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Can We Produce Enough Food to Prevent World Starvation Without Using Fossil Fuels?

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Introduction

Fossil fuels are formed through natural processes of decomposition of dead and buried organisms mostly plants that already contain energy from the process of photosynthesis and for the animals the process of respiration (Crawley, 2016). Fossil fuels include petroleum, coal and natural gas which are typically formed as a product of fossilized remains of dead organisms that are exposed to heat and pressure on the earth’s crust for hundreds of millions of years. Even though fossil fuel is formed continually as organisms die and are buried and exposure to the ideal conditions, it is considered as non-renewable fuel as the process of fossilization takes millions of years. Continuous use of fossil fuel leads to faster depletion of the viable reserves and the new ones take long to form.

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Fossil fuels typically have a high carbon composition and when they are in use, they combust and mix with the oxygen in the atmosphere, and easily form carbon monoxide with is highly responsible for the depletion of the ozone layer, increase in environmental degradation and the adverse effects of global warming (Espstein, 2014). Additionally carbon monoxide is very lethal to the human anatomy as it attaches itself to the red blood cells and reduces the circulation of oxygen in the body and incapacitates one to a slow death.

Thesis; Continuous dependence of fossil fuel by United States will lead to decline in the amount of food available for consumption.

Statistics to defend the thesis

The combustion of fossil fuels adds carbon dioxide into the one already existing in the atmosphere. Before the industrial revolution carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere was less than 250ppm (parts per million). This was determined by the analysis of air bubbles that had been trapped in the Antarctic and Green land ice caps for hundreds of millions of years. In 1958, another analysis was done and it concluded that the concentration of carbon dioxide had increase to 350ppm. In 1986, it was 380 ppm and rising (Espstein, 2014). The universe is now 1 degree warmer than it was in the 19th due to the increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Currently the concentration of carbon dioxide is 400ppm and if the current trend continues by 2030, the carbon concentration will be 700ppm and the globe will be warmer than it is right now (Espstein, 2014). When the fuel combusts and combine with water droplets in the atmosphere, it produces acid rain which soaks in the soil and raises the PH, making the soil to be acidic. This is lethal to plants and animals that consume these plants.

Effects of use of Fossil fuels on the Quantity of food Produced

Increased droughts that lead to famine: with increase in the level of carbon dioxide in the environment, there is an increase the temperature which leads to long and dry summers that are accompanied by strong winds. These long period does not allow for the growth of plants as was previously done (Garrick, 2008). After the summers, spring is characterized with heavy and destructive rains that harm any plants that might have been planted in anticipation for spring. The winters are longer and colder and nothing can be able to survive the cold.

Decreased food supply: agriculture especially crops that are climate sensitive will become eradicated and there will be a decline in nutritious organisms that are used in the daily diets. For instance in 1988, the long hot summer reduced the corn harvest by 40%. Crops in Minnesota are believed to increase in terms of yield by 50% due to increased hot weather season but these crops are of less nutrition and are not part of the basic food requirement of the nation (Hernandez, 2003). Decrease in food will tamper with the ecosystem and more animals will suffer and die.

Livestock problems will be on the rise: United States highly depends on the consumption of meat in their diet. In 2011, United States alone slaughtered 110.9million hogs, 34.1million cattle, 853000 calves and 2.2million sheep for consumption. Heat stress reduces breeding in animals and increases their susceptibility to diseases and illnesses (United Nations Report, 2013). Additionally, heat increases the breeding of pests that highly affect fodder for the animals and the health of the animals themselves.

Encroachment of desserts: forests will have a hard time as each tree requires specific climatic and weather conditions. Since most of the south will be affected by the erosion of the ozone layer, most of the forests will become extinct. A decrease in forests decreases the amount of rain expected annually and dessert like climatic conditions are experienced (Crawley, 2016). These conditions are not favorable for plant and animal survival and since the habitats of the animals will have been destroyed, there will be a decline in wild animals and the benefit that they bring into the ecosystem.

Inland penetration of salty water: as a result of global warming, oceans increase in terms of volume. With increase in the melting of ice, the sea level is estimated to shall rise by 270 feet enough to cover all the cities that are next to the ocean. These cities include Washington, New York, Boston, Baltimore, San Diego, New Orleans, Seattle and Miami (Garrick, 2008). Since this is a slow process, the salty water is slowly penetrating to land and is adversely affecting aquatic life. Currently there is a substantial reduction in oyster harvesting in Chesapeake Bay.

Solutions to effects of using Fossil Fuel

As earlier stated, fossil fuel is non-renewable, United States should embark on using renewable and clean energy sources that do not produce carbon monoxide or dioxide into the environment. These include the use of solar energy which comes directly from the sun and does not produce smoke. By advocating for the purchase of solar panels, the government can subsidize the prices and incentives can be given to manufacturers, the effects of fossil fuel can easily be reduced (Hernandez, 2003). The country can use energy from wind especially in dry areas in the south that experience strong wind sessions.

Introduction of a carbon tax to the companies that still rely on use of fossil fuel would deter most of them from using fossil fuel. Most of the commercial decisions are made based on cost-benefit analysis, and if the government makes it expensive to use fossil fuel and subsidizes the cost of solar panels then most of the companies will shift from the expensive non-renewable fossil fuel to the relatively cheap, renewable and clean solar energy.

The government should embark on creating awareness because even in some homes, they still use fossil fuel in their daily activities without the knowledge of the effect that it has on their environment and future amount of food. Once the public has been made aware of the repercussions of their actions, a campaign to help them change to using renewable energy can be launched and there is a chance that the future might just be saved.

The government can outlaw the use of fossil fuel and make it a crime if a person s found using fossil fuel that produces carbon dioxide once it has been combusted to produce energy. This would deter even those that seem not care as much about the environment and the future of the next generations. The punishment would be severe and any fossil fuel found would be confiscated from the people found with it.

Conclusion

Use of fossil fuel started during the industrial revolution, nearly two hundred years ago and the effects of the use of coal and natural gas have been greatly felt. This could only mean that if it continues, the effects will become even worse. Fossil fuel use alters the environment making it not to be viable to the plants and animals and consequently reduces the amount of food available to the people. Less food would mean people will become more susceptible to more diseases and illness, drought would definitely lead to famine and death and suffering would be eminent. The truth of the matter is, the environment has a Garbage In, Garbage Out policy. We release bad fumes and gases into the atmosphere; the atmosphere gives us back acidic rain that destroys our livelihood.

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