Feeding the fat green pigs

In the era before coal, oil, and electricity, the environment suffered greatly. Whales were slaughtered for lamp oil.  Forests were cleared for firewood, mine props, building materials, roofing shingles, and sailing masts.  London ("The Big Smoke") and Pittsburgh ("The Smoky City") were smothered in smog from open fires, charcoal kilns, and iron smelters.  Horses powered public and military transport, and city streets were layered with horse manure. Then came the hydrocarbon revolution.  Kerosene lamps saved the whales, and coal-powered steam engines delivered electricity (clean-coal-by-wire) to the cities — and much of the sulfurous smog disappeared.  Coke from coal replaced wood charcoal to make iron and steel.  Steel and concrete saved the forests, and trucks and railways allowed the farmland, which once fed millions of horses, to produce food for humans. Not one of these boons for humans...(Read Full Post)
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