Energy is a property of objects which can be transferred to other objects or converted into different forms but never created or destroyed. At least that’s what Wikipedia says . But in today’s world , is energy really indestructable ? I can hear you mumbling behind your screen : of course it is . But the ways we use to “create” energy are limited. Especially fossil fuels.
Most developing nations are using fossil fuel in order to provide energy for the growing population and that causes a huge problem for the environment. Supplying these needs with renewable energy solves this problem. But this isn’t as easy as it looks . The public opinion about global warming and environmental problems is sadly “Not my problem yet”. Even though there are a huge amount of campaigns dedicted to global warming and other environmental problems , the people are still in denial. The reason to this denial is not simply illiteracy. There are more than enough reasons for people to be scared of this change. Let’s take a look at these reasons :
-Unlike much of the developing world, existing infrastructure – physical buildings, electric grids, legal frameworks & traditional business models – within developed countries creates hurdles towards developing a sustainable Energy Ecosystem.
-Developing nations want the lifestyle of developed nations and their economic growth is driven mostly by fossil fuels.
-Growth in energy and depletion of conventional reserves of fossil fuels will drive increases in prices.
-Fossil fuels are the cheapest forms of energy in developing nations, especially in regions where large populations that do not even have access to electricity.
-Fossil-fuel consumption subsidies, $312 billion in 2009 for 25 countries, are distorting price signals.
-Many of these countries were developing economies.
-Energy derived from fossil fuels, enable residents of developed nations to maintain their standard of living such as :
a) Goods and services
c) Daily activities
-Politicians remain popular by not jeopardizing the lifestyle of their constituents.
-Political fickleness and regime changes create risk and uncertainty which prevent consumers and producers’ decision making process.
If we want a green future , we have to overcome these obstacles together. This can be done with the right policies and campaigns. Factory owners must be convinced through policies that will benefit both sides by economic encouragements such as subsidies. Alternative energy must be promoted in order to achieve a sustainable energy plan. Here are some examples of alternative energy sources that can be used :
-Geothermal , Wind , Solar , Hydroelectric and Biomass
I am not going to go into detail with these because they are fairly common. I want unconventional resources to take the spotlight for this essay.
-Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC)
Ocean thermal energy conversion, is a hydro energy conversion system that uses the temperature difference between deep and shallow waters to power a heat engine. This energy could be tapped by building platforms or barges out at sea, taking advantage of thermal layers found between the ocean depths.
As the world’s human population grows , tapping into the kinetic energy of human movement could become a source of real power. Piezoelectricity is the ability of some materials to generate an electric field in response to applied mechanical stress. By placing tiles made of piezoelectric material along busy walking paths or even in the soles of our shoes, electricity could be generated with every step we take.
It has been called saltwater power, osmotic power or blue energy, and it is one of the most promising new sources of renewable power not yet fully tapped. Just as it takes huge amounts of energy to desalinate water, energy is generated when the reverse happens and saltwater is added to freshwater. Through a process called reverse electrodialysis, blue energy powerplants could capture this energy as it is released naturally in estuaries around the world.
All in all , humans are afraid of change and we tend to trick ourselves into believing everything is fine. But the obvious is right there and staring at us right in the eyes. If we do nothing , it will be too late and global warming will not be “Not my problem” anymore.