Energy and the Environment

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Energy and the Environment As I read books and magazines to prepare for this essay, I have become much more familiar with energy and the environment. I was always aware of my surroundings, but studying the issues further has allowed me to see how my life is involved with this area and how it actually impacts it. I think it was first made clear to me when I looked at the actual energy processes that take place every single moment of every day, and how very little disturbances can change environmental processes substantially. I never really understood the fact that certain environmental, and human, processes can actually convert energy into many different forms in certain situations. And also, all of the types of energy can be converted in an infinite amount of ways. An example of this is how "mechanical or electrical energy is, for instance, produced by many kinds of devices, including fuel-burning heat engines, generators, batteries, fuel cells, and magnetohydrodynamic systems" (Encyclopedia Britannica). In this example, fuel burning heat engines are used to produce mechanical energy, but in the process chemical energy is turned into thermal energy which is then converted into mechanical energy. As you can see, this is just one of countless processes that convert energy many different times. Another way I started to look at these topics was from an economists' point of view. I started to think more about how we may deplete certain resources and how certain alternatives are helping to aid with this problem. Another area is the distribution of resources and the certain decisions that must be made when deciding what and how much to use. An example of this is the fact that "schools spend more on energy than on computers and textbooks combined" ( If scientists could develop new methods of energy conversion, maybe schools and other areas of interest can decrease their spending on resources and ultimately energy usage. All-in-all, I think that the biggest topic of interest involved with energy and the environment is how much we actually consume (resources, energy, etc.) and how we can try to decrease this figure. To think about how much energy we actually use, and how this number has increased, consider the fact that in the past 54 years we have increased our energy usage from 29 quadrillion Btus to about 84 quadrillion Btus (Annual Energy Review). This figure is constantly increasing, which is one of the biggest environmentally-related problems that we are faced with today.
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