Fossil Fuels

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Fossil Fuels: Rape of Nature

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Fossil Fuels, which include coal, oil, and natural gas, are a non-renewable energy source that were formed from the decomposition of plants and animals that were deposited in the Earth around 300 million years ago. These fossil fuels, after being removed from the Earth, are converted into energy and this energy is essential to modern society (Chughtai & Shannon, 1998). Over 85 percent of America’s energy demands are met by the combustion of fossil fuels, which means that America requires large amounts of oil, coal, and natural gas in order to generate the power that is needed to keep the country in operation. Fossil fuels are used to power homes, heat homes, provide transportation, and to power exploration (Chughtai & Shannon, 1998). Without fuel there would be no energy and without energy the world would come to a virtual standstill. While fossil fuels have proven essential to the industrial revolution and the creation of society as we now know, fossil fuels pose a danger to the world, to the ecosystem, to animals, to plants, and to humans. The exploration and extraction of fossil fuels cause destruction to the natural environment and upsets ecosystems which can not only harm the natural beauty of the world, but can interrupt the food chain which is essential to life.

The Impact of Exploration and Extraction
The destructive power of fossil fuel exploration and extraction is a major concern for environmentalists and starts with how each fossil fuel is discovered and removed from the Earth. Because of the destructive nature of fossil fuel exploration and extraction environmental groups around the world are trying to show the negative impact of fossil fuels on the environment. Environmental groups are trying to block oil exploration in the Georges Bank, a vast underwater plateau that stretches from Cape Cod to Nova Scotia and has been among the world's most fertile fishing grounds, because they show evidence that oil exploration could, “could disrupt the fragile ecological environment at Georges Bank at a time that authorities are trying to restock declining fish populations” (Klein, 2005). Exploration and extraction of fossil fuels from marine environments can cause untold damage to ecosystems and marine life that can completely change not only the underwater environment, but can also profoundly impact the lives of those who rely on the marine ecosystem to survive; including humans. According to different scientific studies, seismic blasting can damage reproductive organs, burst air bladders, and cause physiological stress in marine organisms. It can also cause behavioral modifications and reduce or eliminate available habitat, alter fish distribution by tens of kilometers, and damage planktonic eggs and larvae (Quijano, 2008). Klein reports, “some recent studies have indicated seismic testing impairs the hearing mechanisms of fish can kill fish eggs and larvae, and drive marine mammals -- including rare whale species -- from their feeding grounds (2005). The destruction of natural fish habitats has been shown to lower local fish populations and to interrupt the breeding and migration habitats of fish populations. Not only do local communities often rely on fish that are disrupted by underwater exploration and extraction of fossil fuels, but other marine animals and ecosystems can be affected by sudden and irreversible changes.

Coal mining, often in heavily wooded and mountainous regions throughout the world, destroys habitat that is home to many animal species. In Canada, open-pit mining in the region of Jasper National Park has interfered with and destroyed the habitat for up to 5,000 song birds and the breeding grounds of the largest breeding population of Harlequin Ducks in Alberta (Barber & Gelfand, 2005). In addition to the birds, the mine is thought to further threaten the already...
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