As a global community, we rely on energy to power our everyday lives – this is an unchanging fact; however, the source of that energy is becoming more of an issue and threat to our survival on this planet. We must prioritise longevity rather than the short-term gains that non-renewable energy sources have offered the world. Environmental sustainability ensures humans have a future on this planet – at the rate we are stripping the world of its resources, we will soon deplete the Earth.
But, what is environmental sustainability…
Environmental sustainability refers to the discontinuation of non-renewable and harmful energy sources, such as fossil fuels, to greener energy that is naturally replenished, for example, wind, solar, and tidal. This is an important issue as the use of sustainable energy ensures future generations will have the ability to power their world. In the last couple decades, it has become clear the world is facing a huge threat and if humans do not change their ways, there will be no stopping the irreparable damage global warming will cause. The world burns around 11 billion tonnes of oil from fossil fuels each year – think of the carbon emissions and the damage this causes to our environment.
The United Nations believes we have until 2030 before the effects of climate change are irreversible – with the world needing to half their carbon emissions to avoid catastrophic damage to our planet. It is for this reason that the University of Strathclyde Eco Vehicle team are taking part in Shell’s Eco-Marathon. Young people are the future and it is our future we are trying to save – we have the passion and the knowledge to make a difference as does everyone else that recognises this as an important issue.
Although the Shell Eco-Marathon offers multiple energy categories to compete in (battery electric, internal combustion, hydrogen), our team is dedicated to developing a battery electric car. We recognise the importance of moving away from an internal combustion engine powered by fossil fuels, and towards the aforementioned sustainable sources of electricity. Although hydrogen also offers an eco-friendly alternative to petrol or diesel, the vast infrastructure needed for this to be a viable energy source on a mass scale has simply not been developed at the present time. On the other hand, use of electric cars, and the infrastructure needed to support them, has expanded massively over recent years, and so we see this as an area in which the biggest impact can be made within the shortest time frame. As a team, we are excited to be at the forefront of the development of these emerging technologies, and to have a real impact in the future of energy use and sustainability in this world.