Sustainable Energy in America
Updated: Apr 17
Cherry Shin (Northwood High School)
America is known for using fossil fuels for energy around the world. In fact, America gets 81% of its total energy from oil, coal, and natural gas. Even more, they don’t even use oil from their own ground; they save their own and import oil from Iraq and other countries.
Fossil fuels have several benefits. First of all, it’s cheap even with its great capacity to generate a huge amount of energy. With fossil fuels, countries including America can get massive economic benefits and is also cost effective due to coal in power plants as well. It even creates a lot of jobs and has easy transportation to import and export fossil fuels across the world.
However, we must at least gradually start changing our use of fossil fuels for energy due to its
enormous damage towards the environment. Fossil fuels release large amounts of carbon
dioxide and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, leading our ozone layer to thin and cause global warming.
Some of the alternatives that America has already started to change to are: solar, wind,
geothermal, hydro power, ocean, bio energy, and nuclear energy. These sources of energy
reduce air pollution. It also has a greater sustainability unlike fossil fuels which are limited and
will run out someday in the future. Diversifying the energy supply also reduces dependence on imported fuels and guarantees a safer and cleaner future. Even now, there are 13 million deaths each year around the world due to air pollution. Burning fossil fuels also emits nitrogen dioxide that causes further environmental degradation.
Even with these numerous environmental benefits, why do countries such as the United States not use sustainable energy? Number one reason is the inefficiency of renewable energies.People prioritize comfort and lifestyles more than change and therefore are hesitant to accommodate themselves for the environment.
Furthermore, renewable energies have a lot of drawbacks as well. Most of them rely on
weather, such as the hydroelectric plants’ need for rain. They also require a large mass of land
to store the water. Putting these plants on these agricultural lands also causes environmental
problems as well.
However, these problems should not put us back on using renewable energies for its
comparably higher number of benefits than the actual damage on our Earth and the
environment. Solar power industries are one of America's fastest growing industries, increasing employment and job opportunities all around the world. Even in the last two years, the price of solar panels decreased by 20%, meaning more of the public will be able to afford solar panels in the upcoming years. Not only America but countries around the world should all start working to improve and prioritize the environment so that our future generations don’t have to live in the risk of death and toxicity in their daily lives.