Reducing global dependence on fossil fuels is something we need to take seriously as consumers. Here are 10 easy ways you can reduce your oil consumption, right now!
There are a million reasons to despise fossil fuels. First of all, burning of oil, coal and natural gas releases greenhouse gasses into the air, which (as I’m sure you know) contributes to global warming. Second, the process by which oil is extracted from the earth is highly detrimental.
Fracking, as an example, can cause earthquakes, leach dangerous chemicals into the ground, contaminate sources of precious drinking water, and send nasty, cancer-causing contaminants into the air.
Third, oil and gas drilling disrupts the natural patterns of wildlife. Wild animals are personally dependent upon the earth for their sustenance and habitat. When oil drilling sites move in, migration routes are disturbed, as are patterns of breeding, nesting, and communication between animals. I’ve personally seen this happen with pronghorn antelope in Wyoming.
All this, plus a multitude of offshore oil spills (such as the explosion of BP’s Deepwater Horizon unit in the Gulf of Mexico) and the severe health implications of pollution make drilling for oil a pretty nasty business.
But what can we do about it?
Here’s the good news: As consumers, we hold a great deal of power in our wallets. With that in mind, here are some ideas for how you can personally reduce your addiction to fossil fuels and change the way we create energy for good!
10 Ways You Can Reduce Your Oil Consumption
1) Educate yourself about the oil and gas industry.
Get to know the health, environmental and political implications of sticking with fossil fuels long term. Trust me, there’s a lot worth knowing. Pick up a book on environmental issues, or watch a documentary.
2) Avoid purchasing plastics.
Did you know that all plastics (and synthetic rubber) are made from petrol? Choose products made from biodegradable and sustainable materials instead – take the plastic-free pledge!
3) Cut your power use at home.
This one is pretty intuitive. Turn off house lights and heaters that you aren’t actively using, unplug appliances sucking phantom energy, and light a candle once in a while – it’ll add a lovely ambience.
4) Limit how much you drive.
Most of us are far too dependent on our vehicles. I know I am! If you’re lucky enough to live in a walkable neighborhood, make the intentional choice to walk to locations within a reasonable distance, and carpool or take public transport to work if you can.
5) Save up and install clean energy solutions at home.
Look into your options for alternative energy sources. Do you have a running brook or stream near by? Do you live in a region with a lot of wind power? How about high sunshine hours? You’d be surprised how affordable some of these eco-power solutions can be. Can’t afford the investment right now, or don’t own your own home? Switch to a renewable energy-only electricity provider. Many power suppliers will give you the option!
6) Choose petroleum-free beauty products.
Lipstick, nail polish and a number of other beauty products are made from petroleum byproducts. Do you really want toxic oil on your face? No, me either. That’s why I recently switched to an all-natural beauty routine.
7) Go zero waste.
The Zero Waste lifestyle is an opportunity to live lightly upon the earth by choosing sustainability over pure convenience. Need a little guidance? Read our beginners articles here.
8) Quit bottled water for good.
Did you know that most tap water is cleaner than that bottled water you just paid $4 for? There are a million reasons to quit bottled water. The fact that the bottles are made from oil-derived plastics is just one of them. Opt for a reusable bottle and fill it at home instead.
9) Buy local.
Much of the oil pulled out of the ground is destined to be used for transportation purposes. Buying local means the goods you purchase don’t need to be driven cross-country or flown across the globe before they end up in your home.
10) Demand renewable energy from your government.
While there are a number of tax benefits for households pursuing clean energy, we need more support. Contact your representatives and demonstrate your values to make the changemakers listen.
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