Canadians consume 1.5 million barrels of oil a day on things such as heating, cooling, construction, and transportation. It underpins our economy and the lifestyle we love so much. If oil disappeared tomorrow the impact on our reality would devastate our existence. Could you imagine a world without Oil? It’s a long list of what we wouldn’t have if we didn’t have oil! Our lives have existed happily in the comforts of our homes, offices, and automobiles. The byproducts have given children millions of warm clothes and toys. It has given us the ability to reach the furthest corners of the world! But, now Science has warned us our carbon footprint has grown. The planet is warming. It’s a forbidden love affair and sh#%s getting real around here! We’ve been warned that we need to break up and move on but can we?
Oil imports increase the carbon footprint
Canada is one of the richest countries in the world. The Canadian population is small in comparison to many countries so there is no excuse. We should be able to find alternative ways to get our fuel. But, Canada exports 3 million barrels of crude oil per day to the U.S to refine. Then we import 635,000 barrels back from them. We have the potential to provide ourselves with our own oil. So why do we import oil if there are enough resources for our needs each day?
The Canadian government states, Canada is the 4th Oil producer in the world. Seriously this is like a Baker selling bread but not eating what he makes! Instead, he buys bread from across the street! Smart conscious consumers shop local. Neighborhood businesses rely on support from the community around them. Yet the federal government doesn’t rule by the same fundamentals.
So, which country is benefiting from Canadian Oil imports? The majority comes from the USA followed by Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Norway, Angola, and Mexico. Even though, there are 14 operating refineries across Canada. These refineries are capable of refining up to 1.9 million barrels a day. The reason Canadian refineries import from other countries is simple. The refining plants were built in a time when light crude oil was abundant. The oil sands which account for 96% of Canada’s crude oil is considered heavy crude oil. The Eastern Atlantic refineries are outdated and the plants need retrofitting.
New Brunswick imports 40% of its oil from Saudia Arabia. Quebec, Ontario, Labrador all get their oil from the Southern USA. Every year Canada spends 10 million dollars on crude oil alone. That translates to 20 billion dollars in the past ten years! All this money could be used for better purposes.
CO2 and trade
This is another example of Canada so badly needing a circular economy. For now, we clearly can’t stop using oil since our very existence relies on it. The truth is we need enough money to shift our way of life. Canada has to invest in new technologies that will reduce the need for oil. It’s the only way Canada will slow down oil shipments from great distances. If we don’t Carbon Dioxide (CO2) will continually be released into the atmosphere. For the sake of reducing our reliance on foreign oil, it’s time. Time to spend money on the aging and outdated infrastructure. Time to invest in new energy technologies.
We’ve had the ability to travel long distances with our goods for ages! Long-range trade has been a part of life since the third Millenium! (2001- 3000) The lifestyle of sourcing materials from great distances is in our genes! Establishing trade colonies has led the way to how we do business today. It would be asking a lot from humanity to change our trading ways! A lot! But, welcome to 2019! When the world is getting warmer and it’s projected that unsustainable living conditions are imminent. Oil has an incredible journey to get through to us.
What can we do to lower our carbon footprint now?
- Use an electric bike, or pedal bike whenever possible. If your cruising distances then electric is the way to go! Electric bikes can move up to 25 km’s an hour on average. They’re fun and worth the initial investment of $800-$2000. I love cruising around on my cruiser especially with friends. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could do this more often?
- Turn off your heat starting June 1 and keep it off until September 15th. Cut your annual bills down by saving up to $50.00 each month the furnace is off! That’s like a free meal and drink at your favorite hangout!
- Buy products from your local artisans and support businesses that offer local seasonal products. Quite often products are fresher and there is way less packaging. It has traveled less to get from farm to plate.
- Switch to a push mower instead of gas-powered. If a push mower is out of the question than plant gardens to reduce the amount you need to use a gas mower. Planting more trees is vital to stabilizing the climate, gives birds and insects homes. Plus if your picky groups of different varieties can look fabulous.
- Park the gas-powered car and use transit or electric vehicles whenever possible. You will save money in the long run if you buy a used electric vehicle. Be one in a million that has the opportunity to save thousands of dollars.
- Choose petroleum-free cosmetics. Petroleum gives the illusion that your skin is rich and hydrated. However, studies show that it actually suffocates your pores! It is not a water-soluble substance so it traps moisture.
- Don’t buy plastic. This one is pretty much self-explanatory!
- Unplug your electronics Idle Desktop computers, stereos, coffee makers, ipad and cellular phones all drain 5-10% of energy. If you take a moment of your day to unplug appliances and electronics each day it will save money.
- Don’t buy fast fashion Polyester is the worst fabric for the environment because it’s made from man-made polymers that don’t break down. These clothes don’t readily biodegrade and people continually throw away clothes. Invest in product lines that are ethically sourced and natural.
- Use a clothesline instead of a dryer. When you use a dryer its equal to turning on. If you install a clothesline you could save over $150.00 a year. The average gas company charges .45 cents an hour. the average family can do about seven loads of laundry a week. If 37 million Canadians stopped using clothes dryers and used clotheslines then annual energy savings would be huge.
- Tell your local MP that you want to see more renewable energy sources for your community. More than ever the Leaders are listening to the world. They are declaring Climate emergencies and willing to change policies. The more we can do now to raise awareness is vital to keep the momentum going. Write a letter to your local MP and tell him your concerns about the future. My post on plastic bags provides a link to contact a local British Columbia MP and sign a petition with the David Suzuki foundation
Make it happen
If we changed one habit or behavior a day it will reduce our reliance on oil. We can reduce our carbon footprint together. The problems associated with oil are much larger than importing foreign oil. Educate yourself on how the world runs which gives you more of an understanding. Learning has given everyone the knowledge that oil extraction is harmful to the environment. Importing Oil not only increases the carbon footprint it encourages other countries to continue drilling. Canadians have a strong relationship with oil. Being Eco-friendly is not easy but trying new ideas will make an impact on the world around us!
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