The world as a whole has been ramping up efforts to move away from the use of fossil fuels, especially since the release of the UN’s Climate Report late last year. Amid human rights, environmental, and health concerns surrounding the natural gas, coal, and oil industries, reasons to switch over to sustainable resources continue to stack up. The old, traditional energy types come with a host of negative impacts. Oil spills pollute water systems and endanger the plants and animal that inhabit that area; we’ve all seen the incredibly sad images of ducklings, otters, and pelicans being scrubbed down with Dawn to get them healthy and back into the water after a spill. Removing the necessary deposits often leads to the destruction and fragmentation of land, burning gas, oil, and coal produces large quantities of carbon emissions that trap heat in the atmosphere. Besides carbon emissions, and before ever burning, fossil fuels produce toxic pollutants into the air which threaten 12.6 million people in this country alone. These pollutants include ethyl benzene, which can cause blood and neurological disorders, benzene, leading to anemia, brain damage and birth defects, formaldehyde, and acetaldehyde, all three of the latter are known to cause respiratory irritation as well as leading to cancer.
Even if you can push all of these concerns aside, take a look around, you’ll see that alternative energy solutions are already here and they are growing in use. Stadiums, businesses, your average consumer, and entire states are working towards 100% renewable energy. There are still environmental concerns with alternative energy, windmill production is an intensive process, river dams disrupt ecosystems, and we are still in the process, albeit successful process, of working out recycling solar panels, but in comparison, the footprint is minor. As we continue to transition off of traditional fuel sources, and ween from such a strong and long standing dependence, we find ourselves looking at a variety of renewable energy options, each with their own pros and cons. Over the next few days we will be taking a closer look at seven different clean energy types; solar, geothermal, bioenergy (biomass), wind, ocean, hydrogen, and hydroelectric.