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Alternative Energy Sources

Essay by review  •  November 30, 2010  •  Research Paper  •  1,363 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,835 Views

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Saving Our Home

The environment becomes more of a concern with every passing day. This is

due to humanity's selfishness and lack of interest for the wellbeing of our environment.

Rachel Carson states in her essay "The Obligation to Endure", "The most alarming of all

man's assaults on the environment is the contamination of the air, earth, rivers, and sea

with dangerous and even lethal materials"(Carson 750). Total eradication of pollution and

harm to Earth is improbable; however as there are alternatives such as more efficient

cars, harsher smog regulations, and natural power sources something must be done to

save our home.

Contamination of the air we breathe is the most significant pollution problem man

faces. This pollution has many negative effects on our environment such as smog, the

greenhouse effect, and ozone depletion.

The automobiles used by modern society are a major source of pollution to our

air. There are many ways to reduce the toxic gases that are released into the atmosphere. The development of new energy sources for automobiles to run off of is one solution. Hybrid cars are currently in production and are becoming popular as technology is making them more available. These hybrids switch between using gas and electricity as their main source of power. Making the electricity for these hybrids to use also causes pollution but not nearly as much as the burning of gas used by most vehicles. Hydrogen cars as the name illustrates simply use hydrogen as their source of power. Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe and there is no fear of running out of it like there is for gas. These cars only emit water vapors which have no adverse effect on the environment. These future developments within the automobile industry will help cut down tremendously on air pollution.

Harsher smog regulations are another approach to combat this air pollution crisis. In

the past many new standards have been created which resulted in a striking decrease of

gases emitted by autos. Even with these new laws air pollution is still increasing. Cars

may be more efficient but there are too many of them, which seems to diminish their

efficiency. We must continue enforcing stricter regulations and promoting car pooling for further progress.

Power plants are used to convert the Earth's natural resources into electricity. Coal is the fossil fuel used to produce more then half of all the electricity for the United States. These coal-burning power plants throughout the world are a major source of radioactive materials released into the environment. The chemicals these plants release are extremely toxic to the environment and mankind. The government has regulated emissions from these plants but not nearly as much as needed. As Carson states, "It is [...] an era dominated by industry, in which the right to make a dollar at whatever cost is seldom challenged" (Carson 755). This era must end and environmentalism must rise to power. Mankind must discontinue the use of these power plants, and look to cleaner and renewable energy substitutes for coal converting power plants.

Wind power is one of the earliest forms of energy used by mankind. Windmills were

used during the early twentieth century to pump water and generate electricity. Wind power is currently being harnessed by only a select few states in America. These states have constructed up to several hundred windmills that operate together in open areas with steady winds called wind farms. The wind spins the large blades which in turn produce electricity. Single giant windmills are capable of providing electricity for several thousand homes. With new technologies being developed to improve windmill performance and efficiency, wind power is a promising, clean, cheap, and abundant source of energy for the future.

Water power is another source of energy that was harnessed by mankind early on. Water that flows from rivers and streams is a valuable and plentiful energy resource. Dams harness this power by sending the water through turbines which are connected to generators. Studies tell us, "In the United States, this resource accounts for 12% of the nation's supply electricity" ("About Hydropower" 7). This is enough electricity to meet the needs of approximately 28.3 million consumers. The power of moving water, or hydropower, is a clean and efficient means of generating electricity and therefore an excellent alternative.

Solar power, or energy from the sun, is a free, abundant, and nonpolluting source of energy. A solar panel is a device that absorbs the energy of the sun and converts it into electric power using solar cells. Solar cells are usually made up of silicon and convert light to electric current.

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