Recently the LA Times ran an op-ed by Neva Rockefeller Goodwin in which she details the reasons why she donated her shares of Exxon Mobil to the family's environmental foundation. [Los Angeles Times Op-Ed by Neva Rockefeller Goodwin] She says she lost faith in the company's future value and what that valuation is based on.
One could surmise that this decision was as much a business decision as an emotional one, but she did something good with those shares -- she put them toward aiding the problem Exxon Mobil knowingly contributed to. What Exxon Mobil knew, when they knew it and what they did to keep it hidden -- that's the bigger story here.
Exxon Mobil's research into climate change and global warming began in the 1970s. They so fully understood the role carbon emissions would play in damaging our earth that they then started investing in research that would successfully cast doubt on the science of global warming. And kept everyone outside of the company in the dark about their findings.
Because the truth their very own scientists discovered would really get in the way of their ability to make money.
Maybe it's a different world where they live -- those who lead and work for Exxon Mobil. Maybe after you have been exposed to this type of company culture for a period of time, you become numb and the things asked or expected of you seem normal. Like everyone sitting around the board room table laughing at the jokes of leadership even though they don't find them funny. I imagine any naysayer or the-sky-is-falling scientist is quickly replaced with someone who knows the rules of their game.
Maybe it's small, indiscernible steps to get to the place where they are nodding their heads in agreement that yes -- once all of that arctic ice melts, we will have a lot of new places to drill! Maybe in their world, they have successfully convinced one another that there is no such thing as irreversible damage to our earth and if there is they certainly didn't contribute to it.
I wonder if, in their world, they sleep easy and have no shame. I suspect that after you put money above all else, things like morals and empathy and reality have been suppressed to such an extent that they are nothing but a distant and useless memory. It must just be a different world where they live.
By Kerrie L. Cooper
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