Transitioning to alternative energy means creating a greener future for the upcoming generation. Currently, we are heading straight for an international energy and environmental crisis. Many homes still run on electricity generated from fossil fuels or potentially dangerous nuclear energy. Cars and airplanes predominantly run on fossil fuels as well with only a small, expensive minority of vehicles being hybrids, electric, or solar. The lack of availably of greener vehicles and their prohibitive price points are major barriers to the normalization of alternative energy in the lives of ordinary people. Whether the corruption of the long-standing oil industry has something to play in this or not, change must happen. CEOs must see the value in paving ways toward vehicles and energy alternatives that an ordinary consumer can access and afford in order to change the world.
The quest for safe, affordable, and eco-friendly alternative energy has never been more important. With the worldwide population booming, environmental crises like smog in China and the deforestation of vital ecosystems in South America trigger a great need to reduce harmful, climate-changing emissions. When a Hong Kong resident pays roughly $20 for a can of fresh air just to get relief from air pollution and when schools in Beijing close due to red alerts for hazardous breathing conditions, we know we are already knee deep in an environmental crisis. This leads me to my passion for making an impact for a better world by targeting one major source of air pollution: aircraft. With a typical Boeing 747 burning approximately 1 gallon of fuel every second, one can only imagine how much fuel one plane burns per flight. Now imagine how many gallons are burned every day with all the flights going on around the world and the emissions released into the atmosphere! My dream is to tackle this problem and create a better, greener future for us all.
While I complete my doctorate and prepare my startup, I can rest assured that I am not alone in my dream. Thankfully, there are companies that are already making a headway to bringing alternative energy into the lives of private citizens, because, let’s be clear- true impact won’t be made until alternative energy sources are normalized in the general populace. Tesla, for example, has manufactured solar panel roof tiles that are proposed to cost less than traditional roofing. These tiles will absorb the sun’s rays and convert them to electricity that will make the home self-sufficient. Imagine the positive impact on the environment if home after home stopped depending on traditional electricity sources?
Wind energy is also becoming normalized, especially in Europe. Sweden, for example, has taken the initiative to prioritize renewable energy since 2003. Using wind turbines to harness the country’s natural wind power, 7% of the country’s electricity now comes from wind-generated electricity. This number may seem small, but when you consider that this is a country of nearly 10 million people, this percentage encompasses thousands of homes and businesses. Sweden is also continuing to research and improve on wind energy, aiming to replace their nuclear power sources over time.
Water power is a major source of energy. The Hoover dam is just one example how the simple combination of water and gravity create sustainable, renewable energy without a negative environmental impact. By taking advantage of what is around us, we can find ways to harness sustainable energy. Though solar, wind, and water are the three main alternative energy sources on our radar, there is also geothermal energy and wave power that are also being researched and developed. With each step individuals make toward cleaner, alternative energy, we benefit our planet.