What does this guy:
have in common with this music video:
and the two guys below?
The common link between the three is renewable, or “green”, energy: Superman is powered by solar energy, the Broken Bells video features wind power, and Leo and Al are two of the most famous advocates for all energies green and clean.
As seen above, renewable energy has become very mainstream and popular. And not only in pop culture. Germany, a global leader in green tech, is attempting to raise awareness of energy sources via toys. Obama was elected at least partially because of his aggressive climate and energy plan that focuses heavily on renewables. Even Canada’s environmentally murderous oil sands are being framed as a clean energy source. And people all over the place are calling on their governments to move from fossil fuel energy sources towards greener, cleaner options ( see here and here).
While it’s critical that we stop our unsustainable and atmosphere-warming fossil fuel consumption, how realistic is a world powered by completely renewable energy? Solar and wind energy, for example, are considered scalable for widespread usage, but, due to their dependence on sunlight and wind, are not reliable enough to provide consistent energy flow. Geothermal energy seems ideal but recent studies are showing that large-scale geothermal development may cause land subsidence – not too desirable. Nuclear, while giving a consistent energy output, is considered to be the route to Armageddon by some, too expensive by others, and not even a renewable energy source by most. Other green technologies like wave energy, tidal power, and biofuels are currently not able to provide large-scale solutions or have been found to be less environmentally friendly than some fossil fuel sources.
So, what’s the solution? Ongoing climate change is telling us that a reduction in atmospheric greenhouse gas input from fossil fuels is badly needed. What I don’t know is how that reduction is going to happen. Maybe we just need to wait for more research and development before we can make a larger-scale shift to renewables. Or maybe the only solution is to reduce our enegy consumption.
While I have no idea how a green shift will happen, I know where I can find out more. There’s an event coming up on campus that may provide some new insights into these big questions. If you’re interested in our energy future you might want to check out TEDxGeorgiaStrait, a TED Conference-inspired event focused entirely on renewable, alternative energy sources and how we can end our fossil fuel dependency.
screen shot: tedxgeorgiastrait.com
The conference will feature some prominent professors, entrepreneurs and artists who will be addressing questions about our energy future. The event is sure to be amazing. You can apply to attend here!