Pollution Is Hurting Us: Renewable Energy Can Help Stop It

Environmental awareness has never been more important; although children have been taught about pollution in school for decades, the planet is just now beginning to experience the most drastic side-effects of plastic use, energy emissions and mass production. There are many probable solutions to combat pollution, but all of them need to be rooted in the most sustainable approach: renewable energy. Renewable energy taps into the Earth’s natural resources which do not require any human intervention to create. By harnessing new technology to take full advantage of what the Earth has to offer without taking away from the planet, we can reduce the effects of climate change and pollution to create a greener, safer Earth for generations to come.

How Pollution Hurts Us

The harmful effects of pollution hurt every living creature on earth. From an environmental standpoint, pollution contaminates the ocean, destroys marine life, upsets the natural balance of the ecosystem. For example it destroys coral reefs that not only provide habitats to thousands of oceanic animals but also assist humans by filtering carbon and nitrogen from the air. Food crop is heavily effected by the climate and so food shortages will be common place with global famine. Climate change is causing more natural disasters that are stronger than ever before, leaving many countries and people at a great risk of being wiped out from hurricanes, tsunamis and wildfires. Air pollution causes disease in humans, ranging from respiratory infections and health complications to an increased cancer risk. Exposure to pollution also weakens the immune system, leading to more widespread disease and increased mortality rates. Weakened reproductive and endocrine systems affect global population and personal well-being. Carpooling, greater access to public transportation and reduced carbon emissions from personal vehicles will help reduce the effects of air pollution, but people must protect themselves as well. Wearing proper breathing protection will alleviate the negative effects of pollution on your body.

How We Can Help

Going green saves the planet and human lives. By harnessing solar, biomass, wind and geothermal energy as renewable power sources, we can reduce harmful pollutants from entering the air, ozone and water supplies. On a more personal level, you can make sure that you use organic products, recycle and repurpose household items and always properly dispose of your waste. There are many ways you can begin to adopt a renewable lifestyle today without going completely off the grid. If you can, grow your own fruits and veggies. This adds increased oxygen to the atmosphere and improves air quality. Some forms of renewable energy technology still require electricity to run, but as we progress toward a more environmentally conscious society, people will begin to adopt better ways of respectfully utilizing power and minimizing their overall consumption.

How Does Going Green Help?

Non-renewable energy will ultimately lead to a global crisis as human beings lose the means of heating their homes, powering electrical grids and even fueling their cars. Without renewable energy, the entire planet will come to a screeching halt when the non-renewable resources run out, which is estimated to occur within the next 50 to 100 years. Although they took over 300 million years to form, human beings have consumed nearly all the non-renewable resources on Earth in under 200. While there are preventative measures in place, the world will not be able to sustain itself at its current rate, and humans will suffer the most when their primary source of energy and power is gone.

Going green won’t just help the remaining non-renewables last longer, but it will also help reduce the effects of pollution on the environment overall. With less emissions, slowed climate change and safer wildlife, we can begin to replenish and restore the planet once choice at a time.

What Businesses Can Do to Reduce Their Environmental Impact

Global warming is a hot topic in today’s world, and businesses are increasingly becoming conscious of the impact they have on the environment. Thankfully, there are many initiatives that a business can take to help reduce any negative impact. These initiatives have other bonuses as well.

Go Paperless

The idea of a paperless workplace started around the same time that personal computers became a widespread business accessory. However, it is only recently that the idea has started to float into the mainstream. Businesses can consume copious amounts of paper for all manner of things that don’t really need to be printed out. Being environmentally conscious with digitization instead of paper can ultimately save your business plenty of physical space and employee time and effort. It can also provide document security.

Stop Using Harmful Chemicals

Harmful chemicals are a part of many businesses, and their use always requires following proper legal guidelines. Failure to do so puts employees at high risk and can cause problematic environmental spills or runoff. Employers who force employees to use chemicals that are known to be harmful can be sued for negligence.

Encourage Carpooling and Biking

Auto emissions contribute to high carbon levels and pollution in the atmosphere. This is leading many businesses to promote carpooling and biking, but to maximize success, they need to take actionable steps. Ensure that your building has bicycle access and secure parking space for the bikes. Keep some bicycle essentials on-site for quick repairs, and offer incentives to employees who bike or carpool. Having executives and management set the example and lead a culture shift can be a big factor in whether others will follow along.

Use Renewable Energy and Efficient Appliances

No matter what type of business you have, it is likely that your building contains a variety of appliances. Whether you have a full restaurant kitchen or just a fridge for employees to keep their lunches in and a microwave to warm them, swapping to energy-efficient or renewable-energy appliances is a smart choice. Not only will these have a much smaller environmental footprint than older models, but they also usually save money in the long run. It may even be worth considering the installation of solar panels on your building.

Businesses are often an important part of the community that surrounds them. Having your business lead the way in positive environmental change is a great way to boost employee morale, local support, public relations and more. Most importantly, it helps keep our environment healthy.

How the Fossil Fuels Industry Harms Its Workers

Working on oil rigs that extract fossil fuels from deep within the earth or as an infrastructure employee that delivers the oil to refiners and finally to consumers is dangerous work. Oil industry workers face serious injury, long-term illness, and disability as a result of work-related hazards. Companies are required to meet basic safety standards under the Occupational Safety and Health Agency’s General Industry Standards, but protections are often not enough to prevent disaster. Here are a few ways that the fossil fuels industry harms its workers. 

Disasters

Of all the risky jobs associated with the industry, workers on oil rigs face the greatest dangers. Oil rig workers can suffer burns, broken bones, head injuries or spinal cord injuries. Furthermore, proper medical facilities are frequently far away or inaccessible from the rig, so injured workers may have to be medically evacuated with a helicopter or other means to seek medical care, which can risk further damage because timely care is essential to treating potentially devastating injuries. 

Toxic Fumes

Anyone who has ever smelled gasoline pumped at a station is familiar with the smell of petroleum fumes. Short-term exposure may not be a severe health risk, but the long-term exposure encountered by oil workers definitely can be. Toxic ingredients used in oil production include formaldehyde, benzene, mercury, and sulfur dioxide. When inhaled through fumes, these toxins penetrate the lungs, burying themselves deep in the tissue. As these toxins accumulate because the body is unable to eliminate them, the potential for cancer and other fatal health conditions mounts. 

Climate Change

Climate change threatens the survival of all people, including oil workers. Most people in the industry, especially those working on oil rigs and other blue-collar jobs, may not even be aware of the damage their industry is causing the planet. Many are simply trying to feed their families. However, the devastating greenhouse gas emissions caused by fossil fuels and other human activity are no longer subjects of serious debate. The best recent estimates indicate the global community has until 2032 to drastically reduce carbon emissions to avoid irreparable damage to the planet. The implications of climate change go well beyond melting ice in the Arctic; disappearing shorelines, the extinction of species crucial to the ecosystem’s health, like bees, and re-emerging diseases are just a few of the most serious threats.

The fossil fuel industry, while providing jobs for its employees with short-term benefits, neglects to properly account for all the damage it causes its workers and the world. If we want to make a difference for the better, we need to start aggressively implementing more sustainable approaches to energy.