Years Well Spent
The crystal sun rose from behind the deep tranquil mountains. It was late spring, and I had just arrived at school. I had dreams and hopes of a future ending, without the journey. Since the age of thirteen, I had a plan for my life; I desired to become the most successful businessman the world has ever seen. Naturally; money, cars, and fame were all I wanted, and all that seemed to matter to me. The world was mine, and there was nothing at all that could stop me from accomplishing all these goals. The school bell rang, “Will all graduating seniors report to the theater.”
Everyone paused as the announcement rang through the halls, piercing through doors, and cascading around corners. The awaited day had arrived. All the high school seniors had looked forward to that day for what seemed an eternity. Later, that same week was the actual ceremony; there was much excitement, many people had planned family events, and some had planned parties with friends. As we rushed out the doors after the ceremony many talked of who we were going to become. Some spoke of religious missions, others of college, and some, simply vacations. One thing amid the confusion of words, there was a constant desire for success, though that meant something different to each person.
From that moment life seemed as though someone had pressed fast-forward. Almost a year later, I found myself in a fraternity while attending the University of Utah. The fraternity was different from any other at the school, we were a religious based fraternity; this enabled us to enjoy all the fun of parties, and large scale events, without all of the liquor or drugs. Thereby we had the fun without the bad side effects. And, at this time my life was still on course, I was looking at a master’s degree in six years, and the possibility of a law degree. I was working at a large commercial bank, so it seemed all I needed was to climb the corporate ladder. Many of my friends had begun to leave on religious missions for our church. I had determined back when I was about thirteen that a mission was not in the timeline I had scheduled, because in my mind I had larger plans.
I came home from work one day, and was lounging around the house as was common for this time in my life. My father had been bothered for quite some time by my lack of effort around the house. He sat me down, and had a stern conversation. By the end of the conversation I had two options; serve a mission for our church, or join the Peace Corps. Immediately I thought of my finances, and how much it would cost to live on my own. I shortly realized there was no way I could afford living expenses and still have time and money for school. I knew I had to choose one of the two options, or delay schooling even more than these would. My mind flashed to a presentation the Peace Corps had given at my University. I thought of the advantages and the disadvantages. Finally I thought of the pause, and the possible destruction of my plans which had once seemed so important, if I left on a mission. Since joining my fraternity I had noticed my fraternity brothers, most of them had served missions of their own, they had a more mature look on life; they had plans and goals, and to make it better they had the drive to accomplish their plans. I thought on the decision for a short while. As with many of my life decisions, I quickly knew what I needed to do.
I set out in preparation to spend the next two years of my life away from home, as was customary for a full-time mission. I thought I knew what to expect, I thought it would be easier. On the twenty eighth of October two thousand nine, I began my full-time missionary service. The training, and the first few months were a unique experience, I learned many important life lessons from the events. However, my real learning began when I was in Florida. I would work all day from six thirty am to ten thirty pm. Part way into my mission the days began to blur into one long day. My body had begun to feel the fatigue of the work, especially around one year and six months. I had met so many people, and every time I thought I had met every type of personality, several new ones would surface. I enjoyed meeting new people, learning about them, and helping them. I would look forward to simply spending time listening to people, asking them questions, and letting them help themselves. By this time my views of life had almost taken a full three hundred sixty degree turn. I had come to realize, that what I thought was important, was not.
As the final days of my missionary service closed, I looked back and feared what was yet to come. Ultimately the time had come to return to my family, I flew home and exited the airplane. I walked down the escalator to be greeted by my family whom I had barely communicated with for quite some time. As I embraced my family my mind flashed back on large events of the past two years. Both tears of joy and tears of sorrow filled my eyes.
As I returned to usual life, I did not have the same interest in things I used to; I had no interest in things which would once consume me like electronic games. I enjoyed having fewer things, and I enjoyed the time I spent, instead of the things I received. The change I underwent did not happen overnight, it was a gradual process. What I was seeking the whole time wasn’t really an ending without a journey, but an ending created by the journey.
The future has arrived
The future can hold many vast possibilities. In the transportation industry the past has been clouded by the sludge of gasoline based products. There have been substantial developments, and advances reducing the cost, and improving the availability. However, because of this one sided fuel system, we have pushed many possibilities into recession. The hope of a clean and bright future has become dimmed by a recurring past of toxic waste. The possibility of a brighter future would begin with a change in how we think, how we live, and what we do. The change to help the future would be a change for hydrogen fuel.
Hydrogen fuel is a versatile fuel. It is a clean molecule when burned, as it produces water for the product. One of the largest concerns about hydrogen is the cost. The current cost of hydrogen is higher than gasoline, but the damage caused to a vehicle is significantly less severe. Since hydrogen is a new fuel source it would decrease in cost as the technologies had more time to become well developed. Overall there is a bright future with hydrogen, and the benefits out weight any current costs which hold us back. The proposal is that we begin to meditate on the idea of a future in hydrogen, and we seek the development that is necessary.
Hydrogen, when burned emits simple water for exhaust. This clean benefit would, in time, clean the air and allow for a clear environment. Gasoline leaves behind all sorts of toxic gases, some include: Hydrocarbons (HC), Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), Carbon Monoxide (CO), and Sulfur Dioxide (SO2). The pollution in the air alone caused by these petroleum fuels contributes to many diseases in the world today, including: asthma, COPD, cystic fibrosis, cardiovascular disease, lung and other cancers (Pope III). Many people in the world’s population suffer from these illnesses, and similar diseases caused by pollutants of petroleum based fuel. The cost of medical bills and treatments for these illnesses can be several thousand dollars, “the average annual cost for cystic fibrosis treatment is more than $40,000” (CF Patient). With a cleaner fuel, such as hydrogen, there would be no negative health effects which are currently caused by gasoline, many of these diseases would become rare, or even disappear entirely.
The clean factor of hydrogen does not only extend to the air, it also reaches to the ocean. Much of the world’s population lives on the animals in the sea. Whether it is fish consumed, sea weed eaten, or simply using fish oils for healing and heath care; the ocean has greatly helped the world. As a result of petroleum based fuels, there have been many negative effects to the ocean because of oil spills. Fish have been found with diseases, and health risks, that extend to the consumers. Seaweed has been found to contain toxic chemicals which damage the fish and humans that eat it (Bioactive Compounds). To make it all worse, there have been countless oil spills throughout the world, which have caused large numbers of ocean fatalities. The world we live in has become severely impacted by our pursuit for fuel; it does not have to be this way.
We live in an age of technology, if someone is told it is not possible, and they invent something to make it possible. With the advancements in technology all around us, it is a wonder why we have not forsaken the fuel source which holds us back, and damages our health. Instead of spending time curing diseases caused by us traveling to and from work, we could spend our time on other advancements which would help improve our lives. Hydrogen is the most basic and smallest element; one of the most unique of atoms. It is all around us, in the air, in our drinking glasses, in our homes, and even in us. This atom is beneficial, and essential for us to live, so it is only natural that we would use it to propel us from one location to another. Hydrogen as a fuel source is in the early stages of development, unlike the petroleum monster which has torn the years; it is new, and not well known. Hydrogen has long been thought at a storage medium for energy, it has been used in industries all over the world, and it is even used to refine the gasoline we use today. The only issue is that it hasn’t had much time and money invested into improving the refinement process. For hydrogen to advance, it would require some development.
Recently there have been many advances in refining hydrogen especially in the areas of solar technologies, and hydroelectric. The cost of hydrogen has dropped substantially within the last few years displaying a hope of a soon even lower, more competitive cost. Currently hydrogen is slightly more expensive than four dollars per gallon gasoline. The only problem with gasoline is that the refining process cannot be perfected any more than it already is, it has reached its plateau. Hydrogen on the other hand has a significantly promising future of improvements, as it is a young development; there is only a more efficient future ahead of it.
Gasoline has become widely available; on almost every corner in most cities. However, it has not become as widely available as what hydrogen hydrogen can be. The wonderful thing about hydrogen, is wherever there is electricity and water, hydrogen can be produced. At work, at home, or on the road, hydrogen could be produced just about anywhere. The benefits of coming home, and filling up your car would be amazing, no longer would people have to stop at the gas station to fill up, or drive out of their way find the best price on fuel. You would simply need to fill up when you get home, or any time you are home for that matter. Hydrogen offers a future that cannot be offered by gasoline, as gasoline require specific refining. It offers independency, and true freedom to do what we want, when we want, and on our own time table.
The future with hydrogen is more promising than the future with gasoline. As a result, the clean environment which would be produced, the convenience, and all of the freedoms and independence would help us facilitate a brighter tomorrow. We have too long been subject to a fuel which cannot be improved. The way to provide an excellent vehicle and state of the art technologies is to switch to hydrogen. That is where the clean, healthy future of transportation lies.