Posted June 2, 2017
Lee Dickey knows peaches. His family-owned Dickey Farms is the oldest continuously operating peach packinghouse in Georgia, a state synonymous with the fleshy fruit. Dickey knows soil and farming techniques. He knows heavy equipment and fertilizers. And he knows that energy is his essential partner in modern, efficient peach growing.
The peach has been part of Georgia’s identity since long before Scarlett O’Hara moved to the quiet end of Peachtree Street in Atlanta. And while Georgia isn’t alone in its association with an iconic homegrown produce – think Massachusetts cranberries, Idaho potatoes and Florida citrus – no other state has more fully intertwined its agricultural standard-bearer with its profile, from license plates and its representative on the state-themed quarter coins to upwards of 70 variations of the name Peachtree for streets in the Atlanta area alone.
Peaches do grow on trees – but the process takes a lot of energy. Dickey is the fifth generation of his family to farm Georgia peaches. He said his family’s 1,000 acres of rich, southern earth produce about 4.5 million pounds of peaches a year, and that’s largely due to energy, which is the activating force in so many aspects of modern living, from agriculture to frontier space technologies.
Posted May 31, 2017
With the NBA Finals scheduled to begin this week, here’s an idea worth pondering: Pro basketball – and any other level of basketball, for that matter – has been made infinitely better thanks to contributions from a pair of overlooked players: natural gas and oil. Seriously.
Posted May 30, 2017
Here’s the look of summer at Chicago’s venerable Wrigley Field: lush grass, immaculate dirt infield and ivy-adorned outfield walls – and of course, the uniformed players with their gloves and bats. And one more important thing: There’s a pennant fluttering in the breeze, heralding Wrigley as the home of the 2016 World Series Champion Cubs.
To which we all may say thanks … to energy. Significant contributions from natural gas and oil and have helped make Wrigley’s iconic tableau – as well as tableaus at other ballparks – while elevating our National Pastime to the colorful, exciting, fan-friendly entertainment that it is.
For example, because of materials derived from petroleum, we may take for granted the snap-crack of a bat solidly squaring up a ball – and the resulting long, soaring arc of that ball, possibly headed “downtown” beyond the outfield fence. A century ago, the game was shorter and more tactical – a concession to the less-than-lively baseball of the “dead ball” era (1900-1919). It’s not modern Major League Baseball without a modern major league baseball, made so with the help of petroleum-based components.
Posted May 26, 2017
They’ve been running races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 1909. The track, home of the iconic Indianapolis 500, a staple of the Memorial Day weekend, is still called “The Brickyard,” for the 3.2 million paving bricks that were laid down in the fall of 1909 as the track’s first modern surface. One of the first things first-time speedway goers may notice is that The Brickyard has very few bricks left.
The speedway’s modern asphalt skin is among the ways energy makes the Indy 500 the racing spectacle it is today. It wouldn’t be the Indy 500 we know today if it were still run over 2.5 miles of bricks – as it was in 1911, when winning driver Ray Harroun averaged 74.59 mph in his Marmon “Wasp” racer. That’s positively quaint compared to last year’s winning average of 166.64 mph logged by Alexander Rossi, traveling nearly the length of a football field every second. Because of asphalt, a viscous liquid or semi-solid form of petroleum, drivers are able to maneuver over a smooth surface with much better traction than was available in Harroun’s day.
Many consider Indy cars to be high-speed works of art. With the carbon fibers and Kevlar, a polymer derived from petroleum, that go into a racing chassis like the Dallara model Rossi won in last year, you could say it’s art made possible with petroleum.
Posted May 24, 2017
Summer is nearly upon us. Soon the kids will be out of school, and families across the USA will start packing up and heading out on vacation.
Millions will make their way to Florida – for the magical world of Disney or one of the state’s many other theme and water parks. From the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios to the Star Wars-themed adventures at LEGOLAND, families can find activities to make everyone happy in the Sunshine State.
Energy will get them there – and it will give them the opportunity for the best vacation ever. Because that’s what natural gas and oil, America’s leading energy sources, do: They make things possible, and they make them better. Like vacations.
Certainly, Florida’s role as the nation’s leading theme-park destination has reached prominence in the 45 years since Disney World opened in Orlando. There, children (and adults) are immersed in an imaginary world the moment they arrive – from Mickey Mouse merchandise in the airport terminal to classic cartoons playing on the Magical Express bus. Behind the fairy dust, a lot of energy is making Disney dreams come true.
Posted May 22, 2017
Summer – like every other season of the year – also is about energy. Natural gas and oil are integrally involved in making our summers cooler, more accessible, safer and better in ways too numerous to count. But we can start with 50. This week we will launch a series of posts – “America’s Summer of Energy” – that shows how energy brings us summer, through the lens of the 50 states.