Written By: Mike Straub
Last week I took my four-month-old son to the ocean for the first time. Max loved lying under the umbrella, listening to the waves, and having family members fuss over him. I wondered, what will the world look like when Max is taking his kids to the beach? What strides are we taking today so they can enjoy the world as much as we do?
To start, recent advancements in clean technology, coupled with current political and media attention leads me to think that the answer is sustainable energy. The state of immediate action by individuals, groups, and (in some cases) nations across the globe may help in reducing unwanted impact – like little tar balls on the ocean shore. Becoming less dependent on fossil fuels has to happen eventually and it may be sooner than we think.
According to some experts, sooner than we think may not be soon enough. Dr. James Schlesinger, former Secretary of Energy and Secretary of Defense, has warned the public about “peak oil” for years – the world will never produce more crude than it does today. Schlesinger says, “We remain heavily dependent on giant oil fields discovered in the 50s and 60s. Only rarely in recent decades have discoveries equaled production. Mostly, it has been one barrel discovered, for every three barrels produced.”
In other words, we’re running out of oil. [Author’s note: Peak oil is a highly debated topic online].
Of course, we still have coal, which continues to be mined and burned despite its environmental impacts, including:
- Depletion of natural fuel supplies
- Landscape degradation
- Release of methane, a greenhouse gas
The coal industry has spent millions of dollars on a national ad campaign in an attempt for more acceptance of “clean coal,” but numerous credible scientists and organizations insist that there can be no such thing. Many clean technologies don’t benefit from deep pockets to create their own ad campaigns. For instance, Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion, is a technology without emissions that offers 24/7 base-load power today and a profitable alternative to fossil fuels.
Each day advancements are made towards a world with clean and viable energy resources. OTEC is one way that we can help provide for our children today, and enable them to appreciate our planet – and its natural resources like the ocean – tomorrow.
Over the years, I’m sure Max will make lots of great memories at the beach. I’m hoping that he’ll be able to teach my future grandchildren about the nearby OTEC plant, how it works and how his father’s generation turned fossil fuels into ancient history.