Saturday, July 24, 2010

Beautiful Beautiful Amsterdam

I arrived in Amsterdam on Tuesday morning. And unlike any other time that I have been in this city, it's beautiful!! Warm and sunny. It's like a whole new city to me.

I wanted to share a couple things that I've read over the last couple days.

Why We Hate The Oil Companies by John Hofmeister: Unlike what the title suggests, this is not a pro-climate change movement book. John Hofmeister is a former president of Shell Oil Company. In the book he gives his arguments about we must adapt to a changing climate by diversifying our energy sources. Though he often uses the words 'climate change fearmongers' often, he states that he believes climate change exists and that we must clean up our act to mitigate impacts. It's an interesting read that has the ability to move an average climate denier, pro drill baby driller close to where the rest of the world is, which is a start.

Anyways, one particular passage about how sustainable business just makes sense. Though his examples are completely false and a good reminder about why communities really do hate oil companies.

pg 67
"As a consequence of [clean water] regulation, we live in far greater safety, and our surroundings are much cleaner than before.

There are still liquid waste issues. Runoff from rainstorms continues to carry pollutants from the surfaces of roads, highways, parking lots, playgrounds, yards, and fields into our water systems. But overall, the nation's rivers, ponds, and lakes are cleaner than they were a generation ago when factories, processing plants, and utilities, as well as homes and offices, emitted wastes directly into waterways I have been to refineries that pull water from rivers and emit water back into the river that is clean than what they removed."

When I began reading this paragraph, I was listening some jazz, drinking my old lady summer cocktail (Martini Bianco spritzer) completely relaxed, until I finished this paragraph. Did he just say that there are no longer industry facilities polluting our waterways? Is this a joke? You don't have to receive EPA emails for more than one day to realize that industry facilities all over the country are being fined everyday for water pollution. You can sign up directly on EPA to receive news from national headquarters and all regional offices on various issues.

Then this paragraph arrived.

"The amazing thing is that I never hear anyone bellaching over the costs of water treatment. They know better. They know that if they did not do the right thing for their company and society, if they dumped foul wastes into public waterways, it would only come back to haunt them. They know that water is finite and we need to have clean water to drink. In the past 25 yeras, in all the plants that i have been a part of, from manufacturing electric motors or jet engines or telecon switches to processing oil and chemical products, I do not recall one lament over the costs of water treatment. It was simply a part of doing business responsibly. Costs of investments were capitalized, preventive maintenance was built into the operating plan, staffs were trained to do their jobs. As long as the plant was up and running, water treatment was part of its operations, no ifs, ands or buts."

Shell's water pollution problems:

Royal Dutch Shell environmental wiki

Shell to pay $1 million for water pollution

Shell Oil company in Nigeria

These are links that I pulled from a 20 second google search.

What world do these people live in? And why do communities fall the lies that people in power tell them?

I'm off to explore this city. What are you doing today?

Renee Claire

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