2. I researched how we produce energy in the US. In 2012, the power production by percentages of sources was:
13% of the power produced was by renewable resources. Equally, 87% of energy produced was by non-renewable energy resources, that pollute the environment, and/or have serious potential risk. Every day these processes and operations are damaging the planet, and causing cumulative and increasingly noticeable effects. We need to change and stop the damage we're doing if we want to still have an inhabitable planet in hundreds of years.
As of right now, this pollution is damaging air quality to people in areas where these burning power plants exist, and actively contributing to buildup of gases in the atmosphere that are contributing to global warming, which effects can be seen in the active melting of arctic ice. In the future, if this continues, all coastal cities and inhabitants could be relocated because of rising ocean water levels, more global climate change causing increased severe weather, lower quality air over larger areas, more extreme temperatures, and possibly other effects of these, such as I would imagine probably crop and food production would be harder in more extreme environments, resulting in maybe food shortages and starvation for groups of people.
The solution is actually really not a difficult one: Stop. It really is that simple. We just need to stop our usage of non-renewable resources, and switch to renewables. We have the capabilities, and we could actually, I would argue, very easily make the switch to near 100% renewable energy production. The reason we don't, largely, seems to be for 2 reasons:
1) People will stop making money.
2) People are extremely uneducated.
As long as people are making money on environmentally harmful energy production, and people are stupid enough to not see the problems that exist and the reasons to change, there will be opposition to this necessary switching of resources for energy production.
Images from: http://disc.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/gesNews/airs_christmas_ice_storm Shows how the cold from the arctic just barely comes down and tips the north central and northeast parts of the US, where we are, and how the extremely large amount of heat surrounding the north pole is a considerable threat. The third picture especially shows how much heat there is surrounding the cold of the north pole.
This picture shows how coal and other burning power plants release massive amounts of pollution into the atmosphere.