Environmental Sustainability in the European Union
Environmental sustainability involves taking actions as well as making decisions which are meant to protect the natural world, with an emphasis on the preservation of the capacity of environment to sustain human life (Blackman, 2009). In the recent past, environmental sustainability has become a topical issue and has received a lot of attention especially from the media as well as various governmental departments. The reason is that there have been more researches on the impacts of human activities on the environment. Even though the long term effects of environmental degradation have not been well understood, people have agreed that this risk is high to call for an immediate response. Some of the environmental concerns include: destruction of cultivated and agricultural land using unsustainable farming practices, overfishing and polluting lakes, oceans and rivers and destruction of woodlands as well as rainforests through agricultural clearance and logging (Blackman, 2009). Businesses stand at a better position to address the issue of environmental sustainability. Most of the businesses have been forced to look beyond their short term gains and focus on the long term impacts that they have on the environment. There has also been increased public awareness all over the world to sensitize people on the importance of conserving the environment.
One of the things that have led to environmental degradation is the use of non-renewable sources of energy. Most non-renewable sources of energy have many negative externalities which are in the form of environmental destruction and pollution (Michaelides, 2011). These externalities are represented by the costs which are paid above the market prices of these non-renewable energy sources by the general public or the tax payers. Examples include health care for those sickened by pollution, pollution clean up, damages caused by the climate change like droughts and storms and loss of life and productivity. It is for these reasons that people have been advocating for renewable energy sources. Examples of the renewable energy sources include wind, solar, Geothermal, fossil fuels, hydropower, and biomass among others. There is great enthusiasm today on the increased production and development of the global energy needs from the alternate energy sources (Johansson & Burnham, 1993). By the year 2020, the world’s energy consumption level is expected to increase by almost 50 percent. However, if the renewable energy sources remain constant, the world will still be able to meet the demand. This means that people should be encouraged to continue using renewable energy sources as opposed to non-renewable.
Nuclear energy is one of the renewable energy sources though not many countries especially the developing ones have been able to use it. Nuclear energy is obtained from two processes. One way is when a large nucleus is split so as to release energy and the other way is combining small nuclei to release energy. The production of nuclear energy requires less fuel as compared to other sources (World Nuclear Association, 2013).
France is one of the countries that have adopted the use of nuclear energy. More than 75 percent of electricity in France is generated from nuclear energy. There is a long standing policy in France which is based on the energy security. The country is the largest exporter of electricity in the world due to the low cost of generation. France has been actively involved in the nuclear technology and fuel and reactor services and products are major exports (World Nuclear Association, 2013).
In conclusion, it is absolute that environmental sustainability is a source of economic growth. All countries of the world should enact laws which will ensure there is environmental sustainability. People should be educated on the importance of conserving the environment so as to save the future generations.
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