It is no surprise to anyone that the well-being of our planet is connected with our well-being, what s surprising is “how?”. For eons, Earth has been home to countless forms of life and still is to this day, however, with the affects from “human activity” much of the environment is being affected by human interaction and becoming slowly toxic and incapable to supporting life. Despite each personal belief, in global warming, and ocean acidification, there is undeniable evidence that the world is changing due to human activity in the past two centuries. During this time, the biggest cause of pollution, mainly in the air but also in other parts of our environment, is from energy and power consumption. Environmentally, this effects the weather, climate, and our water supply. Ultimately, our personal health gets effected, since various issues, ranging from early mortality rates to climate changes, can be stemmed from the way we produce, and consume energy.
Nearly a decade ago, talk about our planets climate changes evolved into a conversation about Global Warming. Despite the varying opinions involved in the conversation, evidence began appearing in correlation to the amount of human activity and pollution became involved. According to one Environmental Research Letter, titled Global premature mortality due to anthropogenic outdoor air pollution and the contribution of past climate change 3.7 million premature deaths annually are related air pollutants. In another article, written by Alina Bradford and published at Live Science, 2000 people died from the release of Methyl-isocyanate gas from the Union Carbide Plant in Bhopal, 200,000 more victims suffered from respiratory problems (Bradford). These pollutants, including smoke, ash, carbon monoxide, and other substances, then cause chronic health problems like heart disease, malaise, various types of cancers. To anyone, who has lost someone dear to these diseases may have lost them to culture’s wasteful behaviors.
Another concern of pollution affecting our health involves our water. On July 31st, 2015, the U.S. Energy Information Administration had stated that “Electricity from Natural Gas Surpasses coal for the first time, but just for one month”, as the title of their article was just that. Based on that same article, the amount of electricity generated by natural gas is beginning to match that of coal, but coal still dominates in generating electricity and power for the United states. These coal plants are one of the major sources of air pollution. This affects our water in two ways. In one way, the carbon monoxide and dioxide pumped into the atmosphere interacts and fuses with the water vapors which eventually condense into rain drops that fall back onto the plant’s crust and collect in massive bodies of water, such as our oceans and lakes. During this process, the carbon based gases alter the ph, acid levels, of water, which is naturally neutral. The gases increase acidity in water, resulting in accumulated acidic water. This water then becomes acid rain when condensing and falling back to the earth’s surface. When this water collects and mixes with the, not yet “tainted”, waters in the oceans and lakes, the acidity level of the body of water, gradually increases, over time, the water becomes acidic which also leads to various health issues. The process of waters’ increase in acidity is called Ocean acidification.
Another way the planet’s water is effected by coal plants is more direct and more local. In recent history, stories of power plants using water to cool their reactor, or use as a dumpsite for coal ash. The problem with these processes is the resulting toxic water, which eventually finds its way into the water cycle and in our drinking water. The coal ash ponds also have been dumped into other bodies of water before. An incident with Duke Energy in North Carolina is a recent example, Duke Energy had many accusations of dumping coal ash into the ponds, and were finally caught in March, 2014 when coal ash was pumped into the canals to the Cape Fear River from one of their plants in Moncure, NC, according to Salon and L.A. Times, two news outlets. These coal ash ponds are toxic and can harm people once exposed, so when these ponds find their way into waters we swim in and drink from, health issues arise.
These issues, and the concerns associated around them, easily become monotonous, trivial, and uninspiring, however, each person must ask him, or her, self “Do I want to take the chance?” The idea of our loved ones are slowly killed off because of our wasteful, and apathetic behavior seems surreal, and the risk is higher than most would expected. Thankfully, many whom are concerned with these environmental issues have participated, in some way, in resolving this dilemma. To whom this may concern, you can participate as well. Specifically, speaking, taking part in reducing pollution from energy consumption alone would play a great part in resolving this problem. This can be done, through a variety of options, specifically, by; investing in projects aimed aimed towards using alternative energies and reducing the carbon footprint; and changing your personal behavior when using energy.
Amongst all countries, China, and the United States are the biggest culprits in air pollution. This also isn’t news to most people, however, what may be new are the actions being taken. For years, there have been debates, theories, and conversations about changing what fuel to use for generating electricity and fueling our transportation.. Finally, electric cars are back on the road with new, and improved, technology. These cars may be hybrids, which reduces the CO2 omissions, or they may completely be electric, which eliminates the need to consume gasoline. By reforming transportation to using electric vehicles, air pollution can be reduced by 46.3%, according to the diagram provided.
This may, however, raise concern. As stated before, coal plants generate more energy than the other alternative fuel sources. Natural gas is the second best option, since it is projected to generate an equal amount of energy. If transportation reformed to use all electric vehicles, wouldn’t that increase the use of energy produced by coal and natural gas? This is indeed an issue to consider, however, it is not as dire as expected. Luckily, there are other plants that use renewable resources, such as wind and solar, energy, to generate electricity. These sources can alleviate the pressure put on using coal and contribute to reducing the carbon footprint. Some of the electric vehicles, such as the Tesla brand cars, self generate their energy, so that drivers would not have to charge as much. For examples, the Tesla cars charge their battery every time the driver uses the brakes. The brakes them selves generate electricity, which recharges the battery. In future models, these cars may be able to use solar, or wind energy to charge themselves, reducing the need to plug up. With a few improvements, a major potion of our pollution can be reduced.
Investing in projects aimed towards cleaner energy is one of the greatest way in resolving this problem. By simply investing in a Tesla, and you play a great role in reducing the carbon footprint. However, government intervention is also a contributor to this cause. The Clean Power Plan, drafted by the Natural Resources Defense Council is a plan intended on setting an industry standard that limits the amount of pollution these power plants emit and penalizing those whom exceed the limit. According to the proposal, Power plants are responsible for almost 40% of carbon based pollution in the United states. Based on the plan, each state will have a standard to reach in reducing their carbon output. How to meet their standards in limiting pollution. Many government agencies Have made and enforced tax incentive for people to buy the. For Tesla model cars, there is a $7,500 tax return credit offered to those who buy it. Depending on what state you live in, other incentives are offered, to encourage other in investing this car. These incentive, range from income tax credit, to being exempt from taxes. You can order, your own charging station, however there may be no point as many residential places have ordered and installed charging stations, as well as other devices which use solar energy.
Commercially, many charging stations are being erected on a regular basis. For many places, these charging stations are free, or cost a very small fee. Super chargers work just like regular charges but the car charges faster and these stations are also in public locations, and are primarily for long distance drivers. Tesla customers can also reserves an energy storage devices that helps their home rely on less power from the grid. The device is called Powerwall, and stores energy by sunlight and becomes a backup electricity supply source for the house if there was a shortage. These devices can also reduce your energy bill when they activate during “Peak Rates” in the day and store energy throughout the night, thus avoiding the times when electric companies raise their rates the highest. Solar panels also have been used for tax write-offs and tax benefits in states that have incentives for using solar energy.
Overall, Tesla has been on the front lines in creating technology that provides alternative solutions to the “power crisis” in the united states. There are other brands out there as well who also sell electric cars, and solar panels, but Tesla was the first automotive company to do so and still to this day, works to perfect their craft. So as you consider what has been stated here, please be part of the resolve and invest in a project, that aims to reduce our civilization’s pollution. Nikola Tesla, the original genius who pioneered the world of electricity long ago, would be proud to know some people have stepped on his shoulders and pushing his work to another level. If everyone does their part, than we may reduce pollution and be able to take a breather.
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