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Renewable Energy: The Switch Is Now

1928 words - 8 pages

The year is 2200. The world is going through a fossil fuel shortage. Oil reserves are almost completely consumed and it is becoming impossible to find new fossil fuel sources. Not prepared for this event to occur, The United States, has no alternative options. As a result of the oil shortage, the standard of living deteriorates. Heat in homes, supermarkets full of food, and transportation, all basic necessities taken for granted, will be depleted because fossil fuels are used to power almost everything. The key to the prevention of this future is renewable energy. Unfortunately the support for the use of renewable energy is weak and ineffective. Unless the US puts forth effort to research and promote the use of renewable energy to consumers, conversion from fossil fuels to renewable energy will no longer be an option.
The use of fossil fuels on a large scale, specifically coal, began with the Industrial Revolution in England. Industries/corporations first used coal as a main source of energy to fuel their factories, and it became even more popular when railroads started. According to the United States Energy Department, "...by the early 20th century coal had become the major fuel in the United States, accounting for nearly 75% of the nation's energy requirements." Soon after, newer and cheaper fossil fuels, such as oil and natural gas, were high in demand. Energy Supplies, Sustainability, and Costs, by Sandra Alters, states oil was used as the main source of fuel to heat homes and offices, and gas powered the growing number of cars (57). "Oil shoved aside coal as the world's primary fuel, just as coal had replaced wood", says Tom Mast in Over a Barrel: A Simple Guide to the Oil Shortage (15). Most Americans were not concerned with their source of energy and believed their supplies were plentiful. This carefree approach to energy consumption ended during the 1970s when an oil crisis, caused by an oil embargo by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, struck the nation. Many Americans were beginning to realize the nation's deep dependence on fossil fuels. Suddenly, developing alternative sources of energy to supplement and, eventually, replace fossil fuels became a priority.
Humans have used alternative sources of energy, such a solar and wind, for many centuries, even before it became popular in the 1970s. One million years ago, humans learned how to create fire. The article "Energy Supply" says, humans used heat energy released from burning wood to warm themselves, and because of it, were able to cook food and create pottery. “People burned wood for heat, used sails to harness the wind and propel boats, and installed water wheels on streams to run mills that ground grain” (Alters 85). However, by the 1700s, a large-scale shift to nonrenewable energy swept through the world. Coal replaced wood, and later on oil and gas replaced coal. The resurgence of renewable energy did not come until the U.S. suffered several oil shortages in...

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