Rita Walker (Blog Three): By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris
The University of Waterloo is using negative electrodes made of lithium metal to potentially triple the range of current electric vehicle batteries. There are more and more hybrid and electric cars available including BMW i3. However, the question is where does the energy to power the cars come from (hydro, coal, nuclear etc.) and how are the batteries produced and what happens with them when they expire.
It will be another week before Rita starts her Environmental Technology class. That gives her some time to acclimatize to her new surroundings in Brantford. For now she is staying in Kaydee’s basement where Kaydee and her husband Shikellamy added a bathroom and separate walk out. It’s cozy with a large bedroom, rec room and even a den with its own window. The house is on a ridge overlooking the Grand River. Rita simply walks out through the rec room’s glass door and up stone steps to get to the street. Winter might be a bit slippery but Shikellamy should have a railing put in by then.
A major goal for her course is to take the class to different businesses to see firsthand how technology is working with the environment. Rita has also invited guest speakers to talk to the class. One of them she is meeting today.
Zsofia Juhász is a professor at the University of Waterloo’s Biomedical Science program specializing in medicinal herbs. Rita met Zsofia under strenuous circumstances when they were both much younger. Zsofia never told anyone about Rita’s secret and that has made her a very close and trusted friend. As fitness buffs they agreed to meet at the college’s gym before going to lunch.
Rita can’t help but smile as she sees Zsofia pull into the college’s parking lot in a dark blue BMW i3. Zsofia long brown hair blows in the wind as she tosses her duffel bag over her shoulder. The way she walks towards Rita in her tight black jacket and exercise pants says athlete.
“Nice car!” Rita says at the entrance to the college as they hug.
“Don’t tell anyone,” Zsofia whispers with a mischievous grin but the engineering department at the university adapted it so it now has their latest battery technology.”
“Greener?” Rita asks.
“And I can go much farther before recharging.”
As they talk Rita takes Zsofia to the newly built gym.
“So what’s the objective of your course?” Zsofia asks.
Rita takes in a deep breath and gives her a determined smile. “We keep hearing about our demise as a species and maybe the Earth’s but there’s nothing good about following that way of thinking. I want to show the general public and businesses that we can make positive changes.”
“That’s a difficult task Rita,” Zsofia says with a warning glance. “You have to consider the environment, business, and social interaction.”
“True and I have. If you own a manufacturing company that is releasing caustic chemicals into the atmosphere and I can offer a solution that doesn’t mean shutting your factory down….” Rita stops to let what she’s suggesting sink in.
“If you can,” Zsofia replies.
“Don’t know unless you try. Negative thinking is a downward spiral.”
“Businesses, especially international business might not want to be told they have to change.”
“I don’t want to tell them what to do. I want to work with them to come up with a better and still productive solution.”
As Zsofia ties up her shoes she says, “Well, I’m here to help where I can.”
“How’s your Biomedical course on Herbalism going?” Rita asks to change the subject.
“There’s still such a divide between Pharmacy and Herbalism but I’ll try to keep your positive and inclusive attitude and try not to think of corporate greed.”