TED Conversations

Noel Laporte

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What form of renewable energy has or will have the lowest impact on biodiversity?

Climate change, air pollution, rising sea levels and species extinction can all be attributed to the increasing usage of non-renewable energy in the world today. Non-renewable energy reserves are diminishing and finite with an ever-increasing demand from countries around the world. Coal, natural gas and oil all have detrimental effects on the environment. These effects are both local and global, harming species throughout the world. As we consider different renewable forms of energy, can we rank their potential impacts on biodiversity?


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  • Apr 24 2013: Since biodiversity literally covers the entirety of the earth, any attempts we make to harness energy for our own uses will affect it. The affects of fossil fuels are increasingly obvious, nuclear waste is likely to seep into the environment, solar panels will alter the habitats of wherever they are located, and wind turbines will affect local birds, among other things. I know little about alternative sources of energy because it's a subject that doesn't interest me much, but, unless new technologies emerge, solar and wind seem to have the lowest impact on biodiversity, even if they likely aren't capable of meeting the energy demands of the world.

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