Skip to main content

Fossil Fuels - The Basics

what are fossil fuels environmental impact

People often measure progress in defeating climate change by the amount of fossil fuels used by a country or corporation. Or rather, a lack thereof. Climate experts prefer the use of clean and renewable sources such as solar or nuclear power over fossil fuels because they have a minimal environmental impact. In order to despise fossil fuels, we have to get down to the basics of what they are.

What are fossil fuels?

Fossil fuels have their name for a reason. The fuel comes from the remains of once living organisms. When burned, they can power buildings, vehicles, and our lives. According to America’s The Department of Energy, fossil fuels have been the source of almost 75% of human emissions over the past twenty years. 

Examples of fossil fuels


what is coal environment

Coal is a black rock that takes millions of years to form. Like all nonrenewable sources, we use it faster than it can replenish. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (eia), coal forms when the remains of dead plants are under heat and pressure.


what is oil petroleum environment

The most widely used source of energy in the United States (Environmental and Energy Study Institute), crude oil, or petroleum, is formed when little dead plants and animals are under intense heat and pressure, similar to coal (says the eia). Oil has defined the wealth of many nations; countries that have taken advantage of their high oil reserves are considered “oil rich.” Oil will not last forever, however, and we’re using it faster than it can replenish.

Natural Gas

what is natural gas environment

Natural gas has a similar formation process to petroleum. It contains methane and carbon, both polluters. Because it forms over millions of years, natural gas won’t stick around if we continue to use it at this pace (common theme with fossil fuels). Natural gas, however, is a cleaner source than coal and oil.

    Environmental Impact and Alternatives

When emitted into the atmosphere, fossil fuels cause damage. Residents of cities such as Beijing live with harmful air quality and smog. Aside from dirtying air, fossil fuels contribute to the heating of the Earth. 

Instead of fossil fuels, our society needs to incorporate clean energy. Renewable sources and nuclear power don’t pollute the Earth as much as fossil fuels, and once they are set up, they can save billions of dollars worth of industry. Our planet needs to head towards a green future and economy.

Get notified when EarthPlex posts about the environment with our (FREE) mailing list.


Popular posts from this blog

Climate Change - The Basics

Climate Change - The Basics
Definition:We are in a climate crisis, but what does that mean?Like we did when exploring the meaning of eco-friendly, we're going to dissect the word. Climate is the weather in an area over an extended period of time.
Climate change is when long-term weather patterns shift, hence climate change. Temperatures gradually rise, which could, and has begun to, cause great destruction.
Effects:Climate change, sometimes referred to as global warming, has destroyed ecosystems. According to the World Wildlife Fund, “Populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians have, on average, declined by 60% between 1970 and 2014, the most recent year with available data.” Fewer species roam the wild because of mankind’s actions, and the people who cause it pay the smallest price.NASA has observed the effects of climate change from space. They have seen rising sea levels, wildfires, melting ice caps, and a whole lot more. Earth is changing rapidly, but what exact…

Double Trouble: The Fujiwhara Effect

Double Trouble: The Fujiwhara Effect By Mahir Hossain, age 14
Hurricanes. A spiral of destruction with catastrophic winds, heavy downpour, and lightning strikes that can split cable lines and trees in half. Many have experienced the damaging effects of hurricanes in Latin America and the Southern United States, but what if there were two spirals of destruction, or worse, what if they were to collide? The rare phenomenon has already materialized in Louisiana and Texas amongst other states who encountered the storm’s wrath. So exactly how does the Fujiwhara effect work? 
The phenomenon is named after Sakuhei Fujiwhara, a Japanese meteorologist who was highly encapsulated with works of vortices, rotation, and other factors that contributed to such natural disasters. Although he put most of his time into the development of hurricane research, his findings of double vortices while studying at the Meteorological College of Japan was very intriguing to other meteorologists who tried to compreh…

Beyond Meat and the Environment

Beyond Meat and the EnvironmentBurgers are a staple of the American diet. Billions of them are consumed each year. Sadly, meat production requires energy, water, and land. Agriculture, especially with cattle, is really bad for the Earth. We all love burgers, but we don’t want to feel guilty eating them. That’s where Beyond Meat comes in. Beyond believes that “there is a better way to feed the planet.” So, do they have a better way to feed the planet? Well, yes, depending on what you consider better. At EarthPlex, we consider the better option to be the one that is more sustainable. You may be wondering, What is my Big Mac doing to destroy the world? Well, Brian, red meat uses a lot of water in the production process, requires farming land, and methane from cattle digestion pumps tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Now you may be wondering, How can one company fix all of these problems? Well - let’s  make you Jill - Beyond doesn’t make meat like most companies do; instead, they…

The Environmental Impact of Phineas and Ferb's Creations

‌The Environmental Impact of Phineas and Ferb's CreationsI saw the trailer for Phineas and Ferb: Candace Against the Universe about a week ago, and I'm so excited to watch it. Unfortunately, it's only available on Disney Plus, so I'll either subscribe or use the free trial. The trailer got me thinking about my childhood obsession with Phineas and Ferb. Then I wondered, how do they have the resources to build all of these things?, and do they reuse the materials, or do Dr. Doofenshmirtz's inators cause them to buy new stuff every time Phineas says, "Ferb, I know what we're going to do today!"

I decided to analyze the environmental impacts of what Phineas and Ferb have built during their 104 days of summer vacation. Before I go into the basics of their carbon footprint, there are two things I must get out of the way. First, this is only a TV show, and we will look into what Phineas and Ferb have built; we will not analyze the impact of producing a televi…

What Does Eco-Friendly Really Mean?

What Does Eco-Friendly Really Mean? Definition: You hear it all the time, but what on Earth does eco-friendly mean? Well, Earth... friendly or not harmful to Earth. To understand the definition of this word and what eco-friendly products are, we have to dissect the word. Eco is a prefix that means Earth and the environment (e.g. ecosystem). And if you don’t know the meaning of friendly, perhaps you’re in the wrong place. Eco-friendly goods and services claim that they do not hurt our planet.Examples:For example, biodegradable containers help our planet and have a plethora of advantages over the containers most of us currently use. Those containers are eco-friendly because using them benefits the planet. Another common example of eco-friendly equipment is solar panels. Unlike fossil fuels, they do not output harmful gas into the atmosphere. By maintaining Earth’s natural resources, solar panels are considered to be eco-friendly.Similar Words:Words often used in the place of eco-friendl…