Esrawe + Cadena, Mi Casa, Your Casa, 2014 - 2021. Courtesy of Esrawe + Cadena.
by Catalina García
SOME PEOPLE SAY THAT “MONEY MAKES THE WORLD GO ROUND” BUT THE TRUTH IS THAT IT’S NOT MONEY BUT ENERGY THAT LITERALLY AND FIGURATIVELY MAKES THE WORLD GO ROUND. FOR WHAT’S THE VALUE OF BILLS AND COINS IF THEY CAN’T BE TRANSFORMED INTO FOOD AND HEAT TO HELP A SPECIES SURVIVE DURING HARD TIMES?
From the simplest systems to the most complex organisms, they all depend on energy to exist. For once, solar energy is needed by plants to grow and become food for other species; such food is then transformed into energy that animals and humans use as they dwell day in and day out.
It is in the search of more and more sources of energy that the human race has enrolled in so many endeavors from the use of wood, and animal oil in ancient history to the search for coal that would fuel machines that gave rise to the Industrial Revolution triggered by the invention of the steam machine in the nineteenth century, up until the transformation of fossil fuels that modern machines run on.
Energy is so crucial that the so-called civilization uses energy to produce energy; the ironic part of it is that certain procedures such as fracking to extract oil and gas, at times, actually consume more energy than the one obtained.
Perhaps one of the most controversial issues is that of biomass, that is organic matter used as fuel for the generation of electricity. The most optimistic environmentalists see biomass as a clean source of energy which can potentially reduce greenhouse emissions; however, other more realistic assumptions claim that the production and use of biomass could actually do more harm than the alternative it is trying to replace.
One more issue related to biomass is the production of ethanol. Ethanol is a fuel that is combined with gasoline in a larger or lesser percentage depending on the efficacy of the vehicles it is aimed for. In most cases, the production of ethanol has a positive energy balance, the problem is that corn and sugarcane, the crops used to produce ethanol, are crops being used to fuel cars instead of people and with the ever growing number of hungry people in the world, diverting food to fuel will only worsen the problem.
However, biomass fuels are only one small part of the vast array of alternative sources of energy. There is solar, wind and geothermal energy which have proven to be cost effective and environmentally viable. Up until May 2018 Mexico had already developed a capacity of 24 percent of renewable energy according to a report by the Wilson Center. This is actually very good news considering the decrease in crude oil production and the increased awareness that burning fossil fuels release large amounts of carbon dioxide responsible for the greenhouse effect which causes global warming bringing about sudden climate change.
How can a common citizen contribute to the use of renewable energy? The answer is quite simple, people can start by replacing their existing water heater which uses up to 18 percent of the entire home energy with a solar heater. One more alternative is the use of solar panels that convert sunlight into electrical energy which can be stored in batteries and used as needed. As solar energy does not cost anything, not only will people contribute to reduce the use of fossil fuels but they will also save money.
It will take thousands and thousands of households to make a modest change; yet, as more and more people become aware of the larger impact that collective actions can have on the planet, the world will keep going round for generations to come.
Catalina García Padilla is English professor at Universidad Humanitas campus magno Querétaro. She has a Master in Educational Technology, Bachelor of Education Sciences and Cambridge Certification. She stands out on her excellent evaluations as a teacher, as well as a developer of university study plans.