We live in a world that is completely powered by energy. Everywhere you look, there is some form of generated energy keeping things running. It’s hard to imagine that just a hundred years ago, most of the daily tasks we now take for granted had to be performed by hand or with the assistance of an animal. But now, thanks to modern technology, we are able to do things much faster and easier thanks to electricity and other fuels.
But this luxury comes at a price. Well, let me be more specific. The usage of energy is just fine. The way in which we GENERATE power is where the problem lies. And what price was I referring to? Only the health and state of our environment. No big deal…
So let me get a little bit more specific here. When I’m talking about energy, I’m referring to electricity and fuel. This is where our power comes from, whether it’s to make the blender run, or to get us from home to work. Now we all use this energy, but many of us don’t know where it comes from.
Fuel (gasoline, diesel, etc) is pretty easy as it is a derivative of oil. Electricity is more tricky as it does come from a variety of sources, but one of the biggest sources is through the burning of coal. Coal, like oil, is found in the Earth’s crust. It is dug for, extracted, refined, shipped and either treated or burned.
That’s where the problem lies. You see, both coal and oil are nasty substances. While we’ve all seen what an oil spill can do and the havoc it wreaks, that’s not what I’m talking about. Rather, consider that in the end, for energy to be generated from either of these two substances, they need to be burned. When you burn something, it doesn’t go away. Each individual molecule still exists, except that through the addition of heat (fire) it will undergo a chemical change. This process will generate byproducts. In the case of burning oil (and its derivatives) and coal, one of those byproducts is carbon dioxide (CO2).
Now, you may be thinking, “Isn’t that what every living animal exhales? What’s wrong with that?” Yes, it is true that you and I, and every animal on Earth does breathe in oxygen and exhale CO2. So it does occur naturally in certain quantities. The plant life on this planet works in the opposite direction, taking in CO2 and “exhaling” oxygen. So there is a balance of sorts keeping the air within certain limits.
The problem occurs when there is too much CO2 being produced. This throws off the balance and the quantity of CO2 in the atmosphere starts to increase. This makes for an atmosphere that traps more heat from the sun, leading to a gradually warmer and warmer climate (yep, global warming). Believe it or not, this is actually happening right now (and with plenty of scientific evidence to prove it).
So this is where energy conservation comes into play. The less energy we use, the less CO2 gets pumped into the air. Think about it. If you use less electricity, then there is less demand on the power grid. The power company isn’t going to burn more coal than they need to (that coal does cost them money after all). Less coal burned, less emissions.
Energy conservation is also necessary as while it alone isn’t the total solution, it does buy time for clean energy alternatives to be put into place. Energy generation by solar power, wind power, biofuels, etc. all are the future of energy. And while they are clean sources of power, we need to curb our emissions now because we can’t wait until these clean energy systems are in place. We very well could pass a point of no return in terms of CO2 in the atmosphere which will lead to a condition in which global warming becomes an inescapable inevitability. So change is needed now.
So you need to do some research and see how you can start conserving energy. In terms of gasoline or electricity, it’s not that hard to do. With a little bit of industry, you could be able to say, “I’m saving electricity at home,” or “I’m conserving fuel.”
It’s a necessary action that is in desperate need.