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Slaves to Fossil Fuel

By Lauriston Muirhead, Wodonga Albury Towards Climate Health (WATCH) 

What is the connection between slavery and fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas)?  The answer: they all appear to be cheap, convenient sources of energy.  However, as people learn the bigger picture of the consequences of their use, alternatives have to be found.

 

The culture and progress of various western empires appeared to be totally dependant on the cheap labour that slavery provided.  In the same way our dominant cultures now appear to be addicted to the cheap energy that fossil fuels provide.

 

Many of the same excuses, used hundreds of years ago, to delay the abolition of slavery are being used today to delay the move away from fossil fuels:

• jobs may be lost (they were but people found new ones)
• it may be easier to stick with what we know (it is, but that does not make it right)
• civilisation will end (it didn’t, it became more civilised)
• the new forms of energy (paid workers and innovative technology) may not work (they did)
• life may be less comfortable and more expensive (it possibly was for a few extremely wealthy individuals)
• Life may have to change (it did and it was better)

 

Stop a minute to think which side would you have been on in the slavery debate?  Would you have been speaking out and advocating for the rapid phasing out of slavery or would you have stayed quiet, preserved the status quo, and tried not to think of the generations of people condemned to misery, poverty, ill health and early death?

 

Careful, rational, evidence-based science tells us that if we don’t move away from fossil fuels, we not only endanger the futures of millions of people, but also entire species of animals and plants.

 

The world has to accommodate another three or more billion people by 2050; we don’t need to make life even more difficult by causing climate changes that humans have never experienced.

 

Now stop another minute and think which side of the man-made climate change debate are you on.  Are you speaking out and advocating for the rapid phasing out of fossil fuels and the roll-out of clean renewable energy or do you stay quiet to preserve the status quo and try not to think of the generations of people condemned to misery, poverty, ill health and early death even though they may be your own children and grandchildren?