The EPA’s Citizen’s Guide to Cleanup Technologies Series 4: Greener Cleanups

May 19, 2017

Environmental Enlightenment #203

See our Newsletter, Environmental Enlightenment #200, for introduction to one highly valuable, plainly written series of Citizen’s Guides published by the EPA at

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.

The word derives from Greek energia, from ergonwork.

(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.)

Photo courtesy of King Kong Wiki  (

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: and
© 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.

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 comprehend that fossil-fuel-derived energy has limits. Be it a hundred years or two hundred years, or a bit more: in the not too far future, the human race will have it exhausted.

Additionally, all fossil fuel is organic and its combustion locks oxygen within carbon dioxide and water.

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.

Go to the EPA’s Citizen’s Guide to Greener Cleanups at for the rest.

It will prompt your wits to greener pastures!

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Illustration by Jecowa, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic License


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