Sustainability has become a buzzword in the recent years. Even though it’s a great dinner conversation topic, words are blown away with the wind. Many things are easier said than done but the reality is our environment can only be sustainable when we don’t destroy any of its resources. A sustainable future can only be achieved when the words become plans and when they are put into action.
The prevailing approach today is that in order to keep global resources for future generations – an underlying concept of “sustainability” – we all individually have an important role in the process to make sure we have minimal impact on the environment.
As a part of “minimal impact” discussions, we have started talking about sustainable energy more often. It was until recently, we have addressed renewable energy sources as alternative energy sources. They are hugely important as they are a great way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change impacts that we are facing today.
Sustainable Energy in Our Lives
In today’s world, energy significantly affects our lives, playing an integral part of who we are and what we do. With the use of energy completely woven into the fabric of our society, it can’t be exaggerated how much everything we do relies on it.
For the longest time, energy was sourced by finite fossil fuels – coal, oil, and natural gas. But using fossil fuels is really harmful to our planet. The consumption of these fuels across the globe is so large, that it doesn’t only threaten our health and quality of life, but also deeply affect ecosystems and contribute to climate crisis that we are facing on planet Earth.
Sustainable energy, however, not only tackles these challenges head on, but is also brings many benefits. It reduces thermal pollution, waste and water consumption which are some of the reasons in climate change.
Energy can take a new direction, and is now able to be sourced by other things. The question now is whether we want to transition away from it on our own terms or be forced into it by inevitability sometime down the line. Before we deep dive let’s take a look at what sustainable energy actually means and then move forward with why it actually matters and why we really do need it.
What is Sustainable Energy?
Sustainable energies are sources of inexhaustible and increasingly competitive energy. They are used to producing clean source of power -sources that renew themselves, rather than sources that can be depleted. Sustainable energy meets the needs of the present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
They differ from fossil fuels principally in their diversity, abundance and potential for use anywhere on the planet. Essentially, it is any system that allows clean energy to be generated from a natural and sustainable source that can constantly be replenished.
But above all in that they play a critical part of reducing global carbon emissions. They don’t produce greenhouse gasses.
What are the Types of Sustainable Energy?
Examples of renewable energy sources include solar energy, wind energy, bioenergy, geothermal energy, marine energy and hydropower. All of these sources can be used to produce clean and emissions free power.
Is Renewable Energy Better for the Environment?
This is a question which can be answered by looking at what we have been using for a long time now: fossil fuels. When these unsustainable, finite resources such as coal are burnt, large quantities of water are used, while often arsenic and lead are also discharged into surface waters. Not to mention the carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, mercury and sulphur dioxide fumes that are released into the air.
On the other hand, using energy from renewable sources is far less expensive, and can make a huge impact on the environment. Sustainable energy technologies are clean sources of energy that have a much lower environmental impact than conventional energy technologies. Sustainable energies stand out as extremely practical as alternatives to damaging carbon-intensive fuels. They can eliminate the use of the fuels and even push carbon emissions to zero.
Why Do We Need Sustainable Energy?
The consequences of climate change include damage to agriculture, limited water supplies, and the spread of tropical diseases and even widespread extinction of animals. Choosing sustainability in energy use is no longer a nice to have. It’s no longer an “alternative”. It’s actually a necessity. Renewable energy sources like solar energy, wind energy, hydro energy use little to no emissions, which is a massive step in the right direction for the well-being of our planet. Renewable energy sources are also healthier for all of the living things on this planet.
As we are on the threshold of change, choosing sustainable energy is a major choice that can have a significant impact on the environment, economy, and our independence and freedom. The reason is, renewable, sustainable energy will never run out. It’s not like any other sources of energy which are finite. It will allow us to produce energy for our grand grand children.
Generating energy that produces no greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels and diversifying energy supply can also become an engine for poverty reduction, social progress, economic growth, and environmental sustainability.
Paris Agreement and Sustainable Energy
Renewable energies received important backing from the international community through the Paris Accord signed at the World Climate Summit held in the French capital in December 2015.
The agreement, for the first time in history, a binding global objective. It called out nearly 200 signatory countries to work together towards greenhouse gas reduction commitments that ultimately results I no more than 2 °C and ideally keep it to 1.5 °C. This requires reducing energy-related carbon dioxide emissions by more than 70 per cent by 2050 compared to 2015 levels, which can only be achieved with the massive deployment of renewable forms of energy such as wind, solar and hydro, combined with energy efficiency.
Reconnecting with Our Planet
Renewable energy is becoming more abundant—and cheaper. Technology advances could lower costs and accelerate our transition pathways to sustainable energy. If we can achieve making sustainable energy as our main energy source, we can continue to grow and contribute to improve life on our planet Earth.