A Sustainable Approach for the Future

Article by Cat Ashley (Q19)

With technological advancements and breakthroughs in research occurring every day, our society is racing towards a future filled with innovation and opportunity. Our ideas fuel the cycle of consumption and creation to build a better future for ourselves and generations to come. While creation of new technologies has an immeasurable impact on our future, consumption plays a major role as well, harnessing time, energy, and resources for the foundation of an end product. To preserve our future and enable progress, we must assume collective ownership of our future in our approach to sustainability and energy.

In our continual efforts to move forward, the energy industry has had its fair share of breakthroughs and setbacks. Remarkable progress has been made in the field of alternative energy, from advancements in solar and hydrogen fuel cell technology to increasing conversion of biomass into fuel. However, there are still a plethora of technological and social issues that remain in terms of utilizing these sources of energy. With nuclear power, the social responsibilities overshadow the technological capabilities, rendering it infeasible for years to come. With current technology, nuclear power has the potential to provide safe, renewable, and sustainable energy for the foreseeable future; but with this solution comes significant political and economical accountability. On the other hand, research and our current technologies can also limit growth. Biofuel and photovoltaic technologies are viable options for the future of renewable energy, but are not efficient or prevalent enough to meet the energy needs of today’s society.

While these renewable sources of energy are not nearly as efficient yet as they have the potential to be, we continue to depend on fossil fuels. In the long run, our demand will overrun the supply of these non-renewable fuels, putting the pressure on us to proactively seek out a sustainable alternative.

Energy is in essence what fuels our future, making the need to take ownership of sustainable initiatives ever present.  With a renewable and environmentally sound source of energy, we can progress further, travel farther, and explore fields previously not believed possible. Yet as engrained as energy is in our future and wellbeing, the need to utilize sustainable energy or decrease energy consumption loses its sense of urgency when approached from a day-to-day basis. As a society and collective unit, our actions and our approach to sustainability can greatly shape the future; with the right approach and dedication to resource preservation, the future can be a sustainable one.

While technology and research continue to open doors into the realm of sustainable energy, our choices and actions can contribute to the well-being of our environment, society, and future. From a sustainability perspective, if we all drive more environmentally friendly vehicles, carpool to work, make conscious decisions about products we purchase and consume, or conserve water and electricity, our collective energy consumption will decrease drastically, for the better.

The future is in our hands, along with the responsibility to make the right decisions and take the right steps towards sustainability in terms of energy and the environment. Individual successes in alternative energy research or technological advancement or social initiatives do not necessarily add up to collective success; these interdependent sectors rely on the cooperation and willingness to influence our future of all its parts. With power in numbers, and power from technological advancements in sustainable energy, we can proactively create a better future.

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