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Name:  Chandice D.
Status: student
Age: 10
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 10/16/2004


Question:
Why should we conserve energy?


Replies:
Chandice-

People use a lot of energy, and we need to be careful about how much non-renewable energy we use. We rely heavily in fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, and there is a limited amount of these in nature. It takes a lot of dead organisms and millions of years to make oil and coal. We are using these resources very quickly, and need to save some.

Let us say that all the cookies that your family would ever have were placed in one cookie jar (assuming they would never go stale). Right now, those cookies are disappearing very quickly because people really like the cookies and they are not worried about the time that they are all gone. As the cookies disappear, your family will realize that they should save some. That is what is happening with fossil fuels. We are realizing that we are using far too much, and some people are trying to save some.

Another reason to conserve these forms of energy is that they are very polluting to the environment. If we use less of these forms of energy the environment would not have as much pollution.

Some people think that we should also use other forms of energy, such as solar energy, hydroelectric (water) and wind energy. Hope this helps,

Pat Rowe


Dear Candice,

I am assuming when you speak of conserving "energy" you mean we should try to save on fuel, gas, electricity etc; which are our energy sources. If you mean something else, write me back and I will attempt another answer.

Anyway, all the energy we use has to come from somewhere. When we heat our houses and make hot water to use, we might use natural gas, propane or heating oil. The electricity that runs our homes is usually generated at a power plant that uses coal. Some power plants use nuclear energy, some out west are trying windmills.

The trouble is, most of these resources, (coal, natural gas, oil), are non-renewable. What this means is that once they are gone, they are gone. For example, coal was formed underground millions of years ago. Once we dig out all the coal, we will have to find something else to use. This may sound easy but it is not. If a power plant is set up to burn coal to transfer energy, to change it over to burn something else would cost much money. This would be passed onto us in the form of higher electric bills.

There is a lot more to it than what I have written. The gas for our cars comes from oil. We do not have much oil left in the world. The oil that is left belongs to other countries. Many more countries are using cars now than ever before. We cannot expect to hog it all; we are going to have to learn to share. How do we share? By using less so other people can have some. Scientists and engineers are now trying to come up with cars that can get a lot of miles per gallon, so we do not use as much gas. This helps, but we need to be aware of making little steps to save everything we have; not being wasteful.

How do we do this? Walk or ride a bike somewhere instead of riding in a car. Shut off lights, TV's, radios, when you are not using them. If everyone could just do a little bit, it would all add up to a big difference and a great savings. Another thing that is important: Reduce, recycle, and reuse. You have probably heard this at school. Recycling is so important. The plastic containers we use are made from petroleum, the same oil that we need for heating, and running our cars. These bottles should be recycled so we can save a little on the oil we use. The unfortunate thing is, most of the bottles cannot be recycled as bottles again; but they are actually made into other things. So we keep on making more bottles. With glass bottles, we can wash them out and use them again, or they can be melted down and made into new bottles.

Reusing is as simple as it sounds. I reuse the plastic containers I get at the grocery store, (like stuff macaroni salad comes in). I wash them out and use them to store leftovers. I have no Tupperware or reason to buy it. I reuse grocery bags for garbage bags. They are also great for cleaning up after the dog. I am sure you get the idea. the more we reuse, the less we have to buy. The less we buy, the more resources are saved and we have saved a little money in the process.

There are many alternative energy sources; solar power, wind power, geothermal power to name a few. If you are interested in that, go to the library. It would be a fun and informative trip.

I hope this answers your question. Go to the library for good information on this.

Thanks for your question.

Martha Croll


Chandice,

I would like to make sure that we both understand that energy is naturally conserved. You might have heard of the expression that energy is neither created nor destroyed - only transferred. That is true. Energy is transferred from one place to another. This means that the total energy that is out there, will always be out there. Let us say you were to burn gasoline to drive a car, the energy that was in the gasoline is converted to kinetic energy (the car is now moving), heat, other less energetic chemicals, and so on. But if we added all the different energy locations (the car moving, the heat, etc.) it would add up to the energy that was in the gasoline. So energy is never lost, just moved to a different place.

The problem is that as we transfer energy to different places, we make the resulting energy less easy to collect. For example, when we burn gasoline to drive our car, the heat that is produced is harder to collect and use again. It is also hard to get energy out of the chemicals that are produced when we burn gasoline.

So, in answer to your question, it is not so much that we need to conserve energy. Energy is naturally conserved. BUT, what we need to conserve are the high or rich energy materials like gasoline because if we run out of those things, then we will have to try and get energy out of materials that do not easily give up energy that we can use.

Greg (Roberto Gregorius)



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