People have little knowledge of how energy fits into their daily lives and one of the keys to protecting the environment is to not squander our natural resources as Tony O'Donohue says. Photo by Michael Swan

Future is in our hands

By  Tony O'Donohue, Catholic Register Special
  • August 27, 2015

In the early 1940s, as a barefoot-in-summer lad in Ireland, I had my introduction to the natural environment. My family had a small store and pub on a gravel coast road in The Burren, a barren karst limestone district on Galway Bay.

My father had built a small windmill, using the dynamo from a Ford car, with a wooden wind direction indicator, on an eight-metre pole. The constant winds from the ocean kept three “wet” batteries charged, which provided enough electricity for four light bulbs and a wireless radio. Every night, my father and the neighbours from miles around gathered around the wireless to listen to the news/propaganda from the war fronts.

I remember those days now as I consider what is happening to the planet.

In the past 250 years, since the beginning of the industrial age, our planet has been subject to the constant increasing impact of humans, who are overusing and abusing the very basic elements of the sensitive natural environment. This impact cannot continue. The natural environment will eventually succumb to our carelessness unless we, collectively, make some basic changes.

Our planet has evolved to its present form over the past 4.54 billion years. Our human existence has been around for about 40,000 to perhaps 100,000 years, equivalent to a fraction of a second or the blink of an eye.

Since the discovery of fossil fuels, particularly coal, oil and natural gas in the mid-1800s, humans have feasted on their use to produce energy. These fossil fuels built up over the billions of years. The movement of Earth’s crust over the millions of years covered these fossil-fuel resources, challenging modern surveying and seismic technology to discover and extract them.

Digital Columnists

The article you have requested is only available to subscribers of the Catholic Register.


There are two ways to read this article.

1. Subscribe to our digital edition and read the complete newspaper, plus additional features, on your PC, laptop or tablet.  Subscription rates start at just $3.99.

2. Subscribe to our weekly newspaper and have the print edition delivered right to you door each week.

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

  1. Posting comment as a guest. Sign up or login to your account.
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location