As a global society, we currently stand on a precipice; the potential catastrophe that awaits us cannot be downplayed in any way. Brought about by fossil fuel greed, mass shortsightedness and a complete and frankly terrifyingly impressive ability to ignore all signs of danger and wrongdoing for decades past, humanity has ravaged the planet to a point where civilisation is at the fork in the road.
Unless we make a change, a global change, we begin the short walk down one road towards an extinction level event, bigger than any nature has wrought upon life before us, that will be impossible to turn back from. Forgive my foreboding and perhaps depressing approach, but I for one see only one route out of this. For centuries before now, humanity has prided itself on its ability to innovate and outsmart our way out of danger, and never more than now is it crucial we do this once again.
It’s with these thoughts ringing heavily in my ears, that I turn to what I feel are some of the most frustrating and dismissive problems large majorities of society have with certain renewable technologies, as well as some of those dirtier fossil fuels such as natural gas, which despite being part of the problem, are rapidly taking precedence as the answer to our carbon woes, a fantastic alternative to that old demon oil and coal.
Unfortunately I do not foster the same feelings towards natural gas, and also do not tend to follow suit in regards to issues with solar panels, wind farms or nuclear plants, all of which are the truly awe-inspiring innovations with which we can slow, stop and eventually reverse the once irreversible damage we have wrought upon this beautiful planet. As you will hopefully see in the following summaries, many of the so-called ‘negatives’ with each of these technologies, is in my eyes, and I’m sure the eyes of many others, both ridiculous and detrimental to society as a whole, a statement I do not wish to undervalue in this post.
Let’s get straight to the major players, solar and wind. The one complaint about these two absolutely wonderful technologies is one that angers me greatly - “they’re too ugly, don’t go putting them on my roof/in my garden/anywhere within a 50 miles radius or my house”. Apologies if you’re someone who shares these feelings, but I simply cannot agree with such a weak and destructive view when you consider the grand scheme. As job creators, solar and wind each produce at least 6x the number of jobs that coal and oil do, with a much larger percentage in long term maintenance, a highly secure career. Not only this, but subsidies, feed-in-tariffs and government funding has aided these industries in literally exploding in value and popularity, and lest not forget, solar and wind are entirely clean, completely renewable and have the potential to provide huge proportions of the world’s energy.