Saturday, May 10, 2008

Last Gasp

One of the classes I just finished was about oil - a timely subject given the high price of gasoline and speculation on the actual amount of oil reserves left in the world. I'm glad I took the class because I learned a lot. Not nearly enough, but a lot. Our oil-dependent culture is in big trouble and it's not anything new. Somehow we, and I include myself here, think it'll all work out and there will be another answer when the time comes. I'm kind of wondering if the time isn't coming soon.
So, I thought I'd share a few things that I found interesting. Out of a 42 gallon barrel of oil, over half gets refined into fuel products like gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. Another portion is refined for heating products, kerosene, and road materials. A fairly small but significant amount gets refined into petrochemicals which are not only environmentally unfriendly, they make up some pretty important consumer goods. Some of them we can imagine doing without but some of them are quite essential. Here's a list of things made from petrochemicals. You be the judge of what your alternative would be:
Roofing material, guitar strings, cold cream, ice chests, sun glasses, cameras, fishing rods, clothing, yarn, candles... not so bad, huh?
Well, how about shaving cream, toothpaste, dentures, anesthetics, antihistamines, vitamin capsules, tires, aspirin, detergents?
Anyone ready to give up heart valves, catheter lines, IV bags, or artificial limbs?
How about asking agriculture to operate without fertilizers, pesticides, or refrigerants used to keep perishables fresh?
These are just a few things made from petrochemicals. So, I just thought I'd share....

No comments: