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Earth Day Special: Energy and food of the world’s limited natural resources

23 April 2009 828 views No Comment

The world is running out of oil and the evidence is mounting. The term most commonly used in the discussions surrounding first the ceiling in oil discoveries and now more recently the ceiling of oil production is Peak Oil. Peak Oil since the mid 1950s has been argued as theory but their are more convincing arguments than just $4 a gallon gasoline (last summer) that support what should now be deemed as fact. The chances of finding another large oil reserve fall dramatically each day. Another fact that augments this point is that the largest reserves should be the easiest to find and still a major discovery hasn’t happened since Prudhoe Bay in 1969, 40 years ago. Not finding more oil would be well and fine if we simply didn’t use it at all but that’s currently not the case.

A shortlist of items made from oil (not just energy inputs or transportation inputs) include computer chips, dishwashing liquid, insecticides, antiseptics, tires, clothing, food preservatives, disposable diapers, vitamin capsules, fertilizers, water pipes, artificial limbs, aspirin and many other applications. It would be easy to substitute our energy gained from oil and oil based transportation as wind and solar come onto the grid. Unfortunately though the loss of the petroleum based household items and agricultural fertilizer (that is essential to higher crop yields) could significantly change the way we live.

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