It seems as though everywhere you go, fossil fuels are in the air. That's not just a metaphor either; ever since human beings have started to need energy, fossil fuels have been burned to provide us with that energy. Without fossil fuels, there would be no work and societies everywhere would move at a much less rapid pace.
However, fossil fuels and burning them are not without their costs. First of all there is the matter of their usage. The term fossil fuel is applied to natural gas, coal, and petroleum because it is created through the decomposition of organic materials under the pressure of weight and time. To determine the pressure needed to generate coal has demonstrated that it actually takes more energy to produce the weights than is produced by the material created. That means fossil fuels can be used up, and not replaced.
That's important to understand, because it means that sooner or later, our fossil fuel sources will run out. It is strange, but people have never been able to come to grips with that reality. Perhaps it is the same ability to disconnect that leads us to disregard the information on labels. Whatever the underlying reasons, humans have never made real efforts to come up with alternative energy source to fossil fuels despite the fact we know they will run out one day.
The next problem with fossil fuels is that although they are being burned off in their visible form, their various molecular components are not. When fossil fuels are burned for energy, the gaseous residue of the molecules is dissipated into the atmosphere. Because they are made of carbon, the carbon molecules go into the atmosphere. There, the act in an opposite way to thermal insulation materials, increasing the radiation from the sun through the atmosphere.
And that is what is believed to have led in an increase in the temperature of the Earth over the last five centuries. Therefore, burning fossil fuels means not only are we losing our main sources of energy faster than they can be replaced, but that we are compromising our planet as well.
The only way to avoid being thrown out of the rotary airlock, as a science fiction fan might put it, is to be aware of our use of fossil fuels and try to control it. Understanding alternatives such as renewable energy sources is a good way to start.
This page is courtesy of Expressions Dental Centre in London ON.