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: The use of solar power as a form of energy is very promising. While some other sources of renewable energy (ex: geothermal) may release much smaller amounts of greenhouse gases and other pollutants than our current use of fossil fuels, solar panels don't release any. Although installing solar panels and creating solar farms may be expensive now, I think in the future, the benefits will greatly outweigh the initial costs. Of course, creating large solar farms can have detrimental effects to the land and biodiversity that they take over. However, one thing that I really like about harnessing solar energy is that you don't have to create solar farms; you can put solar panels on top of all buildings to harness energy without possibly destroying natural habitats.
    • Apr 24 2013: I really like the idea of solar panels on top of buildings rather than destroying more land and biodiversity in order to create them. My friends have solar panels on their house, and they never have an energy bill. Although these were expensive to buy and install, overtime I think they paid for themselves along with benefitting the environment.
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      Apr 24 2013: you make the same mistake as another poster did. while solar panels indeed don't release any pollutants, they have to be manufactured. solar panels contain rare metals and plastic parts. manufacturing them is quite a load on the environment.

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