50 Ways to Leave Crude Oil (with apologies to Paul Simon)

So many of you have written in with brilliant comments to my blog last week about the Gulf oil spill that I thought I’d carry on the conversation this week.

As I wrote, it’s no good all of us demonizing BP. The bloodjet of oil pouring out of the earth now symbolizes something far deeper.  BP and all of Big Oil are engaging in deep drilling in response to overwhelming consumer demand for petroleum (manufactured or otherwise).  All of our modern-day lives are utterly intertwined with petroleum use. Petroleum is in virtually every manufactured product; it makes up the warf and woof of modern life. In order to keep up with the demand, Big Oil is drilling deeper and more dangerously.

We need to send positive intention to BP. With BP and its engineers, who are working to invent a cure, lays any potential solution. I’ve made this a Daily Intention for us – see our Intention of the Day on our website home page:  www.theintentionexperiment.com.

But there is a challenge for us far larger than simply ending Deepwater Horizon’s spill. To avoid another similar ecological disaster, we all have to begin the painful process of weaning ourselves off of mindless use of petroleum. Petroleum does not simply power our cars.  The use of petroleum in manufacturing has created modern industry, including plastic, synthetics, processing, and pretty much everything artificial in our lives.

On that note, I’ve written a little ditty about how to cut down on petroleum use, borrowing the tune from Paul Simon’s 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover.  And below that, I’ve got a serious list about cutting down your consumption of crude and another list after that about living a crude-free life.  Please feel free to add to either list.

 And thanks, Paul, for the tune. 
50 Ways to Leave Crude Oil
(with apologies to Paul Simon)

The problem is all inside your head, she said to me
The answer is easy if you take it logically
I’d like to help you in your struggle to be free
There must be fifty ways to leave crude oil

Just take the train back, Jack
Get rid of the van, Stan
You don’t need a new toy, Roy
Or an SUV
Hop on the bus, Gus
Or ride your bike like the Dutch
Just turn off the key, Lee
And set us all free

She said it’s really not my habit to intrude
But isn’t everything in your life made out of crude
So I’ll repeat myself, at the risk of being rude
There must be fifty ways to leave crude oil
Fifty ways to leave crude oil

Take the carpool back, Jack
Get rid of the van, Stan
You don’t need a new toy, Roy
Or an SUV
Hop on the bus, Gus
Or ride your bike like the Dutch
Just turn off the key, Lee
And set us all free

She said it grieves me to see the Gulf in such pain
I wish there was something I could to make the ocean smile again
I said I think there is and would you please explain
About the fifty ways

Just take the train back, Jack
Get rid of the van, Stan
You don’t need a new toy, Roy
Or an SUV
Hop on the bus, Gus
Or ride your bike like the Dutch
Just turn off the key, Lee
And set us all free

She said, why all that plastic makes a pretty ugly sight
Why don’t you think about the earth right now and understand its plight
And I believe in the morning you’ll begin to see the light
There must be fifty ways to leave crude oil
Fifty ways to leave crude oil

Take the carpool back, Jack
Get rid of the van, Stan
You don’t need a new toy, Roy
Or an SUV
Hop on the bus, Gus
Or ride your bike like the Dutch
Just turn off the key, Lee
And set us all free
And the following are the real 50 ways to cut down on your petroleum. All of the products listed below use it. This list includes only a fraction of the items containing petroleum.  As a rule of thumb, if it is heavily processed, it has petroleum in it.

I’ve deliberately avoided listing products where there aren’t obvious alternatives (such as the dashboards of cars, credit cards, hearing aids or toothbrushes). Also, although white dental fillings are made of bonded plastic, I would opt for these, rather than metal fillings, on grounds of safety.

50 Real Ways to Cut Down on Petroleum Use

Avoid or cut down your use of:

1. Gasoline or kerosene for any reason
2. Bottled water in plastic
3. Prescription and non-prescription drugs
4. Ordinary cosmetics
5. Baby oil or petroleum jelly
6. Synthetic rubber or latex pillows
7. Most paint brushes and rollers
8. Many kinds of mops and cleaning utensils
9. Ordinary paint
10. Processed food with artificial colors, flavors and preservatives
11. Any fruits and vegetables wrapped in plastic (complain to your supermarket)
12. Candles made of paraffin wax
13. Garden and personal insecticides and herbicides and insect repellents
14. Vinyl or other synthetic flooring
15. Ordinary cleaners for carpets and floors, including wax
16. Toiletries that don’t have natural ingredients, particularly hand and body lotions
17. Disposable diapers and all other ‘disposables’
18. Disposable contact lenses
19. Man-made fibers (lycra, polyester, nylon, rayon, spandex)
20. Acrylic paint
21. Asphalt
22. Plexiglas, fibreglass and latex
23. Teflon
24. Many types of carpets
25. Fabric softeners
26. Air fresheners
27. Cleaning agents that are not eco-friendly, including oven and toilet bowl cleaners
28. Plastic shower curtains
29. Plastic glasses
30. Perfumes and colognes with artificial fragrance
31. Ordinary nail polish
32. Plastic toys
33. Silver polish
34. Dishwasher detergent
35. Ordinary toothpaste
36. Artificial sweetener containing saccharin
37. Synthetic sponges
38. Many types of soaps
39. Chewing gum
40.  The insides of food cans, paper wrappers, paper cups and often boxes and cartons, and lids of jars
41. Picnic plates and cutlery
42. Many dyes, including hair dye
43. Plastic bags
44. Crayons
45. Vitamins contained in capsules
46. Rubbing alcohol
47. Latex bandages
48. Vaporizers
49. Any cooking utensil not made of wood or metal
50. Hairspray
And here are 20 things to do instead:
20 Non-petroleum Ways to Live

1. Use natural remedies instead of prescription or non-prescription drugs
2. Use eco cosmetics and fragrances, including natural nail polishes
3. Eat organic and local
4. Use eco-toiletries and re-use the containers
5. Use things that are bottled in glass, and fill your life with things made of wood, stone, paper, metal,  glass or ceramic
6. Always carry a reusable cloth bag with you for shopping
7. Consider natural family planning, which does not require a product made from plastic, such as condoms and diaphragms
8. Cook with metal and glass
9. Cook from scratch when possible
10. Use eco-paints and painting fluids
11. Sleep on natural pillows, if possible
12. Use organic and non-toxic forms of insecticides and herbicides in your backyard or garden
13. Wear cotton, silk, linen or wool
14. Whenever you go to use your car, think first:  do I really need to drive?
15. Think twice before upgrading your computer, phone, game consoles and other toys
16. Give your children toys made of natural materials
17. Use natural flooring
18. Breastfeed, rather than using plastic bottles
19. Use cooking and cleaning utensils made of natural materials
20. Take tablets, not capsules