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Cara Costanzo


Semih Eser

Reflective Essay 2

Wednesday, April 30

After completing Energy and the Environment 101H, my understanding of
both the fundamental elements and overarching complexities of energy have vastly
widened. Before this course, I had a basic understanding of many environmental
impacts that are created by human consumption of fossil fuels and other
nonrenewable resources. I did not need to be convinced that global warming is the
most imminent concern of the international society, and came into the course
hoping to learn about ways in which to combat the rate of emissions so as to create
a sustainable future. In my first reflective essay, I discussed my desire to learn
about the various energy resources available and their potential for the energy grid.
I have become well acquainted with the predominant available resources, both
traditional and non-traditional.
But, I have also learned about each of the resources potential impacts on not
only the energy grid, but on the economic, political, and social grids, allowing my
understanding of each energy source to be significantly more comprehensive than I
had initially imagined. I completed my term paper and presentation on geothermal
energy, and feel that I have a deep understanding of the potential for development,
as well as the impacts it can have on all sectors of life. Though I learned about each
renewable resource specifically, I gained a general understanding of the sustainable
resource sector, and the changes that must be made to modern consumption to
implement said energies to a larger degree. Firstly, renewable resources will not be
able to provide the excessive amounts of energy currently used in the world, or for
its exponentially growing demand. While this was initially shocking to me, once I
realized how wasteful society is with its consumption, I realized that changing
energy usage habits did not mean life-altering conversions. Small changes
compounded with a true consideration for the quality of life provided by moderated
practices can lead to significantly reduced consumption. Unfortunately, humans are
incredibly reluctant to change, to the point that we become disillusioned to believe
that wasteful luxuries are necessities to everyday life.
I have learned that I cannot expect others to change their consumption
habits until I change mine. Though I was fairly conscious before the course, I have
increased my awareness of my consumption significantly and am willing to make
more sacrifices from convenience for the sake of personal consumption reduction. I
now feel confident that I can carry a true conversation with peers advocating for the
use of renewable resources and for a more energy-efficient lifestyle, and have also
found a passion for the subject that I intend to pursue further in my undergraduate
study. This course has been drastically different from what I had originally
imagined, and I am grateful for that. I have learned a great deal and have become
inspired to effect change for myself and for others in the energy based society that
we live.