to share about the research I find on the Capitol’s sustainability efforts. Until next time.