The Other Dangers of Fossil Fuels
By: Mia Henderson, Guest Contributor
It’s a tired, but bon a fide storyline: we have to reduce our fossil fuel usage. Coal and petroleum have been good to us throughout the advent of automation and modern transportation; now they’ve become a serious problem. And if we don’t do something to stop greenhouse gasses from bleeding into our atmosphere at hurried rates, the results will be cataclysmic to nature.
Still, beyond all the rhetoric glued to atmospheric depletion and air pollution, there lies a whole host of lesser-discussed, equally-disruptive issues that bring additional merit to the push for renewables.
- Thermal pollution, which afflicts many of our nation’s lakes, rivers and streams, is a serious ramification of coal burning plants. Transforming unaltered materials like coal into usable fuel is an unfortunately imprecise process. Excess heat and chemical runoff needs somewhere to go if it’s not captured, and many times it finds a home in our largest bodies of water, in turn raising temperatures and meddling with long-steady ecosystems.
- Many predictions have been made about fossil fuels. Some suggest we’ll be tapped out of oil by 2060, and even the World Coal Association admits we could be running on our last coal reserves a little over 100 years from now. The scariest thing about those prospects is entering into a coal-less, oil-less world without an alternative. If we don’t continue exploring and developing renewable technologies, the future looks not only grim, but powerless. With the dates so far away, it’s easy to forget that we’ll run out of fossil fuels someday – but alas, we most certainly will.
- Fossil fuels are a boiling topic for diplomatic relations. Convoluted wars and heavily contentious relationships have plumed thanks to the modern era’s reliance on fossil fuels. Some countries have more of them sitting on their property than others do; it’s simply the lay of the land. Political predilections are beyond the scope of this article, but it’s safe to say that a waning reliance on fossil fuels could only help international relations.
Be the inspiration ecological, humanistic, or sociopolitical, it’s plainly evident that our shifting away from fossil fuels is not just an exhibition of human growth, but a necessity for everyone on earth. With the help of renewable energy, it’s our prerogative to mold society into something more sustainable.
World fuel image via Shutterstock.com.
Mia Henderson is a blogger at TexasElectricityProviders.com.