July 7, 2007
The world has almost reached the point of no return. The point where we can take a good hard look at what we have been doing to the environment with our excessive use of carbon based energy and make the changes necessary to exist for centuries to come or continue down the path to destruction.
It doesn’t matter if we have been using these fossil fuels out of necessity, greed, ignorance or even laziness. It is time for a change and we have to decide our fate sooner than later or it will be decided for us.
We have several energy sources available to us now and I think that the lack of widespread use of these can be due to lack of education on the subject and possibly some groups that would try to slow progress in these areas in purely out of greed. No matter the reason we have to educate ourselves and others and help the spread of these new energy sources:
Solar Energy: It seems that everyone has heard of solar energy a some point. This is one of those resources that is not exactly renewable but we have no reason to believe that it will be exhausted in our lifetimes. The sun is in some way responsible for all life on the planet and is a source of energy we need to explore to the fullest.
Wind Energy: This energy is actually a derivative of solar energy since wind is caused by the heating and cooling of air caused by the sun. This is possible one of the cleanest of the alternative energy sources available.
Water Energy: We can extract energy from the force of flowing water and have been doing so for years in the form of electricity from dams and the re-routing of kinetic energy in waterfalls and down flowing water by water wheels (think grain mills on the river).
Biomass: By using existing materials (leaves, paper -think junk mail-) we can produce compact material suitable for creating energy with combustion. Some groups are researching creating biomass materials that burn cleaner and longer and will be suitable for widespread energy production
Geothermal: Using the constant temperature of the earth to heat and cool homes and buildings is another area that needs exploration. Some countries are actually working on ways to fulfill their energy requirements solely with geothermal energy.
Nuclear: We have been using nuclear energy for quite a while now, some countries are getting a majority of their electricity from nuclear energy. The biggest concern with this is the radioactive byproducts but there are currently advancements in this area that may be able to reduce this concern.