Which Renewable Energy Source Should I Choose?

In a society that is growing ever more aware of its impact upon the environment, this is one of the many ever present questions people have.

Flagstaff is currently in an odd spot for renewable energy. Although it does receive sunlight, it is not consistent like in Phoenix. Also, no major rivers run close to Flagstaff. The terrain is also rough and uneven. However, this should not dissuade you from investing in renewable energy here in Flagstaff.

Solar power is the one of the three, and quite possibly the most well known, older faces of renewable energy. While Flagstaff, as previously mentioned, receives less sunlight than most of Arizona, it is still viable to invest in solar power. The upfront costs to installing a typical 5 kW system is made up in saved energy within 12 years. 18 years after that, a profit in $23,000 is made in saved energy. Even if the upfront costs to a solar system is too prohibitive, it is still entirely possible to buy small solar generators or solar lights.

Hydroelectric power is, unfortunately, not a very viable venture within Flagstaff. However, it is still possible to build microhydropower system and use that to generate electricity off of small streams.

One of the oldest sources of energy, wind power should be considered in Flagstaff. The city currently sits within a wind density zone that makes building large turbines a decent expenditure. If a Sky Stream 3.7 kWh wind turbine were to be build in Flagstaff, it would take only 7 to 11 years to recuperate the costs as opposed to the 12 years of solar energy. While smaller, home-based wind turbines are not quite as efficient in terms of energy production, they still should be considered. After all, the costs of building and installing one is not as prohibitive with systems costing as low as $3000. Even Northern Arizona University has a small wind turbine set up to power its renewable energy instruction laboratory.

So while Flagstaff may not seem to be an ideal location for renewable energy, it has the potential to be able to produce vast amounts of energy from renewable resources. So please, for the welfare of not just the Earth but for the welfare of the human race in general, take into consideration the possibility of power generation from renewable resources.

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How To Reduce Your Ecological Footprint

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“Every action has an equal opposite reaction,” this may seem like an obvious idea but few people take this into consideration when living their everyday lives. The people of this world are not taking into consideration the amount of energy and natural resources that are being used by the most minute tasks. Every person leaves behind an ecological footprint when they pass away and recently the size of shoe that is leaving its imprint is taking up a large chunk of the world with just one step. An ecological footprint is the “measurement of the ecological assets that a given person/population requires to produce the natural resources it consumes and to absorb its waste” (Ecological Footprint). In simpler terms an ecological footprint is the impact a person has on Earth expressed by the amount of natural resources they exploit. In this how to paper, I will be giving simple ways each person can reduce their own ecological footprints and make sure that this world is here to stay for future generations.

When reducing our ecological footprint starting with the small things is probably the easiest way to begin. It will be an adjustment at first but similar to all other habits, once you do the small things for a while they will become almost second nature. To begin, one of the easiest things we can all do to reduce our ecological footprint is recycling (Reduce Your Ecological Footprint). Whether this is recycling objects within our household or taking our recyclables to local recycling center. We can recycle almost everything including paper, glass, aluminum, plastic, and even electronics. By recycling more frequently you are allowing for natural resources to have more time to replenish before it is needed again, plus most things were made for more than a one-time use. An extremely easy task that would help tremendously in reducing your footprint is giving up plastic water bottles (Reduce Your Ecological Footprint). Plastic water bottles are one of the leading materials in the oceans and landfills. By having the same water bottle that you use every day, you can reduce the amount of plastic being made by water bottle companies and help stop the plastic islands in the oceans from getting any bigger. Another step you can take to reduce your ecological footprint is by unplugging everything before you leave the house. Large electronics still suck up energy even when they are turned off so by unplugging the electronics you are saving electricity and saving money because your power bill will be lowered (Reducing Your Ecological Footprint). An easy way to unplug all your electronics is by using a power strip. If you use a power strip you just have to un plug and plug back in one thing which easy to do compared to unplugging each item one at a time. If you do not want to use a power strip you can also unplug each appliance after you are done using it. The past three things I have mentioned are steps you can take to reducing your ecological footprint inside your home.  They are simple and if you stick to doing them every day you will reduce the size of your footprint and even save some money.

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These next steps I am going to talk about deal with your carbon emissions. These are a little bit harder to stick with but will have a dramatic change in your ecological footprint. Driving less or carpooling are two major things you can do when it comes to reducing your carbon emissions(Conger). I know this does not sound like the most ideal situation but even if it is just once a week or double checking you have everything when you are at the grocery store so you do not have to go back for a second trip, you are still reducing your carbon emissions and saving money on gas. If you are planning on going on a trip, try getting there some other way besides by airplane. Airplanes are a huge factor in carbon emissions(Conger). I know it might not seem ideal but if you care about his earth and are trying to reduce the impact you leave, skipping out on a plane ride will help you reach that goal. Reducing your carbon emissions will be harder to do then the three steps I listed in the previous paragraph but will have a larger impact in reducing your overall ecological footprint.

Reducing your ecological footprint will take some work, but by doing just the small things you can help save the earth and help out future generations by leaving them at least a tiny bit of resources for them to work with. Plus, you will be saving money which is always a good thing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Work Cited

Conger, Nick. “Our Footprint in Seven Facts.” WWF. World Wildlife Fund, 09 May 2013. Web.    25 Apr. 2017.

“Ecological Footprint.” Ecological Footprint. Global Footprint Network, Dec. 2016. Web. 24         Apr. 2017.

“Reduce Your Ecological Footprint.” Reduce Your Ecological Footprint. RESET, Mar. 2016.         Web. 24 Apr. 2017.

How To Live A Good Life

I wanted to make a how to for a good life because for everyone a good life is different and can be reached in different ways. This how to is not meant to force you to live your life in this way, but if you are feeling lost or not sure where to go next with your life this how to can be a great guide line for you. I know you are probably second guessing your choice to read this how to paper but that is how I felt when I joined my “Living the Good Life” class. I learned and grew so much in those 18 weeks and I hope I can share just a little bit of that with you in the essay.

For everyone, living a good life can mean many different things. But one thing we can all do to make our lives better and to feel more enlightened with our selves is making sure we give back to our community. By this, I mean volunteering at your local homeless shelter or events that are happening within your community. Volunteering is the best way to get out there and make a difference in your life and the lives of others (Casano). I know for me I never volunteered until for my Living the Good Life Class we were required to. Now I have volunteered for three events within my community just this semester and every time I do go out to a community event I feel a sense of belonging. Volunteering not only makes you feel like a better person but helps others more than we could ever imagine.volunteers

Another thing that improves your life’s quality is just being thankful for what we have. I know it’s hard to get lost in our day to day lives and to always be looking for more than what we have, but if we take a step back and appreciate the love and compassion we have surrounding us our overall outlook of life will be much more positive (10 Ways to Be a More Thankful Person). It’s one thing to say what we are thankful once a year on Thanksgiving but try saying three things you’re a thankful for every day either when you wake up or before you go to bed. By doing this you will realize all the things you have in your life to be thankful for. Continuing to do this every day you will have a brighter attitude towards yourself and others. Many people are not as lucky as us Americans when it comes to what we have to be grateful for but by recognizing that and taking into consideration the others around us we can live a happier life and above all live a good life.

One thing that is extremely difficult for me to do and probably for most people in my generation is putting away our electronics (11 Ways to Live a Happier Life). My phone is always an arm’s length away or in sight. I know this does not sound healthy and I know that it isn’t healthy but if you and I were to turn off our electronics and get outside our lives would get a lot better. We are constantly surrounded by bad news and negative images while we are online and scrolling through social media. By unplugging and getting outside we are seeing natures beauty and all she has to offer. Standing and taking in the energy of the sun brightens our moods and even leaves us feeling rejuvenated.  When we acknowledge the beauty around us and don’t let others control our mood we tend to be happier with our lives. A happy life, to me, is a good life and that is all our main goal. We want to be proud of the life we lived and all that we accomplished.

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Following these three easy steps will help you in the long–run say you lived not only a good life but a great life. It may be hard to stop walking in the footsteps of society’s norms but just taking a few minutes out of your day and reciting out loud what you are thankful for and getting outside to enjoy the sun and natures’ beauty your outlook on life will turn positive. A positive life equals a happy life which equals a good life.

 

 

Work Cited

Casano, Tom. “15 Simple Ways to Live a Happy Life.” The Huffington Post.           TheHuffingtonPost.com, 08 July 2015. Web. 30 Apr. 2017.

“10 Ways to Be a More Thankful Person.” Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing.     University of Minnesota, 2016. Web. 30 Apr. 2017.

“11 Ways to Live a Happier Life, according to a Psychologist (Hint: These have nothing to do        with money!).” A Happier Life. The Mind Unleashed, 29 Nov. 2016. Web. 30 Apr. 2017.