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So now we can look at one of the most abundant dependencies of why we pump so much crude oil out of the ground, travel. We are a nation that loves to drive large vehicles and live spread out amongst a large continent and build roads for our convenience of traveling where ever we want to. Three main topics will be looked at for the travel that we use for our everyday lives both direct and indirect.
First, personal use vehicles, whether it is car, truck, van, motorcycle, we consume for simple travel every day. From work, school, to shopping needs/wants were are burning our favorite little fossil fuel and creating greenhouse gases. Although at times it could make a large change to more man powered miens of transportation like walking or bicycling.

Second, the way we have all those products delivered to local food/retail stores. Especially in the case of oversea products, it starts by shipping by water through burning fuel (and we ship oil by boat that burns oil) to bring the product to a US port. Follow that by placing container units onto a semi truck to transport that product to a distribution center of company X. Company X then distributes said products through another semi truck burning more oil to deliver to local markets. Then we as consumers drive our vehicles to said market to purchase product from company X and throughout it all burning more oil and creating green house gases.

Third, we use large passenger planes to transport people long distances with high volume of people. Although we are still burning oil and creating greenhouse gases, this could be argued as the most efficient mass transit. Although it does hurt the environment the efficiency of transporting a large amount of people at one time in place of each individual or group of individuals traveling through car. One could argue though that we could return to large sail boats for oceanic travel though.

As we all know that crude oil is used to create the gasoline that we burn in our cars but, what else do we use oil for?
Let us start off with what people generally have in cars, cup-holders, a piece for manufactured plastic with in car, truck, suv, or whatever; point being what would you put in a cup holder? Answer not a traditional cup with an open top, most likely a bottle of your favorite soda, water, sport drink, or maybe a coffee cup (with a lid of course) which are all made out of plastic. So we are putting plastic with in plastic, what is the big deal you might say, well the plastics used are petroleum based which is a limited natural resource for manufactured convince. We use petroleum to produce bottles to contain water in vast quantities for easy access but there is a movement to change that. In San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom banned use of plastic water bottles with in city government buildings, and the trend is growing. New York City is in the stages of a similar proposal and hopefully the trend continues. Why, because the use of plastic bottles for water is such a large business and many people buy water by cases of 24 bottles of “fresh” spring water. In turn the use all the bottled water creates large amounts of semi recyclable plastic bottles. In reference to semi recyclable, because plastic is a chemical based byproduct of oil it will lose its consistency when broken down and reused. Although many still want to buy bottled water here is one company that supports the change; BIOTA (http://www.biotaspringwater.com) creating a bottle from biodegradable corn oil so that the bottle can be disposed of without creating large quantities of pollution. Another solution for tasty filtered water is to purchase a Brita filter (http://www.brita.com) which will save money over time plus keep from creating excessive waste.
Another use for oil that many might not consider is fo-fur. Yes oil helps save innocent little rabbits and chinchillas from being turned into the next head turning fur coat, hat, boats, gloves, etc (think you have the idea). So sparky (that’s me) how does oil help save cute little animals you might ask? Well the crude oil will be turned into acrylics for uses in paints, wax, and in this case synthetic fibers. So we have a synthetic fiber which can be manipulated to make the fibers very, very small to create soft felling material to imitate real fur, and thus saving small creatures with soft fur everywhere.
Another animal saved by crude oil would be the whales, because the use as crude oil as a cheap substitute for whale oil was economically more efficient.
One more large use for crude oil many do not consider is the one thing most of us touch everyday, asphalt. Oil is used as binder or glue for all the aggregate or rock components of asphalt. There are movements for a greener composition of asphalt with the use vegetable oil waste, thus the waste material would be the new component of binding or glue.
I will have another “Uses” blog later in the week. Hope you feel informed.

Oil production and political conflict seem to be a continuous volatile relationship. One of the largest and most predominate of our generation is the invasion of Kuwait in the early 90’s (wow that makes me feel old that I said 90’s). A little background for the Iraq invasion of Kuwait and why it happened. Iraq had invaded Iran back in 1980 for border disputes and just to gain land during a time of Iranian civil disputes. Iraq had invaded Iran with out formal announcement or declaration of war. Although Iraq struck first Iran was on an offensive for a majority of the eight year war. Now Kuwait plays in because of funding Iraq during the war with funds from oil revenues. After the Iran-Iraq war Iraq was in debt to Kuwait by $14 billion for war finances. Iraq was pressured by Kuwait to begin repayment after the war which Iraq economically could not. Iraq would try to increase oil prices through OPEC, but Kuwait (also a member of OPEC) would not allow this by increasing their own oil production. So in retrospect every time the price per barrel of oil dropped by $1 in the U.S. in caused a $1 billion loss of revenues on oil in Iraq, and so further economic drought, thus causing tension between Kuwait and Iraq fuel actions of war. Iraq would go on to accuse Kuwait of “slant drilling” or directional drilling to tap the Iraq oil fields for oil reserves. So now the invasion of Kuwait happens and not supported by the UN council, and so, the UN sends coalition forces (mostly US) to push Iraq out of Kuwait. While Iraq troops fled Kuwait troops of Iraq set the Burgan oil fields on fire. The Fires would burn for months and cause tremendous air and land pollution. The fire would burn through approximately 6 million barrels of oil per day. Not only can we look at this as tremendous amounts of pollution but wasted natural resources that can not be replenished. Further more Iraq was accused of purposely dumping 400 million gallons of crude oil into the Persian Gulf, causing even more devastating pollution the marine life.
Not only was the environment affected by war but also the people of the area. Here are a few pictures from the Gulf War to help you see the effects.

Ok let us talk about one of the most recognized pollutions of oil focused on by the media, large tanker oil spills. One of the most covered stories by the media when a tanker goes down on the open ocean and scenes of “black gold” floating on top of the water, or pictures of rescue efforts for the local animal life. Effects of oil spills upon sea birds can be that the oil penetrates their plumage (feather layers on the body) and keeps them from insulating their bodies; furthermore it disrupts the bird’s buoyancy or their ability to float on open water. Another animal that is tremendously affected would be seals, when their fur becomes coated with oil it causes the insulation aspect to be ruined and so causing cases of hypothermia. One more animal to mention that will slowly tie everything together, fish, as they swim through the water and ingest oily water it destroys the organs and digestive systems. So to tie all of this together we have a eco system with in the ocean that theses animals are all apart of, starting with the fish population declines from the pollution then so will sea birds who eat them, along with; seals, large whales like sperm whales. Also if the seals are dying off either from effects of oil pollution or lack of food the orca whales (killer whales) food supply will no longer be there (no more exciting Alaskan cruises). So to show who the ocean is affected and why we might focus on it is pretty obvious because it does do a lot of damage, but it is not the worst form of oil pollution. Using of oil for energy to power machines emits much much more pollution than a single oil spill. Driving of cars as an example, In the US alone we consume the most petrol because of living lives of excess. We live spread out and a majority of areas with out public transportation, so each individual drives a car and burns green house gases on at least a daily basis. Consumption reports show that in April we actually had lower consumption but due to the cost of gasoline, not because of necessarily changing the structure of American travel.

So how do we live simpler to lower our polluting tendencies?

My choice for blogging is an Informed Citizenship about the over all aspects that crude oil affects the environment, politics, scientific aspects of oil, economic, and how it is covered in the media. Reason for choosing this topic is based from being a typical American Citizen who enjoys the lifestyle of mass consumption. Through simple pre-research I found astounding facts that will be covered through out the rest of the semester. A quick overview is listed below:

-First, the use alkenes in plastics, and that is a topic for a whole blog in itself, there are further uses but I can not lay them all on the table at once because where would be the fun of a exciting new blog.

- Second, scientific aspects which tie into environmental affects. One major use for crude oil is the base for fuels used in our daily lives with transportation, whether a gasoline operated personal vehicle, diesel engine powered bus, or flight across country we need crude oil to get there.

- Third, environmental affects are a big problem in the world for many environments and really takes a back seat in the media today to ppb (price per barrel). From the devastation to the environment through the extraction process to how people are treated in local areas of extraction by the rich profiteers from the oil. Global warming is accelerated by the burning by the use of burning oil for energy purposes, mostly through running of automotive vehicles(with the US being the number one for consumption and number three for production).

- Fourth, political and economic affairs with crude oil will tie into each other a lot with every article found, so I will do my best to make sure to separate the topics the best I can. Furthermore, the idea of political conflicts (most of the time war), and economic affects will surprise some readers to what are money is really doing at the gas pumps. Two major political aspects that will be covered are; Operation Desert Storm/Shield, and Operation Iraqi Liberation (that’s funny huh O.I.L.) which was later changed to Operation Iraqi Freedom. Hope you enjoy my blogs through the rest of the semester.

- Fifth, one very interesting aspect is how crude oil helps saves whales, it will interesting research for both of us to read, but me first then I will inform you later. Also major ecosystems affected by large oil-spills and how it affects marine life in the surrounding area.

Hope the my reasearch is not only informative but exciting to read.

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