Energy is essential to our modern-day lives, and also central to our economy, transportation, health, recreation, and general well-being. It keeps our food fresh, fuels our vehicles, heats and cools our homes, and powers our appliances. Our reliance on energy comes at a cost to the environment, however. Most of our energy is derived from natural resources that are not renewable: oil, coal and natural gas. The combustion of oil and coal contributes to climate change due to the production of greenhouse gases. In addition, the use of coal contributes to smog that harms our air quality and contributes to acid precipitation, which harms forests across the northeastern US. Each of us, however, can make wise energy use decisions that can help reduce the environmental impacts of our energy consumption.
The first step is energy conservation. Each one of us can take actions – both big and small – to conserve energy in our daily lives. By making changes to improve the energy efficiency of our homes or apartments, we not only protect the environment, but can also significantly reduce our energy bills. Choosing to walk or ride a bike instead of driving helps the environment and your health.
Beyond conservation, renewable energy sources such as solar and geothermal power are increasingly viable alternatives. These technologies are not just an idea for the future; several municipalities, businesses and homes in Dutchess County have installed capacity.