Oil as a source of energy assignment

Concepts in the movie “story of stuff” that can be used to answer the questions on the essay assignment

In the video “story of stuff,” Annie Leonard explains how stuff or waste affects our communities around the world. It looks at our production and consumption patterns of different products in our material economy. The story of stuff brings into light the link between environmental and social issues. The first concept she brings in is the issue of the sustainability of our resources. In regards to the extraction process, Leonard says that “In the past three decades alone, one-third of the planet’s natural resources base have been consumed. Gone.” I think the concept will aid explain some issues in the use of oil. A lot of resources we use and the waste the society produce is in the energy we consume.

The second concept discussed in the video is waste management. The rate of waste produced in the US is increasing at an alarming rate. There is a lot of stuff that people use contributing to overall waste production. Leonard says, “99 percent of the stuff we harvest, mine, process, transport… is trashed within six months.” I believe the concept will be important in explaining the use of oil despite of being reluctant in understanding where waste from its usage ends up. Another concept in the video is choosing a more sustainable option such as pack cars and walk. Car centric land-use policies and lifestyles result in more greenhouse gas emissions, fossil fuel extraction, and conversion of agricultural lands to road and packing.

Essay assignment


Our lifestyle has contributed to the negative issues affecting the environment. To begin with, the constant extraction of resources without replacement is causing a shortage in the existence of natural resources like oil. Leonard says, “In the past three decades alone, one-third of the planet’s natural resources base have been consumed. Gone.” Moreover, overdependence on resources such as oil has led to excessive use causing adverse environmental effects like global warming. In this paper, I will use materials like a crude awakening, urban farming, and before the flood among others to explain the issue of energy.

Question 1

The importance of oil to the modern world is far-reaching. Oil products underpin modern society, majorly by supplying energy to run various industries, heat homes, and provide fuel for vehicles and planes to move people and products from one place to another across the world. Since modern life is depended on transport, oil has played an important role in making it possible. According to the video “story of stuff”, “People have been able to move from one place to another, using vehicles that are being run by oil products.” Therefore, it is true that oil assists in the production of products and the movement of people as well as products across the globe, making modern life possible.

Oil is an important resource in modern society. It is used in the transport industry that is a bedrock of the most economy. It is a cheap source of energy in the transport sector. According to the movie “Crude Awakening,” “oil is so cheap that one could drive a family of 6 and their luggage for 1.5 miles on 20 cents worth of gasoline.” Also, oil is not only used in the production of food products in industries but also in preparing meals using modern cooking techniques. According to “Crude Awakening,” “one calorie of food requires ten calories of oil to produce.” I agree with the idea that people depend on oil for the production of food which is vital for human survival.

Oil has helped in supporting modern life. As explained in “story of stuff,” “In the past three decades alone, one-third of the planets natural resources base have been consumed. Gone”, we get to understand the importance of oil to people in running various processes. Oil provides a more efficient and reliable source of energy. Since modern society is a material economy, extraction, production, and distribution depend on oil to run the machines that are used in the process. Therefore, I support the claims from the two video that oil has made modern life possible through its overwhelming use in major sectors like transport. 

Question 2

Burning of excess oil can negatively affect the environment, quality of air, and human health. In the film “Before the Flood,” it is said, “the primary driver for global climate change is burning of fossil fuels.” I support the claim because the burning of oil as one of the fossil fuels results in the production of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other emissions. High level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere leads to an increase in heat and temperature. Carbon dioxide traps heat from the sun causing global warming pollution.

Another adverse effect of burning excess oil is flooding and drought. From the film “Before the floods,” “Miami, Florida suffers from “sunny day flooding” — when the water rises into the streets in the middle of a nice day.” It is true that the oil gives out carbon dioxide resulting in climate change might have led to effects such as sunny day flooding. When we use our vehicles to move around, we burn oil, releasing carbon dioxide to the atmosphere contributing to the melting of Earth’s glaciers. According to Prof. Jason in the film “Before the Flood,” If climate stays at this temperature that it’s been in for the last decade, Greenland is going away.” These aspects confirm the current climate change issues observed globally.

Another negative effect of burning excess oil is air pollution. Just like other fossil fuels, the burning of oil releases harmful compounds such as Sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide. From “Before the flood,” Man Jun says, “Air toxicity in China has become a HUGE ISSUE, and people are very concerned about their health.” The claim is true because China is increasing its appetite for oil to run its economy contributing greenhouses gases to the atmosphere. The increasing growth of industries emits harmful gases causing air pollution. Ma Jun says, “Some days the air toxicity is so bad that school gets shut down and kids have to stay home.” Thus, it is true that the burning of oil causes air toxicity or pollution.

Question 3

People allow the consequences because of the lack of desire to protect the environment. From “Before the flood,” Leonardo says, “while there is a push for sustainable products, minimalism at home and decreased energy usage — the masses seem largely unmoved by the looming concerns of climate change.” Based on this, it is true that we allow these consequences because we do not care about their impact on the environment. In addition, from the film “Before the Flood,” “we buy more things, live in bigger houses, use more electricity, and drive our cars.” It is evident that we allow the consequences because we do not want to sacrifice and use less resources.

In addition, we allow the consequences to happen because we are reluctant and have failed to push for important legislation and policies. From the film “Crude Awakening,” we get the idea that “politicians and governments are rarely proactive, rather reactive. And currently, they aren’t getting phone calls from their voters to act on this crucial issue”. It is true that people are silent about the very issues that are so crucial to life. According to Annie in “story of stuff,” “an anti-consumerism diatribe is not something people want to hear, though, so you need something short and sweet that grabs and holds peoples’ attention.” Therefore, people are reluctant to hear that they are responsible for environmental issues.

Question 4

Energy is a crucial resource in my life. I use energy daily to carry out various operations. For instance, I use energy for lighting, heating, and cooling of systems, among other areas. In support of my idea, Leonard in the video “The story of stuff,” “Energy is used to transport the stuff around the world as well as for lighting and temperature control of all the shopping malls and stores.”  My major consumption of energy is on cooking, space, and water heating. It accounts for about 64% of my entire home-usage. In regards to my experience on the use of energy, I support a claim in the video “Crude Awakening” that “one calorie of food requires ten calories of oil to produce.” Thus, there is excessive use of energy to run our daily operations.

After learning the need to save energy that I use daily, I adopted a strategy to assist me in achieving the goal. Based on the phrase, “we are using and wasting more resources each year,” I carried out a home energy audit to reveal some of the ways to promote energy efficiency. The first strategy that I adopted was to make sure that all appliances are turned off when not in use. Another strategy is turning down the temperature of my heater to some degrees. In addition, I usually choose to use my bike to save on fuel and to assist in fitness.

I understand the value of saving energy. Considering the source of energy like oil, I get to figure out the rate of depletion if we are still using an excess of it. Many people have not realized the importance of conserving the environment by making sure that we use less energy to save get to rid of its depletion. Leonardo DiCaprio “The only thing we can do is control what we do next. How we live our lives. How we consume.” Therefore, considering the fact that using more energy is expensive, it is important to exercise control.

Question 6

Solving the problems caused by the burning of fossil fuels such as global warming and air pollutions is possible when we reduce the use of fossil fuels. The various ways in which we can curb the menace is by promoting the adoption of urban farming, conservation of energy, Recycling, and re-using of products. Urban farming reduces the carbon emission to the environment. Produce localization reduces the consumption of fossil fuel that is required in packaging, transporting, and the selling of food products. According to Lanark (2013), “Urban farms have the potential to redirect food waste into compost for food production.” This type of agriculture reduces the distance required to outsource food from outside the neighborhood, thus reducing the burning of excess oil globally.

The reduction of the total consumption of fossil fuel is possible if every individual is aware of the ways to conserve energy. Simple routines such as switching off the lights when not in use, using the fluorescent bulbs instead of the ordinary light bulbs, and using appliances such as the air conditioning when necessary. Consumers should be conscious of the electronics that they purchase because there are some which consume too much power while others consume less. In the video “Story of Stuff,” Annie says, “Products are made so that they will last for the shortest amount of time that will still leave you with faith in the product so you’ll go buy another.” The star rated appliances are the best energy conservers, and they are efficient in energy conservation. If this idea is adopted worldwide, the consumption of fossil fuels will automatically reduce, and the planet will be a better place again.

The movie “the crude awakening” explained that plastics are a product of oils. This uncovering shows that the use of non-reusable products such as plastic bags is a total waste of fossil fuel resources. This is because the discarded plastic bags are of no use, and they only pollute the environment. The plastic bags should be replaced by the fabric carrier bags to reduce the waste brought by the use of the non-reusable bags. Additionally, recycling products by donating them rather than throwing them can be a very good idea in conserving the energy.


Energy is a crucial resource since it supports primary operations like transport. People use energy to move goods and services from one place to another. Oils as a source of energy mainly used because of its availability. However, overdependence on oil to run major operations has contributed to drastic climate when burned in excess quantity. Thus, to care for the environment, we must avoid over-consumption of resources.


Annie Leonard (2009). The story of stuff project. Retrieved from; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GorqroigqM

Lanark, H. B. (2013). The urban farming guide book: planning for the business of growing food in BC’s towns & cities. Vancouver, CA.

Basil Gelpke and Ray McCormack (2014). Crude Awakening. Retrieved from; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odCZpBPfFQk

Leonardo DiCaprio (2016). Before the flood. Retrieved from; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQZfP517E2c

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