Fossil Fuels and Foreign Powers
With the world in turmoil over the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the sanctions placed on Russian trade by many countries all over the world, it is important to reflect on the impacts and how they might be reduced or mitigated. This includes the impacts on not only Ukrainians but the rest of the world. Now is a good time to have a look at conflicts over resources and power, as well as their effects and how it might be stopped. By looking at how the world has reacted at large to developments on the world stage, we can find and highlight problems with modern society and start to remedy those problems. Many of the problems around the earth are due to a lack of access to resources, usually as a result of not the earth running out, but improper and unequal distribution of these resources. It is obviously a large problem that a small blog post cannot fix but it can at least highlight some cases to make you think.
Oil dependence and its consequences
A large problem highlighted by recent conflict and resulting consequences is the world’s over reliance on Russian oil for anything from energy to plastic production. Russia was one of the world’s largest exporters of oil, particularly to Europe, until sanctions placed on the country by the international community cut those exports to 0. This sudden drop in oil supply to other countries has left energy suppliers scrambling for oil to keep up with demand from their consumers. This has come at a particularly bad time for the global energy market as a cold winter has diminished natural gas supplies.
This lack of oil has prompted a resurgence of oil extraction in other countries such as the United States who have expanded their oil fracking operations across Texas and the southern states. These expansions are in response to rising oil prices which can justify the increase in cost of producing the fracked oil when compared to cheaper Russian oil. Fracking is an extremely damaging process to the environment, particularly local environments which experience pollution of groundwater and the soil, leading to poor water sources for local inhabitants and surrounding wildlife.
Locally sourced energy system independence
Ideally the world would take this opportunity to expand renewable energy production the world over and therefore reduce the reliance on fossil fuels and highly polluting energy sources. This would have the effect of not only the usual benefits of renewable energy such as less air pollution and warming effects but also has the added benefit of reducing reliance on foreign powers, after all, no-one can steal the sun or the wind! This has been backed up by many influential figures who have suggested a divulgence of national energy supplies relying on imports to a locally sourced energy system.
Incidentally, now would also be a great time to reduce your home or business’s reliance on a somewhat flailing national grid by decreasing your power consumption from the grid. You can bolster your home’s power, taking advantage of high energy prices (and not being victim to them) by investing in a source of renewable energy to operate from your home such as a wind turbine or a solar panel. In this way you can generate your own power in a clean and locally sourced way while also relying less on a potentially unstable national grid.
Olive trees cut off
Unfortunately this lack of energy can lead to violence in some cases. A power generation company in Turkey looking to rapidly expand its power production by building a coal power plant in the region. The use of coal in this situation is not the most saddening aspect. The site chosen lay in a forest of olive trees just outside the Yirca Village of the Manisa province. As a result the company chopped down over 6000 olive trees to prepare the site for construction. This is not only a great loss to the local environment but also to the villagers who relied on the olive trees for income.
The villagers sought to defend the olive trees from the encroaching corporation by guarding them day and night for 52 days. However in a display of absolute corruption and exploitation the company promised its construction and security workers jobs and retirement funds on the condition that the workers attacked the villagers who opposed the construction. This led to the trees being cut down. After a good deal of protest from local residents and intervention by the council the plans for the plant have been scrapped. TESUP hopes the company is brought to justice for its actions.
Affordable energy: sun and wind
With many companies and organisations adopting renewable energy sources such as one of the world's largest military forces, maybe it is time for the rest of the world to follow suit. An introduction of electrical power generation through renewable sources would significantly reduce the world’s reliance on finite resources in favour of a plentiful supply of renewable energy for everyone to use. After all, the amount of energy hitting the earth in the form of sunlight every hour is enough to satiate the world’s energy requirements for an entire year!
The Wind energy of the earth is a portion of this also! The wind on earth is generated by currents stirred up by the heat provided by the sun. By even harvesting a small proportion of these plentiful energy sources we could provide enough power for everyone to use without relying on diminishing supplies of finite resources. And that doesn't even include sources such as geothermal or tidal! There is more than enough to go around. In this way, violence started as a response to reduced resources could be lowered, benefiting everybody worldwide. TESUP is excited to be a part of such a bright and inspiring future.