Since the mid-twentieth century the latest, petroleum has been the key substance of modern society. The exponentiated mobility on land, water, and in the air would be inconceivable without gasoline, diesel, and kerosene. The broad range of substances and products that characterize the MODERN WAY OF LIFE—from acrylic and asphalt to detergents and toothbrushes—is based on petroleum as a basic substance. The material intervenes massively in the ecosystems of our earth and now finds its way into every organism via derivatives such as artificial fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, and microplastics. Nevertheless, the intimate connection of the fossil energy source with all practical areas and abstract basic principles of life is only gradually being discovered. For too long, economic and political turf wars have obscured the view of the power of petroleum.

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