I don’t know if you have felt it yet, but I have begun to feel the first whisper of a planetary sigh of relief that the BP gusher in the Gulf may finally be capped. Though there are lingering issues and an alarming amount of clean up to do, this out of control nightmare, may finally turn into more of a manageable menace.
This devastating thing a.k.a. Gulf Catastrophe has uncomfortably highlighted our dependence on petroleum – oil that is -- Texas Tea. In its wake, it has also given many of us a feeling of powerlessness. Like I felt when I watched the ladder fall on my car hood in the garage a couple of weeks ago. I could see it happening but could do nothing to stop it. I knew there would be damage to the car, as I watched it fall, but had no idea how much. The frustrating thing was that, even though I bumped the ladder and caused the damage, I was absolutely powerless to stop it.
Likewise (but in a much more desperate way) there was nothing that we, as individuals, could do to stop the gushing oil into the ocean. Heck, I didn’t even know that they were drilling that deep. Nor did I realize that they didn’t have a backup plan. Wha?!?! My ignorance is no excuse, I do feel partially responsible. My name is Kim and I am a petroleum addict.
Just as there are things that I can do to make sure the ladder never comes loose off of my garage wall again, there are things, as consumers, that we can do to move us in the direction of slowing the flow by kicking the petroleum habit -- or at least reducing our addiction.
Get out of your car – Find a way to walk, bus, ride with a friend or bike to work at least one day a week. If that is too difficult, ditch the car on the weekend for a trip on foot to the store or to breakfast. Human powered transportation allows you to multi-task getting that exercise in while getting somewhere that you need to go. Get on a “Nice Ride” bike in the city of Minneapolis. It’s the new bike sharing program with kiosks all over the city allowing you to hop on and ride to do a quick errand or exercise over lunch.
Use “green” household products – Petroleum is the main ingredient in many of our cleaners, pesticides and fertilizers. There are many choices today for plant based or botanical cleaners that don’t use petro-chemicals as a main ingredient – Ecover , Greenworks by Chlorox , Mrs Meyers or Method . There are also many non-toxic choices for pest control inside and outside of your home. Switching away from petroleum based fertilizers to organics for lawn and plants will also get you one step closer to going “oil free”.
Buy recycled plastic content goods – OMG! Plastics make up roughly 9% of the world’s petroleum use. Look for the many options to virgin petroleum plastic goods for your home. Check out the recycled milk carton deck furniture from the local company By The Yard. Preserve Products makes picnic ware and other products out of 100% post-consumer recycled plastics. Zak makes a line of festive recycled melamine tableware.