What do the bubonic plague in the 14th century, the influenza epidemic of the early 20th century and the spread of HIV/AIDS in the late 20th and early 21st centuries have in common? One answer, according to Joel B. Stronberg author of the American Solar Energy Society’s “Common Sense,” is that they have all been called pandemics. According to Merriam-Webster.com, a pandemic occurs over a wide geographic distribution and affects “an exceptionally high proportion of the population.” Joel B. Stronberg declares that we are currently facing another pandemic. This pandemic is the combination of the consequences of burning fossil fuels. The two major problems from burning fossil fuels are global warming and decreasing oil supplies. However, Joel notes that there is a difference between this pending pandemic and the pandemics previously mentioned. This pandemic can be prevented. Solar energy is a nondepletable resource that can help us avoid furthering global warming and decrease our continued dependence on oil.
Solar energy is, in the most rudimentary terms, energy from the sun. It can be converted into electricity and heat. Surprisingly, less than 0.1% of our heating, transportation and power energy come from direct sunlight. This is surprising because, according to www.johnbarrie.com, in one single second the sun gives off thirteen million times more energy than the amount of electricity used by the world in an entire year! As we learned during the in-class presentation, hydroelectric power produces about 100 kilowatts of energy. In contrast, about four thousand MEGAwatts of energy fall on the mere area of 0.3861 sq. mil/1 sq. km. The amount of energy that falls on this meager area is enough energy to heat and light ...
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...rce to help better our world as a whole and improve our individual quality of life.
"Energy Kids Page." Solar Energy-Energy from the Sun. Oct 2004. Energy Information Administration. 20 Apr. 2005 <http://www.eia.doe.gov/kids/energyfacts/sources/renewable/solar.html>.
"Glossary." John Barrie Associates Architects. 20 Apr. 2005 <http://www.johnbarrie.com/glossary.htm>.
"Solar Energy Facts." Solar Energy Facts Answers. JC Solar Homes. 20 Apr. 2005 <http://www.jc-solarhomes.com/solar_energy_facts.htm>.
"The Forum for Solar Energy." Solar Collectors: Different Types and Fields of Application. 09 2004. The Solar Server. 20 Apr. 2005 <http://www.solarserver.de/wissen/sonnenkollektoren-e.html>.
Stronberg, Joel B. "A common Sense Solution." Solar Today. 18 Apr. 2005 <http://www.solartoday.org/2005/march_april05/Common_Sense.htm>.
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