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Going Green


David Mackay’s free book was eye opening and informative. While reading I couldn’t help but think how revolutionary it would be if everyone in the world were to read it. It was written in the simplest, yet most informative way, while still being entertaining to read. It covered all the bases attending to carbon footprints, green energy, and climate change, assigning this reading to someone previously unaware of these issues would, I believe, give them a completely different outlook on the decisions they make.

One chapter that I found exceptionally interesting was “Putting Costs In Perspective”, in which MacKay covers how much we spend on things such as military, tobacco, and subsidies, all of these things have money into the billions spent on them whereas funding for alternative energy is surprisingly low. These numbers give hope to a more sustainable future because it shows that we actually have a chance to spend a lot of money on green energy if only we were to invest in it. The money is available, we just have it invested in other, and perhaps less necessary, things. After all, I cant think of many things more important than preserving the planet each and every one of us live on.

However, there was another chapter that I found a lot less hopeful, and that chapter was “Can we live on renewables”. I found this chapter a little depressing because it shows a massive gap between how much energy we consume and how much energy is thought to be available. In this chapter MacKay states that “for any renewable facility to make a contribution comparable to our current consumption, it has to be country-sized. To get a big contribution from wind, we used wind farms with the area of Wales. To get a big contribution from solar photovoltaics, we required half the area of Wales. To get a big contribution from waves, we imagined wave farms covering 500 km of coastline. To make energy crops with a big contribution, we took 75% of the whole country.” Now obviously, wind farms that cover entire countries are not an option for most places, and using other countries’ resources will bring up an entirely new set of problems, but we need to learn to cooperate and make sacrifices if we hope to make a dent in our energy consumption and fossil fuel addiction

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