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The world spins madly on: U.S. would be safer with clean energy policies

It’s no secret that oil dependency is an ongoing issue, one that has not yet been seriously dealt with. The hunt for alternative fuels continues today, with no true results.

As college students, owning a car is nearly vital in order to maintain jobs and relationships. But we must recognize that we have been taking advantage of this resource and need to use it much more responsibly for various reasons.

Many people don’t seem to understand the seriousness of oil dependency. They know it’s a problem, but don’t seem to care. Because to them, it’s a distant issue with no immediate concern.

Unfortunately, this is false oblivion. With time, people will regret having this mindset. The problem is actually very immediate and should be faced as soon as possible.  

Most everyone knows that the idea of global warming is tied with our oil dependency, but recent studies show oil also poses a threat to our national security and our economy.

These studies have found that the gravest consequences of climate change could potentially break government stability, intensify terrorism, and displace millions of people due to increasingly frequent natural disasters.

Burning oil is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions, therefore a major driving force in climate change. If not dealt with, this issue could have very serious global security implications.    

The United States imports nearly 4 billion gallons of oil daily, and although we only contain 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves, we are using nearly 60 percent.

In fact, in 2010 the United States consumed nearly 20 million barrels of oil a day, making our country the world’s top petroleum consumer.     

We spend about $1 billion a day on oil from overseas instead of investing these funds at home, where the economy desperately needs it. We are in the midst of a financial crisis, and our approach towards energy is a huge key factor.         

This dependence also cripples foreign policy and weakens the USA’s international leverage.  

Because we rely heavily on foreign oil, we get mixed with unfriendly and perhaps dangerous, hostile rulers and countries. Much of our money on oil goes toward nations that cause us harm, meaning we are basically funding conflict and undermining our own fight against terror.  

Our main allies for imported oil include Canada, Mexico and Saudi Arabia.  

Unfortunately, the majority of Canadian oil reserves lie on tar sands that create dirty fuels.

Mexico’s oil is predicted to dry up completely within the coming decade. Not being able to access oil from these places, forces us to look to more volatile countries that pose as a potential direct threat to the U.S.

Burning imported oil from “dangerous or unstable” countries alone released over 640 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, equivalent to keeping more than 122 million vehicles on the road at all times throughout the year.

The world’s dependency on oil sparks tension and crises among nations.

Oil dependence jeopardizes our military and puts a huge price tag on American lives. By ensuring a flow of oil worldwide, our military is stretched thin, atop already fighting wars on two fronts.  

It’s obvious that a ton of oil is being used, causing harm to our environment and stifling our country as a whole – our globe as a whole.

But what can we do about it?  

The United States needs to make efforts in advocating a reform; a reform in climate change and setting clean energy policies. In doing this, our country would be safer.

Particularly, as college students we have roles to play as well. Obviously, we aren’t going to give up using cars or cranking up the heat when it’s cold outside, but we can participate in clean energy, by going to gas stations such as: Shell, BP, Chevron and Exxon Mobil.

We can also use group transportation by riding in groups or taking a bus.

Even better, we can try to walk or bike around campus instead of drive to nearby places.

These may seem like simple changes, but every small tweak in your carbon footprint makes a difference.      

We need to do our part in decreasing our dependency and working harder to make changes.  It’s predicted that by 2050 we will have no oil.

So before then, it’s necessary for our generation to find alternative and more environmentally friendly fuels.

We must initiate the weaning away from oil; we must instigate this change, because it’s clear that no one else has taken that step.

Olivia Harlow is a sophomore studying journalism and photojournalism and a columnist for The Post. Email her at

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