Monday, November 22, 2010

Ashley Hatton's view of energy and our society

As society has developed and our population has expanded, our need for sources of energy has grown. Unfortunately, we have become dependent on non renewable energy resources that are also damaging our environment because of the pollutants these resources omit. For the future we need to research and develop multiple renewable and clean energy sources that can meet the needs of the world’s growing population.
Fortunately the world has become aware of the harm that some of our current energy sources can cause. One recent incident in particular is the Gulf Coast BP spill which is estimated to have spilled 185 million gallons (Oils Spill Facts) underwater which is threatening wildlife and the surrounding economy and ecosystem. Incidents like the BP Oil spill and new research that shows environmental damage from our preferred energy method is leading to the use of new renewable and environmentally sound energy sources.
If we continue to pollute at our current rate, we will be in for a rude awaking in the near future—perhaps as the 1973 Richard Fleischer film Soylent Green predicted. Looking to the future, we need to develop and use new renewable energy sources so that we may be a sustainable world. There are some new advances such as hybrid vehicles and solar electricity, but they have yet to be perfected. As of 2005, there were only 200,000 hybrids on the road with 17 million other non hybrid vehicles. Those only account for 1.2% of vehicles on the road and hybrids still rely on some gasoline. (Hybrid Owners) Solar panels are so costly most people are not willing to make the initial investment. As of 2005 a household would need to spend $30-40,000 in order to turn their home into an energy efficient solar run home. (Trusty Guides)
If the US would be willing to spend more money and invest in the future of renewable energy and eco-friendly technology, we will be in a much better place. There will be hundreds of jobs created in the green industry if society wasn’t so hesitant to make a change. We have begun to use more wind and hydro power, but the overall percentage which we rely on is insignificant in the scheme of things. For example look at this chart (Renewable Energy) below which demonstrates the US energy consumption by source for a span of five years.
All of the renewable resources are at the bottom of the list. If the US makes an effort to eliminate the need for such high usage of fossil fuels, we will be able to become more independent from purchasing foreign oil and also become a cleaner, sustainable nation.
If we take the time to investigate the long term effects of our energy choices, we may be able to prevent causing continued harm to the environment therefore improving the current quality of life and the lives of future generations.

Hybrid Owners or America Retrieved from on November 18, 2010
Oil Spill Facts. Retrieved from on November 16, 2010.
Renewable Energy Consumption and Electricity Preliminary2006 Statistics. (2007) Retrieved from
rea_prereport.html on November 16, 2010
Trusty Guides. Solar Panel Costs. Retrieved from on November 16, 2010

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