Renewable sources of energy have been steadily growing over the past few decades due to the advancements in science and the dire need to reduce carbon emissions. In the state of Indiana, over 84,000 people are now employed in the clean energy sector, and over eleven years, the use of coal for electricity dropped from 85.5% to 59% (2019). (As a reminder, the air pollution from coal-burning heavily threatens health; this is well documented by numerous studies and summarized in publications such as “Coal’s Assault on Human Health.”) According to the United States Energy Information Administration (US EIA), solar energy is rising. In April of 2000, solar consumption in the United States was 5.6 trillion BTUs, compared to 113.7 trillion BTUs in April 2020. Similarly, wind energy in the US grew from 3.4 to 268.9 trillion BTUs over the 20 years.
The choice of clean energy is not always well supported. If you choose to purchase an electric or hybrid vehicle in Indiana, you will be required to pay an additional annual registration fee of $150 or $50. Conversely, several states (California, Colorado, Delaware, Connecticut, and others) offer financial incentives to purchase or lease clean energy vehicles. For a new plug-in electric vehicle, rebates from $2000 – $5,000 are available. Given that these low and no emission vehicles are markedly better for environmental and public health, corresponding to fewer health problems/costs, it makes sense to incentivize these technologies.
I know many people who have either installed renewable energy technologies or have chosen clean energy companies. Another way to be part of climate change solutions is to participate in creating/implementing community climate resolutions and action plans, which begin discussions and institute goals to reduce carbon footprints and pollution. Deciding to convert to renewable sources of energy in all possible ways is a choice to heal the earth and care for others, especially the marginalized and future generations. The more people who choose and support renewable energy sources, the quicker the conversion to clean energy and a healthier world. Take time to learn more about clean energy options where you live.
Julie Peller Ph.D. is an environmental chemist (Professor of Chemistry at Valparaiso University ) and she leads the Environmental Ministry at Nativity of Our Savior in Portage IN. Julie has been writing a weekly column for church bulletins for the past ~5 years called the Green Junction and is helping to move the call of Laudato Si to action forward. Her Research Interests are in Advanced oxidation for aqueous solutions, water quality analyses, emerging contaminants, air quality analyses, Lake Michigan shoreline challenges (Cladophora, water, and sediment contaminants), student and citizen participation in environmental work.