It’s not easy going green

Posted on November 9, 2011. Filed under: Energy Efficiency, Renewable energy - generally | Tags: |

From a well-done article by Todd Finkelmeyer in The Capital Times:

The earth’s population hit the 7 billion mark last week.

Perhaps just as eye opening is the fact that the planet is adding more than 200,000 people to that total every 24 hours. That’s nearly another Madison each day.

“We need to start thinking proactively about energy use and other sustainability issues, or we’ll be forced to face the consequences of having to be reactive,” says Craig Benson, who this summer was named UW-Madison’s first director for sustainability research and education. “Resources are no longer plentiful, so it behooves us to think much more strategically about our energy resources.”

I remember my fourth-grade teacher making similar statements after the 1979 oil crisis. Several book reports on wind and solar energy followed in the next couple of years. It wasn’t difficult finding material on this issue because it was a mainstream topic of interest. And yet, here we are more than three decades later, and renewable energy still is struggling to gain serious traction.

If we can find ways to expand the use of renewable energies such as solar and wind, we’ll not only tap into supplies that are basically limitless but simultaneously curb the production of pollutants and greenhouse gases that contribute to respiratory ailments and, most believe, global warming. The U.S. Department of Energy recently calculated the global output of heat-trapping carbon dioxide jumped by the biggest amount on record last year and that 2010 levels of greenhouse gases are now higher than the worst-case scenario predicted by climate experts only four years ago.

But even if saving the planet isn’t your thing, what red-blooded American could be in favor of continuing to send roughly $1 billion per day in U.S. currency to foreign oil producers — especially when that transfer of wealth often goes to nations we’re not exactly buddy-buddy with?


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