Sustainable energy, otherwise known as “clean energy”, is energy that can be used to help the present generation fulfill their needs without having to (negatively) compromise the needs of future generations. Not only is it great for helping countries with not as many natural resources such as Germany and Japan to create their own sources of energy, it is also great for countries who have a lot of resources such as the United States and Canada to use whatever resources that they have without risking to hurt the lives of current and future generations of people. Though it is not the most environmentally-friendly, cost-effective form of energy, it is definitely very useful in helping to keep pollution down.
Regardless as to whether or not a country has decided to participate in the Paris Agreement, an agreement in which the majority of countries across the world do everything in their part to keep global temperatures below to as little as two degrees Celsius (or more), teaching people how to use sustainable energy is necessary because it teaches people how to be resourceful.
Positives: Economic Benefits and Energy Conservation
Unlike energies that require the use of fossil fuels and natural gasses, sustainable energy incorporates the usability of renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric energy into everyday life in order to help provide for the needs of today and tomorrow. Because sustainable energy is (generally) more cost effective and renewable, it can not only help people save a lot of money on their electric bills, it can also teach people how to use the resources that they have in order to provide for the needs of tomorrow. According to the Department of Energy, “The clean energy industry generates hundreds of billions in economic activity, and is expected to continue to grow rapidly in the coming years. There is tremendous economic opportunity for the countries that invent, manufacture and export clean energy technologies.” Because countries such as Japan and Germany do not have the abundance of natural resources that countries such as the United States and Canada have, they are forced to design more energy efficient technologies such as hybrid cars, which has helped them to not only give them an advantage in today’s competitive global market, but also in helping them to survive in today’s most polluted environments, especially since the technologies themselves are designed to produce less greenhouse gases.
Negatives: The use of Space and Impact on the Environment
Unfortunately, according to most critics, one of the major drawbacks of sustainable energy is that most of the tools that humans currently have in their disposal to harness this type of energy can damage the environment, depending on when and where the tools are implemented. With the case of wind energy for example, according to Tim Flannery, author of We are the Weather Makers: The History of Climate Change, “Wind power, unfortunately, has been beset with bad press, including allegations that wind turbines kill birds and are noisy and unsightly. The truth is, any tall structure represents a potential hazard to birds… “(246). As such, because of the way that most of our current technology is structured, though they themselves may not be able to produce greenhouse gases, given the fact that technologies such as solar panels and hydroelectric dams are big and bulky, they can be proven to be expensive to maintain. Regardless, they are better than nothing.
Granted, like all types of energy, sustainable energy is not the most perfect type of energy. However, it is definitely a type of energy that can be used to teach all human beings that they are more than capable of learning more about the world around them.