By Ava Joniec
Climate change is caused by humans using nonrenewable resources that send smog into the atmosphere that damages different habitats and causes earth’s temperature to rise.
This causes the breakage of ice caps that kill millions of micro-organisms. Extinction is a problem humans have been a contributor to with current nonrenewable resource use.
According to National Geographic, 100 to 1,000 species are lost yearly. Many animals have lost homes due to the use of types of nonrenewable resources we use everyday.
Oil, coal and charcoal have been the major contributors. The more coal is burned, the more polluted the atmosphere becomes. Air quality drops, and lifespans are shortened along with other major health problems such as lung cancer.
John Rupp, the head environmental professor at IU, described the pros and cons of fossil fuels.
“The advantages are that these fuels are incredibly concentrated sources of energy and they work very well in many applications. The challenges with using fossil fuels are associated with environmental degradation in the mining, production, refining and consumption realms. All have some negatives. The question is, when do the benefits outweigh the costs?” Rupp said.
Different types of energy sources have different effects on the environment.
Kyle Roberts, the environmental science and Earth and Space teacher, described the different types of resources and their impact on the environment.
“Each resource will have different impacts. The main impacts from renewable resources are land usage. Large scale use of renewables like solar and wind require large areas of land which will have an impact on the animals that live in these areas,” Roberts said.
Additionally, Roberts commented on hydropower and its impact on the environment.
“Hydropower can also have impacts due to the construction of large dams. This will cause large areas to flood and can also alter the flow and temperature of the river which has a negative impact on the animals that live in these rivers,” Roberts said.
Biofuels are another option that Roberts explained.
“Biofuels such as ethanol require the use of large amounts of cropland to be used to grow corn to be used to produce ethanol instead of growing food crops,” Roberts said.
Renewable resources can be mass produced constantly. This includes nuclear energy, wind, solar power, and water power. These are all used by humans who created a unique way to collect energy in a never ending source of power.
Here in Indiana, we have many sources of renewable resources.
Some examples are the solar power plant here in Johnson county on State Road 135. Solar power allows for little land use and pollution only in manufacturing.
On the way to Chicago in northwestern Indiana, there are miles and miles of wind farms.
According to ewea.org, a wind turbine’s capacity depends on size and wind speed. On average, they have a capacity of 2.5 to three milowatts of power and more than six million kilowatt hours of power a year.
That’s enough energy to supply around 1,500 households with electricity. Wind turbines take up land and have lead to the deaths of many birds, but they don’t have any dangerous emissions.
Overall, nonrenewable resources are a major hazard to our environment.
As a society, we need to take a closer look at using renewable energy, so we can preserve our earth and its many resources for generations to come.
We only have one earth, so we need to treat it right.