The typical energy resources currently in use include non-renewable sources that will not last forever. In fact, we have already used up a large percentage of the earth’s non-replenishing resources. This is having a profound destructive effect on not only our economy, but the environment. However, recent research has increased the interest in lower-cost renewable energy resources that do not harm the earth’s environment. These resources include solar, wind, organic matter, geothermal, and water.
The sun is directly and indirectly responsible for four of our renewable energy options, but the most obvious is solar energy. Solar energy produces electricity from the sun and is used in business, industry, and the home. It can power our lights, heat our water, cool our homes, and produce the electricity we need to run our appliances and gadgets. While just about any area of the world can benefit from solar energy, it is most useful in those parts of the world with high sun exposure for the majority of the year.
Wind energy, which comes from the sun’s heating effect on the air, can also be used for providing electricity. Energy from the wind is collected by wind turbines and then applied to agriculture, industry, and home uses. It is the reaction of sun and wind that causes water evaporation, which leads to precipitation of snow and rain. The water from rain and melting snow flows into our earth’s streams and rivers, where the energy can be turned into hydroelectric power.
Another type of renewable energy is biomass. Energy from biomass comes from organic matter, which grows and develops from sun and water. The bioenergy we receive from biomass makes fuels, chemicals, and electricity we can use to survive and assist all life on earth. Bioenergy, or life energy, is a resource that continues to renew year after year.
The sun is not involved with geothermal energy. Geothermal energy comes from the heat inside of the earth. Energy from beneath our feet will heat our water, keep our homes and other structures nice and cool, and produce electricity.
Then, there are ocean energies. The majority of our beautiful planet is covered by the world’s oceans, and these oceans contain more than one way of providing renewable energy. Gravity causes tides, the winds and tidal pulls create waves. This is referred to as wave energy. We can also capture energy from the sun-heated parts of the ocean.
The discovery of coal and oil as sources of energy helped to create the industrial and technical world we live in, but in order to continue to power a technologically-evolving earth, we must do further research into all different types of renewable energy. Oil and coal will not renew — at least not fast enough to keep up with a growing world that depends on electric power. Of all the choices we have, we continue to use non-renewable fuels that poison our water and pollute our air. We strip our forests fast and fail to plant with equal vigor. Renewable energy is our hope for the future of the planet.
Replacing energy that cannot replenish with renewable energy sources will have beneficial effects on the economy. Those who work for an industry that is guaranteed to deal with shortages and eventually exhaust its resources probably find it difficult to relax and feel comfortable about their financial future. However, when people work in the renewable energy industry, they can be certain that renewable energy will always need to be collected and maintained. Instead of investing in resources that are drained from countries thousands of miles away, investors will invest in an energy that will continue to renew.
As residents of the earth, we not only have a responsibility to our planet, we have a personal stake in its survival. We can either gorge on energy that cannot renew and leaves the world in ever-worsening shape, or we can choose to get our power from all of the types of renewable energy. For the sake of future generations, we need to stop hurting our earth and start healing it.
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