• Chicago Youth Alliance for Climate Action CYACA

Biomass Energy for Dummies

By Gloria Oladipo - November 4, 2016

First and foremost, just because biomass emits less carbon, that does not mean it wouldn’t release unhealthy amounts of carbon and other greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. We should be investing in energy sources with zero carbon emissions because we don’t have time to take it slowly and reduce bit by bit.

Next, greater reliance on biomass means more investing in farming and agriculture. America’s farming system is already bad enough. Only 1% of our farmland actually goes to producing food for human consumption. The majority is used to produce animal feed, and what’s left is grown for biofuel. Not only would it be nearly impossible to shift our agricultural system to support more crop development for biomass due to our shrinking farmland, but it would also create a greater strain on the system.

In addition to the actual lack of land, a growing dependence on farming would only increase the environmental impacts of our agriculture. Our topsoil lacks nutrients, our water sources are contaminated due to fertilizers and pesticides seeping into the ground, and the runoff of those chemicals flows right into our oceans and other bodies of water, absolutely devastating huge ocean life populations. We cannot afford to increase our farm production, as the environmental effect of agriculture is already too great.

So, there are many negative aspects of biomass. That being said, if the only two options were biomass vs fossil fuels, biomass would win everyday. Luckily, we have many truly renewable, zero-emission energy sources available right at our fingertips and even more being developed with every passing day. Rather than go halfway in our commitment to sustainability, let’s go the whole distance.

Hopefully you are a little more educated on biomass and the environmental impacts. Now, you must take action, teach your friends and family, and urge your politicians, no matter their position, to support fully-renewable energy sources such as wind and solar instead of biomass energy.

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