Dr. Brouwer's work is with the National Fuel Cell Research Center, and is working on turning waste into clean fuel. Things are far enough along that in 2015 Hyundai will offer the first mass-produced vehicle to use this new hydrogen fuel cell technology. While we have been disappointed with breakthroughs of this sort in the past, there is reason to believe this will be a real option for families in the near future. And remember, this all involves a method that produces zero pollutants.
I don’t know Brouwer personally, even though he works just down the road at the University of California, Irvine. But I don’t get the sense that he’s your stereotypical environmental hero. He is a professional scientist, a professor, and—while he’s doing work that the folks at NPR’s Science Friday find newsworthy—also studying theology in Concordia’s CMC program (a program in which I occasionally teach). Understanding God’s call in our lives thus entails excellence in all aspects of our work.
I suppose there’s another hope for biological life on earth apart from a proper understanding of vocation: human extinction. But I’m on team people and I believe there is a purpose and a future for our species. If you agree, let’s not focus on sounding and looking like we are pro-environment. Instead, let’s focus our energy on bright minds and research. Let’s get behind those who are using their unique talents and callings to invent ways for human beings to flourish without fouling up creation, and without thinking our best approach is to be preachy and self-righteous about how good we are at composting and reusing plastic spoons (though every little bit helps, I suppose).