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The Catch-22 of Fossil Fuels


The crux of the existential crisis facing nearly 8 billion people was on full display in early November. In the same week that Joe Biden lectured world leaders in Glasgow at the Climate Summit (COP26) about the absolute necessity to reduce CO2 emissions to avoid catastrophic climate emergencies, he also implored Russia and OPEC to increase oil and gas production to reduce fossil energy prices.

Our global society is smack in the middle of a Catch-22. Our current quality of life is fully dependent on fossil energy. The less there is of it, the higher its price and the more expensive life becomes with people having to make difficult choices and sacrifices. When there is more fossil energy, everyday life becomes less expensive. People may live better for the moment, but it comes at the long-term expense of more pollution and damage to the environment, and overall greater economic and health costs. 

This dilemma is exactly why Earth Overshoot’s work is critical. 8 billion people don’t want to get “poorer”and live a lower quality of life with less opportunity.  The “luxuries” we have gained from our fossil-fueled society have largely now become necessities, from the abundant seasonless food we eat, to the complex electronics we rely upon for everything for communication to information, to the speed, affordability and flexibility of our public and personal transportation. 

How many people do you know that would agree to give away the majority of their wealth and live one step above camping and far below the current comforts of our Western lives? No air travel, no automobile, no central air conditioning or hot water, no washing machine or dryer? Limited to one set of clothes, locally grown food and living in a one-room home?  

Earth Overshoot is working to educate and inform people of their choices so we don’t have to do any of that. We CAN live better lives and thrive alongside a healthy and habitable natural world. 

As we have seen from the climate change movement, it is the youth who have the passion, vision and determination to get the attention of the world and its leaders. And with educational tools including the documentary 8 Billion Angels, Climate Action Resources and the forthcoming Sustainable Country Map we give future generations the greatest chance for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. 

Learn more about our intuitive, science-based and relevant programs here