It’s a plastic world

Over the weekend I read an interesting opinion piece by Patrick Smith in the New York Times. He is a singer, songwriter and has worked in the oil fields of North Dakota. His opinion piece forced me to rethink my view of pipelines and the rush to clean energy. I am sitting in my warm home with my gas furnace shutting out the -38 C cold. The gas fireplace is keeping our family room warm. Upstairs our expensive electric heat has the meter turning as fast as race car tires turn on the Daytona speedway.

Natural gas has cut my heating costs considerably and I am thankful for all the pipelines that run through Fort Frances bringing natural gas to our homes.

When I went to the fridge this morning, the Lucerne milk jug was made of plastic, as was the container holding the margarine, the sour cream, the orange juice, and many other products. They are all packaging products created by the oil that comes out of the ground in western Canada that we couldn’t live without.

As I thought about the article, I started seeing how much oil plays in our every day lives. The tires on the eighteen wheelers travelling over paved asphalt roads that bring our foods from long distances away are created from crude oil as are the tires on the grocery carts in the store. Eventually green battery powered energy will propel the farming equipment that is necessary to grow the products that we enjoy. However, I doubt that tractors, haybines, balers, etc. will return to steel wheels.

Those polyester slacks, sweaters, shirts as well as those nylon jackets and even the filling in winter jackets and snow pants are all products of that oil that moves across Canada and the US to facilities that convert the black crude into useful products that make our everyday lives better. The coatings on engineered flooring, the linoleum in our tiles are all products of the oil industry. Even the finish on our kitchen and dining room tables are products of the oil industry.

One of the things that I remembered from my schooling was that even simple Aspirin was a product of the oil industry as is the capsule holding my Ramipril that I take every day to control by blood pressure. Oil derivatives are used to create the disposable surgical gloves, the syringes, and the tubing that carries intravenous medicines to patients in hospitals.

We must have a complete understanding of the importance of the oil industry in our lives.

Canadians will have to have long discussions on how to move oil from the oil sands to southern Ontario through Canada to the refineries in Sarnia and Nanticoke. Those refineries supply our industries relying on the feedstock produced in refineries that is transformed into the hundreds of thousands of products that we rely on every day of our lives.

Jim Cumming
Former Publisher
Fort Frances Times

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail