Friday, June 02, 2006

Exxon - obscenely rich, morally bankrupt

17 years on from the Exxon-Valdez oil spill, Alaska is requesting a further $92 million to pay for the clean-up operation. For a company that has declared $36 BILLION in profits this week, and can happily give their retiring CEO a $400 million package, why are they quibbling over a relatively small sum of money? In 1989 the oil spill in Prince William Sound was catastrophic to the environment, so it is not surprising that there have been long term effects. Exxon know this, despite dismissing the scientific studies in preference to their own bought ones, which of course deny there are any lasting effects. They might be one of the richest and most powerful companies in the world today but morally and ethically, Exxon is bankrupt.

The more I read about Exxon, the more concerned I am about the political situation in the US. The company appears to have far too much power and influence in the White House. How much money have they spent on denying the effects of burning fossil fuels on global warming? How much time and effort have they spent on suppressing anti-emissions legislation? As says

Right now [US] Congress is buzzing with talk about price gouging at the gas pump and ExxonMobil’s excessive profits and CEO pay packages. Meanwhile, ExxonMobil is stepping up its efforts to lobby for more drilling in protected places like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge”

This is a company who takes the earth's natural resources and sells them to the highest bidder, but gives very little back. They deny the existence of global warming and climate change and pay vast sums of money to ensure that all scientific studies that prove the link between burning fossil fuels and climate change are discredited. They are prepared to destroy ecosystems to produce more oil and in turn increase their excessive profits. So why are we allowing companies like Exxon, Shell, BP et al to hasten the destruction of our planet? Have their CEO’s and supporters got another planet to move to when the earth collapses under the strain of coping with greenhouse gas emissions and resulting climate change? For this seems to be the only way they can survive to spend their millions.

I have so many questions about Exxon and the morality of their actions, but find it hard to believe that they are unaware of what they are doing. Maybe they just don’t care, as the power-mongers and decision-makers within the company will be dead by the time climate change really starts to bite. My hope is that Exxon executives will start to accept that their current actions will have serious repercussions on future generations’ ability to survive on earth, and that these future generations will include their own families. Do these people not realise that their own children and grandchildren will reap what they have sown?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Earth before profit

There seems to be two sides to politics today - those who are concerned about the impact of human activity on the wellbeing of the planet and those who pursue profit above all else. The two views appear locked in opposition with little common ground. Unfortunately in our commercially dominated world, the moneymakers hold most of the power, and seem very unwilling to change their views, despite mounting evidence that the planet can no longer sustain a capitalist/consumerist/disposable culture.

Personally I subscribe to the view that we, as a species, are only caretakers of our blue planet, not the owners. We have a responsibility towards future generations; current trends suggest humans are as endangered as the orangutans, tigers and polar bears, but we are too arrogant in our 'superiority' to see this. By our apathy, we in Europe and especially in North America, are allowing multinational companies to rape and pillage the earth's natural resources to keep their CEO's and shareholders in the luxurious style they believe they deserve. But at what cost? Climate chaos is upon us, species are becoming extinct daily, ancient forests are disappearing before our very eyes and the oceans are being trawled and polluted to the point of no return.

I may be one voice among a growing number, but I hope to be heard by those who have the power to make significant changes in the way human activities impact on our world. Something needs to be done NOW. We have little time left, if any, before we reach the point of no return. We cannot rely on our politicians to do the right thing - they only ever look towards the next election and plan accordingly. Instead we need to unite world-wide to save our planet from further destruction at the hands of oil companies, loggers, pharmaceutical and biotech companies, industrial fishing fleets, factory farming... the list is, sadly, far too long.

We need to move towards a sustainable lifestyle, and in the process, learn from the older cultures our society is destroying, along with their habitats. This blog is my record of how the earth is reacting to the destruction being played out daily around the world. I want to show how we are ultimately heading for extinction while our leaders sit back and obsess about money. I need to make my voice heard so that others will join me in working towards saving our planet from the worst of human excesses.