Yesterday I participated in a packed schedule full of prepared talks by well qualified, highly credentialed nuclear energy professionals. It was in a beautiful, high capacity venue at the Knoxville Convention Center.
Sound systems worked well, the MC kept us on schedule and there were several responsive assistants who provided microphones to those who had questions.
I was the final speaker of the day, beginning my talk at 5:00 pm on a day that began at 8:15 with only a 30 minute lunch break. Even so, there was a rather lively discussion during our Myth Busting panel.
The volunteers who put together the event did a great job of assembling the speaker line-up and were terrific hosts.
Now for the criticism. The organizing committee’s checklist apparently did not suffiently emphasize the importance of marketing and promotion. By the time I spoke, the vast lecture hall contained less pairs of ears than the Duke TIP class I taught last summer.
That class included 17 students and one teaching assistant.
There were a few more people earliers in the day, but “lightly attended” is a gentle description of the audience size. Attendees were not discouraged by cost or complex registration proceedures; the event was free and open to anyone interested in wandering in.
The good news is that I had the chance to ask a lot of questions. I recorded most of the talks and will probably publish several of them as atomic audio extra shows. They were quite informative and well done.
Though I initially signed up to participate in a science teacher workshop this morning, I think I’m going to play hooky. Yesterday evening, I found out that there is an annual event in town that might offer a chance to speak to some of the unconvinced.
The event is the Appalachian Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (APIEL), which is being held at the University of Tennesse College of Law today and tomorrow. According to the schedule, there will be at least 2-3 talks that attempt to convince people that nuclear energy is not a useful tool for supplying reliable energy without producing any greenhouse gas emissions.
Assuming that the people attending APIEL conference are sincerely interested in creating a cleaner, more just, and more prosperous world for all of us, I will do my small part to alter the conversation. I won’t attempt to shower with facts, I’ll just say a few words about why I’m so excieted about nuclear energy.
I only wish I had known about that event when I was packing for the trip. I would have made sure to include my Another Environmentalist for Nuclear Energy tee shirt.
Fortunately, I packed a PopAtomic Studio creation as a workout shirt. It’s high visibility green (because I often take long walks before sunrise) with an orange and green atomic symbol logo.
I’ll wear at least one of my Atomic Power to the People buttons, hand out a few Atomic Insights cards and bumper stickers and see if I can engage in a few challenging conversations.
I hope my NNSW hosts don’t mind that I decided to ditch them today.