Dependence on Fossil Fuels
Oil, coal, natural gas...all the fossil fuels in our world were created from plants and animals that died 300 to 400 million years ago. Hence the name "fossil fuels." It took hundreds of millions of years to create them but only about 200 years, since the Industrial Revolution, to deplete them. We have used up the more accessible, higher quality sources for each of these fuels and are thus resorting to ever more extreme measures to get at the inaccessible, lower quality sources.
- Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining: We blow up the tops of mountains to access lower-grade coal because higher-grade seams have been depleted by conventional mining.
- Hydraulic Fracturing or Fracking: We pressure-inject millions of gallons of toxic liquids into shale in order to fracture the rock, releasing natural gas.
- Tar Sands Oil "Development": We pressure-inject millions of gallons of toxic liquids then strip mine order to access bitumen or Tar Sands, a low-grade form of petroleum that must be heavily refined to make oil.
- Deepwater Oil Drilling: We drill oil wells ever deeper under water to access remaining pools of oil.
All of these practices were once thought too expensive/difficult/damaging to be feasible, but as our supplies of fossil fuels dwindle and their prices rise, these practices are now becoming common place.
Our nation's dependence on fossil fuels disproportionately impacts the poor and communities of color at all phases of energy production, from extraction to refining to the resulting global climate change. We will inevitably be forced to seek alternative sources of energy anyway since fossil fuels are running out, but in the mean time we are causing greater and greater harm.
For these reasons, Unitarian Universalists call for an end to fossil fuel dependency and for seeking alternative energy sources now.
For more information contact environment @ uua.org.
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Last updated on Tuesday, October 9, 2012.
- What is Environmental Justice
- Resources for Environmental Engagement
- Green Sanctuary
- Ethical Eating
- Climate Change
- Dependence on Fossil Fuels
- Access to Essential Resources
- Sustainable and Local Economy