Friday, 3 December 2010

Environment and Energy

Contested planet. It's the core topic for Geography A-level.
Sustainable energy. It's the subject at hand all over the world; we need it.

It's been a while since I wrote an update, but with all the snow that's covered the UK, I've had other things on my mind (making Snowmen and procrastinating much, exercising and reading my first ever book).

Tocco Da Casauria, ever heard of it? It's located in Italy. Sounds pretty fancy.
It has a population of about 3,000 people. Nothing out of the ordinary, except the extraordinary scenery. Oh, and the wind turbines. There are 4 wind turbines located on the outskirts of the town, which is the only source of electricity.
These turbines are so efficient at producing energy, they generate 30% more than the populace uses - the remaining energy is sold to the Italian National Grid, profiting 170k Euros annually, all of which is pumped into the local services and economy. Free school meals, subsidised taxes, street cleaning, you name it, the profit generated from the turbine provides it. With benefits like that, you wish all areas of the world could benefit from and have wind turbines..

However, there are always haters and restrictions.
A fundamental flaw of wind energy is that they can only be placed in windy regions - you never would've guessed that, right? Luckily, Tocco experiences almost 24hour breezes. Other areas may not. Secondly, visual pollution dissuades people from building Wind Turbines. In my opinion they don't destroy the scenery or view, in fact I find them quite relaxing. Maybe I'm just weird...
People need to get over the trivial points like turbines obstructing the view, surely the benefits negate all minor flaws like that. I'd much rather pay less for services than have a completely natural landscape (maybe I'm a cheapskate too). Migrating flocks are also at risks from turbines, but like I said, benefits > cons.
"We're demonstrating what is possible with wind. It's something others could follow, whether it's with wind, solar power or other types of renewable energy. Italy and the world can learn from this."
On more of a local note, the Government has unveiled a plan to spend £4million on planting trees over the next 4 years. While it's intended to keep Britain looking lovely, it'll obviously bring environmental benefits, not just aesthetic. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Forestry Commission and organisations such as the Woodland Trust are leading this plan, which aims to double woodland cover in the UK over the next 50 years, as well as make tree planting a "habit" rather than a neglected "chore".

 In comparison to this, the Amazon Rainforest has had the least deforestation in 22 years, which Brazil aims to keep low - they're starting to realise that the forest is one of the worlds largest carbon sinks, removing ~20%CO2 from the atmosphere - the lungs of planet.

 If they continue to destroy and not nurture the forest through policing and monitoring, then it could have devestating effects a few decades down the line.

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