Geology And Geophysics

Fossil Fuels and the Environment



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Let's conserve fossil fuels and save our environment.

For centuries, homes around the world are brightened and made warm by fire. Some people burn wood for this purpose while others burn coal. Of course, wood is replaceable through the growing of new trees. But coal, like natural gas and oil, is nonrenewable - it can run out.

Coal, natural gas, and oil are what we call fossil fuels. They are produced over time in the earth from dead bodies of animals and plants. Coal, for instance, is formed by the effects of hot condition and pressure on swamp trees over time. Oil, on the other hand, is from animals and small plants that died in the seas thousands and thousands of years ago. Heat, pressure, and the passing of time gradually transformed the dead bodies into oil and gas.

Many years ago, people were concerned that the earth's supply of coal and oil would be exhausted because of the continuously increasing world population and of the growing demand of developing countries for more fuel. That point of view, however, has completely changed in this present time. The people's attention has dramatically shifted to saving the environment from the various forms of pollution brought about by the continued use of coal, gas, and oil for fuel.

So now, the real pressing concern is this: Even before the earth's supply of fossil fuels is completely used up, we have got to save our environment from being totally destroyed by pollution caused by the uninterrupted use of these fossil fuels. In fact in many scientific researches and studies, it was already proven that pollution from the use of these fossil fuels increases acid rain, heightens global warming, and worsens the ozone layer's depletion.

Most of the alternative sources of energy - biomass, geothermal, wind, solar, and hydroelectric - do not produce sufficient power and, therefore, not one of them can immediately take the place of fossil fuels. Alternative energy sources can definitely help, but fossil fuels are still needed if we are to prevent our standard of living from falling severely.

Environmentalists suggest that instead of putting an end to the use of fossil fuels, a policy on utilizing energy efficiently should be adopted globally; people need to use less fuel but they have to make it work harder. To achieve this end, we need to have the necessary implements that are more energy-efficient. Every country in the world, for that matter, must invest in such energy-efficient equipment that will substantially decrease the demand for fossil fuels, thus saving the environment in the process.

In a much smaller scale, families have been made aware of specific things that they can do to help in conserving fuels and in saving the environment. For example, they can install insulation in their homes to preserve heat; they can drive their cars less often, or they can share rides; or they should purchase products with less plastic packaging, because oil is used to manufacture plastic.

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