What does saving energy do for the environment?
So all your green friends are recycling and switching their globes to LEDs and buying hybrid cars. Maybe you are still not convinced that all this energy saving is doing anything for the planet. You neither have to be tied to a tree in the Brazilian rainforests nor do you have to wear tie-dye shirts. Here are some practical thoughts.
Climate Change and the Air we Breathe
When we minimize energy at home we reduce power plant emissions. Most of our power stations are run on fossil fuels, coal to be precise. We also have backup power plants that use diesel. Mozambique will be supplying South Africa with natural gas – another fossil fuel, by 2020. Using fossil fuels may be among the cheapest ways of producing power but it’s costliest to our environment. By-products include carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides as well as sulfur dioxide.
This brings us to Greenhouse-gases. Carbon dioxide accounts for most airborne pollution. Carbon-dioxide absorbs the sun’s warmth keeping heat in the atmosphere. Long-term effects include higher seas, retarded weather patterns, smog, and acid rain, and rising temperatures.
Power stations are not required to produce as much power when we reduce our energy consumption. This means less carbon emission into the atmosphere hence benefitting the environment. So doing things like insulating your roof to reduce heating and air-conditioning energy, all benefit the environment.
Conservation of Resources is Conservation of Energy
The Earth is a finite ecosystem. Most of us have treated the Earth like it’s resources are infinite. People have been chopping down trees and digging in the earth for its natural resources as if they were unlimited. Now we have the science and technology to measure the consequences of our actions. Economists who say that the earth has infinite resources are today’s Flat Earth Society. Forests are shrinking, fish stocks are reducing and even coal seams aren’t infinite.
Crude oil is running out, clean water is reducing and even habitable land is running out. Back in the early 20th century for example, oil was untapped. By 1964, nearly 500 billion barrels of oil were discovered. By 2011, it had fallen to below 100 billion barrels. In 1965, the world produced 32 million barrels of oil per day. However, since 2005, oil production has plateaued at roughly 75 million barrels per day.
Our resources are finite and need to be conserved. By conserving energy we conserve our resources.
One may not make the correlation, but conserving energy indirectly conserves ecosystems. Logging, mining and the extraction process for fossil fuels is destructive to ecosystems in land and sea. Oil spills destroy entire habitats for some species. They also disturb the chemical balance of the ocean. Air-pollution is responsible for the unfathomable rates at which biodiversities are meeting extinction. Chemical toxic waste created by power plants continues to be a factor. In places like the Niger Delta, entire ecosystems have been wiped out by oil pollution. Two-thirds of the Great Barrier Reef has died due to warm seas as a result of CO2 emissions. Arguably if coal-fired power stations had reduced emissions this could have been avoided. We the public have to start reducing the amount of energy we use at home to see that happen. Are hair driers really necessary, don’t fill the kettle so high? Buy energy saving devices and appliances with the Energy Star label on it. We can make a difference.
You can save energy at home. There’s even a financial incentive in doing so. Use less energy and pay less. From the small things like changing your light bulbs. To bigger things like insulating your roof and geyser and buying an Energy-Efficient pool motor. These can make a difference to the environment as fewer fossil fuels are used and less CO2 pumped into the atmosphere. By recycling, we reduce landfills and incineration. We also reduce the need to use fossil fuels to create products like plastics. Energy saving and conserving the environment starts at home. It starts with you.
Posted on December 23, 2018, in Green, Society, Webarticles and tagged air we breath, Carbon-dioxide, Climate Change, conservation of resources, conserving ecosystems, green, Matthew Campaigne Scott. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.