Warning From The Past
The future continues to unfold in unimaginable ways, but some movies, like “Back to the Future,” might have taken certain expectations a little too far. For one thing, there’s no such thing as auto-lacing shoes or hover cars in the 21st century. On the other hand, we do have androids that we can interact with and hoverboards! But sadly, our development has come at a price, and this newspaper from over a century ago, warned us!
The Job That Saved Millions
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Our world was pretty basic 106 years ago. Unnamed diseases popped up and ravaged the world, poverty was at an all-time high, and education appeared to be a low priority. Fortunately, the mining of coal gave nearly 1 million in the US employment when the industry peaked in 1923. Coal mining led to manufacturing, which provided more job opportunities. It also improved housing, education, and social conditions. But some people weren’t convinced about the long-lasting benefits of coal mining.
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Coal, oil, and gas all originated from fossil fuels, which formed over a period of over 650 million years. Plants and animals from before the time of the dinosaurs became a stored energy source that lay dormant in the Earth until it was discovered. These remains underwent chemical and physical changes while they were buried beneath the soil and water. Eventually, they became coal, a fuel source that is now the world’s primary energy source. But how was this discovery made?
In 1679, French explorers discovered the first recorded source of coal in the Illinois River in America. In 1748, commercial mining began near Richmond, Virginia, but the Chinese have been using this fuel for over 3,000 years. And word of this amazing fuel spread. But coal is non-renewable. So once this fuel, which provides light, heat, and energy, is gone, there won’t be more available for several million years. You’d think this would have deterred people from mining for coal, but it didn’t.
The Industrial Revolution
Britain relied on charcoal as an affordable fuel and heat source before the 1700s. But then, Britain began to mass produce a number of products during the Industrial Revolution. This required a great deal more coal in order to power things like furnaces and steam engines. They also needed this fuel source to heat buildings and generate electricity. As more factories came into existence, the need to transport these goods became greater. Eventually, the miners started digging deeper and deeper into the Earth. But no one could foresee the consequences.