Can Natural Gas Make the US Energy-Independent?

The US is now the world's leading producer of natural gas but can the fuel be harvested in an environmentally sustainable way? And can we build the needed infrastructure fast enough?

What's the Latest Development?

Former Volkswagen technician Bob Mann now spends his days converting gasoline-fueled cars into ones that run on compressed natural gas. For every four dollars he used to spend at the pump, he now spends 60 cents for the equivalent amount of energy. Better technology and higher oil prices have made the US the world's largest producer of natural gas. "The US Department of Energy estimates that 482 trillion cubic feet of natural gas exists in the US. At the current rate of consumption, that's a 90-year supply." In addition, the fuel burns cleaner than gasoline, putting fewer greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. 

What's the Big Idea?

The most attractive argument in favor of natural gas is to use it as a 'bridge fuel', affording the US greater energy independence until wind, solar, and other sustainable energy sources become more economical. To accomplish that, however, we would need to overhaul the nation's fuel distribution infrastructure, making natural gas lines available to motorists just like gasoline stations. As for the environment, while the methane that makes up natural gas burns cleaner than traditional fuel sources, its volatility in natural form makes it "a potentially bigger contributor to global warming than carbon dioxide."

Photo credit:

'Upstreamism': Your zip code affects your health as much as genetics

Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."

Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
  • Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
  • Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
Keep reading Show less

Elizabeth Warren's plan to forgive student loan debt could lead to an economic boom

A plan to forgive almost a trillion dollars in debt would solve the student loan debt crisis, but can it work?

Photo credit: Drew Angerer / Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren has just proposed a bold education reform plan that would forgive billions in student debt.
  • The plan would forgive the debt held by more than 30 million Americans.
  • The debt forgiveness program is one part of a larger program to make higher education more accessible.
Keep reading Show less

Banned books: 10 of the most-challenged books in America

America isn't immune to attempts to remove books from libraries and schools, here are ten frequent targets and why you ought to go check them out.

Nazis burn books on a huge bonfire of 'anti-German' literature in the Opernplatz, Berlin. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
Culture & Religion
  • Even in America, books are frequently challenged and removed from schools and public libraries.
  • Every year, the American Library Association puts on Banned Books Week to draw attention to this fact.
  • Some of the books they include on their list of most frequently challenged are some of the greatest, most beloved, and entertaining books there are.
Keep reading Show less

Supreme Court to hear 3 cases on LGBT workplace discrimination

In most states, LGBTQ Americans have no legal protections against discrimination in the workplace.

(Photo by Andres Pantoja/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The Supreme Court will decide whether the Civil Rights Act of 1964 also applies to gay and transgender people.
  • The court, which currently has a probable conservative majority, will likely decide on the cases in 2020.
  • Only 21 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws effectively extending the Civil Rights of 1964 to gay and transgender people.
Keep reading Show less