Thursday, May 6, 2010

Oil Isn't Just About Gas

We're going to get to the end of this blog entry to see how inter-connected the planet really is. Promise.

Oil is gushing into the ocean. Everyone is aware of this; at least, I would hope so. We can't begin to fathom the effects this will have; we can only wait helplessly to see what's going to happen. Yes, we have a dependence on oil. Undeniable. But what else can we do besides cut back on driving or buy a hybrid?

It's not just about gas. Oil pervades our way of life... all around. I found this statistic: One 42-gallon barrel of oil creates 19.4 gallons of gasoline. The rest (over half) is used to make about 6000 other items. Count anything made of plastic to be on that list. If we cut back our use of plastic, we can cut back on our use of oil. Sure, transportation is a leading consumption of oil, but can't we cut back on plastics enough to make a difference?

Let's look at common, everyday items, shall we? Each plastic diaper made uses 1 cup of oil. Think of the millions of diapers made, used, disposed of... that's a lot. Your shampoo has oil IN it and AROUND it in the bottle. Do you really *need* that liquid lotion soap that comes in a plastic bottle, or can you use a nice natural bar soap that comes packaged in paper? (I love my Dr. Bonner's hemp peppermint soap.) Can you find a toothbrush made responisibly? (Sure: Can you buy juice in glass bottles instead of plastic, especially since it is proven that chemicals from the plastic will leach into your juice and glass would be better? Can you GET RID OF YOUR BOTTLED WATER HABIT at last??? Soda? Get it in cans or glass bottles instead, or make your own at home? (They make such things!) I can't think of anyone that NEEDS 2-liter bottles of soda. Sure, you may enjoy it now and then, but how many times do we have to be told how terrible it is for us before we give it up??

I'm not saying get rid of everything. Heck, I'm typing on plastic right now. But cut back where you can, get rid of  habits that you meant to get rid of anyway, and find alternatives. It's NOT that difficult. When we show preferences in our purchasing habits, like buying juice in glass instead, then the comapnies will follow. After all, it's all about profit for them, and if profit means ditching plastic, they WILL do it. And then, not only will we be cutting back on oil used to make these things, we'll be cutting back on all the plastic that is congregating in those huge swirls in all the oceans....

Wait... oil gushing into ocean... plastics ending up in the ocean.... didn't I promise an inter-connection at the beginning? This is one cycle that would be very very good to break. It's up to us. We did it, and only we can stop it.