Mines, indigenous cultures discuss sustainable energy

Colorado School of Mines Department of Mining Engineering Professor Masami Nakagawa recently brought together two indigenous cultures from the United States and Bolivia to discuss development of natural resources.

The Navajo Nation is a sovereign Native American nation occupying the largest land area of all Native American nations in the U.S.; the Aymara are an indigenous nation in the Andes and Altiplano of South America – both are seeking balanced and sustainable sources of energy.

Enter Nakagawa, who works on building capacity for geothermal resource development and has been focused on sustainable energy initiatives in Bolivia, Peru and El Salvador. During this initial meeting, representatives from the two cultures discussed various options and challenges associated with this development in their native lands.

“Geothermal offers not only power generation, but by using the heat (without even generating electricity) geothermal resources offer many ways to build local businesses that are green and sustainable,” he said, noting that he is currently working on a Navajo GeoPark project that focuses on capacity building through geothermal/solar assisted greenhouses. 

The project will continue into the summer, when Nakagawa will lead a delegation of indigenous people to Bolivia. A group of five from the U.S. (including three Navajo and two from Mines) will visit the capital city of La Paz, Cochabamba, Sala de Uyuni, and a small town called Tocana, where they will discuss sustainable energy solutions.

Nakagawa serves as a Fulbright Specialist on energy and sustainability for Latin and South American countries. This project is funded by the U.S. Department of State.

 

Contact:
Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3541 | kgilbert@mines.edu
Agata Bogucka, Information Specialist, College of Earth Resource Sciences & Engineering | 303-384-2657 | abogucka@mines.edu

About Mines
Colorado School of Mines is a public research university focused on science and engineering, where students and faculty together address the great challenges society faces today - particularly those related to the Earth, energy and the environment.