The Reality of Not Investing in Renewable Energy
Let’s look at some of the effects of humanity’s inability to adapt to the use of Renewable Energy, so far. Poor air quality can kill. Ozone pollution can cause respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, throat inflammation, chest pain, and congestion, which results in innumerable deaths each year. Water pollution is purely genocidal. On average, it accounts for 14,000 deaths per day, around the world. This is mostly related to the ingestion of contaminated drinking water or exposure to untreated raw sewage. Biomagnification describes the situation where toxins in the environment, such as heavy metals, pass through trophic levels, ecosystem hierarchies, in which they do not naturally occur. As the toxins pass through these levels of the ecosystem, unopposed, they become more highly concentrated, and thus, more deadly. Carbon Dioxide causes the ocean to acidify. Continued exposure only speeds up the process, making it more difficult for the ocean to sustain life. The bacteria and fungi that produce over half of the Earth’s supply of oxygen live in the Earth’s oceans. If they die, humanity will not be far behind them. Think also of the risk to the human food supply. If termination does not occur by suffocation, it could very possibly happen by starvation.
Toxins can damage soil quality and make it impossible for it to support any form of carbon based life. Sulfuric and acid rain produced by human pollution are the top killers. Finally, that ever present cloud of smog that rests over most city skylines can block out needed energy from the sun, damaging plant life’s ability to produce energy, and thus, sustain itself. When global weather patterns shift this pollution into the countryside, it has the same effect. This threatens the human food supply, by lowering crop yields, or rendering the soil entirely unfit for traditional sources of local plant fiber. In some cases, especially in small rural communities, this can be fatal to the local food supply, and thus the entire community. Has anyone ever wondered why urban centers are becoming so uncontrollably crowded? Can no one see how this only makes the process exponentially worse? Long isolated peoples are even being effected. Isolated tribes in both Peru and Brazil are being poisoned with lead by illegal gold mining operations, likely illegal in bribe only, who dump the lead directly into the Amazon River. Will the Amazonians and their way of life be lost forever to indifference?
Each year, nations generate 1.3 billion tons of waste. That statistic is expected to soar to four billion tons by 2100, according to Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez, Senior Director for the World Bank’s Social, Urban, Rural, and Resilience Global Practice. The United States, China, Brazil, Japan and Germany are the leading trash generators. The U.S. produced about 228 million tons of waste in 2006, a figure that climbed to 254 million tons by 2013. China, with a population around four times larger than that of the U.S., is close behind, producing 190 million tons of waste per year. The more urbanized and industrialized a country becomes, the more trash it produces. The United Nations Environment Program predicts the amount of waste will probably double in lower income African and Asian cities as a result of population growth, urbanization, and rising consumption. There is no end in sight to this trend, as most of the public waste systems in these cities cannot keep pace with urban expansion. Rapid industrialization is occurring in countries that have not yet developed the appropriate systems to deal with hazardous and special wastes. Developing nations tend to spend more on collection than on disposal, but collection is still not efficient. South Asia and Africa have the lowest level of efficient waste collection, according to World Bank statistics.
Now, imagine if the human species got a clue and started using the renewable energies that is has available to it. First, energy production could be demonetized because there would be so much energy produced that it could no longer be falsely made scarce. Second, the Earth, our primary home, could begin the healing process. Finally, free energy could revolutionize the world economy. Instead of fighting and dying for the ownership of scarce resources and the parched parcels of land upon which they rest, we could start putting our brains to work on what to do with all of the excess energy that will be produced. Perhaps, we could dance among the stars?