Essay on Importance of Renewable Energy

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Every day people enjoy the convenience of electricity, heating, and transportation. Many of us cannot imagine our lives without technological inventions such as cars or smartphones. But what are the cost of the progress and the heavy consumption of energy? It is becoming obvious that our 7 billion world population is now depleting the energy sources that seemed endless. Moreover, climate change, water, and air pollution pose a threat to humanity as they affect food and water availability.

The term “critical dependency” used by the environmental expert John Erik Meyer emphasizes the need of human civilization for “both abundant energy and a stable, moderate climate” (Meyer 97). While it is not possible to stop the use of technological advancements and facilities, modern society has to step away from dirty energy and adjust to alternative sources. Clean energy coming from renewable sources is a great way to produce electricity and fuel without the devastating effects on the environment. According to global energy estimates, “50% of global energy supply will be generated using renewable energy resources” after 2050 (Kumar 3). Thus, renewable energy is a potential solution to the problem of “critical dependency” as it has multiple environmental, economic, and social benefits that I will explain in my speech along with the current issues.

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The first point of my speech is the positive impact of renewable sources on the environment. I will introduce the existing environmental problems and explain how renewable energy might be beneficial for their resolution. All over the world, people are vulnerable to the unpleasant consequences of climate change and pollution. The frequent occurrence of natural disasters like droughts, forest fires, and floods is caused by the changing climate (Meyer). World War II, which lasted for 6 years, resulted in extensive damage and unspeakable human suffering. Therefore, a global temperature rise of 4 degrees Celsius over the same period might lead to catastrophic consequences (Meyer 266). According to John Erik Meyer, “the devastation experienced across the entire planet” due to the environmental crisis would be worse than the destructive outcomes of World War II (Meyer 266). Climate change is aggravated by the emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and environmental pollutants (Kumar). Thus, to successfully deal with the environmental crisis, it is necessary to stop or significantly reduce the industrial emissions of greenhouse gases, heavy metals, and poisonous chemicals.

Renewable sources of energy such as solar, wind, or hydropower can bring multiple environmental benefits and tackle the problems of climate change and pollution in several ways. Solar power is the ultimate source of renewable energy available for use in both domestic and commercial buildings. Solar panels provide a constant supply of clean electricity that does not produce carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases (Bush). Moreover, solar energy is a relatively safe source of electricity compared to traditional high-voltage transmission lines or pipelines that might spill or explode, causing water or air pollution.

Wind power is another valuable and inexhaustible source of energy, as well as the oldest one. The first primitive devices for utilization of wind power called panemones date back to the 7th century (Bush 272). Martin Bush suggests that modern wind turbines generate enough power to “light hundreds of thousands of homes” (Bush 213). Similar to solar power sources, wind farms contribute to the zero-carbon generation of energy with a global capacity of 539 gigawatts (Bush 274). Finally, there is renewable energy produced by hydropower plants using dams to process and store water from rivers and streams or by accumulating tidal energy of oceans and seas.

Hydropower capacity has not changed much compared to solar or wind technologies due to its dependence on varying precipitation and fluctuating rainfall patterns. However, hydropower remains the leading source of clean energy in terms of capacity as such energy comes from infinite water movement in oceans, seas, rivers, and streams. Tidal power generators are the most predictable and affordable source of energy. For example, The Bay of Fundy in Canada has the world’s highest tides, which reach speeds up to 17 kph generating 700 kilowatts of power compared to 600 kilowatts produced by wind turbines (Meyer 66). Therefore, the global implementation of renewable sources is a reasonable way of responding to the public need for both sufficient amounts of energy and a pollution-free environment.

The second point of my speech covers the economic benefits of renewable sources and their role in the economic crisis caused by the widespread use of fossil fuels. Engineer and environmental specialist Mahesh Kumar argues that forecasting, execution, and planning of renewable energy plants “require more consideration and knowledge as compared to other projects” (Kumar 6). However, such projects are worthy investments as they provide substantial economic benefits in terms of employment opportunities, economic development of rural areas, and price stability.

Firstly, solar and wind power stations, as well as hydropower facilities, create job opportunities as these renewable power projects need the human workforce for their effective operation. Martin Bush suggests that “access to modern forms of energy has helped lift millions of people out of poverty” since local labor is often used to construct and utilize renewable energy developments (Bush 143). To be exact, ‘renewable energy jobs grew 5.3% in 2017, with the total surpassing 10 million worldwide” (Kurochkin et al. 183). Therefore, renewable energy projects are effective in creating numerous opportunities in the global job market.

Secondly, renewable energy stimulates economic development in areas with limited business opportunities, especially in rural regions. For instance, the study conducted in early 2018 examined 2300 East African consumers of solar energy and demonstrated the positive impact of solar home systems (SHS) on small business development (Bush 250). The system’s affordability is a key to its success as it only costs $0.50 a day for a year plus a single deposit of $35 (Bush 250). Thus, SHS allowed multiple households in rural Africa to start a business or generate extra income from their energy system at a relatively low cost.

Finally, price stability comes from the fact that most renewable sources of energy are infinite, available in most parts of the world, and not affected by economic fluctuations. According to Martin Bush, the cost of electricity from solar and wind sources is “below that of electricity generated by conventional coal, oil, and natural gas” (Bush viii). On the one hand, the prices for conventional energy skyrocketed for the past 30 years due to the growing shortages of natural resources and deteriorating climate change (Meyer). For instance, oil supplies are noticeably declining, while the sources of natural gas might be depleted in 50 years if current rates of consumption remain. On the other hand, solar, wind, and hydropower-produced energy maintains regular pricing since its availability does not raise concerns. Therefore, it is reasonable for policymakers, businesses, and individuals to transition to sustainable energy sources as they are crucial for future economic development and stability.

The third and final point of my speech covers several social benefits of renewable resources. The chronic humanitarian crisis, food insecurity, and famine are related to the poor state of the economy in developing countries around Africa, Asia, and Oceania. Martin Bush estimated that in 2016, there were 804 million chronically undernourished people, while in 2017, the number rose to 821 million (Bush 41). As I mentioned before, renewable sources create opportunities for employment and small-business initiatives ensuring financial support for the residents of rural areas. Economic stability and an active job market provided by modern energy projects in developing countries might help to eliminate famine.

Climate-related issues worsen poverty, especially in the areas affected by natural disasters. According to the World Bank, “in 2015 at least 800 million people in the world lived in extreme poverty, and of those, at least 70% live in rural areas, most of them depending wholly or in part on agriculture for their livelihoods” (qtd. in Bush 77). Therefore, environmental pollution negatively impacts agriculture and causes poverty in regions that solely depend on farming. Currently, about 500 million farms in Asian and African countries provide a living for 2 billion people (Bush 78). The introduction of sustainable sources of power and the decrease in the usage of fossil fuels will decrease air and water pollution, and thus, ensure healthy agricultural lands and the environment.

It is worth mentioning that renewable energy can help to solve health problems as well. Household pollution caused by the usage of cheap fuels like charcoal or wood results in the emission of toxic chemical compounds. The young population is extremely sensitive to air pollution, which causes diseases and infections that annually take the lives of more than 650,000 children worldwide (Bush 37). Affordable and sustainable sources of energy have a positive impact on the health of both urban and rural populations as they prevent the emissions of carbon dioxide and air pollution. For example, M-Kopa Solar company introduced solar energy to more than 600,000 households and organizations in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda (Bush 250). Electric lighting generated from SHS replaced kerosene lamps, which were not only harmful to eyesight but also caused indoor air pollution.

All in all, renewable energy should be considered an essential source of power in the future. Today we live in a world where natural resources are almost depleted. Transitioning to sustainable sources can solve the issue of “critical dependence” as it will respond to humanity’s needs for adequate energy without contributing to climate change. More importantly, sustainable power offers significant environmental, economic, and social benefits. Solar, wind, and hydropower stations generate clean energy without emissions of greenhouse gases and environmental pollutants.

Moreover, renewable power projects such as SHS in East Africa stimulate economic development and job market growth in rural regions with little employment or business opportunities. Finally, sustainable energy is a valuable instrument for the elimination of the global food crisis, poverty, and health issues related to climate change and air pollution. The gradual change in the sources of energy will save the lives of millions of adults and children living in low-income and poverty-driven rural areas. Therefore, the global transition to sustainable energy is the best way for humanity to put an end to the climate change crisis, economic instability, and health concerns caused by conventional sources of power.

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