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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Oil Wives Save The Planet!

"If we really cared about the environment, would we be living here at all?"

As Earth Hour approaches, I’ve really pondered the above question.

Maybe there’s a grain of truth in it. We all care about the environment, right?- as long as it doesn’t interfere with our personal livelihood. As an Oil Wife (a term I’ve come to understand refers to an ex-pat woman whose significant other works in the oil & petrochemical industries), I choose to be with my husband rather than live in a country with more eco-consciousness.

So, I may care about my family more than the environment. But that doesn’t mean I don’t care about the environment. I may not be the greenie I thought I was, but I still love the sound of birdsong, and abhor waste. And, saying this, it lights me up inside. Instead of wailing about the traffic congestion, I realise a place like here is a great place to begin at the beginning.
I care about saving the planet. And I’m ready to make a difference.

Like in feng shui, when we have an existing structure we can’t alter, we have to find a “cure”. So I asked myself a great cure-seeking (problem-solving) question: How can I do what I can where I am to lessen my impact on the environment?
And came up with a fantastic framework of Green Acts I’m committed to.

Do you care, too? I invite you to join me!

Oil Wives save the Planet- it’s not an impossibility!

I’m committed:
1. To creating an oasis.
Plants indoors at home improve the air quality directly surrounding us, and adding trees and shrubs outdoors will contribute to long term climate change for the better.

2. To buying local products made in this country or it’s neighbours, thereby reducing my carbon footprint and growing other markets in the region, besides the oil & gas industries.

3. To turning my computer off at the switch when I’m not using it.
Did you know... one computer left on 24 hours a day for a year emits 1500 pounds of carbon dioxide. Trees absorb 3 to 15 pounds of carbon dioxide a year, so it'd take 100-500 trees to absorb the amount of CO2 one computer left on contributes! And 2/3 of a computers energy is used up by the monitor. So I'm going to turn my monitor off whenever I'm away from my desk, too.

4. To, instead of revving up the treadmill in the gym, jog or work out with a skipping rope and enjoy the balmy evenings of spring.

5. To purchasing secondhand furniture off expats leaving the country, and attending regular book and clothes-swaps. It’s a great way to meet new people and get a bargain, plus I won’t be supporting manufacturers that pollute the environment in the production of brand-new goods.

6. It has to be said- I’m newly committed to minimising our waste. In despair at the amount of bottles, aluminium cans and cardboard cartons we throw away, I came up with a hot list of actions, below. If your new country doesn’t offer the opportunity for recycling, or even if it does, cutting down on packaging is often quite simple. Just like:

Instead of…
Bottled water purchased from the supermarket
A filtered water machine with refillable delivered bottles

Instead of…
Cling film and freezer bags

Re-using plastic take away containers

Instead of…
Pre-packaged nuts, seeds, spices & dried fruit

Weighed by the kilo produce, displayed market-style

Instead of…
Tinned fruits, veg and aluminium canned drinks

Fresh locally grown fruit & veg, making our own soft drink using boiled water, fruit juice and sugar or sweetener

And, of course, to 7. Bringing my own bags to the supermarket. I’m going to disregard the “crazy woman” stares I receive when I pull out a pile of previously used shopping bags in line at Carrefour. It’s the de-riguer thing to do back in Oz, as it was when I lived in New York and Wiltshire, UK... It may not be today or tomorrow, but soon the whole world will be doing the same, and it’s time we set the example.

Did you know..? Plastic shopping bags choke up waterways and injure sea creatures and livestock when they mistake them for food or are foraging. As bags break down, toxins are released into the soil which contaminate crops and lead to human sickness and disease.

There are so many things we can do, and none of the above are rocket science. I bet you could name a dozen more!

The bottom line is- we care. As women anywhere, we can’t help but care. So don’t despair when it looks like everyone around you doesn’t. I’ll be doing these green acts with you. Together we will make a difference!
love, Samantha.

P.S. Remember to join in Earth hour at 8pm local time on Saturday, 29 March 2008. Turn out your lights and non-essential appliances for positive environmental action! Spread the word! For inspiring info, visit:

Oil burn-off. The above pics were taken of a rig offshore of Qatar last week.

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