Alternative Energy Sources: How They Help The World
– By Anna Ratcliff –
There are several different types of energy used around the world including Wind Energy, Hydroelectric Energy, Solar Energy, Biomass Energy, and Geothermal Energy. These are five of the many alternate energy sources that can lower the large amount of carbon dioxide that is released into the earth’s atmosphere on a daily basis. Carbon dioxide is known for increasing the warmth of our planet and the main cause of the Global Warming Effect. Nuclear energy and fossil fuels are two current energy sources that have potential risks for the environment. An example of a potential risk for the environment if it’s not dealt with immediately is the disaster which occurred on the island nation of Japan in 2011.
On March 12th, 2011, a 9.0 earthquake just off of Japan’s coast hit the island nation, causing a thirty-foot tsunami that swept over the northern part of the island, damaging cities and farmland. Later, the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, one of Japan’s largest nuclear power stations, suffered from partial meltdowns and explosions, releasing radioactive particles into the atmosphere. Due to the cooling system failing in the station, it was a large loss for the Japanese nation as most of the northern part of the island nation was without electricity due to the event.
Sage Davis, a junior at Newport High School, commented about the Japanese disaster, “The dangers of a meltdown of a nuclear plant include forced evacuation and extended contamination of the environment that lasts for several decades. Leaking radiation from the plant has been detected worldwide. This can result in declining wildlife populations and increased health problems in human beings, often resulting in devastating illnesses and effects. It also creates an energy crisis, draining other energy sources.” With the use of alternative energy sources, the disaster that happened in Japan can be easily reduced. An example of an alternate energy source and its effect of the planet is hydroelectric energy.
Hydroelectric energy, using water wheels to generate energy to pump water or grind grain, has been around since the Ancient Greeks. It revolves around the building of dams that are powerful enough to light large cities. However, despite the large amount of energy being produced daily, hydroelectric energy always has a negative effect on the planet. “All renewable energy sources are not appropriate for various environments. Hydro power in particular endangers wildlife such as salmon populations. Large reservoirs can submerge farmland, and entire communities, resulting in loss of taxes, land revenue, homes, jobs and businesses,” Davis also mentioned.
“Not only would using fossil fuels expel harmful pollutants into the air such as carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide into the air, but by using other sources of energy, we would be using natural sources of energy, instead of forms of energy that are bi-products of other resources such as nuclear energy and fossil fuels,” Davis mentioned. Nuclear energy and fossil fuels are around, but so are ways to reduce the large amount of carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere on a daily basis.
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