Green Thoughts: Natural resources spawn possibilties

James Walls
Assistant Editor

Alternative energies offer the world a cleaner energy source, reducing the amount of pollution and greenhouse gases that are emitted into the atmosphere. With renewable energy becoming more commercially available in recent years, one has to wonder why it has taken so long for people to consider these alternatives.

Renewable energy shines through

In 1883 the first solar cell was invented. Created by Charles Fritts, who hoped to compete with Edison’s coal-fired power plants, the cells were constructed from selenium and proved less satisfactory at a mere one percent efficiency. However, due to Fritts and those who helped to develop the idea, more research went into solar cells and panels in the following years, leading to the first practical silicon solar battery in 1953.

With many years to advance this technology, solar power has become not just a reality, but a practical alternative to the environmentally harmful coal-burning method of energy production. In fact, according to, solar energy has seen a 20 percent yearly increase over the past 15 years, due to decreasing prices and a rise in efficiency.

However, solar energy is not the only alternative to coal.

A new alternative blows in

The first wind-powered electric generator was erected in 1887 by Charles F. Brush, a “backyard tinkerer and clever entrepreneur,” according to Steve Ostrander at Having built the turbine, Brush used it to power his home in Cleveland, Ohio for 12 years, delivering 12 kilowatts of power.

With wind energy proving possible in the late 1800s, more than a century has passed for researchers to work out many of the flaws. In fact, according to, energy generation from wind turbines saw more than a quadruple increase between 2000 and 2006 world-wide, proving the potential this alternative has in today’s society.


So why are these, as well as many other, alternative energy sources so rare compared to the typical gas or coal-burning energy methods? Perhaps it is fear of change, or the uncertainty that lies in taking a chance on something relatively unknown by most. While this is merely speculation, it does seem likely many would be afraid to take that risk.

All in all, the answer no doubt differs depending on who is asked. But in the end, the truth is there are many clean energy alternatives waiting to be put to use. So be aware of them, and take that chance if you can. After all, it’s not too late to think green.