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Harnessing Nature UMaine researchers tap the environment’s innate potential to provide energy alternatives by Aimee Dolloff
We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost’s familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road – the one less traveled by – offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth. – Rachel Carson

Americans have been called to chart a new energy future, invest in clean, renewable energy and combat climate change. While science must lead the way in developing new technologies, the culture of an entire country dependent on fossil fuels must revolutionize the way it operates. This sustainability initiative not only is about preserving what resources we have left and minimizing the damage that already has been done. It’s about living in a new way that’s respectful of the resources around us.

At the University of Maine, researchers are discovering ways to create energy and improve existing technologies that are both environmentally safe and consumer-friendly by harnessing the energy produced all around us by the sun, wind, water and earth.

“People ask me why UMaine is taking on this challenge. I tell them, ‘because this is the future of Maine,’” says Jake Ward, UMaine’s assistant vice president of research, economic development and governmental relations. “Maine’s greatest challenge in the next half-century is going to be how we support our citizens, our businesses and our environment, and energy is the biggest part of that. Our goal is not just in good research and energy creation, it’s in economic development for Maine. All of these areas have the potential to be excellent economic development drivers for the state to keep Maine a great place.”

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Fall 2009

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