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Fossil Fuels Ruin Wildlife

Big Sandy, Kentucky: home to bald eagles, black bears, mountain lions, even wild pigs–this region presents incredible biodiversity. However, it’s also home to a huge power plant that produces fossil fuels, which can have a “double whammy” effect on the surrounding wildlife. This includes the obvious, immediate effects of fossil fuels on wildlife, but also includes the more damaging long-term effects. The introduction of invasive species, water pollution, and illegal hunting are all long-term consequences of fossil fuel extraction that can affect local wildlife. In a new study produced by Futurity, scientists warn that oil demand is expected to increase by more than 30 percent by 2035, and coal demand is expected to increase by more than 50 percent. While this may benefit the corporations that produce them, what about the animals that it will have direct implications on? A Wiley study published in 2018 about the biodiversity risks from fossil fuel exploitation states that a fossil-fuel driven society benefits those who use them, but can destroy those who are forced to deal with the consequences–wildlife. Even before extraction occurs, damage can be done. Marine seismic surveys are crucial in fossil fuel extraction, producing “some of the most intense anthropogenic noise in the oceans” (Wiley), and can cause changes in behavior and detrimental psychological effects. They use “sound energy to map geological structures under the seabed,” and while the companies that use them are required to undertake an Environmental Assessment (EA), they still do unfathomable harm to marine wildlife. Dolphins, whales, and turtles are among those most affected. We pride ourselves on loving our pets like family; and they, like wildlife, could be irreversibly harmed by the effects of fossil fuels. Why not treat our wildlife in the same manner?


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