In the politically-correct halls of academia, the notion that renewable energy is the “most environmentally friendly” form of providing electricity is hardly questioned. But with nearly 500,000 birds killed each year by wind farms and tremendous numbers of acres of wildlife habitat being churned up to plant solar panels, students at the University of Florida thought they’d challenge this bedrock notion.
To do so, they set up a table in a heavily trafficked area of campus and handed out bags of Candy – one saying “conventional energy” and another saying “renewable energy.” The conventional energy bag contained about 7 pieces of candy, while the renewable had, well, something along the lines of a tootsie roll. The point was to show that since a unit of energy produced by conventional coal and nuclear power is seven times more than a unit of renewable energy, less land needs to be taken up to produce it – hence it is more environmentally-friendly in some respects.
The student reactions were eye-opening.
“By at least a three to almost four to one margin,” remarked Freshman student Thomas Pearman II, “students took the bag of ‘conventional’ candy. Sure, many did because it was simply more candy, but most accepted the information, wanted to know more, and then thanked us for informing them of something they hadn’t thought about before.”
Florida is now in the midst of a debate over the use of solar energy, so this particular gimmick seemed quite relevant to students.
“In less than an hour and a half, we distributed pretty much all the candy,” noted Junior Jerrit Gorman, “to me the best line of the day was ‘wow, you get candy and learn something at the same time!” That’s pretty awesome.