Lab Group: Myles Bridgewater-Jackman, AnaCapri Mauro, Kara Scherer
For this lab, each group was assigned two organizations by the ENVS Steering Committee. Our group was assigned to research Portland General Electric, Portland’s main source of energy, and Sustainable Northwest, a nonprofit dedicated to maintain economic and ecological health in rural Oregon. After researching these two organizations, we came up with various objects of concern. The two that we will discuss here are the involvement of Sustainable Northwest in the Klamath Basin, and SmartMeters, a controversial technology implemented by Portland General Electric.
- Klamath Basin
- Descriptive: What is Sustainable Northwest’s involvement in the Klamath Basin? How did Sustainable Northwest facilitate economic and ecological stability in the area?
- Explanatory: How did the drought affect the politics of the area? To what extent does the Klamath Basin determine the livelihood of those who settle around it?
- Smart Meters
- Descriptive: How do smart meters modify the collection methods currently implemented? How do smart meters affect the distribution of energy? How has General Electric enhanced the feasibility of smart meters?
- Explanatory: To what extent does the increased automated labor affect human job availability? How does the use of privately owned batteries for storage (cars) affect the expansion of renewable energy?
If this project were to be carried out, there would be several different routes one could take regarding analysis tools. In the Klamath Basin, one could use Gephi to create a social network analysis of all of the different actors and their connections, much like our mind-map, but in more detail. This would take into account political figures, activist groups, and tribal officials to create a representative picture of the Klamath Basin disputes. One could also use Fulcrum to analyze community ideologies surrounding these disputes. It would be beneficial to present these findings in a Google Earth Tour that also exhibited the areas that were affected by the drought. This overlap in data would provide valuable insight into how the drought affected community ideas.
To analyze the smart meters, it would be beneficial to create a GIS map of the amount of smart meters in a given area. A Google Earth Tour could be helpful with this object, as well, as it would show which places smart meters are implemented and what surroundings allow them to be successful. Using SPSS would allow for the presentation of statistically significant data regarding, for example, correlations between smart meters and income level of the communities they are in.
These diagrams are comparable in that both objects consider ecological and labor dimensions. However, while labor is concerned, the smart meter directly affects job availability while the Klamath Basin’s drought is what directly pertains to labor, therefore labor is one step removed from the main object. Both objects have a political aspect surrounding them; the SmartMeters are being petitioned by citizens to be removed because they are seen as a breach of privacy, while the Klamath Basin had problems getting bills passed in Congress. Both objects begin as a very general topic, but once they are researched, they become very complex and multi-faceted.