After being mined for 200 years, the earth's fossil fuels are running out. What's left won't be able to meet the ever-growing demand for the energy that fossil fuels provide.
Last updated on Jan 23 , 2021
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The discovery of fossil fuel-powered energy completely changed how people lived and ushered in the Industrial Era. This energy allowed people to innovate and build. With every advance in industries like mechanics and transportation, humans' reliance on fossil fuels increased. Over time, the extraction and refinement of these energy sources became industries in and of themselves.
Early industrialists pursued large-scale extraction with little knowledge of fossil fuels' limited supply. The profit to be made from an ever-growing demand for energy trumped all else, even as awareness grew of the downsides of fossil fuels. Now, almost everything in our lives—from the electricity that charges our cell phones to the gas that powers airplanes—is completely dependent on energy that's still largely sourced from fossil fuels.
As earth's population grows, so does the demand for and dependency on energy sources that are rapidly depleting (if not depleted altogether, as in the case of some fossil fuel reserves). Resources like oil and coal are getting harder to find, and newly discovered reserves tend to be too small to meet sustained demand. Ecotricity, a U.K.-based green energy company, predicts oil, gas, and coal reserves may be completely within about 150 years, stating, "And when they’re gone, they’re gone pretty much forever."
The finite nature of fossil fuel-based energy makes it inherently unsustainable. If we don't preserve existing resources and adopt alternative energy sources now, it could be lights out for future generations.
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