Yesterday was World Asthma Day, which got us thinking about the harmful health effects of fossil fuels – just one of the many reasons why continued burning of the stuff is completely unsustainable.
Forgetting momentarily – if possible – the environmental destruction and economic instability collectively caused by oil, gas and coal, the pollution that comes from burning them is proven to have caused thousands of respiratory conditions.
And this view is almost gospel.
In 2001, Jonathan Grigg wrote a paper titled The health effects of fossil fuel derived particles, and came to the conclusion that, “The evidence that fossil fuel particulates adversely affect the health of children is strong.”
Meanwhile, a 1972 study by Cohen et al. called Asthma and air pollution from a coal-fuelled power plant, decided, “Significant correlations were found between reported [asthma] attack rate and temperature and between attack rate and pollution levels after the effects of temperature had been removed from the analysis.
“These temperature-independent air pollution effects occurred at levels of pollution commonly found in large cities, and appeared greater at moderate than at low temperatures.”
Speaking to Blue & Green Tomorrow, Grigg, a professor of pediatric respiratory and environmental medicine at Queen Mary University London, said, “In terms of children’s health, and it’s true to some extent in adults, fossil fuel derived particles certainly make asthma worse.
“In other words, if you have asthma, you are more liable to have deterioration of your symptoms in days of high pollution.”
He added that the lung function of children – how fast you can breathe out, which increases as you grow – is reduced in communities where there are high levels of fossil fuel derived particles. But the health impact of fossil fuels stems into a much larger problem, too.
“In adults, there is a lot of data to show the association between [fossil fuel derived] particles and heart attacks”, Grigg explained.
“Exposure to high levels of pollution brings on heart attacks amongst people who are at risk of heart attacks, and there are more mortality effects later on, too.”
In 2009, the National Research Council found that burning fossil fuels cost the US $120 billion a year in health costs, and pollution from energy derived from fossil fuel plants in the country accounts for 13,000 deaths a year, according to the Clean Air Task Force.
And the UK isn’t much better.
“Although particle pollution certainly has improved since the 1950s in London, we are still one of the worst polluting cities in Europe”, said Grigg.
“And that’s driven a lot by diesel engines who tend to be the worst polluters of sooty particles.”
To counteract this increasingly dangerous problem, widespread shifts towards renewable energy have been pursued as the solution to the problem – something that Grigg believes is “definitely the way to go”.
Despite it being common knowledge that the clean energy sector is a thriving and more importantly a growing one, there are still reports emerging that pick out fossil fuels as an industry on the rise, and not, as we thought, dropping.
Graham Lloyd, the so-called environment editor at The Australian, last week wrote an article called King coal still reigns.
He began the piece, “If there is to be a new beginning in global energy, the golden age is unlikely to be powered directly by the wind or sun. Despite high hopes for renewables, the figures show the world to be on the cusp of another fossil fuel boom.”
Clearly, climate change sceptic organisations and publications lapped this news up, including the Global Warming Policy Foundation – Lord Lawson’s sceptic think-tank.
However, Adam Bell, communications manager at RenewableUK, the UK wind and marine industries’ trade body, told Blue & Green Tomorrow that the future of the UK’s electricity system is set to involve “substantial amounts” of renewable energy.
“UK Government plans see 31 gigawatts of offshore and onshore wind being deployed by 2020”, he said.
“We estimate that alongside this, 500 megawatts of wave and tidal power will be deployed if the policy framework is right.
“This will help replace the generation capacity lost as old coal and nuclear plants shut down over the course of this decade.”
Put simply, coal plants are unsustainable in every possible sense. If a shift towards renewables doesn’t happen soon – something that some would say is inevitable anyway – the health impacts of burning fossil fuels should be reason alone to abandon the industry.
“I expect that when we look back to now in 20 years’ time, we’ll think of this breathing environment as not ideal”, concluded Grigg.
“Certainly, the level of fossil fuel derived particles that people in London are breathing in is causing decreased quality of life.”
Our recent in-depth report, The Rise of Renewable Energy, offers a simple solution to governments, businesses and individuals alike, in the form of wholly renewable and completely unpolluting energy.
Ways Green Preppers Are Trying to Protect their Privacy
Environmental activists are not given the admiration that they deserve. A recent poll by Gallup found that a whopping 32% of Americans still doubt the existence of global warming. The government’s attitude is even worse.
Many global warming activists and green preppers have raised the alarm bell on climate change over the past few years. Government officials have taken notice and begun tracking their activity online. Even former National Guard officers have admitted that green preppers and climate activists are being targeted for terrorist watchlists.
Of course, the extent of their surveillance depends on the context of activism. People that make benign claims about climate change are unlikely to end up on a watchlist, although it is possible if they make allusions to their disdain of the government. However, even the most pacifistic and well intentioned environmental activists may unwittingly trigger some algorithm and be on the wrong side of a criminal investigation.
How could something like this happen? Here are some possibilities:
- They could share a post on social media from a climate extremist group or another individual on the climate watchlist.
- They could overly politicize their social media content, such as being highly critical of the president.
- They could use figures of speech that may be misinterpreted as threats.
- They might praise the goals of a climate change extremist organization that as previously resorted to violence, even if they don’t condone the actual means.
Preppers and environmental activists must do everything in their power to protect their privacy. Failing to do so could cost them their reputation, future career opportunities or even their freedom. Here are some ways that they are contacting themselves.
Living Off the Grid and Only Venturing to Civilization for Online Use
The more digital footprints you leave behind, the greater attention you draw. People that hold controversial views on environmentalism or doomsday prepping must minimize their digital paper trail.
Living off the grid is probably the best way to protect your privacy. You can make occasional trips to town to use the Wi-Fi and stock up on supplies.
Know the Surveillance Policies of Public Wi-Fi Providers
Using Wi-Fi away from your home can be a good way to protect your privacy.However, choosing the right public Wi-Fi providers is going to be very important.
Keep in mind that some corporate coffee shops such a Starbucks can store tapes for up to 60 days. Mom and pop businesses don’t have the technology nor the interest to store them that long. They generally store tips for only 24 hours and delete them afterwards. This gives you a good window of opportunity to post your thoughts on climate change without being detected.
Always use a VPN with a No Logging Policy
Using a VPN is one of the best ways to protect your online privacy. However, some of these providers do a much better job than others. What is a VPN and what should you look for when choosing one? Here are some things to look for when making a selection:
- Make sure they are based in a country that has strict laws on protecting user privacy. VPNs that are based out of Switzerland, Panama for the British Virgin Islands are always good bets.
- Look for VPN that has a strict no logging policy. Some VPNs will actually track the websites that you visit, which almost entirely defeats the purpose. Most obviously much better than this, but many also track Your connections and logging data. You want to use a VPN that doesn’t keep any logs at all.
- Try to choose a VPN that has an Internet kill switch. This means that all content will stop serving if your VPN connection drops, which prevents your personal data from leaking out of the VPN tunnel.
You will be much safer if you use a high-quality VPN consistently, especially if you have controversial views on climate related issues or doomsday prepping.
How Going Green Can Save Your Business Thousands
Running a company isn’t easy. From reporting wages in an efficient way to meeting deadlines and targets, there’s always something to think about – with green business ideas giving entrepreneurs something extra to ponder. While environmental issues may not be at the forefront of your mind right now, it could save your business thousands, so let’s delve deeper into this issue.
Small waste adds up over time
A computer left on overnight might not seem like the end of the world, right? Sure, it’s a rather minor issue compared to losing a client or being refused a loan – but small waste adds up over time. Conserving energy is an effective money saver, so to hold onto that hard-earned cash, try to:
- Turn all electrical gadgets off at the socket rather than leaving them on standby as the latter can crank up your energy bill without you even realizing.
- Switch all lights off when you exit a room and try switching to halogen incandescent light bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps or light emitting diodes as these can use up to 80 per cent less energy than traditional incandescent and are therefore more efficient.
- Replace outdated appliances with their greener counterparts. Energy Star appliances have labels which help you to understand their energy requirements over time.
- Draught-proof your premises as sealing up leaks could slash your energy bills by 30 per cent.
Going electronic has significant benefits
If you don’t want to be buried under a mountain of paperwork, why not opt for digital documents instead of printing everything out? Not only will this save a lot of money on paper and ink but it will also conserve energy and help protect the planet. You may even be entitled to one of the many tax breaks and grants issued to organizations committed to achieving their environmental goals. This is particularly good news for start-ups with limited funds as the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) is keen to support companies opening up their company in a green manner.
Of course, if you’re used to handing out brochures and leaflets at every company meeting or printing out newsletters whenever you get the chance, going electronic may be a challenge – but here are some things you can try:
- Using PowerPoint presentations not printouts
- Communicating via instant messenger apps or email
- Using financial software to manage your books
- Downloading accounting software to keep track of figures
- Arranging digital feedback and review forms
- Making the most of Google Docs
Going green can help you to make money too
Going green and environmental stability is big news at the moment with many companies doing their bit for the environment. While implementing eco-friendly strategies will certainly save you money, reducing your carbon footprint could also make you a few bucks too. How? Well, consumers care about what brands are doing more than ever before, with many deliberately siding with those who are implementing green policies. Essentially, doing your bit for the environment is a PR dream as it allows you to talk about what everyone wants to hear.
Going green can certainly save your money but it should also improve your reputation too and give you a platform to promote your business.