Cities Go Green

Mr. Kevin Motia

In an effort to fend off the negative effects of fossil fuels such as ecological disruption and health problems like respiratory ailments and cancer, many U.S. cities have been transitioning towards the use of clean energy for their electrical needs.

Two years ago, Burlington became the first city in the U.S. to become completely reliant on renewable energy for its residents’ electrical needs. The city has become an example for other communities to follow.

the McNeil Plant, courtesy of Burlington Electric
the McNeil Plant, courtesy of Burlington Electric

Burlington became the first city to run on 100% renewable energy by investing in a hydropower plant in 2014. More recently, influenced by Burlington’s achievement, other American cities have begun to look at their own natural resources for energy uses.  According to the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, there are now 29 cities located in the United States which are run 100% on renewable energy.These cities include Aspen, Colorado; Kodiak Island, Alaska; and Greensburg, Kansas.

Clean energy has positive implications on public health. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “The air and water pollution emitted by coal and natural gas plants is linked to breathing problems, neurological damage, heart attacks, and cancer”. In short, the burning of fossil fuels negatively affects public health, and this study suggests that the use of renewable energy will reduce the risk of the manifestation of these illnesses in the U.S.

Additionally, switching to renewable energy from fossil fuels will help to combat the problem of climate change. When fossil fuels are burnt for energy purposes, carbon dioxide is a byproduct of the chemical reaction. According to the American Institute for Physics, the resulting carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere, and adds to the layer of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The gases trap heat, and warm the earth. This implies that as the use of fossil fuels is diminished, less carbon dioxide will be released into the atmosphere, helping to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and inhibit climate change.

It is supported by studies conducted by the American Institute for Physics and the National Center for Biotechnology Information, that not only are fossil fuels harmful to American societies, but the use of clean energy actually help improve American societies. Renewable energies are an alternative to fossil fuels. It helps reduce carbon emissions, and therefore reduces the risk of health problems linked to pollution, and aids in the fight against global warming.