Sunday, February 13, 2011

Like oil and water...

By : Dennis Stein

  Only 3% of the water on the planet is freshwater. Most of that is trapped in glaciers, or the polar ice caps. The remainder is in freshwater lakes, rivers, marshland and groundwater. Oil, and all of its associated products, is another important natural resource, trapped in rock, sand, and under the ocean bedrock. It powers our vehicles in the form of fuels, powers our homes by providing electricity, and feeds us through food production, harvesting, processing and transportation. To feed a family of four for a year consumes almost a thousand gallons of oil based products, roughly the same as what that family spends in fuel for their own car.
  With approximately 80 million more people on the planet each year, the demand for these finite resources continues to increase. Oil, coal, and natural gas are energy sources which are non-replenishable, and have reached global peak in production. Water is replenishable through the natural cycle of evaporation to precipitation, but we humans are drawing off of the aquifers of fresh water quicker now than it can be replaced. Which will become more valuable in the future, Oil or Water?
  While we gripe about the cost of gas for our SUV's, and have every convience known to man, almost 900 million people have little or NO access to clean water, and some in drought-stricken areas like Ethiopia and Kenya have to walk long distances to get it. Water is already worth more than cash in alot of under developed areas, and is sold in small quantities, which must sustain families to drink, irrigate small crops, and wash with for long periods. Do we think of these things as we turn on the tap at home, when we go to a water park, or water our grass?
  Oil is something that we cannot survive wihout either, and it will become more scarce in the near future. All of our energy is supplied by fossil fuels. Yes, I said ALL. Solar panels are manufactured using oil derived products such as plastics. Bio-fuels are alternatives that simply use less of the needed pertroleum based fuels. Fuel cells and wind turbines are made using oil-based products. Your computer is made from processes that require large amounts of energy. Even the internet, which is one of the most marvelous connected constructions on a global scale in recent history is sustained by energies all rooted in oil...
  A mere 5% drop in global oil production would quadruple the cost of gas, and if you watch closely, it is happening. Water will be the next big commodity as we use up the supply that mother nature cannot replace fast enough for human demand. These situations must be resolved quickly, and not just by OUR government, but by all peoples on the planet. Our days of waste are over, and new means of energy and conservation must be found. This is not something that will go away by not thinking about it, and unless alternatives can be found soon, we may share the current situation with many third world countries...

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