Warner Pacific College
August 7, 2010
Future Development and Sustainability
The big question in the world right now is how we are going to have enough for future generations to survive. Is there going to be enough food to eat, fuel to travel, and jobs to make money? Then there is the big question will the Earth have humans on it in the future, or will we destroy it. Alternative and sustainable measures need to be taken.
Energy and the atmosphere are a hot topic these days. The carbon dioxide that we are putting into the air is on an uprise. Coal and fossil fuel cause the most to be released into the atmosphere. Coal is used for generating electricity and heat, fossil fuels run cars and machinery. Not only do our day to day lives use these fuels but it takes fuel to get these.
How do we fight the use of these? There are many ways; all you have to do is look. They are making great strides in solar power which uses nothing but the sun to heat your house or run your electricity. You can also use wind power, hydro power, or hydrogen fuel cells. Each of these has their advantages and disadvantages. The biggest with all is the initial cost to set them up and what the economic payback on each. However a better short term solution is very simple. Use less fuel. This can be done by turning lights off, using natural gas to cook instead of electric, drive more effectively and only when you need to, use public transportation. Be carefull what you use when you cook, plastics leave a very high carbon footprint. Beef also takes a large carbon footprint to produce.
Growing your own garden can help in the fight against carbon dioxide emissions. I have changed the design of my own yard to accommodate room to plant a larger garden next season. This will allow my family to grow many of the salad items that we have during the summer. We also barbeque more wich propane is not the greenest but is better than the stove. Growing your own vegetables is a big savings on carbon dioxide emissions. Remember, these are available year round so they must be shipped or flown in for the customer. One of the big hitters in greenhouse gases is livestock. Livestock is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the entire global transport network. (Make Health History, 2008). It accounts for 18% of the greenhouse emmissions. (Make)
Let’s look at power for your household, and how we can save. There is solar, wind, and fuel cells. Each is expensive to get into and has its downfalls. Solar is great but has a return on investment is anywhere from 10-20 years. Solar also needs the sun, what if you live in the New York or the Pacific Northwest, where sun is limited during the harsh winters. Wind has the same problem with nature needing to help. If there is no wind for many weeks what happens to you. Fuel cells seem to be the answer. All it takes is natural gas and you have heat and electricity. The concern with this technology is that it is unproven and still has a long way to go.
So what are the options? Use less, turn lights off, check you thermostats, and use your power and heat smart. There are many ways to reduce your usage, turn down your hot water tank, water lawns less, do full loads of laundry, and shower faster. These are easy to do and will help.
Driving is also easier than people think. Carpool, take the bus, or drive an economy car. Bundle your trips together so there is less time on the road. Beaware, that there are other options to get to work or where you are going.
In my currect position, Logistics Manager for a fuel cell company, I not only am working for a company trying to make energy more available and cleaner; but I can control the transportation and how much a product is on the road. This gives me the advantage of affecting the carbon footprint of the company. With my degree I hope to become a Director of Supply Chain. In doing this I would have more control over how product is brought into the company for production. The better we can combine shipments and purchase from local suppliers; the smaller the footprint will be.
Cubby, Ben (August, 2009). Ambitious targets in greenhouse proposal, The Sysdney Morning Hearld, Retrieved on August 8, 2010 from, http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/ambitious-targets-in-greenhouse-proposal-20100808-11qaq.html
Make Health History (April, 2008). Carbon footprints----what makes the biggest difference? Retrieved on August 7, 2010 from, http://makewealthhistory.org/2008/04/08/carbon-footprints-what-makes-the-biggest-difference/