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From Star Trek to Prehistory: UAB Guest Speaker Ponders “The Big Switch”

If you are a Star Trek fan, you probably know what “Class: M” means. If you follow the popular science blogs at, you also may know that this is the title of communications consultant and freelance science journalist James Hrynyshyn’s regular blog. For the rest of you, James explains: “’Class M’ is a Star Trek reference, specifically to planets like Earth that tend to support abundant life and civilization. There are plenty of other letters in each direction in the alphabet, the implication being that the current condition of our climate is but one of many possibilities.”

One of many possibilities, indeed. Hrynyshyn explains:

The climate in which civilization arose over the last 10,000 years is changing rapidly, threatening massive disruption for humans and myriad other species. Coincidentally, the fossil fuels that have brought unprecedented wealth for the last 250 years are becoming increasingly expensive and problematic, and not just because they are responsible for global warming. Collectively these two trends represent the foremost public policy challenge of our time. It is now beyond reasonable debate that an imminent shift to clean, renewable energy sources is necessary. But we like things the way they are, and progress in both the industrialized nations and the rapidly expanding Asian economies has been frustratingly slow, despite enormous technological advances. Can we make the required transformation in time? Mounting evidence suggests we can — but only if we are willing to change more than just our energy mix.

One of my volunteer roles as a UAB student is Vice-President of the UAB chapter of Scientists and Engineers for America (SEA). Join me and UAB SEA for a presentation and discussion in search of signs of hope that we are up to the task:

UAB Scientists and Engineers for America Seminar Series

The Big Switch with James Hrynyshyn

Friday, May 25th at 11:00 AM

Ryals School of Public Health Room 407

Light refreshments will be available prior to seminar.

Kyle Crider is Manager – Environmental Operations at Ecotech Institute and Education Corporation of America. He holds a Master of Public Administration degree with a double-emphasis in Urban Planning & Policy Analysis. He is also a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional, Neighborhood Development (LEED AP ND). He is currently in the Interdisciplinary Engineering Ph.D. Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and not necessarily those of Ecotech Institute or Education Corporation of America. Email Kyle at