A future lit by solar energy

پکیج: TED Education / سرفصل: سخنرانی های دانش آموزان / درس 21

TED Education

13 سرفصل | 232 درس

A future lit by solar energy

توضیح مختصر

Coming from the tropical island of Bali, the sun plays a vital and powerful role in Arie Nyoman's day-to-day life. In fact, during Balinese New Year, when people are prohibited from using light of any kind, the day of darkness has always made Arie feel vulnerable. But that darkness is the year-round reality for many people who live without access to electricity. In this Talk, Arie explores answers to the question, "what if we could harness the power of the sun to make sure no one has to live in the dark?" This Talk was given at TED-Ed Weekend in NYC. To learn more about the event, go here- https-//www.ted.com/attend/conferences/special-events/ted-ed-weekend The TED-Ed Clubs program supports students in discovering, exploring and presenting their big ideas in the form of short, TED-style talks. In TED-Ed Clubs, students work together to discuss and celebrate creative ideas. Club Leaders receive TED-Ed's flexible curriculum to guide their Members in developing presentation literacy skills to help inspire tomorrow's TED speakers and future leaders. To learn more about TED-Ed Clubs or to start your own club, go to http-//ed.ted.com/clubs.

  • زمان مطالعه 13 دقیقه
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فایل ویدیویی

متن انگلیسی درس

I come from Bali, a very small island in Indonesia. The island is mostly known around the world as a very popular tourist destination, with its beautiful landscapes, clear blue beaches, and most importantly, its very unique culture and tradition. Every single year in Bali, we celebrate the Balinese New Year, also known as Nyepi. It is a day of silence for the Balinese people; no one is allowed to leave their houses, no one is allowed to light any fire, or use any devices that are emitting light, including television and lamps. During the day it would be very quiet and peaceful; there’d be no more sounds of cars or motorbikes passing by. At night it would be pitch black, complete darkness. There would be no form of lights, not even the light of the moon since it’s also during the lunar eclipse. Now, as a very young child, I’ve always been terrified of the dark, and I couldn’t bear the thought that I had to go through these same nights every single year. I’ve always thought that we were alone, that we were the only people in the world still living like cavemen. But the older I got, the more I realized that one day in a year without light is not so bad after all. I realized that I was in fact not alone, and that there are over a billion people around the world who are going through these same nights that I feared every single day of their lives. I’ve grown to appreciate this tradition and see it not only as a simple holiday, but as a reminder to me that there are people out there living without light and that we should do our best to help them. I’ve experienced a day of what it felt like for those 1.2 billion people around the world who have no access to electricity, And what struck me the most was finding out that a large proportion of these people live near the equator, where sunlight is most abundant. Coming from a tropical island myself, the sun has always inspired me. The amount of heat coming to my room in the afternoon is enough to convince me that the sun is indeed very powerful, and it made me wonder why is it that our use of solar energy today is still very minimal? To understand how we got here in the first place, let’s take a look at a brief history of how we humans discovered new sources of energy. Far before the industrial revolution, we all started off simply by burning wood to keep ourselves warm. In the mid-19th century, we started hunting for whales in the vast and empty oceans for their oils to light illuminant lamps at home. We then explored underground for coal and oil to power our steam engines and factories. Recently we started harnessing nuclear energy to meet our growing energy consumption. What’s fascinating is that throughout these centuries of discoveries, the sun has always been present. it has always been right up there, but we’d rather look underground and underwater for energy instead. Well I’m not blaming the people of the past because they simply didn’t have the technology or understanding on how to capture the sun’s energy. But today, in a world far more technologically advanced than before, I believe we can do much better. The economies of the world today are growing at an exponential rate, but the nature of that growth itself is quite unhealthy and unsustainable due to the amount of pollution we emit. If we are ever to maintain this rate of growth, we need to make a change, a change towards a cleaner alternative energy source. Many countries around the world are already putting their best efforts in this transition, both for the international commitment to reduce air pollution, and the positive prospects of solar energy in their own economies. Portugal in May 2016 was powered for four days entirely from renewable energies that include wind, hydro, and solar power. China and India are both planning to nearly triple their solar capacities in a few years’ time. Japan started building floating solar farms that plans to power nearly 5000 households by early 2018. In Germany, 7% of the total electricity consumption has already come from solar energy. You see, these are signs. These commitments made by these countries are signs that they have realized the importance and significance of solar energy, and now it’s up to us to decide whether or not we should welcome this change and whether or not we should push it to the next level. Many people would assume that a solar dependent future is too optimistic or is impossible. Well, I want you all to take a look at this picture right here. What do you see? Many people would say, “Well, that’s just a rainforest.” What I see is a civilization, a very prosperous civilization which has flourished throughout our planet for a great deal of our planet’s history using the energy from the sun. And if they are capable of doing such things, then I believe we could do it too. In fact, the sun delivers more energy to our planet in just one hour, one hour, than we consume in an entire year. With our current solar technology, which has an efficiency of around 20%, it is estimated that we need an area around about the size of Spain to power the entire world. Now, keep in mind that I said with our current solar technology. If that efficiency doubles, then we willl need half of that area. Now, the area of Spain itself may look very big, but actually, if all the countries of the world today devote just 0.4% of their land area for a solar farm, that would add up to the size of Spain. And also keep in mind that I said land area, I didn’t even consider the area of the ocean, which by the way, covers 71% of this planet’s surface. In fact, we could fit in over 700 Spains on our ocean today, and we only need the area of one Spain to power the entire world. And when I talk about these facts about areas, I’m not only talking about those solar farms with neatly arranged solar panels. I’m also talking about the actions of individuals, like you and I, and how significant an impact we could make if we all acted collectively. Take a smartphone as an example. The average energy needed to charge a smartphone in a year is approximately three kilowatt hours. That is roughly the same energy that could lift a 1000 ton object, or around 180 adult elephants one meter above the ground. Could you believe that the small phone you are carrying in your pockets every day takes up the same energy in a year that could lift 180 adult elephants one meter, or around three feet, above the ground? Now that is just one phone. There is an estimated 2.3 billion smartphone users in the world today, and in that case, the total energy needed to charge all the smartphones in the world per year would be 7 billion kilowatt hours, the same energy that could power an additional 600,000 average American households. We could light the homes of over 600,000 more people with the energy we use to charge our smartphones. If we were instead to charge our phones with devices like solar-powered battery packs, that amount of energy could actually be saved to help those who can’t afford electricity. If individuals start contributing in generating just small amounts of energy to power even the smallest things, like phones and lamps, that energy saved would add up to something much, much bigger. Fortunately, in today’s modern world, there are already many inventions out there that could help us do this. An example would be Tesla’s solar roof tiles, which may cost more than regular roof tiles at first, but can actually be cheaper in the long run if you consider the cuts in your electricity bills. And with the rise of other inventions, like solar-powered vehicles, I believe this industry has the potential to continue growing and possibly dominate future markets. Now, let’s not only talk about the good things. There are many problems and limitations to solar energy that we can’t ignore, but let’s also take a look at some possible solutions to overcome them, as well. The first and most common argument against solar panels is that they are too expensive. Now, there are no disagreements that I can make here because they are; they are very expensive. But I can say the price of solar panels has been falling drastically over the past 40 years. The price of a solar panel back in the mid-1970s was around about 80 dollars per watt, and today that has fallen to less than a dollar per watt. That is over 100 times cheaper than what it was 40 years ago. And in some countries today, solar energy is already cheaper than alternatives, like fossil fuel. People are no longer using solar energy because they are cleaner, but because they are more profitable, and let’s face it, that’s what most of us think about. The second problem with solar energy is that they are inconsistent. Solar panels don’t work as well on cloudy days and they don’t work at all at night, the times when most individuals need energy. However, with the availability of batteries, we can store this energy generated from sunny days and use them at times when we need them. And finally, the last problem associated with solar energy is that sunlight is unevenly distributed across our planet. Countries in the northern and southern hemispheres tend to receive less sunlight than those in the equator, and some of those countries may not be able to rely on solar energy just yet. Those countries could instead look towards other forms of renewable energy, such as bio-fuel, geothermal or wind, until a possible solution in the future could be found. Now, despite all these issues that I’ve talked about, we must all be reminded of a very important fact: that the world today is slowly running out of fossil fuel. Putting the problem of pollution aside, we must all understand that fossil fuel cannot keep us running forever. The fossil fuel that we are using today have accumulated from the past millions and millions of centuries, and we have used up so much of them in only 250 years. It is even predicted that we will completely run out of fossil fuel by the next 50 to 100 years, and if we are not seriously committed on replacing these fossil fuels, then we and the future generations may not be able to enjoy the things that are available to us today. Especially in a world faced with issues like global warming and climate change, solar energy should be met with more open arms. And maybe one day, when the whole world looks up into the sun, and when those billions could finally light up their homes, I can once again look up into the night sky of Nyepi Day back in Bali, not scared, but deeply, deeply, satisfied, knowing that we are, in fact, the only people in the world still living in the dark, like cavemen. Thank you.

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