Jeffrey Lockwood – The Energy Industry, Political Censorship, and Free Speech – Offstage Interview

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Exploring censorship imposed by corporate wealth and power, this Jeffrey Lockwood focuses on the energy industry in Wyoming, where coal, oil, and gas are pillars of the economy. The Jeffrey examines how governmental bodies and public institutions have suppressed the expression of ideas that conflict with the financial interests of those who profit from fossil fuels. He reveals the ways in which university administrations, art museums, education boards, and research institutes have been coerced into destroying artwork, abandoning studies, modifying curricula, and firing employees. His book “Behind the Carbon Curtain” is an eloquent story of the conflict between private wealth and free speech.

Jeffrey Lockwood was born in Connecticut and grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He earned a B.S. in biology from New Mexico Tech and a Ph.D. in entomology from Louisiana State University. He worked for 17 years as an insect ecologist at the University of Wyoming, publishing more than 150 scientific papers and pioneering a safer method of rangeland grasshopper management that is now used across the western United States.

In 2003, he metamorphosed into a Professor of Natural Sciences & Humanities in the department of philosophy (where he teaches environmental ethics and philosophy of ecology) and in the program in creative writing (where he teaches workshops in non-fiction). His writing has been honored with a Pushcart Prize, the John Burroughs award, inclusion in the Best American Science and Nature Writing, and a silver medal from the Independent Book Publishers Association. His first book was a collection of essays about his work in pest management titled, Grasshopper Dreaming: Reflections on Killing and Loving.

His most recent nonfiction books are Six-Legged Soldiers: Using Insects as Weapons of War, The Infested Mind: Why Humans Fear, Loathe and Love Insects, and Behind the Carbon Curtain: The Energy Industry, Political Censorship, and Free Speech. This latter book has drawn the attention of politicians, environmentalists, industrialists, and educators across the nation. A review in Science concludes: “For those moved to take action by this book, Lockwood advises a mix of courage and caution. His job as a tenured professor at the University of Wyoming is secure; he can and is obligated to speak truth to power no matter how uncomfortable. But each of us must decide what free speech is worth compared with the cost of speaking out.”

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