Can Renewables Save the World?
Last Updated on March 9, 2020 by Marc-Antoni
The Road to Renewables
Given the dramatic rise of greenhouse gases (GHG) resulting from human activity, it’s clear that we need to adopt alternative methods to dig us out of this hot mess.
One such means of cutting back on our carbon emissions is through resorting to renewable sources as the main source of energy for powering our world. It certainly makes sense, but will switching over to clean energy really save us from climate change?
There are certainly a lot of other factors to consider, including; environmental protection (we need to stop cutting down our forests); organic farming; greatly reducing our trash (definitely doing away with disposables); and expanding our public transportation networks.
It does remain however that in order to continue powering human civilization, we will of course need energy. Renewables are therefore unequivocally part of the solution.
Generating electricity from wind is one of the major sources of renewable energy, providing power from turbines that are spun by the planets air currents.
Is the fastest growing (and I think the coolest) form of renewable energy. I mean, how amazing is that? Literally powering things from the sun’s energy. Pretty awesome!👌
Did I mention I’m a fan? I’d love to see solar panel pop up all over the place. We don’t need to have fields with rows of panels, when we can be more efficient by leveraging the space we already take up with other things (example roofs, parking lots, and even roads).
Another pretty amazing source of power is from the natural heat of the earth. Under the earth’s crust we are sitting on all this scorching liquid hot magma that can offer tremendous energy. Places with considerable volcanic activity make can harness this power.
Iceland is a prime example (click the image above), but so too is Japan. Although, it hasn’t yet been adopted here in Japan, if you’ve heard of the abundant onsen (hot springs) you can probably guess there is big potential.
During my summer farming in Kyushu, I had the opportunity to visit Oita and Beppu, areas where you can literally see the steam rising from the mountains. All that heat escaping represents great energy opportunity!
Although perhaps the least exciting, hydroelectricity is actually the largest source of clean renewable energy in the world today. It’s not without its faults, as it can cause considerable environmental strain in its construction, but if done with effective environmental consideration, hydroelectricity can represent a win.
On a personal note, my family migrated from Italy to Canada as a result of hydroelectricity. My grandad was hired by Quebec engineering to go work on the massive energy project in the north of the province, and my grandmother and father eventually followed him to Montreal (where he ultimately met my mom). So in a way, I do have hydroelectricity to thank for my existence.😉
The James Bay Project in Northern Quebec (Canada)
The James Bay project was part of these large building projects that the province (state) government initiated from the 1960s-70s. Hydroelectricity is still the dominant source of power in Quebec (this includes Montreal btw) as well as much of the eastern seaboard.
This one is an emerging source of energy. Rather, emerging in our ability to harness it, as the tides go way, way back. Thankfully, technology is catching up to demand, and we’ve now figured out ways to leverage the ocean’s energy. More recently the Canadian province of Nova Scotia has been making waves in their capacity to exploit this natural power.
Time To Switch it Up
As we keep hearing, the time is now (see This Changes Everything). We know that we can’t keep burning fossil fuels and we have to take greater action in converting to renewables. This means stopping government subsidies for oil (see Canada’s Environmental Shame), and taxing carbon instead.
It means using public funds to help make the switch as soon as possible and ending our reliance on fossil fuels. Knowing what we know now, renewables are certainly a means of helping save the world from the destructive forces of climate change.