Fossil Fuels Are Killing You and Everyone You Love

We are ripping nonrenewable fossil fuels out of the ground and burning them. How bad could it be?

This week's subject on DNews Plus is alternative energy sources: why is it so important that we start using them? What are the best options on the table? Which countries are leading the way in research, development, and execution? For the first episode, Trace discusses the urgency of this issue and why we absolutely need to start looking for alternative energy sources, like, right now.

What exactly is a fossil fuel? According to Science Daily, a fossil fuel is, "Buried combustible geologic deposits of organic materials that have been exposed to heat and pressure in the earth's crust over hundreds of millions of years." They are nonrenewable resources, meaning they cannot be replenished over a short period of time. There are four main nonrenewable energy sources: crude oil, natural gas, coal, and uranium. It takes hundreds of millions of years to create fossil fuels.

All fossil fuels are nonrenewable, but not all nonrenewable energy sources are fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are organic material that has been converted into a hydrocarbon-based fuel source. Uranium, on the other hand, is mined and converted to a fuel at nuclear power plants. Uranium is not a fossil fuel but it is classified as a nonrenewable fuel. Renewable sources are energy sources like solar and wind that can be replenished naturally over a very short period of time.

On a day-to-day basis, the burning of fossil fuels affects every one of us, and our immediate health. Simply, they are killing us. Trace explains the how and why.

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Fossil fuel (ScienceDaily)
"Fossil fuels are hydrocarbons, primarily coal, fuel oil or natural gas, formed from the remains of dead plants and animals. In common dialogue, the term fossil fuel also includes hydrocarbon-containing natural resources that are not derived from animal or plant sources. These are sometimes known instead as mineral fuels."

Nonrenewable and renewable energy sources (U.S. Energy Information Administration)
"Energy sources are classified as nonrenewable if they cannot be replenished in a short period of time. Renewable energy sources such as solar and wind can be replenished naturally in a short period of time."