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We Can’t Let Fossil Fuels Die Because They Keep Us Alive

Aerial landscape with factory smokestack in the background.
Image CreditMarcin Jozwiak/Pexels

It is not just cars and leaf blowers, stoves, or even air conditioning. What is at stake is much deeper: human dignity.


This is my first Christmas without my dad. As hard as it is for me and my siblings, it’s harder still for our mother, who is having her first Christmas since 1963 without him. Dad’s days in the hospital and subsequent death ushered in a wave of emotions, memories, and ponderings about heaven, sin, salvation, and for me, fossil fuels.

The last item in that list may sound strange, but let me explain. As an advocate for the energy industry, work follows me everywhere, and I love it because I love what I do. But fossil fuels are not just my life, they are life-giving and life-sustaining. 

After his heart attack, Dad had a cardiac catheterization to assess the damage to his coronary artery. A hollow, plastic tube was inserted through the groin. Then, guided by the doctor, it traveled through the blood vessels, sending back data and information. In this procedure, the plastics are made of oil. The needle is forged to the finest of points by heat produced from coal. The medicines used to prevent infection are petrochemicals likely made from natural gas. Right there: fossil fuels.  

A stent was also implanted to keep the blood flowing in a collapsed artery — thinner than human hair, hollow, nontoxic, noncorrosive, flexible, and 100 percent made from oil.  

Medicines, IV bags, disposable gloves, hand sanitizer, the port in his arm, the numerous beeping machines — in every corner of Dad’s hospital room were products of abundant natural resources, which professionals deploy daily to save lives and heal patients. And we take it for granted.

Those advocating for a “green transition” never tell us what the plan is to make needles and bedpans once we “phase out” of fossil fuels. What is the replacement plan for plastic, rubber, cement, steel, and the millions of products they create?  

Wind and solar make electricity — albeit inefficient, unreliable, intermittent, and expensive. But fossil fuels do so much more, and the Biden administration and environmental leftists pretend to ignore it. For example, the Biden administration passed the so-called Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which threw over a trillion tax dollars at, among other things, “rebuild[ing] crumbling road [sic] and bridges.” But at the same time, a government agency, the Environmental Protection Agency, is restricting the very oil, gas, and coal needed to accomplish this.  

Clearly, Transportation Secretary Buttigieg and EPA Administrator Regan need to sit down and talk.

Every call to eliminate fossil fuels is a call to slowly, incrementally raise the price of all these products making them cost-prohibitive for the masses. Yes, cement and steel are vital to our economy and our quality of life, but so are the millions of affordable, daily-life products like laundry detergent and aspirin. 

I always carry a handkerchief (because my dad did), but most people prefer disposable tissues.  When fossil fuels are gone, tissues are gone. Disposable diapers are gone. Yoga mats and plastic water bottles are gone. Do climate change activist suburban moms know that? Do you think Starbucks can survive without fossil fuels? What about that salad from Whole Foods in a plastic container or even the plastic packaging for meat and produce? Cologne, deodorant, perfume, bathroom cleansers, Swiffer pads, paper towels — sure, that mom may think disposable products are “bad for the Earth,” but a lack of hygiene is far worse for her and her family.

Perhaps I thought these things sitting in Dad’s hospital room to distract myself from the heartache. Perhaps I think these things because it is my job. Either way, I know the world is not ready for fossil fuels to lose this battle. It is not just cars and leaf blowers, stoves, or even air conditioning. What is at stake is much deeper: human dignity — a dignity that elevates us above the harshness of nature and cruelty of illness or allows us to cleanse ourselves from the sweat of labor. 

We do not talk about the “then what” after fossil fuels are eliminated. But I assure you, life as we know it would be absolutely, categorically impossible without them. 

Petrochemicals and a team of amazing doctors at Northshore Hospital did everything to save my dad, but God called him home. Fossil fuels kept him alive long enough for me to say goodbye. 

I will work every day to keep them around for the sake of our lives.  

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