Calise Gritters, Collin Lytle, Connor Mougin
Our world is shaped by the means and modes of energy production. Whether digging deep into the Earth to extract coal, oil, and natural gas, or disassociating atoms to collect nuclear energy, humans scare the landscape with their energetic explorations. History has taught us the precarious nature of energy collection, from oil spills and mine collapses to nuclear meltdowns that have damaged and endangered fragile ecosystems, including the flora and fauna with no means of escape. In our exploration of the Energy futures, we sought to uncover the hidden costs associated with new, “greener” energy solutions. The Green New Deal, HR 109, proposes a future of 100% renewable energy production for the United States. If this proposal were to be realized, how would plants, animals, and humans be affected?
Our research encompasses three main forms of energy production that fit the narrative of an American renewable energy future: solar power, wave power, and bio-power. Each mode of production is regionally limited and utilizes the characteristics of its environment to produce energy for human settlements. None, however, leave no negative impact on the space in which they occupy. Delicate ecosystems run the risk of being destroyed if large-scale, renewable energy production is implemented without proper environmental oversight. Drawing a section through Florida, we follow the implementation of renewable energy through time as it creates a new hinterland extending from Florida’s urban centers. Documenting the endangered species of Florida most at risk of extinction, we also seek to bring awareness to the need for further research on the impact of renewable energy models prior to their implementation within a fragile ecosystem.
The evolution of energy futures will also, no doubt, impact how communities, countries, and continents relate to one another. Imagining a future in which old forms of energy agreements have died away, we seek to conceptualize what a global future could look like: the new alliances formed, the impact of energy and trade on a country’s economic development, the level of globalization or nationalization to occur. Though speculative, our case studies highlight the possibility for global shifts in power through the production of renewable energy. Perhaps the countries with the most to gain are the ones that have been exploited the most through current social and economic models.