Saturday, June 17, 2017

6 Tips For Consuming Less Oil

As the weather gets warm, you've been craving petroleum-based smoothies (who hasn't!?) but did you know that just a single serving can contain as much as 355 milliliters of oil? Ouch! We put together a list that experts swear will help you curb those crude oil cravings. 


  • Give in a little. Let yourself indulge in just a bit of what you're craving. Make yourself a petrol smoothie in a small mason jar or an affogato glass. You won't feel like you're being denied, and it'll look great for your Insta feed!
  • Reward yourself. Every time you avoid sipping on that delectable fossil fuel treat, reward yourself with something small. Let yourself litter that cigarette instead of disposing of it properly. Don't stop at your next stop sign. You deserve it.
  • Reach for a healthy alternative. Make your next smoothie out of endangered tiger meat. You'll feel the difference immediately!
  • Give yourself a cheat day. Choose one day of the week to guzzle down as much petroleum as your filthy throat can handle, you perverted wretch. Then hold that feeling of total depravity over yourself as you go through your week.
  • Encourage yourself in the mirror. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking. Every morning, look in the mirror and say to yourself something like, "I can do it!" or, "Go me!" or, "Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair! /Nothing beside remains. Round the decay /Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare /The lone and level sands stretch far away."
  • Don't be afraid to use guilt as a motivator. Think about how many dinosaurs died for your petroleum smoothie. Actually, we have to admit, that's kinda cool. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Time For More Domestic Energy Production?
 
This video by Intellectual Takeout argues that there are lot of different perspectives on how to solve America's oil dependency problem. Some argue that the government needs to make gas more expensive while subsidizing renewable energy. Others would argue that the government needs to step out of the way and let American ingenuity take over. What do you think? Do you think its up to us to figure out what the next steps are? Or do you think its up to the government to implement what we should do next?...

 
Before its Too Late
 
 
 
In this hilarious video, Jon Stewart points out how many different presidents have discussed our dependence on petroleum and how this needs to change. While it is presented in a comically pleasing way, this is a serious issue. If we continue to keep putting off change, we will cause irreparable damage, and no one will be able to say no one warned us. Change starts with you, do your part.
 
 

The (Environmentally Conscious) Man Your Man Could Smell Like

There are many personal grooming products that have petroleum products in them that we use without thinking. Browsing the website that represents Canada’s oil and gas companies, you will see this image that brags about how many products are made with petroleum.
(Wearing deodorant on your neck and having dentures and hearing aids before 30 may or may not be side effects of using too much petroleum.) Trying to replace all these products may seem overwhelming, so it is best to start small.
Deodorant is a product that we all (hopefully) use on a daily basis. Propylene glycol is an ingredient in deodorant that is usually made from petroleum. However, there are ways around it without smelling like you believe taking a shower washes away a piece of your soul (looking at you, barefoot classmate from last term).

A few companies offer deodorant without propylene glycol. Tom’s of Maine, Native, and Schmidt’s are a few tried and true deodorants. Some people opt to make their own, but in my anecdotal experience, these people start smelling like the 1975 album Mothership Connection by two in the afternoon (it’s a funk album, check it out). Buying new deodorant is a fun self-care experience anyways. Try it out, and let us know how it goes in the comments!
The Big Oil Lie
 
 
 We have all heard that the cost to implement renewable energy sources comes with a high price tag. But what if we discovered that other countries have implemented these renewable sources and saved money while in doing so? Would that call for an explanation given the information we have heard so far? According to this video, this theory was formed in 1956 by geoscientist M. King Hubbert. While working for Shell, he calculated that the United States would reach its highest production of oil by 1971, and he was right. He predicted the world's highest rate of oil production would be in 1995; but since then, oil industry experts have continually moved the predicted date of peak oil production. The current prediction is for world oil production to peak by 2030. Because of this, prices are expected to remain high for the next two decades, in order to reduce demand and stop the oil from running out too soon. Once the peak has been exceeded,prices will skyrocket again to reflect the limited supply.

Author Jerome Corsi claims that peak oil production is a false prediction created by the oil industry. Because the predicted date is constantly moving and is determined by scientists working for the industry, conspiracy theorists claim the oil industry is using the Peak Oil Theory as an excuse to charge exorbitant prices for oil for the next 50 years. Oil companies admit setting aside up to 2 million barrels of oil each day for future use. In 2014, Goldman Sachs estimated that the rate of crude oil being produced is increasing nearly twice as fast as the rate of world demand. Conspiracy theorists claim this is clear evidence that the oil industry is lying - they have more than enough oil, and are pretending to have decreased supplies simply so they can rake in the cash.(The Big Oil Lie) Watch the video and decide for yourself whether its a lie or not....
 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Transition to a world without Oil

I have to admit that becoming informed on a subject as petroleum, it's uses and it's downfall can be extremely daunting and overwhelming. But if you are reading this blog, it's safe to assume that you arrived here for that very reason. 

A quick google search to find which products contain oil will absolutely be eye opening and overwhelming. Yet, I feel that if you are in search of that information, you must first ask why you are in search of it. If it's to overwhelm your self you will meet your goal working the first search results.

But if it's to just lessen your intake of petroleum, this may not seem as overwhelming. Since petroleum is used in abundance, discovering alternatives to products containing petroleum may be a solution to lessen your consumption. Instead of the goal being to abstain from oil products, an easier approach to transition into not using as many products with oil in them, and finding alternatives, may seem less daunting. In this Ted Talk by Rob Hopkins, he discusses how we can transition into a world without oil.

The Cost of Reducing Dependence of Petroleum & By- Products




It can seem like an  overwhelming task but, there are many things that we can all do to make sure earth is here for future generations.  Here are some small steps you can take to reduce your dependence on oil.  Some of these are no brainers, but they are perfect starts. I’ve also thrown in some bigger goals to consider.  Reducing your dependence on oil isn’t time consuming, or expensive.  In fact, not only is saving the planet easy to do, but it will also save you money.


 Simple Goals


Quit the Bottle
Seriously, water bottles are super bad for the environment.  And expensive.   Water bottles that are BPA free (BPA is a plasticizing agent) and/or metal, are reusable and cheaper in the long run.

Ride Share/Bus/Walk/Bike
Gas is expensive and parking is expensive, sharing those costs, with ride share make them not so expensive.  Portland is also very bike friendly, and has a great public transportation system.

Buying Cloth Bags when shopping
Plastic bags are starting to disappear from grocery stores, and even though paper is a great alternative, the best one would be to use cloth shopping bags.

Shopping Locally
Shopping locally for produce is a very solid way to reduce the carbon imprint.  Fruits and veggies sold at Farmers markets are almost always cheaper than what you can get at the supermarket. 

Second Hand Clothes
We can’t all buy natural fiber and hemp clothes, but you can recycle the clothes we do have by buying and donating second hand clothing.

Making your own products
make your own toothpaste, grow your own food.



 Not So Simple Goals


Electric Cars
Buying a car?  Think about an electric car, extreme savings of  gas money.  There are other alternatives to fuel like: propane, natural gas, electricity, biodiesel, ethanol, and hydrogen.   Even if you cannot buy electric, if you have an older car you may want to look into converting the fuel intake from gas into bio diesel. More great info on that here


Solar Energy

European countries are jumping to convert homes to solar energy.   If you are a homeowner you should look into converting to solar paneling and wind power.  

Alternative Building Materials

New roof?  try metal or clay tile, instead of tar. 
Try fiber cement siding instead of vinyl.  


For Free


Writing your energy company 
Writing to your local Representative




Monday, June 12, 2017

Chicken feathers to insulate your house?



Every year, more than 50 billion chickens are killed for food. Currently most chicken feathers end up as landfill, grist for incinerators, or protein powder for animals. The vast majority of insulation material is synthetic and derived from petroleum-based materials. Feathers make up 5% of a chicken’s bodyweight, and 80 chickens can produce 22 pounds of raw materials. This could be a great way for the poultry and insulation industry to collaborate and have less waste and reduce the use of petroleum derived products.


For more information: A new way to use chicken feathers

Wearing footwear made from harmful algal blooms?




Even though algae plays an important role in a balanced ecosystem, if they are kept unchecked they could release toxins that can have horrible effects on humans, plants, and animals.  Since there are a supply of excess algae, why not put it into good use? A footwear brand and an algae harvesting business teamed up to put the excess algae to good use. Transforming algae into foam helps clean bodies of water that are clogged with harmful algal blooms. These thick clouds of algae release a toxin called domoic acid, which accumulates in small fish like sardines and anchovies and then moves up the marine food chain. Eating seafood contaminated with domoic acid can cause people to experience nausea and vomiting. So staying away from petroleum based products isn't the only upside.


For more information: Sustainable footwear

Great Alternatives to Oil Based Products




                                                                              www.offshoreinjuries.com


Whether we like it or not, oil-based products are everywhere. From toys, to lip balm and everything in between.  For more information follow this link : Alternatives to oil based products. They list the products which are normally oil based and provide you with petroleum free alternatives. The alternatives are plant-based and biodegradable. It’s amazing how many common household products are petroleum based goods, but there are natural alternatives to them that we can buy to help the cause. It's hard to stop using petroleum based products completely, but you could start by using items on their list.

An Unlikely Alternative Oil

For those of us looking for oil alternatives, especially for fuel, there may be an option in an unlikely place...McDonald's.

That's right - apparently you can convert a diesel engine to run solely on recycled vegetable oil after it's spent its first life in the fryer. For a country that tends to go through quite a lot of deep-fryer oil (*cough* sat fat addiction *cough*), this could actually be a somewhat positive way to use the countless gallons of leftover oil that would normally just be discarded. In an interesting article on NBC, the owner of four McDonald's, Robert Tomey, details how he converted two vehicles to run on the used fast-food chain's leftover vegetable oil. Tomey converted both a Volkswagen Beetle (license plate FRYBRID) and a company car (a Ford pickup) to run on the fry oil and now says that he's spending $0 on fuel instead of the usual $350/week on diesel.

Chris Wilson  /  Amory Advertiser


Between his four McDonald's, Tomey estimates that he throws away 10,000 gallons of used vegetable oil a year, and envisions a future where his oil could be used for fuel on a larger scale than just his two cars. People interested in converting their own cars can purchase a converter kit from Greasecar, with Tomey estimating that his kits will pay for themselves from the saved fuel costs within about eight months. 

But more than just economically, the Greasecar setup has other benefits as well. In addition to reducing our dependence on overseas oil, it also has environmental benefits of reducing our need to harvest more oil with all of the ecological ramifications involved there. It turns out that used vegetable oil counts as an "oil alternative," so to speak.

PVC and Phthalates in Children's Toys


Recalled plastic toys containing phthalates.

Over the past decade, the vinyl toy collectable market has been booming. Companies are producing vinyl plastic toys modeled after famous pop-culture characters, with the most popular being Funko’s Pop! Vinyl line of characters. According to their website, “Funko currently holds hundreds of licenses and the rights to create tens of thousands of characters - one of the largest portfolios in the pop culture and collectibles industry”. They make vinyl figurines of everything from cartoon and movie characters, to comic book heroes, to social and political figures. You can even customize a Pop! Vinyl character of yourself.

While they’re now a worldwide collectable craze, they’re also potentially harming the planet. Most plastic and vinyl toys are made from polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, and is derived from petroleum and chlorine. The real harm comes from the production and incineration of these products. Deadly fumes are being released into the atmosphere, adding the the greenhouse effect and contributing to global warming.

Some plastic toys contain phthalates, which are a group of chemicals called “endocrine disruptors”. Endocrine disruptors can act like hormones in the body or they can suppress the natural production of honorees in the body. Handling plastic products made with phthalates are not harmful, but if ingested, usually by children chewing on them, they can enter the body and do serious damage. Most plastics that contain harmful phthalates have been banned in the United States, but anything made before the ban or from other countries without the ban are still out in the world.

The best way to avoid these products is to make sure you are only buying children’s toys that are labeled to not contain phthalates or to buy toys made from natural products like unfinished wood and cotton.

Some companies that specialize in natural children’s toys are:
Melissa and Doug 
Hazelnut Kids
Nova Natural

Unnatural Beauty: Petroleum Products in Cosmetics



“Beauty is only skin deep” and “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” are sayings that we’re all very familiar with, but we all know that they’re much more about finding inner beauty in ourselves and those around us. Out here in the real world, though, we should know that the beauty industry rakes in billions of dollars every year. Many of those products contain petroleum-derived ingredients that could actually be doing more harm to your skin than good.

According to finance website Mint.com, the average woman spends about $15,000 on skincare and cosmetics each year. Many cosmetics that promise anti-aging effects include ingredients to help skin stay moisturized, but they do so by adding petroleum-derived ingredients to their products. These ingredients include mineral oil, petrolatum, liquid paraffin, and paraffin oil and are most common in face moisturizers, lotions, sunscreens, and lipsticks. Mint.com’s study showed that an average of $1,780 was spent on lipstick in a woman’s lifetime.

While these products promise magical moisturizing results, the fact of the matter is that the petroleum-derived ingredients are merely forming a barrier against the skin to lock in moisture from other natural ingredients. This could actually clog pores and create pimples or blackheads on your skin, causing the opposite of the desired effect. Petroleum and its derived ingredients have even been marked as potential carcinogens, especially products containing non-refined petrolatum.

The best way to stay healthy and have healthy, beautiful, skin is to avoid using products with petroleum and petroleum-derived ingredients. Look for labels that specify that they do not contain petroleum or mineral oils and buy from brands that specialize in natural products.

For more research information about natural cosmetics, visit:
http://www.organicmakeup.ca/ca/index.asp

For a list of natural cosmetics brands to buy, visit:
http://www.thegoodtrade.com/features/18-natural-organic-makeup-brands-your-face-will-love-you-for

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Bio-asphalt? Eco-friendly Alternative to Petroleum Derived Asphalt

Bio-asphalt? Eco-friendly Alternative to Petroleum Derived Asphalt

Research in microalgae as a petroleum alternative has led to discoveries that could change the way we build roads. Currently asphalt is a concrete made with viscous form of petroleum. Eco-friendly alternatives could significantly reduce costs, pollution, and carbon emissions that are associated with refining petroleum based products.

Bio-asphalt made from Algae would chemically be different from petroleum asphalt, but it would share the same binding properties that petroleum has (CNRS). Currently, regional funded research called the ‘Algoroute Program’ is underway in France. So far they have determined that microalgae have the same binding properties and viscous nature as asphalt. They are conducting more studies to make the production process more efficient and cost effective (Emmanuell et all, 2012).


Sources:


Emmanuel Chailleux, Mariane Audo, Bruno Bujoli, Cl´emence Queffelec, Jack Legrand, et al.. Alternative Binder from microalgae : Algoroute project. Workshop Alternative Binders for Sustainable Asphalt Pavements, Jan 2012, France. pp 7-14, 2012.

CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange). "Bioasphalt: From microalgae to 'green roads? '." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 April 2015. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150420084751.htm.

C. (n.d.). Route 66 [Route 66]. Retrieved from https://pixabay.com/en/route66-train-america-usa-asphalt-1995127/

How to Identify Petroleum Based Products


How to Identify Petroleum Based Products


Petroleum based ingredients are everywhere, and it can be very difficult to find products that are petrochemical, and paraben free. While it is nearly impossible to completely avoid products containing petroleum, you can take a step in the green direction by becoming more aware of what chemicals are in your cosmetics, clothing, and food. Here is a list of common petrochemical ingredients to watch out for.

Cosmetics: 
  • Paraffin Wax
  • Petroleum Jelly
  • Polyethylene Glycol
  • Ethylene Oxide (any ingredient that contains ‘eth’ such as: laureth, myreth, ceteareth, oleth)
  • Diethanolamine
  • Ethanolamine
  • Butanol - (any ingredient that contains ‘butyl’)
  • Ethanol - (any ingredient that contains ‘ethyl’)
  • Propyl - (any ingredient that contains ‘propyl’)
  • Methanol - (any ingredient that contains ‘methy’)
  • Parfums

Synthetic Fabrics:


  • Acrylic
  • Polyester
  • Nylon
  • Spandex
  • Latex
  • Rayon

Food:

  • Mineral Oil
  • Paraffin Wax
  • Olestra
  • tert-Burylhydroquinone (TBHQ)
  • Acetylsalicylic acid
  • Artificial food coloring

Sources:

Altmann, G. (n.d.). Eco Friendly [Earth, eco friendly]. Retrieved from https://pixabay.com/en/earth-globe-birth-new-arise-405096/

Beauty Revolution. (2010, April 25). How to Identify Petrochemicals in Your Cosmetics. Retrieved June 11, 2017, from https://blog.cocoonapothecary.com/2010/06/25/get-petroleum-out-of-your-bathroom/

Gibson, L. (2013, May 24). Fabric Friday: petroleum-based manufactured fibers. Retrieved June 11, 2017, from https://oliverands.com/community/blog/2013/05/fabric-friday-petroleum-based-manufactured-fibers.html

What Foods Contain Petroleum? (2016). Retrieved June 11, 2017, from https://www.petro-online.com/news/fuel-for-thought/13/breaking-news/what-foods-contain-petroleum/37415

Algae an Alternative to Petroleum?



Algae an Alternative to Petroleum?


Algae is an essential component to earths ecosystem, however to much of anything can lead to dire results. Excessive nutrients in water can lead to algae blooms, high concentrations of algae can be deadly to marine animals and people. (Harmful Algal Blooms, 2017) Algae blooms, besides being toxic create dead zones in the marine ecosystem, it also increases the cost to process drinking water. (Harmful Algal Blooms, 2017)

Algae biofuels could potentially prove to be a realistic alternative to fossil fuels and petroleum based products. Substituting algae for petroleum could significantly reduce carbon emissions in the atmosphere that contribute to greenhouse gases and climate change (Hannon, Gimpel, Tran, & Rasala, 2010). The harvesting of algae could also reduce the detrimental environment effects of algae blooms.

Algae could also be an effective alternative to synthetic material made from petroleum. Companies like Vivobarefoot have created running shoes made from algae, cleaning up water resources in the process (Peters, 2017).

Currently, processing Algae into biofuel is very expensive compared to the cost of fossil fuels. Hopefully with more research and interest, more effective methods of processing algae as a biofuel will be discovered.

Sources:

Hannon, M., Gimpel, J., Tran, M., Rasala, B., & Mayfield, S. (2010). Biofuels from algae: challenges and potential. Biofuels, 1(5), 763–784. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3152439/

Harmful Algal Blooms. (2017, April 07). Retrieved June 11, 2017, from https://www.epa.gov/nutrientpollution/harmful-algal-blooms

Marc, S. (n.d.). Algae [Algae]. Retrieved from https://pixabay.com/en/green-blue-water-lilies-nature-734010/

Peters, A. (2017, June 01). These Shoes Help Clean Lakes–Because They're Made of Polluting Algae. Retrieved June 11, 2017, from https://www.fastcompany.com/40425032/these-shoes-help-clean-lakes-because-theyre-made-of-polluting-algae



Petrochemicals in Beauty Products

Petrochemicals in Beauty Products

Petrochemicals are chemicals primarily derived from processing natural gas, oil, or coal.
These chemicals are used for just about everything, from asphalt on the road, and the paint on our houses to the waxes and oils in our beauty products (Petrolatum).

Our demand for convenient and affordable products has caused the petroleum industry to flourish. The mass production of these chemicals have detrimental effects on not only the health of our families, but the health of the earth. Many petroleum based ingredients have been banned by the European Union (Petrolatum).

Parabens are petroleum based preservatives commonly found in beauty products such as soap and lotions. The petroleum based ingredients in these products can seep into our skin and prevent it from breathing and have been linked to potentially cause cancer (Malkan, 2008). In addition to carcinogenic implications, petroleum based chemicals can also pollute groundwater, and the oceans. Plastic microbeads found in exfoliating products can easily absorb pollutants and can be consumed by marine animals, exposing them to toxic material (Bushwick).



Sources:

Bushwick, S. (2015). What Are Microbeads and Why Are They Illegal? Retrieved June 11, 2017, from http://www.popsci.com/what-are-microbeads-and-why-are-they-illegal

Malkan, S. (2008). The Ugly Side of Makeup. ABC 7 Chicago. Retrieved June 11, 2017, from http://abc7chicago.com/archive/6380103/

Petrolatum. (n.d.). Retrieved June 11, 2017, from http://davidsuzuki.org/issues/health/science/toxics/chemicals-in-your-cosmetics---petrolatum/

Socha, A. (n.d.). Poison [Poison]. Retrieved from https://pixabay.com/en/poison-bottle-medicine-old-symbol-1481596/

Gasoline and Petroleum Toxicity in Dogs

The most common petroleum products associated with illness in dogs include motor oil, gasoline, kerosene, propane and diesel. These aren't the biggest poisons for dogs, but it only takes a little to make them sick. Surprisingly, the thin, light products, such as gasoline, are more toxic than the thick, heavy products, such as motor oil. This is because the thinner substances absorb in dogs the fastest.

What to Watch For

Signs of gasoline and petroleum toxicity in dogs may include:
  • Drooling
  • Shaking head
  • Pawing at mouth
  • Coughing, gagging
  • Incoordination
  • Muscle tremors
  • Staggering
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Gasoline or petroleum smell
  • Reddened and irritated skin
  • Cyanosis (blue tinge to tongue and gums)

The amount of oil swallowed by dog to start showing symptoms depends on the type of oil. 
  • For diesel fuel, about 18 mls (a little over 1 tablespoon) needs to be ingested.
  • For gasoline, 35 mls per pound needs to be ingested.
  • For kerosene, 112 mls per pound needs to be ingested.

Petroleum Alternative Product "Asphalt" shingle to Solar roofing

Most common roofing tiles that are used in the United States are asphalt shingles which take up approximately 57% of the total market share demand. As the U.S. Department of housing reports an increase in housing production by 11.3% compared to the annual rate of 1.23 million units. It is more than likely that half of those homes will use asphalt shingles which are not eco-friendly due to major of the asphalt shingles composition is petroleum. As a result, there are alternative such as  wood, slate, metal and etc., but due to asphalt being the most resilient and easy to make, the market has not had huge advancements until now. Elon Musk announced  Solar Energy roof Tile system that will revolutionize this market. It is also environmentally friendly and will absorb solar energy from the sun which will help individual households to reduce their energy consumption from the grid. This, in turn, reduces CO2 emissions from the grid and reduce our dependency on petroleum through reducing energy use and moving away from asphalt shingles. With this, we can contribute to the reduction of petroleum use and we can promote the environment. This advancement would be the first step in that direction.












Sources:
http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/10/tesla-solar-roof-prices-come-in-cheaper-than-some-had-expected.html
http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/05/11/527930243/tesla-begins-taking-orders-for-its-solar-energy-roof-tile-systems
https://www.bdcnetwork.com/us-roofing-demand-predicted-rise-driven-new-construction

https://www.nahb.org/en/news-and-publications/press-releases/2017/01/nationwide-housing-production-up-11-point-3-percent-in-december-on-multifamily-surge.aspx

Petroleum even in Pesticides


Of 171 million pounds of pesticides used in California
 crop agriculture in 2013, this is the breakdown by type
It is commonly sprayed on plants to prevent the spread of disease, unwanted vegetation, controlling of insects, etc. But what is most interesting is the most common ingredient that is used: petroleum.  By using these pesticides, health issues have arisen which affect all of us. The U.S. Centers for Disease control (CDC) stated that America alone churns through 75 million pounds of pesticides each year.  These chemicals get into waterways which infect other ecological populations such as fish. As a result, not only using these type of pesticides are bad for health, it also affects the environment.  With a push to organic pesticides this could reduce the environmental effects on the population and health as well. By focusing on this push and government standard we can have a health future and reduce our depends on petroleum .

Sources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevensavage/2015/09/23/the-role-of-organic-pesticides-in-california/#673547656717
https://www.forbes.com/sites/oracle/2017/05/22/organic-pesticide-maker-to-harvest-bumper-profits/#21b558043a07
http://extentopubs.tamu.edu/e-419.html
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-fertilizers-harm-earth/

From Petroleum Tires to Plant Tires

Gone renewable: synthetic rubber produced using biotechnology
As we explore ways we can reduce/eliminate the use of petroleum products in our daily life. There are companies like Coca-cola that are taking that initial step and producing plant fiber bottles to replace plastic bottles. Supporting companies like this can help encourage other companies to do the same and find alternatives as well.  As a result, in this trend a couple of companies have joined forces to make a "green" tire. Yokohama tire for example, has come up with tires that are 80 percent petroleum-free. Other companies such as Sumitomo rubber Industries, in partnership with Goodyear, has created a prototype Enasave tire which is 97 percent non-petroleum. Advancement such as this should be embraced and supported.  Without your help at promoting products such as this, these advancements will never be pushed further by other companies. Overall, this is a positive direction to help step away from petroleum products altogether.
Engineers reduced the amount of petrochemicals
 in a prototype Goodyear tire by cutting the
amount of synthetic rubber in half






Sources:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/20/automobiles/20TIRE.html

Saturday, June 10, 2017

John Oliver & the Paris Agreement

In case you missed it, President Trump withdrew the US from the Paris agreement on climate change. As John Oliver puts it, "that's bad news for anyone who lives on this planet." In true comedian fashion, John Oliver swiftly and savagely delivers hilarious truth bombs about the state of our planet and why the Paris agreement is actually so important - and what it means for those of us who are impacted (oh wait...that's everyone). 



The good news is that even though the US has technically withdrawn from the Paris agreement, many cities and communities across the US have stepped up and pledged to meet the agreement anyways! This is a great example of how the anger and spite of a certain person (looking at you, 45) can turn out to be quite an effective motivator and catalyst for change. So if you're pissed off, just harvest that frustration and turn it into activism. Boom! Day better. Locally speaking, a number of large companies based in Portland have already stepped up and pledged to back the Paris agreement, including Nike, Intel, PGE, Columbia Sportswear, and a number of universities, including...you guessed it...Portland State University! #Holla to our (almost) alma mater! If you need some more good news to counteract all the bad news, check out the full article at Oregon Live to see how this rough week has compelled many to action.

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Oil in Your Toothpaste

The Oil in Your Toothpaste
Many of the most popular toothpastes available today are made with sodium lauryl sulfate, a product commonly made from petroleum. Sodium saccharin is another ingredient often found in toothpaste; it is a sweetener made from petroleum. As an environmentally-conscious consumer, you need to know alternative options. Growing up, my family used Tom’s of Maine toothpaste. They source their SLS from coconut oil instead of petroleum and do not use any other petroleum-based products in their toothpaste. You can find a full list of their toothpastes here: http://www.tomsofmaine.com/oral-care/toothpaste
Another way to avoid petroleum in your toothpaste is to make your own. There are several different ways to do this, but here is one very easy method.
Ingredients:
1/2 cup of coconut oil
2 tablespoons of baking soda
2 packets of stevia powder
15 drops of peppermint oil
Instructions:

Melt the coconut oil and stir in the other ingredients. Pour into whatever container you would like to hold your toothpaste ( small mason jars work well). Place it on its side or at an angle and let it cool. When you are ready to brush, reach the toothbrush in and scrape some onto your brush. Congratulations! You have taken another step in replacing petroleum in your daily life.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Why cheap oil is bad for us


Oil prices are currently at very low levels. Why does OPEC keep voting to keep the price down? Basically it is because they are in competition with the burgeoning renewable energy industries of solar, wind and hydrogen. These new technologies are still young and as yet not as efficient as the well established petroleum industry. Low oil prices are a strategic hindrance to the weaning process, keeping us addicted to this dead-end energy source.

The world risks becoming ever more reliant on Middle Eastern oil as lower prices derail efforts by governments to curb demand, the west’s leading energy body has warned. Middle Eastern producers, such as Saudi Arabia and Iraq, now have the biggest share of world oil markets since the Arab fuel embargo of the 1970's.

Demand for their crude has surged amid a collapse in oil prices over the past two years that has cut output from higher-cost producers such as the US, Canada and Brazil.

Demand has surged as prices more than halved following years of trading above $100 a barrel. Efforts to improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions were being thwarted as motorists returned to buying fuel-guzzling cars.

This is bad because it hampers the necessary transition to sustainable energy sources like solar, wind and hydrogen. It is inevitable that oil demand will overrun supply at the rate that we consume it. If our infrastructure is not prepared for the switch then we are going to be in some trouble.

It is important for all of us to be aware of our energy budget and continue the slow march toward energy independence with renewable, sustainable energy.  Switch your energy consumption to sustainable sources as soon as possible, they are the future!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

WHY OUR FOOD IS SO DEPENDENT ON OIL


Virtually all of the processes in the modern food system are now dependent upon this finite resource, which is nearing its depletion phase.


  • Fertilizers
  • Pesticides
  • Herbicides
  • Machine Parts; construction and maintenance
  • Transportation


Moreover, at a time when we should be making massive cuts in the emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere in order to reduce the threat posed by climate change, the food system is lengthening its supply chains and increasing emissions to the point where it is a significant contributor to global warming.

The organic sector could be leading the development of a sustainable food system. Direct environmental and ecological impacts of agriculture ‘on the farm’ are certainly reduced in organic systems. However, global trade and distribution of organic products fritter away those benefits and undermine its leadership role.

The systems that produce the world’s food supply are heavily dependent on fossil fuels. Vast amounts of oil and gas are used as raw materials and energy in the manufacture of fertilizers and pesticides, and as cheap and readily available energy at all stages of food production: from planting, irrigation, feeding and harvesting, through to processing, distribution and packaging. In addition, fossil fuels are essential in the construction and the repair of equipment and infrastructure needed to facilitate this industry, including farm machinery, processing facilities, storage, ships, trucks and roads. The industrial food supply system is one of the biggest consumers of fossil fuels and one of the greatest producers of greenhouse gases.

What can we do?

  • Eat locally sourced food whenever possible
  • Grow your own food! If there are no community gardens in your area, start one!
  • Eat less commercially manufactured foodstuffs
  • Eat less fast food. 
It is not a coincidence that following these simple rules lead to a healthier lifestyle for you, your family, and the greater community as well as the health of our planet!