When I was debating which topic to choose for my essay, I originally wanted to do overpopulation. But arguing that we should somehow shave 5 billion unneeded human beings off our current numbers – and the irony that a human being that fits into the elimination category is writing that – convinced me to change my topic to Alternative Energy Sources.

   Alternative energy {sources} (abbreviated as AE throughout this post) are one of the most needed – and yet one of the least implemented – solutions to our constricted supply of nonrenewable energy and the rising demand for energy itself. Yes, untapped coal, oil, and lumber reserves still exist. Looking at the graph of our population growth, though, those reserves will last us 150 years max IF Mr. Murphy doesn’t drop by and IF we can find them. But by that time everyone will probably be too suffocated by the pollution these fossil fuels give off to care anymore! So we need changes in how we use energy and where we get it.

Before we go any further, we must define what AE is. Alternative energy is (in a mix of mine and Mr. Webster’s opinion) a source of energy that does not cause significant damage by its usage and that is at least semi-renewable. It’s an “alternative” to the main [nonrenewable] sources of energy used today, that is. Forests are in this category if they are regrown after cutting. The Sun’s energy, which branches off into solar light, solar heat, and wind, is the best and most invested in AE. Geothermal energy – the energy that comes from hot lava deep within the Earth. Sea currents and rivers are AEs. The movement of your body as you walk is an AE!The list is quite lengthy if you think about it.

The funny thing is that green technology and AE’s have been around for a long time; they’ve just been staying in the minority. Solar cells were invented in 1941 by Russel Ohl. Electric generators that can be hooked up to anything have been around for much longer. Modern technologies have allowed the number of AE sources and ways to harness [AE] exponentiate. Most scientists today do not “invent” AE’s, however – they either improve methods of harnessing it or try to develop more energy-efficient appliances.

But the zillionares that control the oil and coal companies don’t want to make this happen. After all, if people stopped buying gas, they would quickly be bankrupt. CNN ran a program a few years ago about an unnamed oil company that paid an electric-car developer $1.8 BILLION to stop their research and destroy any prototypes. And think of all the taxes the government would lose. Maybe that’s why in a list of 100 government-funded projects, AE’s are in the bottom ten. Until AE’s become more economically viable for the higher-ups, [they] will be resisting this new technology.

And besides, using AE is kinda expensive and inefficient. A source estimated that to provide energy for the whole world, solar cells would have to cover a big part of Texas, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, California, Oregon, and Colorado. If we scale it down to the USA, but account for stuff like cloudy days and nighttime, that’s still a lot of solar panels. Hydro-power, while deemed an AE, still destroys the ecosystem of the dammed river (pun intended). Also, a large part of AE’s impact depends on appliances becoming more energy-efficient as well. Power conservation and AE use have to improve at the same time to save this planet.

Now for the fun part: how would I use all these new technologies to make the USA go green with AE? Let’s assume several impossible things for this simulation of the far future:

1)      The amount of debt we have now is how much cash we have in the US Treasury. The USA’s switching over to AE will cost about $20 billlion in today’s money if the government pays for everything.

2)      The name “Rockefeller” is an unspeakably bad word. IF YOU DON’T GET THE JOKE LOOK IT UP

3)      I am the President of the US, and the people respect me (Hey, I said it was impossible) and listen to my every commandment

4)      All the AE companies are government-funded

And that’s pretty much it. Let’s go to town.

Each and every house is outfitted with solar panels and is fitted with a small wind turbine, which feed a lithium polymer battery capable of providing energy for a week. All gadgets that receive frequent light energy, such as car roofs, buildings, boats, backpacks, desks, etc., are outfitted with small, flexible solar panels that can connect to batteries or portable devices. Our clothes are made of energy-harvesting piezoelectric materials that produce enough power for a small lamp. If applicable, homes are heated by hot water piped from deep within the Earth. Unused areas of land are converted into wind turbine and solar farms. The way we use AE would be constantly updated by handsomely rewarded inventors. So simple in text, and yet so hard to realize in the real world. And of course I haven’t discussed transportation or cost or anything else

I think that if these changes were implemented nationwide, along with about a hundred or more green improvements, then the energy problem would be nonexistent. Success is everyone making their own power and America selling power, not buying it. All this energy is here, waiting for us. We just need to wake up and start using it.

Update: I apologize for centering my proposed AE reforms in the US alone. I never meant it that way, but my opinion is that these reforms would need the government’s might behind them to be effective. Or a multibillionare dude that’s prepared to go nonprofit. Either way, reforms would be quite hard to implement outside the USA without major backup.

Bibliography:

Davidson, Alan. “Alternatove Energy Sources.” Alternative Energy – Wind, Solar, Hydro and Other Alt Energy Sources for Home Power. Self-Sponsored, 2000. Web. 22 Jan. 2012. <http://www.altenergy.org/&gt;.
Rich, Jeremy. “Solar Panel Brief History – Energy Matters.” Energy Matters – All Types of Alternative Energy. Energy Matters, Inc., 2005. Web. 22 Jan. 2012. <http://www.energymatters.com.au/renewable-energy/solar-power/solar-panels.php&gt;.
Williams, Linda, and Wade Adams. Nanotechnology Demystified: [a Self-teaching Guide]. New York [etc.: McGraw-Hill, 2007. Print.
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