What would your evenings be without your microwavable leftovers, late work nights, TV show binges, and endless Facebook scrolling? Energy is at the center of your day. It powers the train New Yorkers take to work, provides light for children to do their homework, and powers the device you are using right now.
As the world becomes more energy conscious, it is important that we not only recognize what we can do to reduce our own carbon footprints, but that we understand the large scale issue: Energy is the dominant contributor to climate change, accounting for 60% of total global greenhouse gas emissions.
Reliance on nonrenewable sources like coal is detrimental to the environment, the economy, and ultimately the lives of every person on the planet. The greenhouse gas emissions that are released into the environment increase the severity of climate change effects and threaten the availability of energy and employment in the future.
That being said, 3 billion people worldwide rely on wood, coal, charcoal or animal waste for cooking and heating, and 1.2 billion people still lack access to modern electricity. The United Nations has stated that reducing the carbon intensity of energy is a key objective in long-term climate goals. The need for clean, sustainable, and affordable energy sources is immediate.
Many organizations have developed innovative solutions to help steer the world towards global access to sustainable energy:
-Swimsol has created SolarSea, the world’s first solar energy system at sea that floats along the water in Small Island Developing States where there is no available land space for solar panels.
-A Swedish inventor, Petra Wadström, created the Solvatten system, which uses solar energy to heat and decontaminate water in rural regions, diminishing the chances of contracting water borne disease, the extreme use of firewood for heating water, and providing this all in an affordable, durable, and long-lasting method.
Source: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
Solar, Wind power, and Geothermal energy sources are just a few of the of the clean, affordable energy sources whose expansions create new jobs, new fields of research, and new opportunities for a healthier environment. This kind of expansion requires a global investment in sustainable energy and a commitment to lessening carbon pollution, especially in our most industrialized nations. Many countries have created partnerships to show their solidarity and effort in making the future healthy and sustainable. Donald Trump’s denial of climate change and rejection of the Paris Climate Agreement are significant setbacks in the international effort towards sustainability, but do not let this discourage you. You can still make an impact by making sustainable energy a part of your everyday life:
-Find out what your carbon footprint is here
-Walk, bike, or take public transportation
-Urge your leaders to commit to energy efficient policies (& VOTE for leaders who do)
-Install Solar Panels at home
-Explore alternative energy car options
-Use energy efficient products (light bulbs, etc.)
-Make your home a Green Home
-Find a conversation piece to spark up discussions about renewable energy