From an environmental perspective, the importance of renewable energy cannot be overstated. The current practices existing in the status quo are simply unsustainable, and for the sake of our present and future well-being, the need for change is obvious. But even if—for the sake of argument—we were to ignore all of the environmental arguments in favor of renewable energy, the need for change would still be overwhelmingly clear. If the United States is unable to successfully shift to using alternative energy, not only will our environment be further damaged, but our economy will be pushed to the brink as well. The main economic problem presented by the use of coal and petroleum derivatives is that these resources are unavoidably scarce. These resources take millions of years to form, and at the current rate we are consuming them, it is clear that we will need to eventually stop using them regardless of their impact on the environment.
Much of the debate on resource usage in the United States has been about when our current practices will truly be unsustainable (from both an environmental and economic perspective). But does it really matter exactly when this date will be? Whether the tipping point is 10, 100, or even 1,000 years from now, isn’t resource sustainability something we should at least be actively moving towards? There are a variety of different things the United States can do in order to improve the renewable energy industry. Offering tax credits for organizations that use alternative energy, limiting the amount of unclean energy that certain industries can use, and encouraging better consumer practices are just a few of the ways we can begin moving in a more sustainable direction. Total renewability isn’t something that will happen overnight. But taking steps in pursuit of a cleaner, more sustainable, and more economically viable world is absolutely necessary. With the right policies, values, and private actions, a greener world is certainly within reach.