Natural Gas Energy
The United States and the rest of the world have a very clear dependency on oil as a source of energy. Drilling for oil, however, sometimes has unexpected consequences. Natural gas is one of the main byproducts of drilling for oil (Taylor, 2009). At this point, oil companies do not do anything with the natural gas that they uncover. Instead of using it as a source of alternative energy, it is burned to dispose of it (Taylor, 2009). Gas flares result from the burning of natural gases. Using the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program, the Department of Defense created a gas flare layer in Google Earth that shows gas flares around the world (Taylor, 2009). Google Earth gives a geospatial dimension to the waste of natural gas energy.
The gas flare layer does a nice job of pointing out a large waste of energy that should be stopped but gives no information on the research being done on natural gas energy. There should be more of an emphasis, in this layer or other layers, on informing users of the benefits of using natural gas and the harm oil companies are doing by wasting all of this valuable resource.
The picture above is a screenshot from the gas flares layer in Google Earth. The various colored points represent locations where gas flares have occurred.
Taylor, F. (2009, June 2). Huge Waste of Energy Visible in Google Earth. Google Earth Blog. Retrieved from http://www.gearthblog.com/blog/archives/2009/06/huge_waste_of_energy_visible_in_go o.html