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Sustainable living and development are defined as the ability to prosper as an economy without negatively impacting the earth and its resources. This topic is very important to me as I am living in South Africa, the 30th most polluted country in the world. This is also a relevant topic because as I grow up, it will be my generation that has to think innovatively to reduce the dangerous effect our development will have on the earth, the way the generation before us failed to do. This essay will be the investigation of the short and long-term positive effects of the use of renewable energy sources over non-renewable resources on the planet and individuals.
The earth’s natural resources such as fossil fuels, natural gas, and coal are non-renewable (i.e it is a source that is not replenished at the same rate that it is consumed and will most likely be quickly exhausted). These non-renewable energy resources are often toxic and harmful to the environment; damaging the ozone layer, polluting the air and water, wildlife and us humans. Greenhouse gasses, Carbon Monoxide and, many others are contributing to the destruction of our planet.19 000 people die every day due to the pollution from fossil fuels alone. However, 90% of the energy consumed by the world is from non-renewable resources. Even though many companies, organisations, and factories are well aware of the repercussions that non-renewable energy entails, they still use them for production. For example, a man in Nigeria may want to heat his water for cleaning. He wants to buy a water heater and the electric heater is much cheaper than the solar heater and he will not have to install the electric heater on his roof. this is one of the many examples as to why people would rather buy electronics using non-renewable energy rather than their renewable counterparts. The higher the prices, the uncertainty and the low availability are some of many factors.
The first case study will be based in Nicaguara. Around 2005, this country had 25% of its electricity came from renewable sources. Ten years later, this figure tripled and by 2015, 80% of the country’s electricity comes from renewable sources. After the devastation of Storm Nate in 2017(a result of global warming), this was a resounding call to the government and to many environmental organisations to reduce the damage they were doing on the earth by implementing taxes exemptions for renewable resources, making companies more incentivized to invest in them. Now, Nicaguara only contributes 0.03% of global emissions. Nicaguara utilised their available resources such as high wind speeds, their active volcanoes, and solar energy. This case study shows how it is possible for a country to implement laws and policies that support the use of renewable energy and as a whole, better the living situation for individuals for generations to come. Petroleum only makes up 5% of its total import. This is also overall better for their economy, as they are spending less on buying crude oil.
The next case study is based in Malaysia. Malaysia’s energy is almost 95% dependent on non-renewable energy sources with only 2 percent of renewable energy. The import of petroleum is one of their largest imports at over 10%. Malaysia emits 2.06 tons of carbon monoxide which damages the ozone layer and pollutes the environment. There are 139 Million dollars invested in Malaysian stock, however, more can be attracted with the introduction of greener technology. It takes a simple change in the law to attract more investors and help the economy, the environments and the people. With a large percentage of 30% of the employed population in the industry sector, the damaging factories and machinery as well as cars emitting CO, these factors contribute to the ecological destruction
South Africa is rated 30th in the world in terms of pollution. Coal is the main energy source which makes up for 92% of the electricity and it is running out. The benefits of using renewable energy in South Africa instead of depending on coal are that it creates entrepreneurial,service and industrial jobs for the 27.2% unemployed in South Africa. It will also invite foreigners to invest in South African businesses. This helps the economy and popularises South Africa in a positive light. Most of the issue with depending on non-renewable energy sources comes from the lack of funding and support from the government. This results in emission rates from factories and machinery.
The issue of environmental damage saddens me greatly. I was taught growing up to leave a space better than you enter it. However, we are doing the exact opposite. Instead of finding ways to help our earth and replenish the resources generations before have used, we are continually using these resources, that we know are going to be depleted To know that the growing hole in the ozone layer will result in greater climate change devastations such as tornados and floods killing more people which could have been avoided by making smarter choices. That is why I am excited to enter the working world and create a better place for living with people who are also passionate and are more pressured to do so.
If this situation gets worse, we will simply run out of these resources faster than usual(which is predicted to happen by 2088) and that would either force us to make a difference or it will have destroyed the earth so badly, the ozone layer will be so damaged that humans and all living organisms will die due to too much exposure to UV and Gamma rays from the sun. If the situation gets better, many countries’ economy would benefit from the use of renewable and sustainable energy sources. Countries would harvest the electricity from nature such as wind, solar, wave and infrared waves. This would also result in more jobs that require discovery and research on how to improve the sources (i.e efficiency). If the situation stays the same, we will still inch towards the complete depletion of the earth’s resources while damaging the earth.
A possible decision to help countries favor renewable energy is to heavily tax the use of non-renewable energy sources in factories and vehicles. This way businesses will not want to make a loss and would be more inclined to use renewable energy. Another possible choice and easiest to implement is to remove all tax from machinery that uses renewable energy. This allows for free trade and learning from others to create even better machinery. This is the most logical reason as it does not take too much money from the government and it makes it more affordable to use renewable energy. The last option could be for governments to support and fund the businesses that use the more renewable energy sources and should educate the public as well.
This research has personally stretched my mind. I have always been passionate about helping the environment and reducing our dangerous impact. Researching this has taught me how countries like Nicaguara are becoming more ecologically clean and have had to make drastic changes to get to where are now. That large change made a significant impact on the country. With that kind of courage to change, our generation can help secure a sustainable life for many generations
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