… is from page 86 of Alex Epstein’s brilliant and clear 2014 book, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels :
[T]he natural environment is not naturally a healthy, safe place; that’s why human beings historically had a life expectancy of thirty. Absent human action, our natural environment threatens us with organisms eager to kill us and natural forces, including natural climate change, that can easily overwhelm us.
It is only thanks to cheap, plentiful, reliable energy that we live in an environment where the water we drink and the food we eat will not make us sick and where we can cope with the often hostile climate of Mother Nature. Energy is what we need to build sturdy homes, to purify water, to produce huge amounts of fresh food, to generate heat and air-conditioning, to irrigate deserts, to dry malaria-infested swamps, to build hospitals, and to manufacture pharmaceuticals, among many other things. And those of us who enjoy exploring the rest of nature should never forget that energy is what enables us to explore to our heart’s content, which preindustrial people didn’t have the time, wealth, energy, or technology to do.