Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 21, 2018

Tracks and Tales: Balancing Energy On Our Amazing Planet

By Steve Anderson

Did you ever stop and think that, even when you are sitting still, you are actually traveling about a thousand miles per hour?  The Earth we live on is quite close to 24,000 miles in circumference, and it spins that distance every day.  And that does not even consider how far we are traveling around the sun in that same time period.  No wonder I have such a hard time keeping my hat on!  Just think about how much energy that represents.
Our forefathers made heavy use of flowing water within our rivers.  They built dams and captured this energy to grind their feed and make their electricity.  It represented one source of energy that did not involve all of the work associated with cutting wood (their other commonly available energy source.)
As a society, starting in the later 1800s we became better at moving our energy, focusing on fossil fuels.  A hundred and fifty years later, it is becoming apparent that no matter what fossil fuel we use (coal and gasoline the two most common) the net results have consequences to both us and the very planet itself.  
It is exciting and logical to me that our scientists are becoming ever more efficient at utilizing the energy that is all around us.  I am thrilled that scientists figured out how to turn sunlight into electricity, a process beyond my comprehension.  This past weekend, our family jumped on the bandwagon and began installing solar panels at our personal residence.  
The solar panel system installed stands to be a good financial investment for our family.  It is also refreshing to think that every kilowatt of electricity that it generates represents less coal being burned.  Perhaps those people to the east of the generating plant will be able to breathe a little easier.  Hopefully, its purchase will drive our economy toward finding even more efficient manners of creating the energy we require balanced against the environmental impact.