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Fossil fuels are a technology of the past.

Smokestacks in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1890 (via Khan Academy)

Starting in the 18th century, Fossil Fuels drove the Industrial Revolution opening up an unparalleled growth of society and technological advancements. Humans began to use these energy sources to provide power, electricity, among other important aspects of society to better the quality of life. Hundreds of years later, we have begun to use it past the allowable limit for our environment. Today, “NASA has reported that average worldwide temperatures have climbed 1.4°F (0.8°C) between 1880 and 2007” (Kerbel 1). While that may not seem like a very big increase, the effects of just that 1.4 degree increase has damaged our planet somewhat beyond repair, resulting in the death of coral reefs, disappearing ice, increased pollution related human health conditions, longer droughts, etc. All of these directly impact the livelihood of humans on the earth, more directly those in third world countries. 

 

Fossil Fuels Today…

Fossil fuels are killing people and permanently damaging some of the most beautiful places on earth, all for the short term economic gain of large corporations and politicians. When looking deeper into climate change, you find despicable statistics on human death tolls caused by the pollutants thrown into our atmosphere. “The report by the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution (GAHP) found pollution to be the largest environmental cause of premature death on the planet, causing 15% of all deaths – some 8.3 million people.” (The Guardian). Yes, you read that right. Massive numbers of environmental related deaths across the planet can be directly linked to the unnecessary (and avoidable) damage we are inflicting on our planet. What I find most interesting, is after several different searches on top causes of death worldwide, pollution-related cases were not even mentioned in the top 10 or 20, yet the sheer numbers would technically put it around the top 10.  Not only would Renewable Energies drastically decrease the

Top Causes of Death Annually, Worldwide

Air Pollution is the third highest killer of humans as of 2017. (Via “Our World in Data”)

premature and unnecessary deaths of millions annually, it would also allow for our planet to heal and potentially restore to pre-industrial beauty, sustainability, and health. There is no doubt that the transition would be difficult and pain-staking, along with tons of energy shortages and surges, but if those are the problems we’d face to save millions of lives annually, I’ll fight that battle any day.

 

Fossil Fuels are almost gone.

Along with all of  the damage fossil fuels inflict, we are also running out of them. “If we keep burning fossil fuels at our current rate, it is generally estimated that all our fossil fuels will be depleted by 2060.” (Octopus Energy). Transitioning to renewables will kill dozens of birds in one stone, from human well-being, environmental healing, overall quality of life, and long term sustainability of life on earth. What I believe is holding humans back the most is the narcissistic, self-centered mindset and tendencies of certain corporate and political figures and their strides towards greed and short term economic gain. The clear lack of care for human life and longevity of the human race on earth is quite worrisome, but very much fixable. It starts with society’s approach and outreach on the issue, along with proper education and discussions on the statistical evidence behind the current trajectory of our environment.

 

We have changed our ways before…

Humans have proven that we can adapt to very difficult situations and make the best of it no matter the outcome. Take the most recent global pandemic of Covid-19, and how it forced most of the human population to retreat into solitude and quarantine for four months (as of now). We have proved to ourselves and the history books that drastic measures can be taken to save human life, and that we can persevere and compromise. So why can’t we apply this tactic to global warming?

In the year 2020, Covid-19 has dramatically changed the lives of almost every human being on Earth,  killing 550,000 people in just half a year. (John Hopkins).

 

Plans for the future…

What can we do to stop this? It’s as simple as transitioning to Renewable Energy sources. Fossil fuels need to go, and they need to go quick. Our earth is nearing a severe tipping point, and it will strike in ways that may not be predictable. “90 climate scientists from 40 countries conclude that if humans don’t take immediate, collective action to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2040, the consequences will effectively be baked into the natural systems of the planet.” (NRDC.org). Along with the quickly rising temperatures, scientists are beginning to see serious impacts on human health and longevity. It is not an easy topic to discuss and can cause anxiety, but it an unfortunate reality humans are going to have to face. We still have time to turn around the damage we’ve done to our environment. Drastic measures will have to be taken, and they need to be done quick. With the help of world leaders and strong figures, climate change advocacy should no longer be viewed as a “far left movement” but as a “human movement.” Just as the world came together to defeat the Nazi’s in World War II, and Covid-19, we must do it again, at an even larger scale. If we don’t change our habits now, our planet will no longer support the vast majority of life we once knew it for. This bears the analogy of a simpler explanation of global warming. If you had a chance to prevent getting cancer simply by changing your eating habits, would you not do it? 

 

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