by Christina Sarich
from Nation of Change, July 9, 2013
According to statistics from the US Energy Administration, or EIA, Americans use more than 4,000 billion kilowatt hours in electric energy every year. Only 12% of this energy is created using renewable energy – from geothermal plants, water (hydroelectric plants), organic waste and the sun. Meanwhile, Germany is now creating a record 23.4 gigawatts daily, and all with solar power.
This incredible solar power success is being attributed to more than 1.3 million solar systems spread across the country. More than 8.5 million people either live or work in buildings that use the sun to power their electricity needs entirely or in part.Germany has held the solar-power creation record for years now, with the Czech Republic and Bulgaria just trailing behind them. Germany was able to beat the new solar-power record as of April of this year due to the installation of more than 33.5 GW of photovoltaics (PV). It proves an industrialized nation can produce massive amounts of clean, non-petroleum based energy through strong government policies and incentives for stimulating the use of solar panels in private homes and businesses.
Even if you haven’t bought into the global warming advisories, the petroleum based money that we normally run the world on – utilizing diesel fuels, gasoline, etc. needs to stop. In 2000, Iraq converted all its oil transactions under the Oil for Food program to euros. When the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, it returned oil sales from the euro to the USD. Over $1 trillion dollars was spent on that singular war. Oil money is the reason behind many wars, and countless ecological and environmental travesties.
Oil is toxic to almost every form of life. Crude oil is full of carcinogens, which cause cancer and other diseases. Crude causes birth defects, leukemia (due to the presence of Benzene, a volatile organic compound) and lowered white blood cell count, which is indicative of a compromised immune system.
The combustion of crude oil or petroleum contaminates the air with cancer-causing particles and the high temperatures required to burn crude oil also creates acid rain, or nitrous oxides which also harm human and animal health. Many of our coral reefs have been damaged by the acid rain caused by nitrous oxides, along with sulfur dioxide from the sulfur in the oil, combining with water in the atmosphere to create acid rain.
Numerous oil spills including the Kuwaiti Oil Fires, the Lakeview Gusher in Kern County, California, Gulf War Spill, and Deepwater Horizon(also known as the BP oil disaster) have damaged countless forms of aquatic life and ruined pristine beaches. Three of these spills are considered to be among the worst environmental tragedies of our time.
The question is – why do oil companies continue to have a hold on our energy supply? Sickeningly, oil companies even thrive during economic down turns. Exxon, Chevron and ConocPhillips are among the richest companies on the planet, while they continue to kill human beings, turn an immaculate planet into a sludge pile, and poison ocean life. Further, oil and gas drillers who pollute groundwater, spill toxic chemicals or break other rules have little to fear from the inspectors and agencies regulating the continued surge in American petroleum production. Only the smallest percentage of violations result in any meaningful fines for oil companies.
Perhaps a class action law suit will drain the pockets of oil companies. There is plenty of evidence that alternative energies could have been well-implemented by this time, as Germany so perfectly demonstrates.