Recently I read that the Grammy Award winning Indigo Girls conducted a concert on a pontoon boat on the Mississippi River near Aitkin. The purpose of the concert was to protest against the planned replacement of Line 3.
Being celebrities – like Jane Fonda, who also flew to Minnesota to protest the pipeline – doesn’t make them entirely wise. It’s just people like you and me who use petroleum products on an almost daily basis!
Protesters – even those driving motorhomes – apparently believe our nation can just go without oil. Maybe they don’t realize how dependent we have become on oil in our daily lives.
Oil is not used only to fuel the cars and pontoon boats that transport protesters to their destinations. Oil is present in much of what we use every day.
Did you brush your teeth this morning? Most toothpastes use a petroleum derivative in their composition.
Many of our personal care products are derived from petroleum. Here is a short list: perfume, hair dye, cosmetics (lipstick, makeup, foundation, eye shadow, mascara, eyeliner), hand lotion, soap, shaving cream, deodorant, pantyhose, combs, shampoo, glasses and contact lenses.
After taking a shower, what did you put on when it came to clothes? Clothing is typically made from petroleum-based fibers including acrylic, rayon, vegan leather, polyester, nylon, and elastane. same shoes and handbags use petrochemicals for their light weight, durable and water resistant properties.
When you went into the kitchen for breakfast, you might have fried an egg in a pan that is made egg-friendly by a petroleum-based coating. You probably turned this egg over with a petroleum-based plastic anti-scratch spatula. And when you’ve taken bread from a plastic bag and put a slice of it in the toaster, chances are the toaster has plastic handles and control knobs and a liner. plastic on the electrical cord that you plugged into a plastic-protected outlet.
And while you were in the kitchen or bathroom, you probably walked through a floor protected by a plastic product, and perhaps covered with a soft carpet made from petroleum products.
Then you left your vinyl siding house and got into your car or a bus or rode your bike to work. All of these vehicles have petroleum in their tires and have seats coated with petroleum product. And the car and the bus (unless all electric) are fueled by petroleum. Even lap belts, upholstery, body parts, etc. of an electric car contain petroleum.
At work, you may have had a headache and taken an aspirin – you guessed it – a petroleum product.
You might be surprised to learn that modern healthcare relies on petroleum products that have few substitutes. Plastics are used in a wide range of Medical equipement, and petrochemicals are used to drugs. The products include hospital equipment, IV bags, antihistamines, artificial limbs, dentures, hearing aids, heart valves and many more. And those precious N-95 masks are also full of petroleum products.
After work, you might have gone golfing, doing your best to make the par by hitting a small round petroleum product.
My point is this: the next time you talk to people who condemn âdirty and dangerousâ oil and protest the flow of oil through pipelines, look at what they wear, what they drive, and even watch the outboard motor powering their pontoon boat. Ask them what they did that day and help them count how many times they used a petroleum product.
Maybe they will see the hypocrisy of condemning something they use on a daily basis.
Tom Burford, of Bagley, Minnesota, has been a newspaper editor for over 45 years.
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