Destroying Ecosystems with a Flick of a Switch

By PSU EcoMerge Capstone - 1:28 PM

Does the average person think about anything other than flicking the switch, so they can see in the dark?

“The total world energy demand is for about 400 quadrillion British Thermal Units- or BTUs each year (Source US Department of Energy). 400,000,000,000,000,000 BTUs! A BTU is roughly equal to the energy and heat generated by a match.”

Most of the world’s energy comes from fossil fuels: Fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas which take hundreds of millions of years to be created underneath the Earths’ surface. They are created from the remains of dinosaurs and other animals during the Cambrian (500 million years ago) and Pilocene Period (5 million years ago). After these non-renewable resources are used up, this form of energy will no longer be available. The problem not only lays with the depleting resources. The main problem is how these resources are turned into energy and what the uses of these energy sources do to the natural ecosystems.

The burning of fossil fuels creates carbon dioxide (green house gases) that are released into the atmosphere. This has caused global warming causing ice melt in the arctic and Antarctica. The ice melt is causing sea levels to rise therefore changing the composition of such water. Also, the burning of fossil fuels releases smog in the air causing degradation of human health and plant growth. Our natural ecosystems are in danger, as a result of the collection of fossil fuels such as coal and oil. We don’t hear about the stripping of the vitality of the Earths land while mining for coal on the news, but we hear about the collection of oil sometimes resulting in oil spills that ruining sea life, and coast lines.

Now you need to ask yourself, “What can we do as individuals and as a society to save our ecosystems, and the lives of many humans”

Many scientists have been researching and investigating different way to create energy from Natural Renewable Resources in order to replace the harmful Non-Renewable resources.

Dams were created as a way to make hydroelectric energy. They created this alternative as a way to slow down the consumption of non-renewable resources. The problem with dams creating this type of energy is the effects to the ecosystems in these waters. The fish in these waters have to migrate in order to survive, and the worst part is the hazardous effects to the environment from the silt buildup from these dams.

The best solution scientists have come up with thus far is creation of solar energy, and wind power. Solar energy takes energy from the suns’ rays, with the use of solar panels. Wind power comes from the force created by the wind to turn big windmills transferring the power of the wind into energy.

In Middle Eastern, Dubai and surrounding city’s they have adopted and idea of creating all the energy used in these city’s from solar energy. City’s are being created around the idea of solar power. Check this website out

You may ask yourself how you can help in your own home. In the 1980’s my grandfather created his own solar panel that collected heat from the sun which heated his home. This was just a homemade simple version of what scientist’s have created today. Today’s higher standard solar panels can be purchased and fitted to your home. These panels can create most of the energy if not all that individual home owners will use within their own homes.

Now that you have the information on the effects that collecting and using fossil fuels has on our worlds’ ecosystems and human health, I hope the next time you flick your switch you will think twice about how you can make choices within your own home that will sustain our world ecosystems for generations to come.

For more information on Fossil Fuels vs. Renewable resources click the link below
Author- Robin Beckmon

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