Clean energy such as wind and solar are often pigeonholed as environmentalist concerns. But these energy sources also have a positive impact on something that affects all of us: health.
Switching from fossil fuel energy sources to wind and solar would help us all breathe fresh air, drink clean water, and avoid diseases. Here are the top reasons that clean energy is good for our health.
1. No toxic emissions
Emissions from fossil fuel plants are associated with asthma, heart disease, and cancer, just to name a few problems. These health problems are part of the reason a group of organizations, including the American Heart Association, came out in favor of the Clean Power Plan (pdf). According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, “wind, solar, and hydroelectric systems generate electricity with no associated air pollution emissions,” so we can be assured that the air is cleaner when we replace fossil fuels with clean energy.
2. Less water pollution
Since fossil fuels, especially coal and natural gas, pollute drinking water sources and impact the supply of fresh water, we know that they threaten our fresh water availability. In Pennsylvania and Texas, methane released from extracting shale gas through fracking contaminated the water to such high levels that people could light their drinking water on fire. But “wind and solar energy require essentially no water to operate and thus do not pollute water resources or strain supply by competing with agriculture, drinking water systems, or other important water needs,” according to the study by the Union of Concerned Scientists mentioned above.
3. No greenhouse gases
Tropical viruses such as the Zika Virus are made both worse and more prevalent by increased global temperatures caused by global warming. Other diseases are also worsened by climate change, such as Lyme Disease and the West Nile Virus. These threats are so serious that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended reducing the use of fossil fuels, which contribute to climate change, for the sake of children’s health.
Why We Like It
It’s a no-brainer. People need clean air, fresh water, and a stable climate. We like clean energy because it helps us all live healthier lives.
With so many voices in the conversation on clean energy and climate change, it can be hard to get your head around just what it all means. The EESI blog puts the sometimes complex issues surrounding sustainability and renewable power into simple, plain language. Take part in the discussion–share your opinion in the comments section.