Humanity has always faced challenges to its survival and the well being of its societies. Today is no different. Regardless of where you live, global warming will change how you live, work and eat. Thankfully, people have always been able to rise to the challenges before them, and this crisis will be no different. Some methods are easy and some are hard, but these different ways of saving energy could change the world, indeed. These broadly drawn methods are a framework on which our energy future can be changed.
Forging World Partnerships.In the past couple decades, the economies of China and India have made serious strides. Both countries are industrializing exponentially, which boosts the level of pollution they generate. According to Wired Magazine, China is planning to build 30 nuclear power plants by the year 2020. This power starved nation also constructed the Three Gorges Dam, which changed the path of major rivers and flooded large parts of the country in order to generate hydroelectric power. By working together and sharing technology, everyone could benefit from evolving methods of energy generation.
Streamlining Public Transportation. Getting from place to place takes a lot of energy. Public transportation reduces the personal amount of energy one uses while traveling, but it has its problems. Buses and trains are often extremely inconvenient, and can cost the same as simply driving to one’s destination. Airline travel uses massive amounts of petroleum. The Japanese have made strides to increase the efficiency and comfort of travel; their extensive use of electromagnetic bullet trains get people where they need to be quickly and at a relatively low cost to the environment.
Improving Private Transportation. Let’s face it, people are not going to give up the convenience of automobiles unless they have no other choice. That’s why private and public agencies are working to improve the energy efficiency of automobiles. While a completely solar powered car is pretty far off, Ford Motor Company is developing technology that will incorporate roof mounted solar cells to contribute to charging the hybrid battery. Plug in electric cars are also a future necessity, and these will be powered by the same clean electricity that powers your home.
Getting Back to Basics.The conveniences of the modern world are amazing. Heating and air conditioning allow us to live where we please in comfort and all of our electronic devices keep us in constant contact with our loved ones. While we’re certainly not going to give up our climate control or cell phones, the cumulative effect of millions of people could reduce our energy usage enough to mitigate the effects of global climate change. Instead of shutting out nature with sealed windows, we can open windows in the evening to let cool air in, and close blinds over them to keep out the hot sunlight. As they draw energy even when not in use, we can unplug phone chargers and flat screen televisions to reduce our energy consumption even further. Even something as simple as planting bushes can moderate the temperature in our homes. Vigilance by a few can mean success for the many.
Reduce Energy Transportation Cost. Americans use a lot of fossil fuels to generate their electricity and power their cars. Currently, we get a lot of these materials from far flung regions. Eliminating some of the transportation cost would make a dent in our energy costs and would also help influence American foreign policy. For example, accessing the oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would bring ready energy from within our own borders. Refining the techniques used to reclaim shale oil in Canada would also accomplish the same effect.
Help Reduce the Pollution Caused by Industry. The skylines of yesteryear were blanketed with heavy smoke from dirty manufacturing plants. Thanks to a progression of advances in green technology, these plants give off far fewer greenhouse and other gases. Most smokestacks are currently equipped with scrubbers that cut down on the volume of sulfur and other gases bellowed into the atmosphere. With further research dollars, these methods will only get better, reining in air pollution, even as our population increases.
Education is the Key. Education is the solution to so many problems. The more people learn, the easier it is to effect meaningful change. In addition to making more Americans aware of what they can do to change the world, it’s also important to reach out to the rest of the world. The Internet and other methods of communication make it possible to put everyone on the same page.