WYSO

Bob Brecha

Commentator

Bob Brecha is a professor of Physics and Renewable and Clean Energy at the University of Dayton, and Research Director at UD's Hanley Sustainability Institute.  Follow him on Twitter: @BobBrecha

The Taylorsville Dam in Vandalia is one of five dams in the Miami Conservancy District.
Lewis Wallace / WYSO

Since the recent hurricanes in the gulf region and the Caribbean, University of Dayton professor Bob Brecha has turned his attention to how the Miami Valley might cope with severe flooding  and takes a look at research done by one of his University of Dayton colleagues for clues.

Extreme weather events were in the news quite a bit this summer, from brutal heat waves in southern Europe, to forest fires in the northwestern US, and maybe most noticeably, the incredible rainfalls brought about by Hurricane Harvey in Houston and the Gulf Coast region.

Antti Lipponen / Flickr Creative Commons

Hurricane season lasts for a few more weeks. The US has been fortunate over the past few years because there haven’t been many direct hits on the mainland, but this year the hurricanes just keep coming. Sustainability commentator Bob Brecha takes a look at what we should expect for the future with warming oceans.

drbrett / Flickr Creative Commons

The United Nations estimates that world population will increase to 11 billion by the end of the century. UD professor Bob Brecha is thinking how population and sustainability are related and bring us this commentary.

When I was born, world population was less than half what it is today.  I think it’s clear that one reason we’ve started talking about sustainability at all is that the large human population is placing a lot of stress on ecosystems and natural resources.

Rick Willoughby / Flickr Creative Commons

Today sustainability commentator Bob Brecha tackles a thorny question: how much energy does it take to make wind turbines and solar panels.

Here’s a scary thought: What if all the effort being put into new wind turbines and solar panels is a waste of time and money because they don’t create as much energy as it takes to build and install them.  And because of that, maybe they don’t help reduce greenhouse gas emissions either. 

Ohio Senate
Bob Hall / Flickr Creative Commons

Area college graduates are preparing to begin their careers or the next part of their educations.  WYSO commentator Bob Brecha is a professor at the University of Dayton and has been thinking about how his students look at sustainability issues inside the classroom and as citizens.

Havana, Cuba
Pedro Szekely / Flickr Creative Commons

All the nations of the world need to make decisions about how to use resources but in developing countries, trade-offs between economic growth and spending on health and education are especially challenging. On Friday, President Donald Trump is expected to announce changes in U.S. policy toward Cuba. Commentator Bob Brecha was in Cuba early this month and has some thoughts about how the Cuban government is making choices about economic growth and sustainability.

Joe Flood / Flickr Creative Commons

The Trump administration announced Thursday that the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, fulfilling a campaign promise he made repeatedly. Sustainability commentator Bob Brecha has this response:

Even though candidate Trump promised to pull out of the Paris climate agreement, there was some hope that calmer and better-informed voices might prevail once Trump took office, but this apparently did not happen.

The March for Science, April 22, 2017 in Washington, DC
Becker1999 / Flickr Creative Commons

For scientists it can be really tricky to figure out whether to protest, engage with legislators, or stay in the office. Sustainability commentator Bob Brecha compares visits to Capitol Hill with taking part in the People’s Climate March.

Commentary: EPA and Us

Apr 25, 2017
Paul A. Fagan / Flickr Creative Commons

After World War II, American industry grew rapidly, leading to not only unprecedented wealth and a growing middle class, but also to serious negative effects on the environment.  As industry and population expanded, we learned through poisoned rivers and unbreathable air that there are limits to the capacity of the environment to absorb our waste.  The Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1970 with strong bipartisan support for efforts to remediate heavily polluted urban air and waterways across the country.

solar panels on roof
Chris Kantos / Flickr Creative Commons

Politicians in Ohio and around the country  are struggling to articulate new energy policies.  Renewables are booming and becoming cheaper, but shale oil and gas are on the rise as well. How will the energy system of the future look?  Sustainability commentator Bob Brecha has some ideas about pitfalls to avoid.

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