Abby Raises Awareness: Big business in fossil fuels


Photo credit by Miller Photography

Humans are known for being innovative and technologically-advanced, but at what cost? The way we get our energy is harmful to us and to the other living things that share our planet. Our dangerous habit of destroying Earth’s most beautiful and natural resources comes at an extremely high price - our very own lives.

Human beings have single-handedly destroyed mountains, valleys, lakes, rivers and ecosystems with waste and chemicals from burning fossil fuels, one of the most frequently used being coal. Blasting from mountaintop removal coal mining releases arsenic, lead and mercury into naturally- owing water, which causes health problems for anything or anyone who consumes it. Consumption of contaminated and polluted water can cause brain damage, cancer, kidney and liver problems and even autism in young children, according to appvoices.org. But even that doesn’t stop the coal companies from blasting in areas like Appalachia.

Photo illustration by Sami Welsh

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there was estimated to be mercury releases at 158 million tons annually nationwide in the 1990s. One can only imagine how much worse it has become within the last 25 years. People who live closer to coal production plants are two times more likely to have a child with autism and more susceptible to extreme respiratory diseases like asthma or lung cancer.

Even with the push for clean coal and the decline of actual coal production plants, there is still an abundance of it being used to produce our energy. Energy is good, but not when it puts human health at risk and destroys the planet at the same time.

And yes, people have realized this over time, but it’s more difficult than one would think to stop big business from poisoning our planet. While we’re out here protesting the use of fossil fuels and demanding clean energy, politicians are taking money from corporations and allowing them to continue polluting the planet with their chemical waste. It’s no wonder it’s so hard to cut back our emissions of greenhouse gasses: the people who should be working toward fixing environmental issues are the same people taking money from the source of the problem.

Photo illustration by Sami Welsh

Fossil fuels are one of the main causes of climate change and the fact that we have not yet made the transition to cleaner energy sources is astonishing. Look at the bigger picture here: the ice caps up North will be completely gone by 2040, along with the polar bears, penguins, sea lions, arctic foxes and wolves.

Our grandkids may never see what a polar bear looks like. That should bother you. We can ignore the continued use of fossil fuels and pretend that we don’t have an impact, but we really do. If we let the corporations continue to make life-threatening decisions for us, we will never be able to stop severe climate change from happening, and we will be stuck in whatever hellish world they leave for us - the next generation.

The future of Earth has two possible outcomes: one, we don’t change anything and greenhouse gasses pollute the atmosphere, causing all arctic ice to melt, sea levels to rise, inconsistent cold fronts, heatwaves, droughts, res and fl

oods. Or two, we boycott coal production, buy energy-saving products, advocate for clean energy sources like windmills, and see a brighter, cleaner, healthier and greener future. The only way anything changes is if we change it ourselves.

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