Renewable energy is the future that we should choose

Who would think that a polluted world is better to live in than a clean one? That water with floating dead fish is better than water safe to fish and swim in? That breathing smog is better than clean air? Who would think that destroying natural sites, killing everything in and around it and compromising resources we depend on is a good idea? If I had to guess, I would say no one.

Unfortunately, in states such as Texas, air-polluting companies seem to be getting away with constant violation of air permits. Texas Tribune reported that in a single event in 2015, “more than 300,000 pounds of 1,3-butadiene — a highly explosive chemical and known human carcinogen used to manufacture rubber — escaped into the atmosphere” and “in less than an hour, the plant spewed 258 times more butadiene into the atmosphere than allowed by state law.”

In 2016, that same company was responsible for a “2,100-barrel oil spill in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico,” causing “a  2-mile by 13-mile (about 3 kilometers by 21 kilometers) sheen [to be] visible in the sea about 97 miles off the Louisiana coast,” reported the Huffington Post.

And these are the events we hear about. “According to records obtained by The Associated Press, [300 oil pipeline spills in less than two years in North Dakota alone, which is the second oil-producing state behind Texas], are among some 750 ‘oil field incidents’ that have occurred since January 2012 without public notification,” according to an October 2013 story in USA Today.

What are we doing to our people, our home? How much longer will decision makers pretend that those things do not have a great effect on life and the balance of the environment?

Fortunately, many leaders are pushing changes and creating policies that will greatly improve this situation, eliminating risks of incidents like those, and avoiding disasters like the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, recognized as the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

They are pushing for the use of renewable energy.

Unlike fossil fuels such as coal, oils and natural gas, which draw on finite resources that will eventually dwindle and become too expensive or too environmentally damaging to retrieve, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, renewable energy uses [natural] resources such as wind and solar energy that are constantly replenished and will never run out.

The United States currently relies heavily on fossil fuels, but there are signs that this is about to change.

Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 Campaign launched Mayors for 100% Clean Energy, “calling on mayors from big cities and small towns, regardless of their political party [affiliation], to support a vision of 100 percent clean and renewable energy in their cities, towns, communities and across the country.”

The campaign page highlights that “mayors understand first-hand the threats to security and public health that families are facing across the country” and should be the ones taking the lead in this change with views to “protect our kids and families from pollution, create new jobs and local economic opportunities, and ensure that all people have access to affordable energy solutions.”

As of this writing, 135 mayors, 18 from Florida, have pledged their support for a community-wide transition to 100-percent renewable energy, and the Melbourne City Council planned to vote on a resolution joining Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 Campaign. Could that be a step toward putting Brevard on the map for more sustainable solutions?

The United States as a country has some catching up to do in that area. France just announced a major shift to end the sales of gas and diesel cars by 2040. Other countries such as Norway and India have set even more aggressive targets. According to The New York Times, “Norway plans to sell only electric cars starting in 2025, and India plans to do so in 2030.”

Car manufacturers are ready for the switch. On July 5, The New York Times added “Volvo said that all of its new models beginning in 2019 would be either battery-powered cars or hybrids that combined electric motors with diesel or gasoline engines.” Other car manufacturers like Renault, which started selling battery-powered cars in 2011, and the PSA Group, which makes Peugeot and Citroën cars, have been preparing for this for a while.

Now it is up to us to decide which side of history we would like to be on.

Email Marcia Booth at