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OKG Newsletter

Letters to the Editor

Saving oil

Brandon Wertz November 21st, 2012

Not to discount Mickey McVay’s environmental education, but his “Kool-Aid’s global warming flavor” letter (Oct. 24, Oklahoma Gazette) has left a bad taste in my mouth. Reason being, he has previously identified himself in letters to the editor as having been an “oily,” as in one who works in the oil industry.

This tells me that McVay, while he may have a background in environmental studies, also has a predisposition to defend an industry that is his livelihood. This makes his perspective about as reliable as an asbestos salesman telling me that all those cancer studies are taken out of context.

Of course, to his credit, the man he’s taking shots at, Robin Meyers, is likely no more versed in environmental impact than your average minister. Meyers’ language may have been harsh, but it was not biased by the need for personal gain; that tends to tip this reader’s favor in his direction.

McVay’s own agenda is easily qualified by his comment that “people like Robin can cause severe economic harm and hardship for their fellow human beings if their rants are followed before they are exposed for following false prophets.”

That statement implies that in one swift move mankind will cease the operation of a 100-plus-years-old infra structure and immediately begin using a new one simply because of a couple of hippies. Only the ethos of the masses can dictate change, and it will not happen overnight. He need not fear his industry collapsing.

I can’t help but feel that McVay is being shortsighted when viewing the relationship between climate change and the industry he holds dear. Even if he’s right, the one thing he cannot attest to is the unlimited nature of petroleum and its by-products. Because oil is in everything from plastics to pesticides, it’s in our interest to make it last as long as possible.

That doesn’t mean that his industry dies; if anything, it means it lives longer. A shift to vehicles that run on renewable energy might not change what’s happening in our environment, but it will ensure we have oil to produce the things we need in the future, everything from artificial limbs to Ziploc bags.

McVay goes on to say, “Haste makes waste, and foolish decisions need to be avoided before all of the facts are evaluated with regard to man-made global warming or other environmental concerns.”

I actually agree with this statement. But the foolish decision is the one where we waste a vital, extremely versatile and necessary product by dumping it into the tanks of our cars.

Even if we could conclusively prove that there is no environmental impact from burning fossil fuels, we cannot ignore the precious and limited nature of this commodity. We must do everything in our power to make it last as long as possible.

The Kool-Aid analogy isn’t a fair one. This isn’t Jonestown. Meyers and people like me only want the preservation of life. There’s no cyanide in our Kool-Aid — just a desire to help the future of humanity.

I don’t believe that fully exploiting a limited resource does anything other than leave us ill prepared for when that resource becomes scarce.

Sometimes great discussions happen over a drink. Why can’t that drink be Kool-Aid?

—Brandon Wertz, Norman

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