First, let's consider some of the negative effects of burning fossil-fuels:
- The burning of coal for the production of electricity in the United States is responsible for about 40% of carbon dioxide emissions. The fuel we use in our cars and trucks is the next largest contributor. More than anything else, carbon dioxide emissions are blamed for global warming. Scientists believe that if we don't do something about this soon, we'll reach a tipping point from which there will be no return. The movie "An Inconvenient Truth" is an excellent documentary on this subject. Don't miss it! For more information about global warming, click on the following link. http://www.nrdc.org/globalWarming/f101.asp#1
- Deforestation is another contributor to global warming. Read about this, and other causes, at the following website. http://www.ecobridge.org/content/g_cse.htm
- Mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia not only destroys mountains, but also presents a danger to people who live there. 220 children at Marsh Fork Elementary School in West Virginia are not only harmed by mining-related air pollution, but are also in danger from a leaking earthen dam located above the school site that could bury them under 2.8 billion gallons of toxic waste. The full story can be found here: http://www.ilovemountains.org/news
- The use of gas and oil results in harmful carbon emissions, but has other consequences as well. Each time we fill our cars with gasoline, we're sending money to countries that export hate and terrorism. I prefer to send them as little as I possibly can.
- Coal and oil are finite resources. In other words, someday they'll run out. We're currently burning them up as if there were no tomorrow. How will we explain to future generations that we've saved none for them? If we don't do something, we'll be thought of as a very selfish generation.
Now let's consider ways the average person can help:
- The first step is to become as energy-efficient as possible. One of the easiest ways is to replace all of the incandescent light bulbs in your home with compact fluorescent (cf) types. Cf bulbs produce as much light as ordinary incandescent ones, but use much less electricity. The high cost of cf bulbs is offset by their long life, and savings on your electric bill.
- When it's time to replace an appliance in your home, consider only those that have earned the ENERGY STAR. A product earns the ENERGY STAR by meeting strict energy efficiency guidelines. Consider ultra-efficient appliances, such as Sun Frost refrigerators and freezers, if your budget will allow it.
- Consider home improvements, such as insulation and energy-efficient window replacements.
- When it's time to replace your car, consider the least-polluting means of transportation available.
More ideas can be found at the following website: http://www.ecobridge.org/content/g_wdo.htm
Whatever you decide, it is important that you start now. Start with energy-conservation projects, and then move on to projects that actually replace fossil fuels. Such projects might include a solar photovoltaic system, solar hot water system, or a bio-fueled stove. I'm attempting to take the mystery out of projects such as these by posting information on this blog. Read my previous posts, and check back often for new ones. My posts include links to some of the best alternative energy-related websites I've found.
If I can assist you in any way, don't hesitate to ask. I look forward to your comments.