Jewish World Review March 16, 2012/ 22 Adar, 5772
Down with Big Oil?
By Greg Crosby
Consider this actual post on the internet from a woman to the "Occupy Wall Street" crowd who have been condemning the oil companies:
"My husband worked on a drilling rig 12 hours a day for 301 of 365 days last year in the heat and cold to provide for our family. The petroleum he helps produce created the ink for your protest signs, the strings for your guitars, the contacts and glasses you need to watch your speakers, the ice chests that hold your organic milk, the black nail polish you are wearing, the rubber tires on your bikes and the soles of your protesting shoes, the tarps + tents you are sleeping under, the cameras you use to capture images of police brutality, the portocans you are demanding from the city. Even the microphones you use to condemn the evil oil companies, banks and corporations are made from petroleum. The pensions you expect contain 27% of oil stock. So, until you're willing to: A) Do my husband's job or B) give up your iPhone for a goat and cotton tent Go home you HYPOCRITES WE ARE THE 53%"
The fact is "Big Oil" impacts our daily lives much more than just in our gas tanks. According to Rankin Energy, one 42gallon barrel of oil creates 19.4 gallons of gasoline. The rest of that barrel goes into making other products Rankin estimates there are over 6000 items using oil in their manufacturing.
Here's a partial list of products with petroleum as an ingredient (this is only a very small sample): Hearing Aids, tennis rackets, drinking cups, deodorant, toilet seats, nylon rope, clothing Ink, heart valves, crayons, parachutes, telephones, enamel, transparent tape, antiseptics, nylon zippers, ballet tights, plastic hangers, pantyhose, permanent press clothing, flip flops/thongs, fake fur, polyester clothing, ball point pens, ink, computer diskettes, computers, copiers, magic markers, telephones, microfilm, cameras, earphones, footballs, knitting needles, tennis racquets, golf balls, baby aspirin, stuffed animals, band aids, Vaseline, rubbing alcohol, Pepto-Bismol, hair coloring, soap, cough syrup, hair spray, lipstick, denture adhesives, trash bags, egg cartons, freezer bags, candles, wax paper, nylon spatulas, Teflon pans, Formica, linoleum, garden hoses, plungers , floor wax, Plexiglas, spray paint, Anti-freeze, balloons, dog toys, flea collars, CDROMs, check book covers, shopping bags , video cassettes, credit cards, dice, watch bands, tape recorders, curtains, vitamin capsules , dashboards, putty, percolators, skis, insecticides, fishing lures, perfumes, shoe polish, petroleum jelly, faucet washers, food preservatives, antihistamines, Cortisone, dyes, LP records, solvents, roofing, floor wax, sports car bodies, tires, dishwashing liquids, unbreakable dishes, toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs, tents, hair curlers, lipstick, ice cube trays, electric blankets. Petroleum products all.
This list could go on and on, but I think you get the idea. The point is drilling for oil is a complicated business with ramifications in almost all areas of our daily life. There are no simple solutions. The simpleminded like to think that simple answers exist in simple to regurgitate bumper sticker slogans, but life's problems can't be solved by bumper stickers. It is never that easy. The fact of the matter is that no alternative energy source is as efficient as natural gas and oil. And no alternative energy source currently exists today without some kind of negative impact. That's right. NOTHING IS TOTALLY CLEAN AND ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY. One case in point would be windmills.
About 70 golden eagles are killed every year by turbines at California's Altamont Pass, reports the LA Times. And according to a recent Wall Street Journal article, a study funded by the Alameda County Community Development Agency estimated that about 2,400 raptors, including burrowing owls, American kestrels, and red-tailed hawks as well as 7,500 other birds, nearly all of which are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act are being killed every year by the turbines at Altamont. And this doesn't take into account the hundreds of other windmill farms across the country.
So much for pure, clean, wonderful wind power.
One other thing regarding windmills; the anti-oil people like to say how those "ugly" oil derricks destroy the natural beauty of the coastline. Well, have you ever traveled through what was once pristine dessert or plains and seen hundreds and hundreds of huge, ugly windmills going on for miles and miles? I have and I'll take a couple of oil derricks out in the sea any day over those turbine monstrosities.
And by the way, facts show that the positive value of wind power as a reliable and viable alternative to our traditional energy sources has been greatly exaggerated to say the least, but that is another story for another column.
Next time you hear someone who is quick to do away with oil, ask them to think about what would replace it and how their life would dramatically change without it.
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© 2008, Greg Crosby