Green living: Save Our Earth By Living Green

The Top 5 Green Pioneers

The very notion of green energy is relatively new, but throughout history, many people have been concerned about renewable energy resources. Ever since enterprising individuals started burning coal to power factories in Britain a few hundred years ago, there were visionaries that intuitively understood a more efficient and practical solution would be needed someday. Here are some of the most innovative-thinking green energy pioneers in history.

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Thomas Edison

Lots of naysayers out there take all kinds of credit away from Edison. Because he didn’t actually invent the lightbulb, people assume that we don’t owe anything to his ideas. Among all of this experiments with electricity and electric power, Edison was constantly concerned about the limited availability of fossil fuels. He had wind turbines in his backyard, and is known to have said to Henry Ford that he’d put his money on solar energy eventually becoming the primary source of power in the world.

Augustine Mouchot

Mouchot was the first person to come up with a solar-powered engine way back in 1860. It used a series of powerful mirrors to gather sunlight for the purpose of boiling steam to power a steam engine. Unlike many other inventors of his time, however, he built his solar engine with the express purpose of weaning France off of fossil fuels, easily earning him a spot on this list.

William Grylls Adams and Richard Evans Day

This teacher-student pair discovered in 1873 that exposing a thin sheet of selenium to sunlight created an electrical current — the first-ever solar cell. In a time when chemists were debating the existence of atoms, these two were discovering some of the first laws of quantum mechanics. Their models didn’t create enough electricity to power anything whatsoever, but nonetheless, they demonstrated the principles behind solar power.

Marcellus and Joe Jacobs

While wind power had been around since before the Industrial Revolution, and wind electricity for at least 50 years, these two brothers proved the commercial usefulness of wind power by creating windmill clusters in remote locations. They set up wind farms on actual farms too far from a city to be attached to the nascent power grid of the late 1920s, to create electricity where it wasn’t going to be otherwise available.

Elliot Berman

Jump to 1970: while solar power had been around for almost a century, it had never been cheap enough to use commercially, until Dr. Elliot Berman took on the task of making the cheapest solar cell he could. His only stipulation was that it still produce enough charge to power a device. By using cheap silicon and even cheaper packaging, he brought the cost of solar power from $100 per kilowatt-hour to $20 per kilowatt-hour, and brought solar power into the mainstream.

There are a lot more unsung heroes of the green energy movement. If you’re interested in learning more, check out the true story of the world’s energy history; it’s out there among the many energy books available through Amazon or your local bookstore.

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