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The diaTribe blog is our occasional take on life, the universe and everything. Observations on current affairs, the environment, politics, humour and music/gig reviews. Travel diary and extreme sports stories, along with the usual rants/raves are also chucked in for good measure.

February 2006
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Technology at it's most pointless

Rant: Exxon and Shell – taking greed to a new level

Oil Refinery Pembroke, UK.

Not content with the already obscene level of profit made in recent years, oil Leviathans Shell and Exxon have both reported record profits – Shell’s profits setting a new all-time corporate profit record in the UK and Exxons in the WORLD!

And all this in a week where scientists around the world have issued a Stark warning about climate change and NASA notes that 2005 was the hottest year on record for our warming planet.

Quite apart from the global warming issues, the vast industrial-scale burning of a finite and incredibly precious resource like oil is a huge WASTE.

The long-chain hydrocarbons (LCH’s) that crude oil contains, form the fundamental basis for much of modern organic chemistry, upon which a number of key industries depend (not least of which include the semiconductor and pharmaceuticals industries as well as a vast range of other products from detergents to plastics, paints and thinners to perspex). Higher oil prices (and ever-greater oil profits) translate directly into higher consumer prices for everything from medicines to PC’s, construction to transport, clothing (nylon is oil-based) to plumbing (so are most plastic pipes).

Surely it’s time for us to insist that these monsters start using a significant percentage of their profits, to fund independent research and development into alternative fuel technologies, as well as forcing them to front the full cleanup costs for the massive environmental damage they create.

If we keep burying our heads in the sand and letting these Mega-Greed corporations continue their monumental global extortion, the eventual alternative is nothing short of the collapse of civilisation – at least as we know it now.

Sounds melodramatic right? It’s happened before many times (recent examples include The Egyptian, Greek and Roman civilisations). Earlier civilisations failed for a number of reasons (notably including environmental events, but mostly simple greed and avarice) and as much as we may think we have advanced, our civilisation’s deep dependence on oil and fossil fuels makes us as vulnerable as any civilisation that has gone before us.

It’s time to start dealing with realities – before the realities deal with us!

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