Wind Energy | Teen Ink

Wind Energy

March 26, 2009
By Jana Bernard BRONZE, Far Hills, New Jersey
Jana Bernard BRONZE, Far Hills, New Jersey
2 articles 2 photos 0 comments

There are several different types of energy sources that are accessible to people, but each energy source has its advantages and disadvantages. We all leave a carbon footprint on our earth. A carbon footprint is a measure of the effect our activities have on the environment. To have a healthier planet with happier people we should reduce the amount of greenhouse gases we emit from our daily routines. Two examples of well-known greenhouse gasses are carbon dioxide and methane. Greenhouse gas emissions have resulted in sea-levels rising and glaciers melting. This has a negative effect on the environment. One major way to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases we produce is to be more conscientious of the type of energy we utilize. Examples of various energy sources are nuclear energy, hydroelectricity, and wind power. I believe the best energy option for the future is wind power for several reasons.

Nuclear energy is not environmentally healthy. Nuclear energy is energy released by reactions within atomic nuclei. It has many more disadvantages than advantages. The only major advantage to Nuclear energy is that it does not emit carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, or nitrogen dioxide into the atmosphere. Nevertheless, its uranium enrichment process generates radioactive waste. The waste generated from uranium mining mixed with rainwater can contaminate the earth’s groundwater with uranium. The construction of nuclear power plants can destroy the natural habitats of wildlife by creating toxic waste. By using nuclear energy, we afflict wildlife as well as pollute our land and the air we breathe.

Similar to nuclear energy, hydroelectricity is harmful to our Earth, but especially to our land. Hydroelectricity is electricity generated by hydropower, the production of power through use of the gravitational force of falling water. Even though hydroelectricity is a renewable energy source (because it uses Earth’s water cycle to generate electricity), its generation of and operation can cause serious damage to damns. This damage consequently causes floods. When the damns withhold water for too long, it gets released extremely fast. The alteration of water flow in damns changes natural wildlife activity and ecosystems. In addition, hydroelectricity can cause vegetation which decays lakes creating a buildup of methane, a greenhouse gas. Greenhouse gases can create holes in our atmosphere which let in infrared light. When an excess amount of this light is exposed to our skin it can lead to cancer. By using hydroelectricity, we risk damaging our own land by flooding it; we risk harming animals, people, and plant life.

In contrast to nuclear energy and hydroelectricity, wind power has a positive impact on the world. Wind power is the conversion of wind energy into electricity, using wind turbines. The only disadvantage of wind power is that it requires a lot of land for the turbines. Unlike nuclear energy, wind power does not generate radioactive waste, or any waste at all. In addition to no waste beinggenerated, wind power doesn’t give off any fuel residues, such as greenhouse gases, because it just uses wind to circulate the turbines. For that reason, using wind power also reduces the measure of our carbon footprint. Therefore, it does not pollute the air we breathe, or burn holes in our atmosphere either. Another one of the many advantages of wind power is that it doesn’t require water. Unlike hydroelectricity, wind power isn’t harmful to aquatic life because it does not pollute water. It is a renewable energy source because it is generated from a natural source, wind.

Wind power is the most environmentally safe energy source for the future. Wind power does not harm animals or plant life, it does not create air pollution, no waste is produced in the process, it is a renewable source, and it does not emit greenhouse gases, which reduces our carbon footprint. By using wind power we help to save Earth’s environment.

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