Energy Consumption

In: Science

Submitted By ariyanasdad
Words 320
Pages 2
Americans consume energy in multiple ways: heating and cooling our homes, lighting our offices, transporting ourselves from one place to another, powering factories, among many other aspects of our daily lives and work.
Sometimes energy consumption is obvious, as when we pump gas into a car. Many other times it is easy to forget that we are consuming energy. The fact of consumption is hidden by the ordinariness of turning on a switch, altering a thermostat, or cooking a meal. This everyday consumption, however, is massive: with only four per cent of the world's population, the U.S. consumes over a quarter of its energy.
When we consume energy, we affect the natural environment. This is true for virtually every kind of energy, although the kind and scale of impact varies greatly. Production of hydroelectric power involves damming rivers and thus harms fish runs. Windmills occupy huge amounts of open space. Even solar energy involves production of batteries and solar cells that have some impact. While all energy production has environmental consequences, the production and use of fossil fuels cause by far the most negative effects, at virtually every step of the way.
Extraction of these fuels, such as drilling for oil or mining coal, often destroys forests, mountains, coastlines, and other natural areas. When crude oil is transported by sea to refineries, leaks and spills can destroy marine life for huge areas. Refineries produce toxic byproducts and air pollution, often in low-income areas, as do many power plants. Gas stations contaminate land and produce fumes that harm the health of employees and customers.
Even before energy gets to the consumer, its extraction, production, and transportation has caused environmental harm. The final consumption of energy produced by fossil fuels has further…...

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