Last week I wrote about the Keystone XL Pipeline and the disastrous environmental repercussions of its pending installation. http://innerbeautyworkshops.blogspot.com/2011/09/say-no-to-keystone-xl-pipeline.html Today, I want to focus on solutions to the climate crisis and what you can do to help. We are now in the beginnings of the Energy Technology Revolution, the next great Industrial Revolution. The outcome of this revolution will be more power to service our ever growing worldwide population, the development of clean, nonpolluting and renewable sources of energy, the creation of more U.S. jobs, and a lessening of our dependence on fossil fuels that are pumping tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Currently, the production of oil, coal and gas is creating havoc on human health and accelerating climate change. Energy technology is an exciting answer to the climate crisis. Solar and wind power are potential solutions for our homes and biodiesel and ethanol for our cars, among others. We must start investing our dollars in America’s workers, industries and innovations. Government subsidies should be provided to this effect and/or tax breaks.
Solar Energy –On a bright sunny day, the sun shines approx 1,000 watts of energy per square meter onto the Earth’s surface. This energy can and should be harvested in a safe/environmentally friendly way. Technology has improved remarkably in this area and solar energy has become a booming business. Fields of solar panels are now being installed around the world. In fact, it is estimated a solar paneled field, the size of France, has the potential to provide clean energy to the entire planet! In Germany, the government provides subsidies in renewable and solar energy. Currently, Germany has more jobs in the solar energy field than automotive and engineering combined. Solar energy can be used to heat a home or business. Since the United States uses approx 26 percent of the world’s electricity, we should be revolutionizing this industry. Currently, solar panels can be put on select homes. *If you live in Long Island, Renewable Energy Long Island has a solar tour on October 1, 2011. See this link for more details (http://www.renewableenergylongisland.org/) **Additionally, see local company listing below.
Here is an interesting fact…. Rudolph Diesel invented to diesel car in the early 1900’s to run on vegetable and peanut oil. Why is it 100 years later and our cars still run on gasoline?
Biodiesel Fuel –You can fuel your car with vegetable, peanut or soy oil. How cool is that! Imagine, running your diesel car on cooking oil! It burns clean and has no greenhouse gases. You can go to McDonalds and take the left-over french fry oil to use as fuel for your car. Dunkin Donuts works too! I never thought these restaurants had a purpose! Ultimately, this is also a low/no cost alternative because you are taking something that was going to be thrown out. Speaking of trash, biogas, the byproduct of decomposing organic matter using methane from landfills is also being studied as well as wood trimmings, grass clippings and algae.
Ethanol – This fuel is made from ethyl alcohol, pure alcohol or a grain alcohol. It is already being mixed in with gasoline at our pumps (hence… 10 percent ethanol.) Ethanol (E85) can now be purchased around the country. This picture was taken at the Valero gas station in Mount Sinai, New York.
Like biodiesel, ethanol is much lower in cost than gasoline, produces less carbon emissions and is good for our economy. Since it can be produced from domestically grown crops, it lowers or can virtually eliminate our dependence on foreign oil.
We have the opportunity to do something right that will benefit the entire world population and our planet. We need to be cautious about the way new technology is implemented but optimistic that solutions will benefit future generations. While we wait for technology to be designed, implemented and installed, here’s a list of some of the things you can do RIGHT NOW to reduce your carbon footprint. These may seem silly, but a concerted effort can make a huge difference:
1. If you can walk, do it. If you can bike somewhere, do it. If you have to take a car, combine trips or carpool, if possible.
2. Since plastic bags need fossil fuel for production, keep a stack of renewable bags for whenever you go to the store.
3. Buy local! This will eliminate thousands of pounds of carbon by reducing fossil fuel transportation.
4. Don’t purchase bottled water. Since these bottles require fossil fuel for their production, you can make a huge difference by not purchasing them. Filter your tap water instead.
5. Conserve your electricity. Only use your appliances when you have a full load (dishwasher, dryer and washing machine)
6. Eliminate Phantom Power! Use power strips on electronic goods so you can turn them off when not in use. They drain power even if they are off.
7. Turn down the heat! There is no reason to have your house like a sauna, besides it is NOT healthy! http://innerbeautyworkshops.blogspot.com/2011/06/open-your-damn-windows.html
8. Take advantage of natural daylight allowing it to flow in your house or go outside!
SOLAR COMPANIES – LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK
Go Solar, 63 Laurel Avenue, Riverhead, NY (631) 727-2224 http://www.gosolar.com/
LI Power Solutions Solar Power, 1700 Arctic Avenue, Bohemia, NY (631) 256-6022 http://www.longislandpowersolutions.com/
Majestic Sun & Sons, 508 Route 112, Patchogue, NY (631) 627-3940 http://www.majesticsonli.com/
Green Logic Energy, (Corporate Office) 425 County Road 39A, Suite 101, Southampton, NY (877) 771-4330 http://www.greenlogic.com/
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