Alternative Energy 8211 The Solution to the Fossil Fuel Dilemma




Alternative Energy – The Solution to the Fossil Fuel Dilemma


If the United States continues to employ fossil fuels for energy, the nation will ultimately become more dependent upon fuel imports from the troublesome nations of the Middle East, and we will continue to damage our precious environment. Since the United States relies so heavily on fuel from the Middle East, the U.S. is subject to the will of those quarrelsome nations in order to maintain our fuel reserve. A shortage of oil can happen at any time and would cause an energy crisis that would hinder the United States. Another reason for us to substitute fossil fuels with alternative energy sources is that fossil fuels are hazardous to the environment. In order to minimize dependency on foreign oil and to maintain a habitable environment, the United States must maximize usage of alternative energy sources such as solar, wind, hydroelectric, and geothermal energy.
It is imperative for the United States to replace fossil fuel energy with modern Alternative Energy sources. We have evidence of disaster based on the energy crisis of the 1970s. Barbara R. Fogel has some interesting remarks on this subject:
It seemed like an inexpensive and innocent habit, but suddenly the United States found itself hooked on oil. Our very life—what we ate, how we lived, what we were, our heat and light, our jobs and cars—depended on oil, and now there didn’t seem to be enough to go around. (1)

Fogel is saying that we had become dependent on oil, and our suppliers were the troublesome countries in the Middle East. With most of our country’s energy coming from the Middle East, we were subject to obeying the whims of those countries in order to maintain our supply of energy. Fogel comments on the effects of our dependency on the middle east for oil: In the 1970s the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) decided to drive up oil prices. The price of oil went from $2.50 a barrel to $30.00 a barrel in six years (2). This price change caused us to plunge into an energy crisis. Fogel also says that many experts believe the oil crisis will inevitably repeat itself if the U.S. does not curb its high demands for imported oil (2). This means that if we do not use some other form of energy, then the U.S. will fall into another energy crisis.
Alternative energy is crucial to the preservation of a habital environment. According to Christine A. Erwin, doctors say that fifty thousand American deaths per year are directly connected to airborne particulate matter. About one third of this pollution comes from power-plants (1). Therefore, if we were to produce power without producing the pollutants, then we would cut the airborne particulates by one third, thus reducing American deaths.
Solar energy is one answer to producing power without pollution. This energy is inexhaustible and available for use anywhere. Fogel says that if everyone could make full use of the sun’s light and heat, we would have about twenty thousand times as much energy as the entire world uses now (73). We can never use up solar energy because it is enormous and limitless. According to Erwin, solar energy is already being used everywhere in many different applications. People are using solar energy to heat pools, houses, and hot water tanks and also to produce electricity be means of Photovoltaics (2). This means that solar energy not only takes the place of fossil fuels for producing electricity, but can also be used for non-electric applications such as heating water or homes by capturing the solar heat. “Raw, Clean, Power” exclaims that solar energy comes at no cost whatsoever to the environment and that if we used solar energy, we would protect the environment (1). This means that by using solar energy, we would protect the environment from the pollution that comes from fossil fuels, thereby supporting a more habitable planet.
Another reason to use solar energy is that it does not have to be gathered or refined like fossil fuels. Erwin says that unlike its fossil fuel counterparts, sunlight is readily available and does not “…need to be explored, mined, extracted, transported, combusted, transmitted, or imported…”, (1) making it the