New Energy Future
Since first becoming human, we have been burning things to harness energy. To become fully human we’ll have to come out of the cave, quench the fires, and harness non-burning energy.
The opportunities abound for us to continue to accomplish things as tremendous and evolved as space flight, the Internet, and literature. But we’ll need to power our grand civilization in a far more sustainable and cleaner manner than the status quo.
As we build this new energy future, there is a problem with the current system: burning things—like coal, gas, oil, and wood—releases carbon dioxide and other pollutants. At the current rate of consumption and burning, we are undermining our health, the health of future generations, and the health of the planet–including the beautiful and bountiful oceans.
We can continue to burn things to make energy or we can support innovation and tap into natural sources of power such as the sun, wind, and tides. We can make the way we use the power much smarter and efficient, too.
These are not even all the options. Compared to the possible oceans of improvements, humanity is still dog-paddling in the shallow end of the kiddie pool. Sometimes we seem determined to drown there just because we won’t stand up.
This is the new energy future. Stand up and embrace it. You can be a part.
3 things you can do to embrace the new energy future:
1. Conserve energy at home and at work.
2. Switch to renewable energy when and wherever possible.
3. Change your driving habits to conserve fuel – walk, ride a bike or carpool.
Other great ways you can make a difference.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines renewable energy as “fuel sources that restore themselves over a short period of time and do not diminish.” By contrast, we mainly use fossil fuels like coal, gas, and oil, whose ancient energy stores, locked away in the earth for millions of years, we mine and deplete. Even atomic
Energy efficiency means doing the same job with less energy. Potential savings from energy efficiency number in the trillions of dollars, and would cut air pollution by 1.1 gigatons by 2020, the same amount produced annually by the entire US fleet of passenger vehicles and light trucks. The idea of a smart grid promises to
Cost vs Price
The price of electricity from wind and solar is currently higher in most places in the world than electricity generated by fossil fuels. But the true cost of fossil fuels is unsustainable—and hidden. Fossil fuels cost trillions of dollars in health care, resource security, subsidies, and lost ecosystem services through environmental degradation. According to the
For over a hundred years, we have been generating electricity and moving vehicles by burning fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are the remains of dead plants and animalsexposed to intense heat and pressure inside the Earth over millions of years. Like fossils, they have to be dug or sucked out of the ground. When we use