Category Archives: Environment

water dam under white and blue skies

Pros & Cons of Hydropower

Below, we'll be covering the pros and cons of hydropower. There are a lot of benefits of hydropower; however, recent scientific studies have shed new light on an energy source that is also being pushed by several countries as environmentally friendly.

For centuries, hydropower from many kinds of water mills has been used for irrigation and to operate various machines and technology, including gristmills, sawmills, textile mills, trips hammers, dock cranes, and ore mills. In the late 1800's, hydropower became a source for generating electricity. The first commercial hydropower dam was built at Niagara falls in 1879.

What Is Hydropower?

Hydropower, also known as water power, is derived from the energy of falling water or fast running water.

How Energy Is Made

water dam

                                                                                 Photo by Nicole Harrington via Unsplash

Energy from conventional hydroelectric dams comes from the potential energy of dammed water driving a turbine and generator. The amount of extracted power depends on the volume of the water and the difference in height between the source and the water's outflow. A large pipe, known as the penstock, delivers water to the turbines from the reservoir.

What Determines How Much Energy Is Made?

The farther the water falls, the more power it generates. Usually, the distance the water falls depends on the size of the dam. The power of the falling water is directly proportional to the distance it falls, essentially water falling twice as far has twice as much potential energy. Additionally, the power is also directly proportional to river flow.

Types of Hydropower

Hydropower plants range in size from micro-plants, that power only a few homes, to giant dams that generate enough electricity for millions of people.

Pump-Storage Method

The Pump-storage method creates electricity to supply high peak demands by moving water between reservoirs at different elevations. This method is the most commercially important means of large-scale grid energy storage and improves the daily capacity factor of the generation system. At night, when the demand for electricity is low, water is pumped back up into the dam so it can be released again the next day when electricity demand is higher.

Run-of-the-River Stations

hoover damn during daytime

                                                                                             Photo by Alicia Bell via Unsplash

Run-of-the-river stations have no reservoir capacity, are powered only by the water coming upstream, and any oversupply must pass unused. There must be a constant supply of water from a lake or an existing reservoir upstream for a significant advantage in choosing this type of hydropower.

Tide Power Stations

A tide power station makes use of the rise and fall of tidal waves, a highly predictable, dis-patchable source of electricity (electricity on demand at the request of power grid operators).

Large-Scale Plants

Large-scale hydropower plants are more commonly seen as the largest power producing facilities in the world. Some facilities are capable of generating more than double the installed capacities of the current largest nuclear power stations. Currently, only four facilities over 10,000 megawatts are in operation worldwide, two of which are in China, while the others are in Brazil and Venezuela.

Micro-Plants

line of flowers

                                                                                         Photo by Scott Webb via Unsplash

Small-scale development of hydropower, also known as micro-plants, typically serves a small community or an industrial factory. The definition may vary, but it is generally accepted that a small hydro station produces under 10 megawatts, although some may produce as much as 30 MW in Canada and the United States. Small-scale stations can be built in isolated areas that would be uneconomic to serve from a network or in areas where there is no national electrical distribution network. These projects typically have minimal reservoirs and civil construction work. They have a relatively low environmental impact compared to large hydropower plants. The decreased environmental impact depends strongly on the balance between stream flow and power production.

How Hydropower Works

Hydropower plants use turbines to convert the kinetic energy of falling water into mechanical energy, then a generator converts it the electrical energy.

photo of truss towers

                                                                               Photo by Matthew Henry via Unsplash


Making Electricity

The energy from flowing water is captured and turned into electricity. The most common type of hydropower uses a dam on a river to store water as a reservoir. Water released from the reservoir flows through a turbine, spinning it, which in turn activates a generator to produce electricity. However, hydropower doesn't always require a large dam. There are some hydropower plants that only use a small canal to channel the river water through a turbine. The turbine propeller is turned by the moving water.

silhouette of wind turbines during sunset

                                             Photo by Anna Jiménez Calaf via Unsplash


Spinning Turbines

When water levels of the river rise, the force of falling water pushes against the turbine's blades and causes the turbine to spin. Much like a windmill, the turbine "collects" the kinetic energy of falling water, and then causes the shaft that connects to the generators to spin also, converting the mechanical energy to electricity. Then, the electricity is sent through transmission lines to either the power grid, homes, or businesses.

Pros and Cons of Hydropower

Hydroelectricity is the most popular and one of the most used forms of renewable energy as compared to other energy forms such as solar, tidal, or wind energy. But, as we use hydropower more, we learn more about the potential effects it has on our environment. In a recent study, hydropower stations from around the world are responsible for more methane and carbon dioxide emissions than previously assumed. The balance of the pros and cons of hydropower have shifted since the study was published in 2016.

While hydropower can generate electricity, it can cause environmental and social harm. Damage to wildlife habitats, impaired water quality, impeded fish migration, reduced sediment transport, along with diminished cultural and recreation benefits of rivers were reported due to the hydropower plants effects on the waterways.

Pros of Hydropower

Availability


Hydropower is generally available when needed. Engineers control the flow of water through turbines to produce electricity on demand. The time required to shut down and restart a hydropower station is far less than other power stations. Other types of power stations can take up to eight hours to restart. A hydropower station can restart in just a few minutes.


Cost


Hydropower is also less expensive than solar power, and it can provide power and water to communities in northern climates better than solar energy.


Recreational Opportunities

group of people gathering on field

                                                                                 Photo by Robert Bye via Unsplash

Impoundment hydropower creates reservoirs that provide a variety of recreational opportunities: fishing, swimming, and boating. Other benefits may include water supply and flood control.


Cons of Hydropower

Greenhouse Emissions

hydroelectric power

                                                                        image source: unsplash

While hydroelectric power is completely free of fossil fuels, or other perishable resources, it does not involve any combustion or burning of fuel, like coal. Many countries consider hydroelectricity a clean source of power, due to the lack of burning fossil fuels. However, the study from 2016 shows that the world's hydroelectric dams' greenhouse gas emissions are responsible for as much as Canada.


The study from Washington State University finds methane, which is at least 34 times more potent than other greenhouse gases. In addition to methane, carbon dioxide makes up 80 percent of emissions from water storage reservoirs created by dams.


As of 2016, 100 studies on greenhouse gas emissions, from 267 large reservoirs around the world, find that methane and carbon dioxide make 80 percent of the emissions from large-scale reservoirs. None of which, are currently included in global greenhouse gas inventories.

These greenhouse gas emissions vary according to a wide variety of indications: air and water temperature, season and time of day, vegetation and soil types in both the reservoir and the upstream watershed, and watershed management practices.


Hydropower dams manipulate water levels to make electricity. When the water levels decline, the hydrostatic pressure on submerged soils also lowers, and it allows gas bubbles to escape. Some gas bubbles can stay trapped in the water while others surface and get released into the atmosphere.


Ecological Effects


silhouette of factory during sunset

                                                                                 Photo by Sam Bark via Unsplash

Additionally, constructing a river dam, at a particular location, can lead to adverse ecological effects on its immediate surroundings. A proper land examination is a must prior to hydropower station construction. Earthquakes are also a major concern when it comes to hydroelectricity generation. It has been observed, that in China and India in particular, large dam constructions are responsible for massive earthquakes that occurred in those regions. Globally, there are over 100 identified cases of earthquakes that scientists believe were triggered by reservoirs. Scientists believe that earthquakes related to dams are caused by the extra pressure in micro-cracks. This pressure, coupled with the water, acts as a lubricant on fault lines. These fault lines were already under pressure but were stopped from slipping by the friction of rocky surfaces.


Fish Migration

grey school of fish under water

                                                                                      Photo by Jeremy Bishop via Unsplash

Fish populations can be affected if they cannot migrate past impoundment to spawning grounds. An upstream fish passage can be achieved using fish ladders, also known as a fishway. Another option would be trapping and hauling fish upstream by truck. A downstream fish passage can be achieved by diverting fish from turbines using screens, racks, or underwater lights and sounds.


A fish ladder is a structure built on or around dams to help fish pass artificial barriers while migrating. The construction of the ladder allows the fish to swim over low steps to reach the other side.


Water Flow and Quality of Water


Hydropower can also impact water flow and quality. Hydropower plants can cause low dissolved oxygen levels in the water. This is addressed by aeration techniques to oxygenate the water to help improve riparian (riverbank) habitats. Hydropower facilities are also impacted by drought; when there is not enough water available, it cannot power electricity.


Conclusion

hydropower

                                                                                                                     image source: pixabay

About a decade ago, not much was known about water storage reservoirs. Nobody knew the pros and cons of hydropower. It was thought that shallow reservoirs in hot climates were more likely to heat up and emit greenhouse gases. On the contrary, researchers found that biological activities, like nutrient runoff and dying fauna, are major indicators of gas emissions. While the nutrient runoff can also be due to naturally occurring processes, it is usually found in regions affected by farming, logging, and land development. The 2016 study concluded that all 267 water reservoirs, worldwide, contributed to 1.3 percent of all man-made greenhouse emissions. Unfortunately, when comparing the pros and cons of hydropower the disadvantages are starting to outweigh the advantages. 

Nature Landscape

What Is the Best Benefit of Biodiversity to Humans?

We live in an age that lends itself to greater awareness; information is readily available to us and yet few individuals have ever heard of biodiversity. What is biodiversity? Yeah, we know. Biodiversity refers to the diversity of life within our planet or within a specific ecosystem. Biodiversity is not limited to humans and animals; it refers to plants, bacteria and anything else that can be said to live. Biodiversity is an essential component of any thriving habitat and the balance it creates for all the organisms involved is immeasurable. What is the best benefit of biodiversity to humans? Stick around to find out.

As human beings, we depend on animals and crops for food; we use herbs and natural ingredients in our medicine and remedies; we use the power of nature to our advantage at every turn, and we rarely stop to think how that delicate balance of life on earth is shifted by our consumption. Biodiversity is key to our survival, and it benefits not only humans but many species, we all have something to gain from biodiversity and also something to lose. In the following article, we will take the time to explain the benefits of biodiversity for human beings and how this concept can apply to our differences as a race.

What Is Biodiversity?

Biodiversity is everything; it is life on earth as we know it today. To better understand it and grasp its vastness, we divide biodiversity by looking at the number of living species within a certain area. From swaying chamomile flowers to giant grizzly bears to enormous pine trees, anything that lives within an area forms part of its biodiversity. Some areas of the world support less life than others such as places that experience cold fronts year-round while others such as tropical locations are booming with biodiversity. Biodiversity is more than just life; it is the balance that all living things share with one another in a natural habitat.

A Delicate Balance

Cleaning the Earth

Living in Harmony

Is There a Need for Human Biodiversity?

Now when we discuss human beings instead of the overall planet, we steer away from what is the best benefit of biodiversity to humans, but we don't completely stray. Humans benefit from biodiversity in the planet via several means but can also implement biodiversity to understand certain behaviors exhibited by different human beings based on their ethnicity, geographical location and environment and ultimately race. The subject is a touchy one and has been since its inception as it can be classified as a form of racist profiling of individuals, but there is something to the idea.

Understanding One Another

Human Biodiversity

Do We Need It?

What Are the Benefits of Biodiversity?

butterfly on flower

Image by Ronny Overhate from Pixabay

In terms of nature, it is absolutely everything; we benefit greatly from all the living organisms that make our existence possible and thus the least we can do is respect one another. If an argument is to be made for human biodiversity and what is the best benefit of biodiversity to humans, it should be for the mere reason of wishing to understand how gene patterns affect our behaviors and how we can identify those behaviors whether positive or negative and deal with them accordingly.

What Is the Best Benefit of Biodiversity to Humans

Nature and Us

Conclusion

Now you know what is the best benefit of biodiversity to humans and how the world that we live in reflects the world within us. Our interactions with our planet are a mirror image of how we choose to interact with others, and it all comes down to giving both the respect that they deserve. The debate is sure to continue, but as long as we understand that we will have many differences as well as many similarities, then all can be reconciled. By doing our best to treat each other right and working together to conserve energy, preserve our earth and understand the life around us we have gained the greatest benefit of them all. Love.

Featured Image by Maria e Fernando Cabral from Pixabay

plant

Environmental Degradation: What We Are Doing To The Environment

The "environment" refers to the surroundings or conditions in which an organism resides. This includes the climate, the land, natural resources, flora and fauna. Over the past few decades, we have heard the term environmental degradation used over and over again: something that was not really talked about in the last century.

The current era--also known as Anthropocene--is a geological period in the history of the earth when mankind has had the most significant impact on the environment. Scientists believe that in the last 50 years alone, the stress on the environment has doubled, while the amount of resources required for human survival have declined by more than 30%.

The environment that we live in has a natural uninterrupted climate and resource cycle that has been operating for millenniums without halting. Recently though, man-kind has interrupted and disrupted this natural cycle in a big way. Research shows that many hydrologic, geologic, atmospheric, and biospheric systems of the earth have been altered by humans. The collapse of the natural balance of the environment due to man-made activities is what we know today as environmental degradation.

What Is Environmental Degradation

Disintegration of Natural Assets

The earth is a vast store of natural resources like land, water, air, fossil fuels, and plants that serve many purposes. These resources have been around for years and regenerate themselves from time to time. Every natural resource has its own place, temperature, area and path of movement, be it rain water, polar ice, desert sand, minerals, or animal species.

Extensive interference by man in the natural cycle of these resources has put a spoke in the wheel of the planet’s recurring systems, leading to climate changes and problems like soil erosion, a rise in sea levels, pollution, and the extinction of various plant and animal species.

Environmental degradation does not occur in an isolated system but across all spheres on the earth. Water bodies are dirty and marine life is affected due to garbage dumping, fishing trawlers, oil spills, and soil erosion. This in turn renders all water reserves unhealthy and reduces the volume of potable water. The various modes of transport on land, sea and air pollute every layer of the atmosphere. Excessive agricultural practices spoil the land, resulting in poisonous crops. Environmental degradation ultimately causes more and more health problems for people everywhere.

A Serious Threat

The environment is a complex cluster of different ecosystems that are inter-dependent. When one ecosystem fails, there is a ripple effect all across the systems, resulting in the breakdown of other ecosystems as well. Environmental degradation is considered one of the gravest issues for the world today. Every country is trying its best to control the harm being caused to the environment and reverse some of the negative effects of it.

Scientists believe that human overpopulation and overconsumption has led to the extinction of numerous animal species, a phenomenon they are calling ‘the 6th extinction’ and which may very well result in a worldwide biological annihilation.

Is There a Need To Understand Environmental Degradation?

trash around empty trash bin

Deteriorating Living Conditions

The habitat in which we live is no longer healthy. The air, water, and soil are polluted due to industrial effluents and inadequate sewage treatment. To produce crops in large quantities, pesticides and artificial fertilizers are used, which decreases the volume of arable land over time and also renders food unhealthy. These fertilizers and pesticides get into the water system of a region and pollute it. This in turn contaminates the drinking water. Large-scale deforestation and land clearing has led to silting of rivers and extinction of many animal species that were an indispensable part of the food chain.

In order to reverse the pernicious effects on climate, it is necessary to understand what environmental degradation is and what causes it. Only when there is large-scale awareness of the causes and consequences of climate deterioration to mankind, will different agencies be able to find solutions to combat it.

Small Actions Have a Large Impact

Another reason why it is extremely important to understand environmental degradation and its causes is to so we can reduce acts of pollution that go unnoticed but have a great impact on the climate. There are numerous daily activities we believe don’t make a big difference. But when one family adds to pollution with this belief in mind, we cannot forget that there will be millions of families who feel the same way and go about destroying the environment one day at a time.

If everyone is aware of the waste they leave on the planet and the resources they expend, it will be easier to reduce the same and build a better habitat. Large scale afforestation, promoting the use of solar energy, recycling, the segregation of garbage, and a ban on plastic uses are some global measures climate agencies are harping on to slow down environmental degradation. But all of these measures must be put into place at the local household level in order to bring about results on a massive scale.

Information On Environmental Degradation

water pollution

Population Control

The planet we live on provides us with resources that help sustain human and animal life on earth. It has taken many years for these resources to form in quantities enough for a particular size of population. Unless population explosion is brought under control, the resources that have already taken years to get replenished will deplete at an alarming rate and no conservation measures will suffice.

International Organizations for Climate Conservation

Various groups at governmental and non-governmental level are working to find sustainable solutions to climate change, scarcity of resources, and deterioration of living conditions across cities. The United Nations Environment Program addresses serious climate issues of different countries through its key bodies like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD).

Environmental organizations like Greenpeace, Worldwide Fund for Nature, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency also actively take part in conservation and awareness programs to counter environmental degradation.

Economic Effects

air pollution

Environmental degradation is largely caused by economic development. The mechanization of work, industrialization across sectors, new modes of transport and sprawling urbanization is causing more stress on the environment in the form of increased pollution, felling of tress, or exploitation of ground water. Courses of rivers are erratic and soil erosion is increasing, causing roadblocks in irrigation projects. Oil spills are extremely tough to clean and cause a lot of damage to marine life.

At the same time, more economic resources are required to deal with the consequences of climate change. Natural calamities induced by man-made activities, like floods and fires, are increasing in number. In such emergencies, large amounts of capital are needed for rescue and relief efforts, rehabilitation of affected people, and rebuilding of infrastructure. Hence, a progressive economy is causing environmental degradation as well as bearing the brunt of it.

Social Impact

crops

Environmental degradation greatly affects the lives of people. Many places face untimely rains, cyclones, or drought conditions and ruined crops or harvest which in turn affects the income of the people. Rising pollution and smog levels cause grave health conditions and respiratory illnesses, especially in children and senior citizens. Increased smog levels are often a major cause for accidents.

Conservation Efforts

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is a global convention with the aim of limiting greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere. The Paris Agreement (one of the most significant agreements in recent times) under the UNFCCC was adopted in December 2015 and is to date ratified by 181 parties out of the 197 parties to the convention. The main aim of this agreement is for all countries to ensure that the increase in global temperature is restricted to below 2 degrees in the current century. This should be accompanied by conservation and enhancement of GHG (greenhouse gas) sinks and reservoirs everywhere.

Conclusion

people protesting

Many agencies have taken up the task of searching for earthly resources on other planets or sustainable options on earth. This is an expensive endeavor in itself. But even if alternatives are found, no environment can stand up to the excessive exploitation of natural assets. Human activities have ruffled natural climate systems so much that we now need artificially created cycles like cloud seeding to bring rainfall.

Unsustainable practices and abuse of renewable resources costs a lot. The global economy, health, as well as community living is under threat and can come to an end if viable ecological solutions are not put into place. And because climate change has been set in motion a while back, it will take some time before it comes to a halt or even reduces considerably.

Even if all unwanted emissions stop completely today, the effects of the same will continue for centuries due to the cumulative impact of all the emissions that are already present in the atmosphere for so many years. It is late, but slowing down the environmental degradation that is affecting every organism across the various ecosystems is crucial for a healthy, sustainable habitat for the coming generations.

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coal tower

Pros & Cons of Nuclear Energy

No matter how many years go by since the 1940s, we have all remained somewhat apprehensive about the stability of nuclear energy, and sadly this fear has only been fueled by a few catastrophic events that have occurred: Chernobyl (1986), 3 Mile Island (1987), and Fukushima (2011), but these events did not result in the death of anywhere near as many people who have died in coal and oil related disasters. However, it's still important to know the pros and cons of nuclear energy so you can better understand why it's so desirable despite the dangers associated with it.

The world's demand for more energy only continues to grow and we have to find the technology that will rise to the occasion. However, we would ideally do so in the best interest of our environment. Despite our unpleasant run-ins with nuclear power, it is one of the most environmentally friendly sources of power and it is in our best interest as a growing population to find alternative sources of power that don’t harm our planet. This article will compare some relevant pros and cons of nuclear energy as an alternative source of power.

WHAT IS NUCLEAR ENERGY?

Nuclear energy is the product of a phenomenon called Nuclear Fission. Fission occurs when splitting the atom of a nucleus. Because of this occurrence, it releases a large amount of energy. Despite the fear and anxiety still left by nuclear energy it is understandable that people are hesitant to accept it as anything but destruction.


The reason it is still being considered as an alternative source to fossil fuels, is ultimately that the process results in far less damage to the environment overall in comparison. There are many pros and cons of nuclear energy, what it can do, and how it compares to other forms of generating power. But this article will not be expanding on the scientific attributes of this form of energy and its production process.

nuclear fission

WHAT ARE THE PROS AND CONS OF NUCLEAR ENERGY

Nuclear energy produces around 10% of the world's power and we could produce several times that amount of nuclear energy at will. It is the cleanest form of energy we know of at present, and it offers much lower emissions including carbon dioxide. In addition, it takes a rather small amount of uranium to output a massive amount of power and the average nuclear reactor lasts around 40 to 60 years, but the lifetime of a nuclear reactor is contingent on the how much power it is intended to produce and the quality of its function. Let's move on to the pros and cons of nuclear energy for this article.
 

Pros of Nuclear Energy

source of nuclear energy

Listed below are some positive attributes of nuclear energy and what it offers in terms of clean energy, reliability, quality, and cost.


Less Pollution​


In no capacity does nuclear energy production burn chemicals in the process of producing nuclear energy, so there is no release of harsh gases into the air. In fact, the fluffy clouds that are given off by the stacks of a nuclear plant is only vaporized water. Those "stacks" are large cooling towers filled with water intended for keeping the nuclear reactor(s) from overheating. For the sake of this brief on the pros and cons of nuclear energy, we will also come back to this in our cons list. Nuclear energy is still the most environmentally friendly form of alternative fuel and electricity.


More Reliable than Other Forms of Clean Energy

Solar and Wind energy both rely on weather to produce power. Not to say it is impractical, but to produce large amounts of power constantly it is not exactly ideal. A nuclear power plant can run constantly, uninterrupted, making power for up to about a year. It also maintains a shelf life once produced and can even be stored for much longer than fossil fuels. Nuclear power also does not require the use of any kind of fossil fuels to be produced. Therefore, it is unaffected by the uncontrollably fluctuating costs of gas and oil.


More Electricity for Less Money

Although building new plants can be costly at first, there is a discussion of upgrading existing plants to improve volume instead of building entirely new ones. Regardless, once they are running smoothly, they are inexpensive. That is without mentioning the amount of power they produce will minimal resource. These plants produce electricity with nuclear reactors which is cheaper than coal, gas, or any other fossil fuels.

Uranium is also much cheaper than one would expect, but this does not additionally calculate the cost and expenses of the hauling and safe disposal of various kinds of radioactive material. There is no particular procedure for the disposal of the radioactive material nuclear fission creates as a byproduct.

Cons of Nuclear Energy

hydrogen bomb

Listed below are some negative attributes of nuclear energy and how it affects the environment, weaponry and warfare, disaster, and radioactive filth.


The Nuclear Elephant in the Room


The biggest concern with nuclear energy is the disposing of the used fuel remains which are radioactive and possibly dangerous. Although highly dangerous in mass quantities, which a typical plant produces around 20 metric tons of used nuclear fuel per year. This used fuel takes hundreds of years to decompose to a state that is safe enough for humans to coexist.


This is one quality other sources of fuel do not deal with. This point of Nuclear Power production evokes thoughts of the 1970s through the 1980s when plants were dumping their waste into the ocean and other bodies of water. None of those things take place in our modern world and there are now laws in place to protect against illegal dumping of toxic waste.


 

Use of Nuclear Energy as a Weapon


Nuclear power generation is far from the process of making nuclear weapons, but it poses a threat if exposed to the wrong person or group. In the wrong hands this technology can cause the entire world a whole mess of trouble. Recalling Hiroshima, imagine the potential of that on a worldwide scale. Well, that's what people imagine when they think of "weapons of mass destruction," but those with access to this technology are known and monitored. Interest in this kind of power grows every day, especially as the possibilities evolve from science and energy to weaponry.



Non-Renewable Radioactive Fuel


Uranium can not be re-used, therefore nuclear energy is not a renewable source. But there has been a discussion of the other possibilities uranium may offer to convert it into energy. If not handled properly, even the designated drops of waste can end catastrophically. It quickly contaminates its surroundings and spreads as it ages. Nuclear disasters like the accident at Chernobyl in 1986, leave the environment surrounding the plants uninhabitable by human life. The high levels of radiation have been unsafe for several years and it likely won’t change anytime soon. The damage left behind both in the people and places is still overwhelming to this day.

CONCLUSION

nuclear power

We hope this article has helped you better understand the pros and cons of nuclear energy, and here we offer our final thoughts.

Pros and Cons of Nuclear Energy Compared

Good arguments can be made for both the pros and cons of nuclear energy as an alternative source of power. Although it has so many safe benefits, the negative results are dangerous and not so for the human death toll, but the environmental impact. But when you consider the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that fill our atmosphere, coal, oil fires and accidents happen more often than someone it hurt in a nuclear power workplace environment.

The nuclear industry is firm with their safety in the workplace, and catastrophic incidents are rare, but when an accident can be as devastating as a nuclear meltdown, it causes the public to worry. The shocks of the past remain at the forefront of the public's’ mind and it immediately turns them off to anything related to nuclear energy.

Don't Give into Fear

Despite the negative impacts, overall nuclear energy is technically the least threatening of all forms of energy. With every other fossil fuel dissolving our atmosphere, nuclear energy may be the only way to dismiss the amount of greenhouse gases emitted during the production of nuclear energy, but if we were to fully explore the benefits of having nuclear energy, we would need to create a plan to manage the disposal of used fuel.

Until then no one will truly be ready to trust in any kind of casual use of nuclear power, we desperately need as I world continues to grow. Perhaps finding more ways to combat this issue would evolve as we further experiment within the parameters we have at present, but as much as some may not want to admit it, we are getting close to the point of needing to put the wheels of large-scale nuclear fission in motion.

a man besides the windmill

How Green Technologies Could Lead The Way To World-Wide Economic Prosperity

Environmental sustainability is often pitted against economic prosperity by mainstream economists and politicians without realizing that these two go hand in hand. However, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists who invest in green technology have long recognized that these two entities are highly complementing rather than competing.

In the past, pollution and environmental destruction were seen as an inevitable byproduct of economic prosperity. And even up to this day, the government and economists measure national wellbeing using a highly limited set of indicators that include economy, crime, education, job security, social cohesion, etc.

However, recent surveys have shown that aside from economic prosperity, a growing number of people are also concerned about the natural environment, particularly relating to the natural resources for the wellbeing of their future generations.

In a nutshell, green technology aims to mitigate or reverse the environmental impact of human activities through sustainable and eco-friendly production process or supply chain. While it often alludes to energy production that is less harmful to the environment than more traditional methods, it encompasses a myriad of inventions and innovations that address safety and health concerns, diminishing resources, looming pollution, and food and water scarcity.

Is There a Need for Green Technology?

Green technology offers valuable gifts: economic prosperity, equitable wealth distribution, job creation, a solution to the looming energy crisis and climate change, among others.

While green technology is a relatively young market, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and investors bet on its potential amidst the looming energy crisis, widespread pollution, and continuous depletion of many natural resources.

Here is the list of crises that green technology can solve or at least mitigate.

Energy Crisis

gas pump

Image Credit via Pixabay

Economic prosperity is closely tied to having reliable and sustainable energy sources. Unfortunately, most countries still rely on fossil fuels such as gas, oil, and coal, which are all finite sources; generating power through these fuels is also one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.

According to studies, the earth will run out of fossil fuels in 2088. Hence, it is imperative to address this looming problem, especially with the fact that industrialized countries obtain more than 95 percent of their energy from this finite source.

Green technology and renewable energy sources will not just solve the energy crisis, which is exacerbated by the steady increase in the world’s population and the growing demand for fuels, but will also help to reduce greenhouse gas emission and eventually avoid catastrophic climate change.

Job Insecurity

Green technology and policies that promote this market help to foster economic prosperity through the generation of “decent” jobs, which offer safer working conditions, more security, better wages, and better career prospects than “brown” jobs in polluting industries.

Studies have also suggested that mitigating climate change and pollution inevitably create high-quality employment.

Looming Poverty

Climate change and the depletion and destruction of finite natural resources can exacerbate poverty. This may sound like a paradox as they are seen as the ill effects but inescapable results of economic prosperity and growth.

children

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But there is nothing contradictory with the above-mentioned statement. Economic prosperity might be possible amidst widespread poverty due to inequitable wealth distribution. The government and traditional economists and educators further downplay the impact of the environmental condition on national wellbeing by focusing too much on indicators related to job, money, health, and education.

But with green technology whose aim is to address ecosystem degradation, pollution, natural resource depletion, and energy crisis, the poor may have a fighting chance to improve their condition. After all, they are the most affected stakeholder because they often live in the most fragile areas and have limited resources.

Furthermore, eradicating or at least mitigating the ill effects of human activities on the environment is the key to achieve and sustain economic prosperity that will reach the whole population.

Widespread Pollution

Pollution not just threatens our water and food sources, it also compromises the well-being of people and their future generation’s health and food security. Hence, one of the focal points of green technology is recycling, which mitigates the depletion of the natural resources.

smoke from the power plant

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And with more sophisticated recycling techniques, it has now become possible to construct houses and buildings that are mostly made of recycled materials. To further reduce environmental impact, scientists and engineers are creating new home, office, and building designs and features that reduce energy consumption.

Consumer and industrial products are also a great contributor to water and air pollution, according to a recent survey. This could change with green technology that aims to search and create products whose contents and production processes have a minimal impact on the environment.

With the benefits mentioned above of green technology, anyone may easily surmise that it is closely tied to sustained economic prosperity.

How Can It Aid Economic Prosperity?

clean river and ducks

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Economic prosperity, in the traditional sense, is the state of wealth and quality of life. In any country, the way to increase wealth and living standards is to promote and sustain entrepreneurship, innovation, and competition. However, this might be an outdated definition as more people believe that the environmental condition—i.e., access to green spaces, clean air and water, and ecological preservation for future generations—should also matter when measuring the national well-being.

Simply put, the natural environment should be included on the list of indicators of economic prosperity and national wellbeing if the government and economists truly want to “measure what matters most.”

Read on the list that explains how green technology can foster economic prosperity.

  • There is a market for clean technology. Due to the looming energy crisis, climate change, and diminishing natural resources, there is no other choice but to shift to this market that is worth around US$1.35 trillion annually.
  • Green technology and its recent innovations are stimulating demand for sustainably sourced goods and eco-friendly services.
  • It also enhances productivity. By using natural resources efficiently and sustainably, green technology is the key to long-term economic prosperity in which the gist is to allocate the resources to the highest value of use. At the same time, this market is drastically reducing waste and energy consumption.
  • Green technology can solve or at least improve resource bottlenecks, which are the biggest threat to long-term economic prosperity. Moreover, it reduces environmental impact and thus secures our and our future generation’s food source.
  • Boosts investor confidence in a country. Savvy entrepreneurs and investors know that most of our products and services derived from finite sources, some of which are already ruined or depleted. Fortunately, green technology has proven itself as a lucrative market, especially now that a growing number of consumers are demanding for greener products. Consumers are increasingly becoming more aware of the great strain on the natural sources, and so there is a growing preference for less polluting, safer, and healthier products and services.
  • Green technology contributes to fiscal consolidations. It may sound ironic, but a great number of highly polluting industries receive government subsidies. One good example is the

Conclusion

Despite the seemingly boundless opportunity with green technology and its auspicious impact on economic prosperity, it remains indispensable to tailor it to the specific community circumstances. Hence, the people should be made aware that every effort to reduce carbon footprint has a direct and indirect effect on their livelihood, the quality of their life, and their progeny’s well-being or even their survival.

Meanwhile, clean and green technology applies to multiple sectors, and so its impact on economic prosperity and growth is something that can’t be easily ignored. Sectors such as agriculture, energy industry, transportation, manufacturing, and building are arguably the best targets because they are the biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and pollution.

The sectors mentioned above are great recipients of green technology because of the recent innovations in recycling and process technology, and also better access to new information and sustainably sourced materials.

However, companies that aim to adopt green technologies face barriers such as lack of information, lack of human resources and skills, lack of or inability to access alternative raw materials and chemicals, expensive process technology, among others. Consequently, the only way to pave the way for tangible economic prosperity—i.e., poverty reduction and a more fair distribution of wealth—is to identify and eliminate these obstacles.

rocky forest path

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But as a relatively new market, green technology stakeholders, the private sector, government, and NGOs have yet to create an all-encompassing process that will remove the obstacles mentioned above that deter large-scale dissemination of eco-friendly products, services, and processes.

Widespread dissemination of green technology is critical to developing countries, which are experiencing their initial phase of economic prosperity and growth that is closely tied to substantial environmental impact. During this period, they exploit local or sometimes even the global natural resources to feed the so-called progress. Failure to intervene during this most critical phase can threaten the world’s biodiversity and the very survival of humanity.