In the modern world, the term “green” is often used as a connotation for business and personal practices considered to be environmentally sound. Green energy refers to renewable sources of energy, such as wind and solar, as opposed to non-renewable sources, such as petroleum. Green energy may also refer to “clean” sources of energy, such as nuclear. However, it is important to recognize that “green” energy is not the perfect energy source as it has often been described. The perfect example of this is the recent nuclear meltdown in Japan, following the earthquake and tsunami.
In March, 2011, a devastating earthquake struck off the coast of Japan; this resulted in a tsunami. Due to the damage from the earthquake and the tsunami, one of Japan’s many nuclear power plants suffered a cataclysmic breakdown. The Fukishuma nuclear power plant melted down, resulted in a massive release of radiation. Furthermore, the nuclear core required massive amounts of water to cool it repeatedly. Since then, there has been a concern about this water, now contaminated with radiation, escaping into the ocean. In August, 2013, it was announced that, due to a leak, 305 tonnes of radioactive water was released into the Pacific Ocean. In addition, Japan is not sure how it will continue to store and to isolate the water required to continuously cool the reactor. The economic damages from this event have been horrific. For instance, many fish nurseries in Japan have been permanently closed (Coglan).
While it is easy to believe that “green” types of energy are perfect for the environment, this is not true. Clean energy and renewable energy may also create havoc for the environment. Before an individual or community insists upon green energy, they need to evaluate the potential risks associated with this type of energy. It is far from the answer to all environmental problems; it may actually create bigger problems.
- Coglan, A. “Should Fukishuma’s Radiactive Water be Dumped at Sea?” 28 August 2013. 4 March 2014. < http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn24100-should-fukushimas- radioactive-water-be-dumped-at-sea.html#.UxbbmGeYbIU>