Power of Simplicity
The EPA’s Citizen’s Guide to Cleanup Technologies
Series 4: Greener Cleanups
See our Newsletter, Environmental Enlightenment #200, for introduction to one highly valuable, plainly written series of Citizen’s Guides published by the EPA at http://www.clu-in.org/products/citguide
With this issue we introduce the EPA’s Citizen’s Guide to Greener Cleanups. You can reach it through the hyperlink under the blue header below.
Energy is the capacity for work or vigorous activity.
Photo courtesy of King Kong Wiki (http://kingkong.wikia.com/wiki/)
The word derives from Greek energia, from ergon, work.
(The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, ©2000 Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.)
Readily perceptible, natural forms of energy are winds, rivers, waterfalls, ocean waves, ocean streams, hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, geysers, hot springs, solar rays, snow, rain, thunderbolts, tides and flows, fire, combustible materials, and… charging gorillas.
2011 Wildlife Photographer of the Year (Natural History Museum, London, and BBC Wildlife Magazine: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/ and http://www.bbcwildlifemagazine.com/)
© Andy Rouse/Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2011
Natural forms of energy not readily perceptible are radioactive rays, cosmic rays, solar winds, planetary magnetism, rotation and internal structures, solar fusion, lunar orbiting, galactic gravity, and radioactivity.
Diagram courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey
Probably better than 90 percent of the energy that we use on Earth originates with the sun. Counted among this class are fossil energy (petroleum, coal and gas) (*), solar energy, and hydroelectric and wind energies.
(*) (Abiogenic Petroleum Origin theory to the contrary. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenic_petroleum_origin)
At this time, petroleum, coal and natural gas provide over 85 percent of the power that makes the human race tick. (Wikipedia)
|The energy that went into the making of fossil fuels took hundreds of millions of years to accumulate, and we’re burning it at a rate of millions of times faster.
No need to employ esoteric calculus to know that fossil-fuel-derived energy has limits. Be it a hundred years or more: in the not far future we’ll have it exhausted.
Additionally, all fossil fuel is organic and its combustion locks oxygen within carbon dioxide and water.
Illustration by Jecowa, licensed under
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We need trees and plants, lots of trees and plants to release the oxygen thus trapped.
In cleaning up soils and groundwater from contaminants, we should be wise to not pay for it with increased deprivation of oxygen or release of greenhouse gas.
The greenest way of handling contaminants is through the use of naturally occurring bacteria. Know more about this through Environmental Enlightenment #198, 199 and 201.
And, go to the EPA’s Citizen’s Guide to Greener Cleanups at http://www.clu-in.org/download/Citizens/a_citizens_guide_to_greener_cleanups.pdf
for the rest.
It will prompt your wits to greener pastures!