Warning From The Past
The future continues to unfold in unimaginable ways, but some movies, like “Back to the Future,” might have taken certain expectations a little too far. For one thing, there’s no such thing as auto-lacing shoes or hover cars in the 21st century. On the other hand, we do have androids that we can interact with and hoverboards! But sadly, our development has come at a price, and this newspaper from over a century ago, warned us!
The Job That Saved Millions
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Our world was pretty basic 106 years ago. Unnamed diseases popped up and ravaged the world, poverty was at an all-time high, and education appeared to be a low priority. Fortunately, the mining of coal gave nearly 1 million in the US employment when the industry peaked in 1923. Coal mining led to manufacturing, which provided more job opportunities. It also improved housing, education, and social conditions. But some people weren’t convinced about the long-lasting benefits of coal mining.
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Coal, oil, and gas all originated from fossil fuels, which formed over a period of over 650 million years. Plants and animals from before the time of the dinosaurs became a stored energy source that lay dormant in the Earth until it was discovered. These remains underwent chemical and physical changes while they were buried beneath the soil and water. Eventually, they became coal, a fuel source that is now the world’s primary energy source. But how was this discovery made?
In 1679, French explorers discovered the first recorded source of coal in the Illinois River in America. In 1748, commercial mining began near Richmond, Virginia, but the Chinese have been using this fuel for over 3,000 years. And word of this amazing fuel spread. But coal is non-renewable. So once this fuel, which provides light, heat, and energy, is gone, there won’t be more available for several million years. You’d think this would have deterred people from mining for coal, but it didn’t.
The Industrial Revolution
Britain relied on charcoal as an affordable fuel and heat source before the 1700s. But then, Britain began to mass produce a number of products during the Industrial Revolution. This required a great deal more coal in order to power things like furnaces and steam engines. They also needed this fuel source to heat buildings and generate electricity. As more factories came into existence, the need to transport these goods became greater. Eventually, the miners started digging deeper and deeper into the Earth. But no one could foresee the consequences.
Into The Darkness
As miners descended deeper into darkness, the collapsing of mines became a recurring theme in the news. But despite a couple of tragedies, the nation was desperate for wages, and young men everywhere were eager to take the place of a lost miner. But aside from the risks from a cave collapsing, miners also developed chronic health issues. Over 10,000 miners lost their lives in the 1900s from inhaling coal dust, which led to black lung disease. But no one can deny the impact coal has made around the globe.
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Since coal was discovered, housing has improved, birth rates have increased, and education has expanded. Even the life expectancy has gotten a boost to 70.5. Technology continues to evolve, and science and medicine have made a bigger difference in the lives of others. Without fossil fuels, humanity wouldn’t have been able to create, build, expand, and research. Thanks to coal, people can come home to a warm house without worrying about freezing. But these pros have drained the Earth.
The World Is In Danger
Research suggests that burning fossil fuels have had a negative impact on our planet. This had led to ongoing debates about what to do about it. Meanwhile, the burning of fossil fuels has increased carbon dioxide emissions, and depleted the ozone layer. This has caused UV rays to pass through the atmosphere and cause temperature changes. Europe experienced one of the warmest summers in more than 40 years when they hit an average high of 48 degrees Celsius. The increase is great for tanning, but troubling for Earth.
Global warming has caused certain areas in Venice to submerge in water. Polar ice caps continue to melt, and scientists believe that the warmer waters will attract sharks to Europe before 2050. Studies suggest that climate changes are to blame for the Ebola outbreaks in West Africa. Scientists also fear that cholera, bird flu, and other plagues will increase in a few years. We now have enough technology to research the impact of environmental disasters, but a newspaper from over a century ago, predicted everything.
They Warned Us
“Coal Consumption Affecting Climate” was printed above a paragraph published in the New Zealand paper “Rodney and Otamatea Times, Waitemata and Kaipara Gazette.” On August 14, 1912, the brief article mentioned that the high demand and use of fossil fuels would alter the atmosphere. “The furnaces of the world are now burning about 2,000,000,000 tons of coal a year. When this is burned, uniting with oxygen, it adds about 7,000,000,000 tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere yearly.” And there was even more.
A Dose Of Truth
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“This tends to make the air a more effective blanket for the earth and to raise its temperature. The effect may be considerable in a few centuries.” And now, over a century after the article was written, humanity is dealing with the aftermath that was predicted. But this wasn’t the first time someone suggested humanity would alter the Earth in such a way.
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The Swedish scientist, Svante Arrhenius, was the first to use the term “greenhouse gases.” In 1896, he mentioned that the gases emitted from fossil fuels were causing the Earth’s atmosphere to heat up. So, it’s not shocking that Sweden is the leader in the use of renewable energy in the EU. Their goal is to make Sweden carbon neutral by the year 2045. They hope they can lead by example, and that other countries will do the same. Meanwhile, one Hollywood celeb is fighting for a greener Earth.
A Titanic Contribution
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Leonardo DiCaprio has never been shy about discussing how society takes advantage of Earth. He founded the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation in the hopes of improving the long-term well-being of everyone on the planet. And that obviously begins with society’s overall comfort. “We support innovative projects that protect vulnerable wildlife from extinction, while restoring balance to threatened ecosystems and communities,” their website explains. DiCaprio used his star status to further the cause.
Before The Flood
In 2016, DiCaprio produced a documentary called “Before the Flood.” It was directed by Fisher Stevens, and it talks about climate change and its cause. DiCaprio also narrated the film. Meanwhile, Tesla founder, Elon Musk, wants the world to use sustainable energy. To do this, the billionaire is producing solar panels, electric cars, and other renewable energy technology for homes and businesses. But is the world ready for change?
A Renewable Future
DiCaprio has given $20 million to charities dedicated to climate change. And although 40% of electricity comes from coal, some countries are implementing other alternatives. Farmers get grants if they agree to use wind turbines on their property. Some new homes require the installation of solar panels too. Humanity didn’t take the warnings from 100 years ago seriously, but they seem to be now. Hopefully, a healthier renewable future awaits humanity.
Article originally posted by lifebuzz.