September 30, 2003
Contact: Perle M. Dorr (703) 379-2480


Petroleum - Shaping our Lives

ALEXANDRIA, VA - Many of us tend to take the Earth's natural resources for granted and few of us think about how these natural resources are used. One of society's most sought-after natural resources - petroleum - is vital to economies throughout the world and is used for countless purposes from fueling vehicles and heating buildings to manufacturing products like plastics and synthetic fabrics. A new poster, Petroleum - Shaping our Lives, produced by the American Geological Institute (AGI), provides a graphic introduction to petroleum resources and their importance in our lives.

   The front side of the 26" x 18" poster artistically depicts some of the environments where petroleum is found at depth - such as mountains, farm land, and offshore regions - and displays a variety of every day products and uses that rely on petroleum. Activities on the reverse side illustrate how geoscientists identify and explore for petroleum resources. The poster also includes the names and web site addresses of 15 organizations for additional information.

   The poster was designed as a companion to the non-technical book, Petroleum and the Environment, which will be available in October and will include a copy of the poster. The poster and book are part of the AGI Environmental Awareness Series, which aims to increase public awareness and understanding of the natural systems that sustain society and life. AGI is producing the petroleum poster and book in cooperation with the American Association of Petroleum Geologists Foundation, Bureau of Land Management, Minerals Management Service, USDA Forest Service, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the U.S. Geological Survey.

   Approximately 29,000 high-school science teachers will receive copies of the petroleum poster as an insert in an upcoming issue of The Science Teacher, a professional journal published by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). The petroleum poster is also included in the Earth Science Week 2003 Educator's and Planner's Kits, available for a nominal fee from AGI.

   Petroleum - Shaping our Lives was prepared under the sponsorship of AGI's Environmental Geoscience Advisory Committee with support from the AGI Foundation. The Environmental Awareness Series promotes better understanding of the role of the Earth sciences in all aspects of environmental concerns and issues. Since its formation in 1993, AGI's Environmental Geoscience Advisory Committee, co-chaired by Dr. Philip E. LaMoreaux and Dr. Stephen H. Stow, has assisted the Institute by identifying projects and activities that will help AGI achieve this goal. For additional information about AGI's environmental geoscience program, contact Travis L. Hudson, AGI Director of Environmental Affairs, by e-mail,, or by telephone, (360) 582-1844.

   Copies of Petroleum - Shaping our Lives are available from AGI for $0.50 each (minimum order is 10 copies) plus shipping and handling. Bulk pricing is offered for purchases of more than 100 copies. Rolled posters, suitable for framing, are $3.00 each. To place an order, contact the AGI Publications Center, 4220 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22302; Tel: (703) 379-2480; Fax: (703) 379-7563, E-mail:

    The American Geological Institute is a nonprofit federation of 41 scientific and professional associations that represent more than 100,000 geologists, geophysicists, and other earth scientists. Founded in 1948, AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in our profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in society's use of resources and interaction with the environment. More information about AGI can be found at The Institute also provides a public-outreach web site,

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