A weekly blog for all things conservation
By: Dan Rhodes, Education Coordinator, Bradford County Conservation District
Boiled down to its’ simplest definition, energy is the power to do work. Without energy in its many forms, all the modern technology that moves people, goods and services, thoughts & ideas around the world at breakneck speed would come to a screeching halt. Our power plants scattered all over the country are constantly making electricity by burning fuels such as coal, natural gas, and oil, or converting nuclear energy, water power, wind power or solar power to electricity. Without them, every person in the nation expecting that wall switch to produce light, would be disappointed. Without the energy we need to recharge our own bodies when we eat a meal, we would lack the power to walk, talk, think, breathe or even survive!
Thankfully, scenarios like these are almost incomprehensible to most people across the United States because as the most prosperous country on the planet, we have a steady, relatively cheap supply of energy and food. For many of us, turning on switches, hitting a thermostat to turn up the heat in our homes, loading up a woodstove with good hardwood, firing up a microwave oven to cook a quick meal, or flipping the ignition on a car or truck to drive somewhere has become completely automatic.
Without a doubt, this ‘automatic’ energy supply we enjoy today in America is one of, if not the most important keys to our economic and technological success as a nation. Our constant fingertip access to energy and the technology that feeds on it, also provides us with unprecedented conveniences completely unknown to people only a generation or two ago. For example, even people in their mid-30’s today might still remember a time in their childhood when cell-phones, cordless home-phones, internet and computers didn’t exist for nearly all of the population. If you needed something like clothing, sporting goods, groceries, auto parts, etc.., you still had to physically travel to a store to get it. If you wanted to touch base with family or friends on the other side of the country, you might even have to hand-write and mail a paper letter picked up from your mailbox by the mail-man. Imagine that now!
Clearly, advancing technology and the energy used to fuel it have rapidly and fundamentally changed society over the past few decades both domestically and around the world. With so many positive changes along these lines that have made every-day life much more convenient in so many ways, why is it important for Americans to stop and consider where their energy is coming from, how it is produced, or the potential impacts of its’ use?
For one thing, energy and technology have become so important to our everyday life that for most of the population, the energy required to make it all work is vital to the continued basic functioning of society. For this extremely important reason alone, achieving a good understanding of the real sources of where our energy comes from is more than warranted. Secondly, by achieving a better general understanding of energy sources, options and impacts, the average person in Bradford County is better equipped to make decisions that will save them money, while reducing potentially harmful impacts on their own health and natural resources.
In part two of this energy series we will highlight energy and personal transportation considerations for people looking to go from ‘A’ to ‘B’. Please stay tuned and thanks for reading!
The Bradford County Conservation District is committed to helping people manage resources wisely. You can visit the Bradford County Conservation District at 200 Lake Rd in Wysox across from the Wysox Fire Hall. Contact us at (570) 485-3144 or visit our web page at www.bccdpa.com.
Various staff at the Bradford County Conservation District