Make a Difference

Make a Difference

To summarise what has been covered so far:

We have seen that the energy we use each day comes from a number of sources. Australia's energy comes from a combination of renewable and non-renewable sources, although more than 95% of our electrical energy is generated from non-renewable sources.

A source is said to be renewable if there is no obvious limit on its availability. It can be used over and over again as it continues to replace itself. Sunshine, wind and water from rain are therefore renewable.

In contrast, a non-renewable resource can only be used once. It does not replace itself in the short term and there is only a finite quantity available. Coal, gas and oil are non-renewable sources of energy.

An important concept when considering resource use is that of sustainability.

Sustainable resource use is use that meets our present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

Sustainable resource use also means limiting negative environmental and social impacts.

Imagine you could put on a pair of magic glasses and look into the future where sustainable resource use has not occurred. What would it be like?

Compare it to a future where sustainable resource use has occurred. What are the differences?

How can we change our patterns of behaviour with regard to energy consumption and other energy choices, which will help contribute to sustainable energy use?

Think about how much "energy" we consume these days as compared to when your parents and grandparents were children. Why not talk to as many older people as possible and ask them what it was like when they were children.

It would do well for you to think about the following:

  • How many motor vehicles (cars, motorbikes etc) does your family own?
  • How many did your parents/grandparents family own when they were children?
  • How do most people travel around their town, Australia and the world?
  • How does this differ from 50 and 100 years ago?
  • Think about all the electrical/gas appliances (entertainment, cooling, heating, lighting, cooking, cleaning) you have in your home - when did they become available? Were they around 10, 20 or 50 years ago?
  • Before these appliances were available what did people use instead?
  • Think about what you would do if there was no electricity or gas or petrol. How would you:
    • Have light in your house?
    • Communicate with a friend?
    • Take a hot bath or shower?
    • Store food in summer?
    • Cook food?
    • Get to the 10th floor of a building?
    • Wash your clothes?
    • Keep warm or keep cool?
    • Travel to school or the next town or overseas?
A typical battery charger uses around 2 watts when it's plugged in and switched on but doing nothing. Switching off at the power point or unplugging one battery charger saves about 15 kg of CO2 each year.
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