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Act Now To Stop Another Oil Spill Disaster

Updated on July 22, 2015

Disaster Management

Watching the scenes of the devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has surely made many people realize the risks and hazards the world faces in maintaining its present addiction to oil consumption. Still most of the power grids around the world are driven by oil and natural gas. And it’s not only electricity. It’s gasoline that we use for our cars. It’s the petro-chemical products that we use to make plastic to wrap our food and shop items in. And it’s the detergents that we use to wash our clothes. Because of our dependence on oil, companies like BP have to take more and more risks to get the oil to meet our demands. This oil spill was an inevitable result of the world’s growing consumption of fossil fuels. It is plain that there are no more massive reserves left, no easy sources left to tap. Why else would companies consider extracting the oil from the peat sludge in Canada if there were easier sources to extract oil from?

Bearing all this in mind it is imperative that everyone in the developed world does what they can to reduce their consumption of oil, gas and electricity. Not only will this ease the burden on big companies to risk further environmental disaster looking for new oil fields to exploit, but it will also reduce C02 emissions that are causing climate change and must surely be partly responsible for such horrific storms as Hurricane Katrina.

House owners should cut down on energy consumption as a good first step to reducing C02 emissions and demand for fossil fuel created electricity. There are a number of courses of action that are recommended by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Install a new programmable thermostat to control the heating and cooling systems in your house to prevent wasting energy cooling or heating your home when you are not there. If you live in an area with a cold winter then insulating your house will greatly reduce your heating costs and C02 emissions. Put insulation in your roof space. Another strategy to improve the thermal resistance of your home is to block off any holes and gaps in your walls and check your windows. If your window frames are old timber frames then your house is leaking heat. It is a good idea to invest in uPVC windows or as they are called in America, rigid vinyl windows. uPVC has a much higher thermal resistance than timber frame windows. Although uPVC is made from a plastic that is derived from oil it is a good use of resources because the uPVC or rigid vinyl will last for 25 years with minimum maintenance.

Gulf Oil Spill

There's no quick solution to solve a crisis of our own making
There's no quick solution to solve a crisis of our own making

Start Now to Reduce Oil Dependency

When you have to replace a household appliance then buy a replacement that has an Energy Star certification. And when a light bulb goes replaces it with an energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulb, but be sure to dispose of any old CFLs in an environmentally friendly way (CFLs contain mercury).

Recycle whatever you can. Refuse plastic bags given to you at the supermarket. Only do full loads of laundry. Consider not using a dishwasher and washing your clothes with cold water. If you want to be more radical then give up washing detergents for your laundry and use soap flakes or Maggie’s Nuts.

Walk or ride a bicycle whenever possible. If not then use public transport if it is available. If you have to use a car for taking your kids to school or commuting to work then look into car pools.

Don’t use your garbage disposal unit in the sink. Instead start composting your organic waste.

Compost to turn waste into food

Composting makes so much sense
Composting makes so much sense

Be Part of The Solution

If you want to buy a hardwood product then go to a dealer with Forest Stewardship Council accreditation (so you know the wood is taken from a sustainably managed forest). If you want hardwood flooring then consider buying reclaimed hardwood flooring. Other alternatives to hardwood for furniture and kitchenware are quickly renewing plants like bamboo, water hyacinth and rattan. Strand woven bamboo is a particularly useful material because it is very durable and harder than oak, ash or maple. Another great material is cork which is taken from the cork oak tree without damaging the tree. It is mold resistant, fire retardant, anti allergenic and has excellent thermal and acoustic insulation properties.

Put pet bottles filled with a few pebbles or sand and water into your toilet tank to reduce the amount of water that is expended on each flush. Take shorter showers. Turn the water faucet off when you are brushing your teeth. Buy a shower head with air holes to reduce the gallons per minute flow.

Get a smart power strip that turns off your electrical appliances rather than wasting money having equipment on standby.

In the garden get solar powered tiki torches and for your garden shed install a LED solar powered light.

So the list goes on. There is so much you can do tomorrow, next week, next month and next year to reduce the bottom line. And by the bottom line I mean how much petrol we use and how much we are risking the health of future generations because of our addiction to petro-chemical products and fossil fuels.

Make Sure of Tomorrow

African sunrise
African sunrise

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