People must change energy for the future

Energy is heating homes and is heating up the earth.


Mitchell Garcia

Pleasant Prairie coal power plant looms over the Pleasant Prairie sport complex. This power plant is being taken down to make room for a new solar panel field, which started in late 2020. Clean energy conversion has begun so close to home.

Mitchell Garcia, Staff Reporter

Energy may be one simple word, but it means everything to people.

In the world, people use energy to charge phones, use their lights, and for power to heat their homes and to use the tools inside them. Power is one resource that many people think will never run out.

When it comes to the breakdown of where the world’s power comes from, 63% of US energy is fossil fuels, which consist of coal, natural gas, petroleum, and other gases, 20% is nuclear energy, and 18% is renewable according to the Alternative Fuels Data Center.  

Within the past few years, the coal industry has been going down due to it becoming too expensive. Companies have been switching over to a method called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. This method shoots water with chemicals down a hole in the earth; it cracks the ground, which allows quick access to gas and oil. In this process, they have found many new ways to get the energy that is faster and quicker. 

According to environmental science teacher Mike McMahon, to stop climate change from happening, energy would be made up of solar panels, wind turbines, and hydroelectric dams, paired with nuclear power as a secondary source of power. 

Some people may be scared of nuclear power, but it is one of the safest sources of power as of right now, and why should we move to cleaner energy.

The burning of oil and gas adds to the release of greenhouse gases, which heats up the earth and causes global climate change. For example, cars produce CO2 (a greenhouse gas) which adds to climate change when emitted.  

 Bryan Tylkowski, an environmental science teacher, explains what is happening if global temperatures keep going up. “So every year [we keep] getting record-breaking hot for temperatures, which then affects how people live. But then also our ice caps are melting, which then is raising sea level. So, there are people living on the cost that are watching now, hav[ing] flooding issues, there are whole island nations that are going underwater and coral is bleaching at an alarming rate where I think now 50% of the Alaskan Great Barrier Reef is dead.” 

One instance that shows the world experiencing extreme weather and climate change was when Texas had temperatures that were low as -11 degrees in February of 2021. Texas was not ready for this extreme cold, so there was a total state shut down due to a total power loss due to oil lines freezing. This caused over 13 million people to be without power. Sadly, some people died because of no heat and power. “While wind turbines and solar panels froze, a major nuclear plant lost half of its generation, and there were massive failures in coal, oil, and natural gas. Demand surged, meanwhile, as people accustomed to mild Texas winters turned on their heat,” according to the AP news.

The way people get our energy needs to change now because if global climate change goes on, it will cause more extreme weather to occur. Flooding could increase, it may get too hot or cold for people to be outside for long periods of time, and there is going to be little rain or too much rain, which contributes to flooding and food shortages.

It will take some time to change all power to clean energy, but it is best for the earth. Help by using less energy, recycling and minimizing waste, and helping clean up the land. You can also donate to organizations to push for green energy and try to see how you can save energy in your daily life.