Scientific research is a vital part of our world today. Out of the scientific community comes new medical tools, better food, and advanced technology. Scientific research is also heavily focused on the environment, especially in the past few decades with the fear of global warming and the search for energy sources beyond fossil fuels. This focus on the environment has produced many benefits, and it promises to continue finding ways to improve human life while also protecting the planet from irreparable harm.
While there are many branches of environmental research, two generally come to the forefront in terms of public knowledge and perceived importance. Research into renewable energy is one of the most important areas in the scientific community. As experts learn more about the downsides of using fossil fuels, including the fact that they will eventually run out, more effort is being placed into harnessing natural sources to provide power.
The other common area of environmental scientific research relates to water. Water is such a precious resource, as it’s absolutely necessary for life, and the water supply system seems to grow more complex every year. With concerns such as acid rain, and long-term droughts caused by weather abnormalities, scientists are looking into new methods of finding and routing water. This is especially important in parts of the world where water shortages are impacting the local population, such as in Southern California.
Renewable Energy Advances
The term “renewable energy” covers a multitude of different energy sources. The basic idea is that a source is considered “renewable” if it is naturally replenished in a time frame relative to human life. Some examples of renewable energy sources are solar, wind, and geothermal heat. Most scientific research is focused on finding ways to harness this energy, store it, and make it accessible in a way that is actually useful to a large number of people.
Solar energy is one of the most promising renewable resources. Efficient solar panels are now available for homeowners to install on their roofs, and there are even some government incentives to help offset the cost of buying and installing solar panels. In fact, the panels and the high-storage batteries now available even allow extra solar power to be transferred back into the grid. In some places homeowners are not only getting free electricity, they are actually getting a credit back from the local providers when they allow their excess solar power to be routed back to the grid.
Geothermal energy is another renewable resource that is slowly being added to the grid. Some homes are designed and built so that the heating and cooling is partially done with geothermal energy. While it’s a very efficient solution, it’s not as easy to retrofit in homes as other options such as solar panels. However, some places are pushing for a serious transition to renewable energy. In fact, California not only has a goal to move toward renewable energy, but to transition the grid to encompass a diverse array of renewable energy sources.
The other big part of environmental scientific research involves conserving, recovering, and storing water, especially in places that suffer from long-term droughts such as California. As the population increases it puts more strain on the water system, and there are of course supply issues when some water is routed between states. Scientific research is focused on finding new ways to recover water that would otherwise be wasted, and store it for future use.
One exciting advancement in water conservation is the Cadiz Water Project. It’s an innovative system that involves cooperation between both private and public entities. The goal of the project is to use the groundwater in the eastern Mojave Desert that is normally lost to evaporation to create a new water supply and storage bank. There is a comprehensive management program for the groundwater system designed to help the entire thing operate smoothly and achieve its goal of supplying water to 100,000 families per year.
The Cadiz Water Project has many benefits, most notably giving Southern California its own reliable and flexible water supply. It’s a great improvement over the current water system that relies on outdated water rights agreements with other states that also get water from the Colorado River. Additionally, it’s designed to preserve the natural desert environment, so there is no worry of obtaining water at the expense of the local ecosystem. This project may serve as inspiration for other states to find innovative, environmentally friendly solutions to supply problems.
As scientific research continues to make more discoveries about the environment, there is greater understanding of how humans and the environment influence and affect each other. As a result, there is more dedication for finding ways to supply the population with the energy it needs in ways that don’t harm the environment or deplete natural resources. Research into renewable energy has yielded several promising technologies which are being implemented with greater frequency.
Scientists are also making great strides in finding new ways to supply and store water. The Cadiz Water Project is one example of a brand new, innovative system. As more people recognize how important it is to protect the environment and choose to support eco-friendly solutions, there will be even more forward