Global oil consumption is at an all time high, despite warnings of climate change and environmental damage. North America is a huge part of this problem. The United States is the country with the highest rate of oil consumption in the world, with Canada and Mexico both making the top ten list of oil offenders as well. North America, particularly the United States and Canada, are in a position to lead the world out of frivolous oil consumption and set an example of sustainable energy use, but instead, they are the biggest part of the problem. This needs to change.
The use of oil in machinery and for industrial purposes is the cause of air pollution, ozone destruction and global warming. Oil is a fossil fuel that geological processes create over millions of years. It is a natural resource that cannot be replaced once it is depleted. For that reason alone, it is an unsustainable source of energy. But what makes oil even more urgently unsustainable is that using it the way humans use it, at the volume that they use it, is highly toxic to the planet and its atmosphere. Its use has introduced toxins and pollutants into the atmosphere that have drastically upset the earth’s delicate ecological balance, and no one knows for sure what that will do to our future on this planet.
In North America, oil has become an abused privilege. Frivolous, excessive driving expeditions in particular are to blame for the copious amounts of carbon that are disrupting the earth’s ecological balance. The greed and indulgence of the oil industry are even exemplified in oil towns like Fort McMurray, Alberta, where the substance abuse problems are reputed throughout Canada. The oil consumption in North America needs an intervention the way an oil worker in Fort McMurray needs an Edmonton drug detox. The only available remedy to this problem is reducing oil consumption and seeking alternative fuel options. Reducing oil consumption may be in the form of walking or riding a bike instead of using an oil powered vehicle. Seeking alternative fuel options may be in the form of using vegetable oil in place of fossil fuels, or driving an electric vehicle. It is shocking that North American leaders have not enforced more sustainable energy policies on the population and on the oil industry itself than they have, but North America is simply not progressive or unified enough in its approach to reducing oil consumption at this time.