The influence of renewable energy on the environment is well-known — it reduces greenhouse gases and produces clean energy. The impact of green energy, however, extends beyond the environment, but to people’s mental and physical health by creating jobs, improving overall health and providing energy independence.
Renewable Energy Creates Jobs
Renewable energy creates new jobs each year, with solar and wind creating jobs 12 times faster than other industries in the U.S. economy. Careers in renewable energy are often more labor-intensive than the fossil fuel industry which automates most of its tasks.
Jobs benefit people in several ways, aside from providing a source of income. Employment also improves your self-esteem, purpose and identity, which benefits your mental health. Access to health insurance also lets you access healthcare services to stay physically and mentally fit.
It’s estimated that the renewable energy sector will employ 24 million people by 2030, which is a substantial growth from the 9.8 million individuals working in the industry today. The expansion of the market also helps support local economies, which provides residents with a greater sense of wellbeing, due to financial security.
Green Energy Improves Public Health
Green energy improves the public’s health by providing clean air and water, in comparison to fossil fuels which cause water and air pollution. A recent study demonstrated the impact of fossil fuels, such as coal and natural gas plants, on personal health.
The study, conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), discovered Americans spend between 361.7 to 886.5 billion dollars on illnesses resulting from fossil fuels. That’s 2.5 to six percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Conditions include cancer, heart attacks and neurological or breathing problems.
By expanding the use of green energy, the health of people across the globe can be improved by offering access to clean water sources and providing lower levels of air pollution. In certain countries, such as China which is plagued by smog, this would have a significant benefit on the long-term health of residents.
Renewable Energy Helps Local Economies
Renewable energy provides health benefits because it offers security, as well as an additional source of income for people and their local communities. Farmers or rural residents, for example, receive payments for installing wind turbines on their property which help support their farm.
Produce from the farm is then sold to members of the community, which contributes to the local economy. The investment of renewable energy companies into small towns, whether by leasing land from farmers or introducing jobs through a manufacturing plant, also improves people’s overall wellbeing by contributing to and improving their local economy.
Taxes collected from renewable energy users also go towards supporting the local community’s public services. The funds could go to repairing a park or preparing a parade. These locations or events encourage residents to go outside and walk or socialize with their neighbors, which influences their mental and physical health.
Healthy Environment Makes Us Healthier
It’s undeniable — the environment has an impact on people’s mental and physical health. In some ways, people recognize the influence of the outdoors, commenting on beautiful views or scenes of disregard for nature. An understanding of the impact of the environment on public health, however, has only recently been acknowledged through studies.
The results emphasize the importance of adopting renewable energy and phasing out fossil fuels. By increasing the world’s use of solar and wind power, as well as other renewable sources, the overall health of people across the world improves by providing jobs and cleaner air and water to the public.
Emily Folk is a freelance writer and blogger from Lancaster, PA. She covers topics in conservation, sustainability and renewable energy. To see her latest posts, check out her blog Conservation Folks, or follow her on Twitter!
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