Thursday, March 20, 2008

Journal #15: Oil Sands, Corn Ethanol

The past two classes have seemingly made the outlook on the possibilities for alternative energy sources bleak. It has become more clear to me over the semester that almost any new energy source, waste management method, or emissions reducer can be proven to be just as harmful to the environment/economy as the previous method using Life Cycle Analysis.

Corn Ethanol is easily marketed as environmentally friendly and clean with agriculture being the primary source, although a large amount of energy is necessary in the entire fermenting/refining process. Although it is incredible that we are able harness substantial amounts of energy from my favorite popped snack, it reminds me of reading Grapes of Wrath in 10th grade. From the estimation calculations we performed in class, it doesn't seem remotely possible to produce a large enough amount of crops to make this a sustainable alternative.

Oil Sands, one of the major facets in reducing our dependency on middle east oil sources, was presented as deceptive in that the refining process is more harmful to the environment than the current resources. To me, it reinforced the urgency that must be placed on reducing the dependency on oil, mainly in transportation vehicles. I always felt that as a nation our continuing and increasing dependency came through constant reinforcement that cars, buses, and trucks were absolutely necessary parts of society. Giant roadways and suburban living areas are constantly expand and further underline the need for a vehicle to earn a comfortable living and lifestyle.

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