Energy conservation is so important. Why you ask? Because of the limited amount of nonrenewable energy sources on Earth, it is important to conserve our current supply or to use renewable sources so that our natural resources will be available for future generations. Energy conservation is also important because consumption of nonrenewable sources impacts the environment. Specifically, our use of fossil fuels contributes to air and water pollution. For example, carbon dioxide is produced when oil, coal, and gas combust in power stations, heating systems, and car engines. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere acts as a transparent blanket that contributes to the global warming of the earth, or "greenhouse effect." It is possible that this warming trend could significantly alter our weather. Possible impacts include a threat to human health, environmental impacts such as rising sea levels that can damage coastal areas, and major changes in vegetation growth patterns that could cause some plant and animal species to become extinct.(www.epa.gov)
What is a non-renewable resource? Nonrenewable energy sources come out of the ground as liquids, gases, and solids. Crude oil (petroleum) is the only commercial nonrenewable fuel that is naturally in liquid form. Natural gas and propane are normally gases, and coal is a solid. Eventually non-renewable resources will run out causing havoc among those who depend on these resources on a daily basis.
What factors does this issue affect? Recently there was an oil spill off the gulf coast. It has taken workers almost three weeks to contain the spill. The damage done by this spill has wreaked havoc on the ocean life. If the spill reaches the coast then the damage could be even more destructive. This spill could have been prevented if there was no oil rig in the first place. If we used more renewable energy resources then the oil rig is not necessary. Another factor of energy conservation that affects ocean life is temperature change. The Arctic’s top predator, the polar bear, is affected both by the reduction in sea ice and by reduced stocks of its primary food, the ringed seal. Polar bears use sea ice as a platform for hunting their prey and for resting. They catch adult seals when they come up through the holes in the sea ice and search out the snow-covered ice caves of seal pups. But sea ice is decreasing throughout their Arctic range due to climate change. Ice reduction decreases the abundance of seals, and increases the amount of energy and time needed for hunting, leaving less energy for reproduction. Rising temperatures mean that large areas of the ocean that were once frozen throughout the year now become open water. Polar bears often have to swim long distances between areas of stable ice. As sea ice becomes thinner and multi-year ice disappears, a greater proportion of females make their dens on land, expending more energy to get there. Decreases in the physical condition of females and in reproduction have already been documented. Because of the non-renewable resources that are being utilized the earth is being affected by global warming, which is causing these devastating issues on the animals of the ocean. [ (www.neaq.org) ] Negative impacts that conserving energy may have are relevant issues. Standard economic theory suggests that technological improvements increase energy efficiency, rather than reduce energy use. This is called the Jevons Paradox and it is said to occur in two ways. Firstly, increased energy efficiency makes the use of energy relatively cheaper, thus encouraging increased use. Secondly, increased energy efficiency leads to increased economic growth, which pulls up energy use in the whole economy. However, in order to reduce energy consumption, efficiency gains must be paired with a government intervention that reduces demand. Some retailers argue that bright lighting stimulates...
Cited: NREL. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.nrel.gov/learning/re_basics.html
wikinvest.com. (n.d.). Retrieved from wikinvest: http://www.wikinvest.com/industry/Renewable_Energy
www.epa.gov. (n.d.). Retrieved from epa: http://www.epa.gov/reg5rcra/wptdiv/p2pages/energy.pdf
www.neaq.org. (n.d.). Retrieved from new england aquarium: http://www.neaq.org/conservation_and_research/climate_change/effects_on_ocean_animals.php
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