During the course of the last elections both in Canada and the USA, there was a substantial amount of talk surrounding energy: renewable energy, green energy, and fossil fuel emissions. There was by no means any shortage of terms but there was a shortage of definitions. It’s pretty obvious that energy involves the way that things are powered, however a lot of people may be unsure as to what green energy is. Today, I will look define green energy and outline the importance of it to our future.
What are fossil fuels?
Traditionally, we have powered cars, planes, plants and a host of other things by burning fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are natural resources that have been produced over millions of years that are deposited beneath the Earth’s crust. If you ask me, this is where it should stay, underground. These resources are produced under specific physical conditions and millions of years. Estimations by the Energy Information Organization in 2007 placed world wide energy dependence on fossil fuels at just over 84 percent. There are three major fossil fuels that combine to constitute this percentage: petroleum; natural gas; and coal.
Why we can need to reduce our fossil fuel consumption?
There are two suggested explanations as to why the world can’t continue to proceed on its current path of burning fossil fuels. First, the rate of fossil fuel consumption has begun to exceed nature’s ability to restore what has been depleted. As previously mentioned, vast amounts of time are required for the natural production of fossil fuels.
The second reason is the effects that carbon monoxide which is the byproduct of burning fossil fuels has on the environment. It’s believed that the release of carbon monoxide as a result of fossil fuel consumption is creating a green house effect thus precipitating adverse changes to Earth’s atmosphere.
What is renewable energy?
Renewable energy is obtained from alternative energy sources powered by natural events that cannot be depleted by their use. Solar, wind and water are three major renewable energy sources that could drastically limit mankind’s dependence of fossil fuels.
The power of the wind is harnessed through wind mills transforming its movements into electricity that can be used as both clean and renewable energy. Solar power is captured through solar panels transferring the sun’s radiation into electricity to power homes, schools, cars and so much more. Finally, falling and flowing water has been used as a source of power by employing dams that produce electricity from the movement of water. If you ask me, stick to the first two mentioned. Dams, even though they produce clean energy, have a negative effect on the ecosystems in the area. Many animals lose their homes and food supply due to the flooding that occurs when a dam is put in place.
Why renewable energy?
The goal of these alternative means of energy is to service the world’s demand for power while preserving Earth’s natural resources. Secondly, alternative energy, or green energy as its also known, is aimed at reducing the level of carbon monoxide that is being released into the atmosphere thus protecting the environment. Basically, alternative energy is founded on the concept of preservation; Preserving Earth’s atmosphere for a better quality of life and preserving Earth’s resources for future generations. The push for alternative energy doesn’t necessarily mean the end to fossil fuels usage but it does seek to minimize fossil fuel depletion and it’s adverse affects.
So, are you going to increase your use of green energy? What kind of changes in your life have you made so far?
As you know we do all sorts of things to be “green” so I won’t ramble about that.
I am curious what you two do, Miss T.
We have a company here in Ontario called BullFrog that lets us buy green or brown power to support renewable energy initiatives.
Another thing i’ve looked at, but i’m not convinced is financially viable is the microFit program where you sign a 20 yr contract w/ the ON Govt to sell power generated from your roof mounted solar panels back to the grid. I’ve read mixed reviews on whether you’d actually get your ROI as the panels aren’t cheap! But we’ve looked into it. Unless we stumble upon ~$15,000 i’m not seeing it happen – the interest on a loan makes the whole thing prohibitive I think. Also, if we did stumble on big money we have a kitchen to re-do, an attic to finish, a shed to build and a front entrance to tile! So many projects …
@ SPF I can relate to the list of projects. This year we need to finish our patio, finish our fence and get our floors redone.
We have a similar program here with electricity company. We haven’t done all of the research yet but we have considered it. I think we would be really serious about it if we decided to build a house somewhere.
Unfortunately where we live there are not a lot of incentives and kick backs at the moment for living green. I really hope this changes in the future. In the meantime we do what we can by using LED lighting, power savers, natural light, etc.
Great Post. I hear so much about renewable energy and wind power I get, but it is nice to put some definitions behind it. What do you think the best source of renewable energy is?
@ Fire Finder I would say solar power. To me it has the least impact on any surrounding environment. We don’t have to flood areas or drill into the ground to make use of it.
I agree that once these resources are gone, they’re gone. We only have a few decades to get off of the fossil fuel train, but if things were really bad I think we could survive a couple hundred years. Nonetheless, technology has greatly increased the efficiency of how we use said fuels (compare gas mileage today to 40 years ago) and while this has been offset by growth in overall consumption, this is because the world is getting wealthier, which isn’t a bad thing.
I just hope that we can continue to drive the costs down on solar, wind & etc… to the point where they will truly be competitive with the stuff we pump out of the ground. Heck, even stranger proposals like turning agricultural waste into oil and placing methane power stations on top of landfills all do their small part, too.
Personally all my power already comes from a hydro dam and I take the subway during the week. I do live in a high-rise, and I believe high-rises are more energy-intensive than detached homes overall so in that sense might be a wash.
@ Invest it Wisely I hope so too. Right now the green options seem to cost so much more than the not so green options. Until this changes, most people won’t be able to support the change. I too live where there is a hydro dam but I wish I got my energy from something greener. I feel so bad for the ecosystems that get flooded out.
I also walk to work and a few other places I need to go so that cuts down on my carbon footprint too.
Do the best you can and keep your eyes open for more ways to make positive change. That’s all anyone can ask for- a great attitude.
Hello, Miss T. I’m currently a high school student, and I just happened to come across this article while researching about green energy for a science project. Right now, I’m wondering-what is (if there is one, that is) the difference between renewable energy and green energy/alternative energy? They are mentioned seperately in this article-or does green energy just have many different names? Thank you!
Green vs. renewable or sustainable are really two different things in my mind. Renewable energy sources are things like hydro and wind power. Green energy in my mind doesn’t exist. There are consequences to the environment with all of the proposed renewable energy sources. For example, hydro power is renewable but it requires flooding ecosystems and building dams. This in my opinion is not green. If you want to write a really interesting paper, talk about how no form of proposed alternative energy is truly green and that we have a long way to go in regards to research and development of green energy. Hope this helps and thanks for stopping by. Good luck.