Alternative Energy: The correct response to diminishing fossil fuels
In 1977, the President of the United States of America, Jimmy Carter, advocated for the use of alternative energy to the American people “because we are now running out of gas and oil, we must prepare quickly to strict conservation [of fossil fuels] and to the use of coal and permanent renewable energy sources, like solar power.” More than thirty years later his announcement still rings true and is relevant. In fact, the current situation of non-renewable fuels is worse than in 1977. This is because American and global society is becoming more mobile and active, which is causing fossil fuels to be diminished at a higher rate than ever. Scientific discovery like the innovation of steam power and river power in the nineteenth century was a catalyst for meeting energy needs. Almost two hundred years later, the time to update energy solutions has arrived. Even though people disagree, alternative energy is the correct solution to the problem of diminishing fossil fuels. Therefore it is imperative that alternative energy be used more often than non-renewable resources due to their renewability, benefits to the environment and humankind, and its ability to stimulate the economy with an independent energy market.
The history of alternative energy sources has been a long and tried one. Some of the most common forms of renewable resources are; steam, solar, wind, and water. Steam is commonly known for being used in locomotives and river ferries. Kendra Bolon wrote that “steam was conceived as an energy source as early as twenty-one centuries ago by a writer that went by the name of Hero” (Bolon). “Steam Power gained popularity due to human needs that couldn’t be satisfied by animal or human labor” (Bolon). It quickly became the most popular energy source. Steam became increasingly popular in the late eighteenth century and the early nineteenth century due to the Industrial revolution. Thomas Newcomen was the first to create a steam engine, but James Watt is accredited most of the fame. Kendra Bolon showed that “steam was originally used as an energy source to pump water out of mines” (Bolon). “Watt added a spate condenser to Newcomen’s design, which inherently saved up to seventy five percent more energy than before” (Bolon). Two key inventions which helped the innovation of steam power to achieve new levels of success were the Steam Boat and the Locomotive. Steam shortened the time boats and ships were in the ocean and opened up trade to the Midwest and the south, when previously that could not be done. The invention of gas powered vehicles and trains other energy sources had to be created in accordance to steam. Water power also made a lasting impact on the world like steam did. Water, from rivers, was used to power the textile mills during the industrial revolution and in the modern world, is used to create power and electricity in the western United States. The Hoover Dam is one of the best examples of harnessing water as an energy source. As noted in The American Pageant, “the Hoover Dam project was started in 1930 under Herbert Hoover and was finished in 1936 under the supervision of President Franklin D. Roosevelt” (Kennedy, Cohen, and Bailey 766). Water power from the dam is used to supply energy to “1.3 million people across Nevada, Arizona, and California” (US Department of Interior Bureau of Reclamation). With water being one of the foremost forms of renewable energy and the success that it had, other forms of renewable energy were sought out ushering in a new era of alternative energy. Fossil Fuels by definition are “a hydrocarbon deposit, such as petroleum, coal, or natural gas, derived from the accumulated remains of ancient plants and animals and used as fuel” (Dictionary.com). The ancient plants and animals they came from are gone and it takes millions of years for fossil fuels to be created, so they are not easily renewable. Due to eighty...
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