When my relatives decided to drill wells on the family land over a decade ago not everyone was onboard with the idea. I was one of those people. I even still find myself cheering the protestors of the pipeline despite the fact that some relatives would love for it to be built.
But, being in my early twenties I wasn’t exactly in a leadership position in our family. Of course my opinion mattered but it’s not the same thing as being one of the older generation in charge. And frankly, I knew the folks in charge of making the deals with the oil companies were doing well in their roles given the fact that they saw absolutely no problem with the wells. They were very thorough… And not everyone believes climate change is as serious as others. Or they just see things differently overall. They’re very intelligent too (in my family)…
As someone who thinks that the writing is on the wall in regard to the climate it’s worrying how many bright or brilliant folks don’t see the issue as being as troublesome. But you can’t force people to agree with you.
Of course, when I started inheriting money from the wells I had to decide my part in it. And I suppose some could see me as being a hypocrite by just accepting the money. The problem is, it’s money and as much as I implemented the metaphor in my last post, it’s not drugs. It’s legal and it’s being done as safely as possible, to my knowledge, in our case.
Indeed, in my mind, in my situation, given my lack of a decisive vote the money is more like…well…water. It’s neither bad nor good but can be used for lots of purposes and have a huge impact. And frankly, if I use at least some of my money to benefit the environment (I actually have) isn’t that better than passing up on receiving it and letting that money go to something less directly useful in that way? I suppose I could donate all of it. I haven’t as of yet (I haven’t inherited all of it)… But don’t think that someday when I inherit the full amount that I won’t donate a lot of it or possibly almost all of it. And, in that way, I don’t think it’s truly all black and white in my case. Also, almost all of the neighbors in the community had deals to drill. (The actual water, for example, was already going to be in trouble. Ha!) An argument can easily be made that the damage done and responsibility wasn’t equal to the good that could come from the money given to our family….
BUT regardless, it’s not the same thing as a company that knowingly pollutes an important river with C8, a chemical that is nearly impossible to flush out of the environment, like styrofoam… A company that could just as easily have done something else much more sustainable for them and others. It’s not the same thing either as switching a water source that will send thousands of children to some sort of hell-on-earth lite (or the real thing). And that’s the thing, that’s where I draw the line… I won’t claim total innocence (although my kids can) but I also don’t think my moral culpability is even close to the leaders at DuPont, for example. Or Chemours… And even if it was, which it isn’t, that doesn’t mean I have to think that they’re being rational or that what they’re doing is right. It isn’t.
Someone reading my blog pointed this out to me – that someone could claim I’m a hypocrite in my last post. But, truly, it’s not the same. Now, if I had been in charge of one of our families when the decision to drill was made I think I would have decided not to. Of course, that might have meant the end of my leadership (forfeiting money isn’t popular) *laughing* but… *shrug* that would have been my individual choice. That being said, I don’t blame my relatives for choosing otherwise and I’m not going to say that I haven’t had blessings from their choice or that other people haven’t benefited because of how we’ve all used the money. My father has donated a lot to charitable causes, for example. …And again, this is oil we’re talking about not directly poisoning water with lead or C8. It’s like the difference between cigarettes or alcohol and heroin. You’ve got a chance with the former to survive and not get addicted. The latter is never going to end well, even if you manage to survive… Also, you could compare it to money made from pharmaceuticals. They’re not innocent either but like fuel they do serve a useful purpose when used correctly… *sigh*