Alternative Sources of Energy

March 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

We are called to be stewards of of God’s creation. Our world’s reliance on non-rewenable and dirty fossil fuels will inevitably place a burden on the unborn generations which will follow us. We need to develop and research the potential of alternative sources of energy for a cleaner and safer future.

Geothermal technology studies show great promise with a possible big payoff for a light investment.

Solar power needs no introduction. It too is a highly efficient and inexpensive source. Offering tax incentives and “sell-backs” to utility companies are providing impetus for more homeowners and firms to employ this technology.

Wind turbines have some expense to produce and install but once in operation they too are cheap and require little maintenance. Our European neighbors are converting to wind and their expertise and experience can aid us here in the U.S.

The auto industry is continuing to make promising advances in electric, hybrid, and hydrogen powered vehicles.

Certainly, we can’t move to a mostly renewable energy world overnight. We must continue to fund research, offer incentives for conversion, and work to place sunsets on wasteful sources.

As more citizens see the benefits of sustainability and costs are brought down demand and further implementation will increase.

As Christians we should continue to reflect on how our modern lifestyles can be made less wasteful and self-serving. The sacrifices we can make in the coming years can have the long-term objective of leaving a less dangerous and unsustainable world to our children.

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How to Move Forward on Climate Change: Greenhouse Gas Emissions as a Negative Externality

February 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

“Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all,” was the influential conclusion of Garrett Hardin’s 1968 essay, The Tragedy of the Commons. The essay demonstrates how innocent actors, working individually in a commons, often bring ruin to themselves and others even while maximizing profit for their own self-interest. Hardin’s principle asserts that the concentrated benefits and diffuse costs inherent in the private use of public resources create unsustainable economic systems, insofar as they are dependent on the abundance and integrity of natural resources and environments. It has shed substantial light on the limitations of the theory in the tradition of 18th-century economist Adam Smith’s “invisible hand,” which maintains that all self-interested economic action serves to benefit the system as a whole. Implied in liberal theory is the notion that self-interested action is necessarily self-regulatory, as a reasonable actor weighs personal costs and benefits in a manner that promotes sustained growth. The problem arises, however, when benefits are fully procured by the actor but costs are externalized to others — as is the case of private action in a commons. A major challenge to laissez-faire economics, then, is its failure to regulate what have been called “negative externalities” within systems. To avoid tragedies of the commons, adherents to free market capitalist systems must employ methods to make individuals accountable for the resource degradation that they cause and profit from.

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