Term Paper: Environmental Power Options

Pages: 4 (1473 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Energy  ·  Buy This Paper

¶ … Environmental problem in the world today [...] environmentally friendly power options that are renewable, rather than non-renewable and harmful such as oil and coal. This has always been an interesting topic to me, because it seems that people do not think that these types of fuels will ever go away, and they tend to waste energy without thinking about it. It makes me wonder where the world will be as far as power and fuel are concerned in even just a hundred more years. This is highly relevant to environmental education because the world largely depends on these fossil fuels for just about all its' energy, and they are being depleted rapidly. In the future, environmentally friendly power options will need to be explored more fully, and learning about them now can give new intelligence and guidance for the future.

Problem

The existing use of fossil fuels like coal, natural gas, and oil is that they are non-renewable. Eventually the worldwide sources will be depleted and disappear. Most of the world depends on fossil fuels for nearly all their energy needs. Cars use gasoline refined from oil, homes and businesses use oil or gas for their heating and cooling, and most electricity is generated at plants that burn coal for fuel. One author notes, "Today, utility companies produce nearly 70% of the country's electricity from large, central station coal and nuclear power plants" (Cruver). This is using up the existing resources at a very rapid rate.

Another problem is that fossil fuels are dirty. They create acid rain which is harmful to people and the environment. Scientist Hope Cristol notes the possibility of damage gets greater as acid rain increases. She writes, "Not only does acid rain wilt and destroy trees' leaves and needles, but new research shows it also leaches their life-sustaining metal nutrients from topsoil" (Cristol). Of course, acid rain is just one problem associated with fossil fuels.

Global warming is another serious problem that must be addressed, and Global warming is a result of carbon dioxide being released into the air as fossil fuels are burned. Carbon dioxide is widespread everywhere around the world and so; it is quite hard to control. It is released from cars, buildings, factories, and power plants in most modern countries (Eco Bridge). Global warming is getting much more serious, and it could have very dire consequences for life on the planet if the temperature continues to rise as quickly as it has in the last 100 years. The EPA Web site notes, "According to scientists, the Earth's surface has risen in temperature by about 1 degree Fahrenheit in the past century" ("Environmental Issues"). This does not sound like a lot, but this number is getting larger faster than it ever has before, and it could get much worse even in our own lifetimes.

Global warming and the other problems associated with fossil fuels could have a major impact on quality of life and health. If the planet gets too warm, the ice packs in the north and south can melt (many glaciers are already disappearing), and the water level in the oceans could rise. This could cause flooding and destruction of cities and towns along the coasts of the countries of the world. If the planet warms up enough, life would not be possible for humans, because the planet would simply be too hot. Health is also an issue with increased global warming and carbon dioxide emissions. Many of the world's cities have very poor air quality and smog, and this causes breathing difficulties and can be very dangerous for people with lung diseases such as asthma and emphysema. If the air quality gets worse, so will health problems. If the problem is not addressed and fixed, then quality of life could deteriorate, and all life could disappear if the problem continues as it has.

Solutions

There are many solutions that have already been studied, and many are being used around the world to generate clean and environmentally friendly forms of power. Some clean, renewable forms of power include wind, solar, geothermal, wave and tidal energy, hydrogen fuel cells, and modern biomass developments (Ottinger and Williams 331). Many of these types of environmentally friendly power sources are already in use in many parts of the world, but they are not the majority, they are the minority because most of the world still depends on fossil… [END OF PREVIEW]

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