Devastating tornadoes. Rising flood waters. Horrifying superstorms. Extreme variations in temperature.
Such events are typical in Hollywood disaster films these days (check out The Day After Tomorrow or 2012 (but don’t actually check-out 2012)). We very rarely associate these events with the world we live in, but they happen more often than we think.
The National Climate Assessment stated that, “Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present.”
Many climatologists believe that a key contributor to these extreme weather conditions has to do with a pairing of our lifestyle choices and the naturally oscillating nature of our climate. There are websites dedicated to showing people their ecological footprint, and what you may find may surprise you. My Ecological Footprint measures how many Earth’s you would need if everyone on Earth lived the same as you. It’s a little jarring to know that it would take 3.4 Earths to support me. We only have one, how on Earth am I supposed to change my lifestyle significantly enough to reduce that number to one planet? It’s nearly impossible, but it can be done, and with sustainable projects like windfarms, solar panels, and geothermal heating, it may be possible to continue living in comfort.
The U.S. Department of Energy (US DOE) just recently announced a grant award to a coalition of developers looking to construct a wind farm off the Atlantic City coast, which will generate enough electricity to power 10,000 homes, and will drastically reduce the city’s carbon footprint. The five wind turbines will be located 2.8 miles off the coast, and it will be the first offshore wind farm in the United States. So far, the U.S. DOE has awarded Fishermen’s Energy (the developers behind the project) with $47 million dollars (roughly a third of what it will cost to build and install the turbines and their components).
This project has the potential not only to lower Atlantic City’s carbon footprint and push us towards a more sustainable future, but it will also be an opportunity for contractors to help build that future. Fishermen’s Energy hopes to complete the project by 2017 with an estimated budget of $188 million, so there will be plenty of time to aid the development of the wind farm.