Though the imperative to conserve energy is as old as the use of energy itself (Wulfinghoff, n.d.) it could be argued that the modern push for energy conservation has been driven by overreliance on fossil fuels and the accompanying fear over their rate of depletion, rising costs of fossil fuels and the effects of fossil fuels on the environment. Herein we can single out the production of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that lead to global warming as a significant environmental problem within energy conservation.
Greenhouse gases are those gases that absorb and emit heat in the atmosphere e.g. carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor and nitrous oxide. Water vapor and carbon dioxide are the greatest contributors to the greenhouse effect. However, according to Jacob (1999) water vapor resides in the atmosphere for a period of about nine days before it condenses and precipitates, unlike carbon dioxide and the other greenhouse gases which mix in the atmosphere and reside there for years. It is this lack of natural processes to remove the greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide that leads to the earth heating up because the gases entrap heat within our atmosphere.
Seas / lakes, vegetation, land, wildlife and livestock are some of the living and nonliving factors that contribute to or are affected by energy conservation. Seas have a huge potential with regards to providing an alternative source of energy in the form of wave or tidal energy. Tidal energy provides a renewable source of electricity that should lessen our dependence on fossil fuels thus reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases. However, it must be noted that harnessing tidal energy through building of dams near bays or estuaries could result in negative impacts on aquatic and shoreline ecosystems (Ocean Energy Council, n.d.). Secondly, utilising seas/oceans for energy generation would reduce the need to open up more oil exploration in the seas which could lead to leaks and