Our life and the world as a whole depend on energy. The energy sources and production techniques we utilize have a big impact on the economy, the environment and the future. We frequently hear the keywords alternative energy, renewable energy and sustainable energy in conversations about energy. To make informed decisions concerning energy, it is necessary to grasp the differences between these phrases even if they are frequently used interchangeably.
Alternative forms of energy are those that don’t include fossil fuels or carbon-combustible products such as gasoline, coal, natural gas and so on. The origination of the term arises from a need to find alternatives to the hydrocarbon-based combustion processes that now dominate the economy.
Renewable forms of energy constantly replenish themselves with little or no human effort. Solar energy is just one example. No matter how much you use, the supply will never end (okay, it may end after billions of years but your using solar power won’t make the sun burn out any faster). Other examples of renewables include firewood, water (via hydroelectric dams) and wind power. The benefits of renewables are that they replenish themselves and so relieve society of its reliance on dwindling, finite supplies. Oil and natural gas and to a lesser extent, nuclear power, are not renewable because the resources that supply these forms of energy are finite.
Renewables are not necessarily good for the environment. Wood burning for instance, can be very noxious particularly when it’s done inefficiently.
Sustainable forms of energy are not only renewable but they also have the ability to keep the planet Earth’s ecosystem up and running in perpetuity. The basic notion behind sustainable energy sources is that by their use, society is not compromising future generations’ health and well-being. In addition, by using sustainable energy sources, society doesn’t compromise future generations’ ability to use their own sustainable resources to the same extent that those resources are used now. Who can argue with this very fundamental version of the Golden Rule?
In conclusion, energy is an essential part of our lives and has a significant influence on the future, economy and environment. Making informed decisions requires having a solid understanding of the differences between alternative, renewable and sustainable energy sources. While renewable energy is continuously regenerated with little to no human work, alternative energy refers to sources that do not need fossil fuels. Sustainable energy is both renewable and capable of permanently preserving the Earth’s biosphere. By utilizing sustainable energy sources, we can guarantee that the health and well-being of future generations won’t be impacted and that they will be able to utilize sustainable resources just as we can.
“Want to inspire your child’s interest in renewable energy? Check out the 4M Science Windmill Generator on Amazon! This fun and educational kit allows kids to build their own working windmill generator while teaching them the principles of clean, sustainable energy. With easy-to-follow instructions and all the materials included, this is a great way to introduce your child to the world of science and engineering. Order now and watch your child’s curiosity soar!”