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Outdoor learning: Cook's Branch and Rice collaborate

HOUSTON—Cook's Branch Conservancy doesn't look like a classroom, but that's just what the 5,600-acre nature preserve in Texas’ Montgomery County became for a group of Rice University students studying insect biology. "Many of our labs feature an outdoor field experience, which is... Read More >


The 'green conservative' movement: Big players and their uphill battle

If you follow American politics, you'll probably find these words surprising. Conservatives typically reserve the word “radical” for use alongside “environmentalist," and “conservation” is more often a code word for “tyrannical big... Read More >


A move to getting 'right' on clean energy?

In what passes for public debate on energy, it’s sometimes easy to believe that conservatives are the fossils in fossil fuels and that liberals are loonies leading us to an unreliable future where the sun never sets and the wind always blows.  That can be the view, at least, if you are... Read More >


Greening the Tea Party

There’s a new environmental awareness among Tea Party members in Texas who say that conservation is a conservative value. Carl Lindemann reports that some southern Tea Party members label themselves “green conservatives”, advocating that clean energy can work within the free market... Read More >


Conservatives Cultivate Taste For a Green Tea Party

Speakers at a conservative green energy panel held at the Paramount Theater in Austin. Tucker Eskew is no stranger to thankless tasks. Eskew was the Republican operative who, in 2008, had the honor of tutoring Sarah Palin on being a vice-presidential candidate. Now, he’s ready to take the... Read More >


Germany and Texas: Energy twins?

Germany and the state of Texas, so different in so many ways, have some surprising similarities when it comes to their electricity systems. These similarities and differences will be explored at a symposium at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center on the University of Texas at... Read More >


Here's where Katherine Lorenz got the idea of saving the world

Growing up in Texas, Katherine Lorenz saw nothing unusual in her father, Perry’s, penchant for maintaining his real estate office in down-at-heels East Austin and aiding local Latino residents or her mother, Sheridan’s, eagerness to spend money on those less fortunate. When Sheridan... Read More >


Report: New efficiencies could ease strain on power markets

New measures to reduce electricity use could curb growth in Texas’ peak power demand by 40 percent to 50 percent over the next two decades, reducing the need to build new generating capacity and lowering prices for ratepayers, a new report shows.Texas’ power market could restrain... Read More >


Ramping Up

Ramping up—or significantly increasing charitable giving or activities—can be an empowering transition point in your philanthropy, opening possibilities for extending your reach, funding more deeply or in new areas, and having more impact. It can also leave you bewildered by the... Read More >


Agreeing to disagree on state's future water needs

How much more water will Texas really need by 2060?The 2012 state water plan, the state’s strategy for meeting water needs, estimated that Texas would face a shortfall of 2.7 trillion gallons a year by 2060, and that filling the gap would take an estimated $53 billion in new infrastructure.But... Read More >


OP-ED: Greenhouse gas emissions are not our only problem

With all the recent scientific studies, media coverage, and policy decisions about reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, one might think that the emissions issue is the only challenge that results from our demand for electricity. Years of successful advocacy funded by philanthropists and the... Read More >


Billionaires with big ideas are privatizing American science

Last April, President Obama assembled some of the nation’s most august scientific dignitaries in the East Room of the White House. Joking that his grades in physics made him a dubious candidate for “scientist in chief,” he spoke of using technological innovation “to grow our... Read More >


Methane, friend and foe for climate change

A STUDY in the journal Science finds that the United States is putting a lot more methane, a potent contributor to global warming and the primary compound in natural gas, into the air than the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has estimated. But the report also shows that the problem is... Read More >


Report: Burning natural gas is better than using coal

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: The latest news about natural gas arrives in an awkward moment. American gas drilling is booming. The market is expanding. And natural gas is promoted as a clean fuel, far better to run buses or heat homes than oil. A report in Science magazine concludes those benefits are real,... Read More >


Methane leaks far higher than US estimates

The natural gas system in the United States is leaking far more methane, a harmful greenhouse gas, into the air than official estimates say, according to research released Thursday.The report by researchers at seven major universities reviewed some 200 studies from the past two decades and found... Read More >


Study: Natural Gas for Coal a Good Climate Trade-Off Despite Leaks

A new analysis of more than 200 studies of how much natural gas escapes into the atmosphere to drive global warming finds that more gas is leaking than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had been estimating. But the new review also finds that disturbingly high leak rates publicized... Read More >


Study: EPA likely underestimating methane emissions by at least 50%

Methane emissions are worse than the conventional wisdom would have you believe, according to a new study by researchers at Stanford University.Methane, which is the primary component of natural gas, is an especially powerful greenhouse gas, packing more than two dozen times as much global warming... Read More >


Study: America's natural gas system is leaky and in need of a fix

The first thorough comparison of evidence for natural gas system leaks confirms that organizations including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have underestimated U.S. methane emissions generally, as well as those from the natural gas industry specifically. Natural gas consists... Read More >


George Mitchell second most generous donor of 2013

A Houstonian came in just under Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in a list of the country's most generous people. George P. Mitchell, a Houston pioneer in fracking, died last year, but his commitment to good environmental stewardship made him No. 2 on this year's Philanthropy 50, the list of the... Read More >


Pioneers who remade energy

In coming up with a list of the most influential corporate executives in the past 25 years, I believe the ultimate winners should be people who became such remarkable instruments for change that their contributions ultimately transformed their respective companies, industries and the world... Read More >


Mitchell fund to expand in 2018

A foundation set up by the late billionaire George Mitchell and his wife intends to expand its grantmaking programs as well as pour resources into fighting poverty and improving education in Galveston Island, after Mitchell's estate is settled, the foundation president said Friday. Galveston... Read More >


Statement in regard to Houston Chronicle story

Statement from the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation Austin (December 24, 2013)—The Houston Chronicle published a story in its December 24, 2013 edition that included a number of inaccuracies about the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation. This statement is an attempt to clarify these... Read More >


Study: Gas, renewables will provide state's future electricity needs

Over the next two decades, natural gas and renewable energy, particularly wind and solar, will provide all new power generation for the state’s primary electricity grid, a new study predicts. The future of utility-size solar and wind energy generation remains very much linked to the price... Read More >


Report: Renewable energy to soar on Texas grid

Renewable energy could supply more than 40 percent of the electricity for Texas by 2032, according to a report issued Tuesday. Wind and solar energy are projected to contribute 25 to 43 percent of total power generation in the next 20 years, benefiting from technology improvements and compatibility... Read More >


Energy Revolution: Six things you didn't know about the Texas oil boom

The energy revolution in the United States is transforming communities across the country, but the effect is felt nowhere more acutely than in Texas. No stranger to the oil business, Texans have seen boom times before as well as the busts that tend to follow close behind. Still, even with the... Read More >


How much did the Feds really help George Mitchell?

Ever since President Obama, in his 2012 State of the Union speech, gave the federal government credit for developing hydraulic fracturing,  the idea that the feds underwrote fracking has taken on a life of its own. In response to my recent Texas Monthly article on George P. Mitchell, the... Read More >


The Feds and fracking: A chicken or egg question

With his own “green jobs” initiative falling short and unemployment remaining stubbornly high, perhaps it wasn’t surprising that President Barack Obama touted the benefits of cheap natural gas in his 2012 State of the Union speech. He predicted that the boom unleashed by hydraulic... Read More >


Searching for shale gas answers

George Mitchell's best-known legacies are the hydraulic fracturing strategies that he perfected over decades in developing the Barnett Shale play around Fort Worth, Texas. Now the family-guided foundation of Mitchell, who died in July at the age of 94, is seeking to add to his legacy by tackling... Read More >


Nature: U.T., Mitchell Institute at A&M Astronomers Discover Most Distant Galaxy

Texas A&M University and the University of Texas at Austin may be former football rivals, but the Lone Star State's two research giants have teamed up to detect the most distant spectroscopically confirmed galaxy ever found — one created within 700 million years after the Big Bang. The... Read More >


Stephen Hawking Eulogizes George P. Mitchell

Two weeks ago, Galveston born and raised George P. Mitchell passed away at age 94. He was well-known as a Texas oil billionaire but less well-known as a keen advocate of science. He not only funded basic research, he was a driving force in getting President Ronald Reagan to support the... Read More >


Report: Renewable energy, natural gas should work together on the grid

Renewable energy and natural gas should work together as sources of electricity generation, rather than as competitors on the Texas grid, according to a new report produced for the Texas Clean Energy Coalition. “The bottom line is that Texas is going to require a significant source of... Read More >


George Mitchell's 17-year mission to crack the Barnett Shale

Everything George P. Mitchell did flew in the face of convention. It’s no wonder that the process he pioneered is commonly called “unconventional” drilling. The wildcatter tried for 17 years to find the right cocktail of chemicals that would crack the Barnett Shale. He did it in... Read More >


Governor, lawmakers honor oil field pioneer George Mitchell

The Texas House of Representatives honored a shale drilling pioneer Monday, calling George Mitchell a man who has changed the world. Mitchell, who will turn 94 later this month, wasn't at the ceremony, although his daughter Sheridan Lorenz and representatives of Mitchell Energy and the Cynthia and... Read More >


George P. Mitchell: Planting seeds of his legacy in Texas

The revitalization of oil and natural gas production in the United States can largely be traced back to one man, George Mitchell, who spent a decade trying to figure out how to employ refined hydraulic fracturing techniques to coax more gas out of the tight Barnett Shale formation. But Mitchell's... Read More >


Scientists see promising blips in underground dark matter search

Three potential signatures of exotic dark matter particles have been found hidden in the readings from an underground lab in Minnesota  — and although the results are too tentative to be classified as a discovery, scientists say they provide promising new clues to the solution of a... Read More >


Scientists may finally shine a light on dark matter

Physicists have puzzled for decades about a form of matter that makes up 90 percent of galaxies, including our own Milky Way, but which they've never seen.Now they may finally have solved the mystery of this "dark matter."  The answer may come from Sam Ting, a Nobel laureate in physics who... Read More >


OP-ED Texas Should Lead On Gas Drilling Oversight

Rarely do national environmental protests occur in Texas. Our state is a challenging venue in which to highlight environmental issues, especially those related to impacts of popular oil and gas practices. Yet, an anti-oil and gas coalition convened its first national summit deep... Read More >


Controversial 'Fracking' Drills Downs on Energy Question

George P. Mitchell, chairman of The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, addressed the issue of natural gas sustainability in the story, “Controversial ‘Fracking’ Drills Down on Energy Question,” by Tedd Cohen, published in the February 2013 edition... Read More >


Wealth Matters: Family Foundations Prepare for the Next Generation

As parents, we worry about our children. And if we have more than one, we worry about how they will interact with each other, not just when they’re young but when they’ve grown up. Independence is great; interdependence is what keeps them together when we’re gone. Families of... Read More >


In study of next generation donors, good news for start-ups, social entrepreneurs and innovators

Even as there are reports outlining how young Americans could live their entire lives strapped with debt, there is a cohort of the younger generations, particularly Generations Y and X, who stand to inherit an unprecedented amount of wealth — somewhere in the neighborhood... Read More >


The oil man who figured out fracking

He cracked the code. That's what folks in the oilpatch say about George Mitchell. In the 1970s and '80s, the country's conventional, big pools of natural gas were tapped out. Drillers looked in new geologic formations, but found themselves stumped."We knew the gas was there," Mitchell tells... Read More >


A valuable lesson on the birds and trees

This is a story about a family and its love for a plot of land. The fact that the 5,650 acre plot of land is owned by the family of oil-and-gas man, developer and dedicated philanthropist George P. Mitchell is just a matter of scale. There are lessons in this story for everyone. Sarah Mitchell,... Read More >


Q&A with Katherine Lorenz, president of the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation

Almost two years ago, Katherine Lorenz took the reins of The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, becoming the third generation of family members to lead and carry on the passion of its founders — her grandparents.The foundation, which focuses on sustainability, funds high-impact projects... Read More >


Mitchell Foundation Makes Additional $20 Million Gift to Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics and Astronomy at Texas A&M University

A new $20 million gift makes Houston billionaire George P. Mitchell the most generous donor in Texas A&M University's history. The contribution, established through the Texas A&M Foundation and payable over five years, will significantly boost the endowment for the George P. and Cynthia... Read More >


OP-ED Hastings: Ask the right questions about Texas' water future

Inadequate water supplies existed long before last year’s drought and will linger long after the Legislature concludes in 2013. With growing demand for Texas water from increasing population and economic activities, and strained water supplies in times of drought, prominent experts and elected... Read More >


Romney's Empathy Bypass -- and What It Means for Election Day

When Presidential candidate Mitt Romney argued that defunding the Federal Emergency Relief program FEMA was necessary he set in motion his likely defeat on November 6th, 2012. He built upon this narrative with his characterization of 47% of Americans as leeches and self-dealing... Read More >


Will Texas Lawmakers Fund the State Water Plan?

When it comes to the cost of the looming water crisis in Texas, the State Water Development Board is ready with some helpful numbers.They are generally big ones. If the state does nothing to cope with its booming population and dwindling water supply, Texas businesses will lose $116... Read More >


13% of U.S.'s Energy Goes to Collect, Prepare Water: Study

Energy used for treating, heating, pumping and cooling water in the U.S. accounted for almost 13 percent of the nation’s total annual consumption, according to a University of Texas at Austin study. The amount, about 12.3 quadrillion BTUs, is equivalent to the annual energy usage of about 40... Read More >


To Conserve Energy, Conserve Water

So you got your new compact fluorescent lightbulbs. Now you’re wringing your hands over how to dispose of them so that you don’t unleash toxic mercury into the environment. An improvement? Or just another example of politicians and environmentalists trying to push us around? Sure CFLs... Read More >


Meet Philanthropy's Next Generation

Every year a select group of entrepreneurs and business people upset the status quo. Whether their source of wealth is a hot startup like Nasty Gal or Instagram, or savvy leadership at a hedge fund, we deem them each likely to join the future ranks of The Forbes 400. And in a special twist this... Read More >


How The Next Generation of Wealth Is Revolutionizing Philanthropy As We Know It

The next generation of inherited or self-made wealth is being scrutinized and pressured to give bigger, earlier and more efficiently than ever before. And rather than measuring success based on the number of digits connected to a bank account, many of today’s next gen philanthropists also... Read More >


OP-ED Seeking the sensible center

In Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York and even Texas, there is a fundamental debate over “fracking” — the hydraulic fracturing of shale rock that, together with horizontal drilling, unleashes abundant natural gas. Mostly, it’s the loud voices at the extremes who are dominating the... Read More >


Gas Works: Shale gas is giving a big boost to America's Economy

PENNSYLVANIA, THE SITE of America’s first oil wells back in the 1850s, is now home to the world’s second-largest gas field after South Pars, on the border between Qatar and Iran. At the turn of the millennium America’s conventional gasfields were in decline. The country was... Read More >


Saving the Woodpecker: How a Texas Oil Billionaire Rebuilt a Forest

One Texas oil and gas billionaire is getting special recognition for what he has done to help a little bird. The Sand County Foundation and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department selected the Cook’s Branch Conservancy for the 2012 Leopold Conservation Award, the... Read More >


George P. Mitchell is one of Foreign Policy's 100 Top Global Thinkers

George Mitchell long ago made our short list of candidates for Houstonian of the century - the 21st century. Mitchell's futuristic achievements in developing The Woodlands alone would have qualified the nonagenarian oilman for serious consideration for the title. His vision of a planned... Read More >


The Shale Gas Revolution

The United States is a country that has received many blessings, and once upon a time you could assume that Americans would come together to take advantage of them. But you can no longer make that assumption. The country is more divided and more clogged by special interests. Now we groan to absorb... Read More >

© 2012-2014 Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation.