Opinion / Science

The Biomass Argument

We live in an age of widespread awareness of the important environmental threats to our future generations.

When it comes to educating our young people on the impact we have on the Earth, we’re successfully teaching millions of children every year of the damage that fossil fuels can cause and how renewable energy sources will pave the way for a longer, prosperous future.

But, are there now too many ways to be environmentally friendly?

recyclingWe currently stand at a cross roads: modern science has given us the tools to deal with our issues effectively and now, more than ever, we have the drive to invest in projects that will ensure people engage with environmentally friendly behaviours from an early age.

However, with the sheer wealth of information on offer today, do we run the risk of overloading young minds with too many morally forms of action?

It’s all very well understanding how our planet is being damaged by our actions, but can we really expect tomorrow’s generation, and the one’s that follow, to obediently follow every rule and guideline that we place for them?

It’s unrealistic to expect our kids to pick up our slack, especially when they’ll be so achingly aware of the amount of guilty pleasures their forefathers indulged in over the centuries.

carbon-footprintHuman beings are creatures with selective memories and thought tracks.

Different people have varying thresholds for what they deem to be environmentally actions. One man may feel content simply recycling. He will feel that the effort he takes to separate his rubbish, and take it out, will constitute ‘his bit’. Therefore he won’t feel any guilt in purchasing oranges from his local super market, even though for every kilogram of oranges that are imported into the UK roughly 250g of Carbon is emitted into the atmosphere.

If we are going to make our planet safer for our future generations then we’re going to need to convince them that simply performing one environmentally action won’t be enough – they’ll need to go the whole hog.

Not only will we need them to start sourcing their food locally, we’ll have to hope that they embrace the new forms of renewable energies that we have spent decades researching and investing in.

energy-efficinctThanks to the Renewable Energy Directive, member states of the EU have committed to fulfilling at least 20% of all it’s energy needs with renewable resources.

In the last 20 years all major developed countries have been investing heavily in turbines, with nations like China and the US leading the way. However, in order to double down on the effect we’re having on the environment, we need to exploring every avenue of renewable energies – biomass fuels being one of these.

windfarmsA bio mass is the general term for any energy source that can be derived from organic material. This can be as simple as piping methane gas from land fills to burning wood biofuels, which come in the form of wood pellets. There is so much energy potential locked up in biological matter, that it would be foolish to ignore exploiting them.

As they are all naturally occurring, they are renewable (although, confusingly, not carbon neutral). By diversifying the forms of energy that we produce and utilise, we stand a good chance of not further destroying the planet with more invasive resource gathering.

Whether we’re investing in new forms of renewable energy, or irrevocably changing modes of behaviour that have been damaging the environment for decades, there will only be one way we can make a lasting change.

Regardless of how we choose to move forward – the only way we can get our younger gen to follow suit is by leading by example on all fronts.