Thanks, Fossil Fuels

Happy Thanksgiving! While you’re taking time to be thankful for your friends, family, food, drinks, and other luxuries, perhaps you should take a moment to say thank you to the resources that make this holiday so wonderful: fossil fuels. Watch to learn just how much oil, natural gas, and coal bring to the table during the holiday season (and every other day of the year)

Read Transcript

Here’s an unexpected twist on Thanksgiving.  While we’re expressing our gratitude for family, friends, food, jobs and other good stuff, let’s include something extremely important that we mostly take for granted. This Thanksgiving let’s acknowledge oil, natural gas, and coal, for without them life would be much shorter, way harder and a lot less fun.

Let’s get real here. By historical standards, most of us are living in amazing, exciting future-land.  We could spend hours, days really, talking about all the ways that fossil fuels make our lives healthy, productive, comfortable, safe and generally pretty great.

But, for the sake of brevity, let’s just take a quick look at look at how we enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday.

For starters, very few of us actually have to work on Thanksgiving or the day after, or Saturday and Sunday.  It’s a four-day holiday! For about 99.9 percent of human existence, four days of doing nothing but eating, shopping and goofing off would have been unthinkable. The only reason we can take such a long break is that we invented all kinds of machines to do our work for us and all of those machines were manufactured and are powered by fossil fuels.

Just imagine all the cars, trucks, trains, planes and ships that were used to bring all that good food to your home, as well as all those important people in your life. Most of the meat, vegetables, breads, beverages, and sweet confections came from hundreds or even thousands of miles away. And don’t forget about the big machines that produced all that food in the first place.   Fossil fuels aided by some strong hands did that work. And, by the way, natural gas and oil were used as feedstocks for all the plastics, rubber, lubricants and a multitude of petrochemicals used to package your Thanksgiving feast.

Don’t forget about the natural gas range and the electric oven that are used to cook the food and keep it warm. Fossil fuel electricity also powers the lights, the air conditioning, furnace, the TV, phones, and tablets. The water heater is there for everything from meal prep through the clean-up, as is the refrigerator and the dishwasher is pretty handy, too.

Ok.  I know.  You get it.  I don’t need to mention that oil, natural gas, and coal were used to bring you the seemingly countless football, basketball, and hockey games…. or that lots of fossil fuel will be used when buying up everything under the sun on Black Friday. Although… I guess I just did.

Yes… let’s recognize it’s not just fossil fuels that are deserving of our gratitude.   Nuclear, hydropower and other renewables deserve some credit as well. But, since fossil fuels pull 80 percent of our energy load, which includes manufacturing all other energy technologies, that’s why fossil fuels should get the bulk of our praise.

Of course, be thankful for your family and friends, your faith, your country, your job, and even your favorite beer. But while you’re feeling grateful, give thanks to those hard-working people that produced the fossil fuels that work so hard for you on Thanksgiving and every other day of the year. Happy Thanksgiving.

For the Clear Energy Alliance, I’m Mark Mathis. Power On.

View Sources

U.S. Energy Consumption by source from the Energy Information Administration

Overview of petrochemicals

Transportation in the United States

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