On a clear winter morning in Sweden, a cute little girl named Greta woke up to a perfect world where there were no petroleum products to ruin the earth. She tossed aside her cotton cloth and woolen blanket and stepped onto the ground covered with willow bark that had been pulverized with stones.
"What's this?" She asked.
"Powdered willow bark," replied her fairy godmother.
"What happened to the carpet?" She asked.
"The carpet was nylon made from butadiene and hydrogen cyanide, both from petroleum," came the reply.
Greta smiled, acknowledging that adjustments are necessary to save the planet. She went to the sink to brush her teeth, where instead of a toothbrush she found a willow that had been mangled at one end to expose wood fiber bristles.
"Your old toothbrush?" noticed her godmother: "Also nylon."
"Where's the water?" asked Greta.
"Down the street in the canal," replied her godmother, "just make sure you avoid water with cholera."
"Why is there no running water?" Greta asked, getting a little annoyed.
"Well," said her godmother, who happened to be teaching engineering at MIT, "where do we start?" A long monologue followed on how purge valves require elastomer seats and how copper tubing contains copper that needs to be mined and how it is impossible to make all-electric earthmoving equipment without gear lubrication or tires and how to melt ore to make metal, it's difficult, just electricity to be used as a heat source. Even if you're just using electricity, the wires will need petroleum-based insulation, although most of Sweden's energy is produced in an environmentally friendly way.For a mass and energy balance of the whole system, you still need a lot of petroleum products like lubricants as well as hydropower and nuclear power Nylon and rubber for tires and asphalt for filling potholes and wax, and iPhone plastic and elastic for your underwear during the operation of a copper smelting furnace and. . .
"What's for breakfast?" interjected Greta, her head aching.
"Fresh chicken eggs with range feed," replied her godmother. "Raw."
"How so, raw?" asked Greta.
"Good,…" And once again Greta was briefed on the need for petroleum products like transformer oil and a variety of petroleum products that are essential in making metals for frying pans, and in the end, was educated on how not to have a petroleum-free world and then boil eggs. Unless you tear up your front fence and make a fire and carefully boil your egg in an orange peel like you do with boy scouts.
"But I want poached eggs like my aunt Tilda," complained Greta.
I would like to appreciate that, but I did not write it:
"Tilda died this morning," explained the godmother. "Bacterial Pneumonia."
"What?!" put in Greta. “Nobody dies of bacterial pneumonia! We have penicillin. "
"Not anymore," explained Patin, "making penicillin requires chemical extraction with isobutyl acetate, which, if you know your organic chemistry, is petroleum-based." Lots of people die, which is problematic as there is no easy way to dispose of the corpses as backhoe loaders need hydraulic oil and crematoriums can't really burn a lot of corpses using Swedish fences and furniture for fuel that are disappearing – and being used – quickly Black market for frying eggs and keeping them warm. "
This is only a fraction of Greta's day, a day without microphones to shout out and a day without much food and a day without carbon fiber boats to sail, but a day that will save the planet.
Tune in tomorrow when Greta needs a root canal and learns how novocaine is synthesized.
– I'm not the author of this
h / t to Richard Courtney on Facebook