Earth Day and Alternative Energy

Earth Day and Alternative Energy

Amercia's oil dependence continues to grow

Earth Day was April 22nd – a day where many of the more 'environmentally conscious' folks chose to preach about the virtues of driving a hybrid, the evils of eating meat and tell how unless we all quit using fossil fuels this instant, global warming is going to turn the world into a scorched earth.  Of course, there is a lot of reality in what they are saying.  However, of all the myriad of issues presented on Earth Day, the one that seems to affect us most is related to oil and energy consumption. 

 

As of today, oil is close to $112 a barrel and $4 a gallon for gasoline.  While oil prices have declined slightly, with the continued rebellions and uncertainty in the Middle East, we can look forward to those prices growing even further this summer.  While I, like many, would rather see more green energy solutions, let’s be realistic – oil is the lifeblood of modern society. It's used in everything from fueling cars to industrial production; and without it, almost every facet of modern life would either cease to be or change drastically.

So understandably, people have begun looking for new sources of oil, or in lieu of that, alternatives. While people have been decrying the USA's dependence on foreign oil since the 1970s, only recently has there been any serious outcry to increase production in the USA.  At this point, with the dozens of suggested alternative energies, none of them are yet viable alternatives to oil.  The reason that oil is the fuel of choice is because it is stable, easy to process and the amount of energy you get from it is nearly unmatchable. To become an alternative to oil, one of the dozens of suggested replacements would have to do all of that more efficiently than oil, in addition to being cheaper than oil. And, so far none of the alternatives put forward are able to do that.

Despite the many concerns, the only real clean, reliable and safe alternative energy that can have an effect on our nation’s energy is nuclear power.  Yet, images of Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and Fukushima create fear of nuclear energy. Surprisingly, in spite of its fearsome reputation, nuclear energy has one of the best track records in terms of both safety and power generated among any technology available to us today.  Yet, in the long term, even that will be inadequate, and we cannot power our vehicles with it. 

Short of a miraculous breakthrough however, most of these new sources are years, if not decades away, and to not use every source available to us presently is foolishness at best and negligence at worst. Because in the end, regardless if you drive a Hummer or a Prius, without gas in the tank, all you have is a very expensive lawn decoration.  Providing more domestic oil while speeding up development of new, alternative energies seems to be a necessity in America.