The Gift of Wind This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

November 30, 2012
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Earth: It's our home. We only have one, and it's irreplaceable. So why aren't we taking better care of it?

I understand that there are many important issues facing our country. However, many of those are short-term. In a few years, the unemployment rate will be back to normal. The economy will be thriving. The troops will be home. The sun will be shining … or will it? The environment is the only issue with a rocky future. And that's why we have to change.

According to the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), 65 percent of global warming is due to energy generation and use. This can be reduced if we switch to cleaner energy sources such as wind or solar. One wind turbine can generate enough energy to supply 350 houses with energy for a year, according to Wind Energy America.

There are many misperceptions regarding this alternative form of power, for example, they take up too much space. When turbines and access roads are installed on an already existing farm, they use just 5 percent of that farm's land, according to Wind Energy America – so plants can still be planted and animals
can still graze. Some opponents of wind power raise concerns about bird mortality, but traditional power lines pose a greater threat to migratory birds than spinning turbines. The windmills are visible to birds because they are coated with UV reflective paint; they also have underground wiring so the birds aren't tempted to perch.

Opponents also contend that wind turbines produce a disturbing level of noise. But on ground level, Wind Energy America measured the noise level as less than 50 decibels, which is quieter than the equivalent of a normal conversation.

Using wind power saves our earth from the pollution of fossil fuel energy. “A one mega­watt wind turbine will annually displace emissions of 1,600 tons of carbon dioxide, nine tons of ­sulfur dioxide and four tons of nitrous oxide, reducing smog, acid rain and greenhouse gases,” according to Wind Energy America. In addition, windmills use less than 1/600 the water that a nuclear power plant does, and 1/500 the water that coal-powered energy requires. Furthermore, they have no environmental impact in regard to fuel development and waste disposal, unlike fossil fuels and power plants.

Not many people realize that clean energy creates jobs. There was 9 percent job growth in the clean energy field from 1998 to 2007, according to the EDF. Ninety-one hundred jobs in wind-powered energy were created in the first quarter of 2011 alone. According to, “137 clean energy job announcements could create 46,000 jobs in 42 states.” These range from construction work to manufacturing to engineering. These jobs could help boost our ailing economy while protecting the environment.

The U.S. Department of Energy has stated that using the wind from Texas and the Dakotas alone, we could supply the entire country with energy.

If we don't make a positive change in our energy consumption, we will waste money, jeopardize our health, and lose our home – the Earth. Wind power is the change we need.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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