Lessons from the Fossil Fuel Free Week

October 6, 2015

DENVER – Fossil Fuel Free Week, organized by Western Energy Alliance, has concluded and succeeded in getting people to think about the role of oil and natural gas in their daily lives. The campaign was designed in response to numerous anti-fossil fuel protests in recent months, such as the Keep It In The Ground Coalition, various anti-fracking rallies, demonstrations against Keystone XL and other pipelines and rail transport, the divestiture movement, and kayaktivists against arctic drilling.

The key lesson from the campaign is environmental groups, when directly challenged, fail to provide workable alternatives that replace the full spectrum of products provided by fossil fuels. Instead they respond by being predictably dismissive and offer vague visions for the future, as President Tim Wigley of the Alliance explains:

 “As we’ve seen with recent protests, environmental groups incite anger amongst their supporters while dangling fossil fuels in effigy. Yet not accustomed to being poked fun of themselves, environmentalists reacted reflexively to the Challenge, offering weak observations by calling it ridiculous, snarky and a ploy. Well…yes!

“We’re not shy about the benefits our industry provides and are happy to promote them. We’re also not shy about using humor for effect as a way to drive home a larger point. That’s why we featured a protester that looks just like them–someone who protests fossil fuel development yet has no idea how integrated the products are in daily life.

“Predictably, numerous activists also said fossil fuels should be done away with in a vague timeframe of ‘someday’ as renewable energy sources supposedly become more widespread. However well intentioned, that’s out of touch with reality. As our campaign pointed out, avoiding oil and natural gas products isn’t as simple as driving electric cars or transitioning to solar and wind power. Fossil fuels create plastics and other basic materials that permeate products we use in our daily lives, like our smartphones, clothes and even medicines.

“Chanting slogans like ‘Keep It In The Ground’ and ‘End Fossil Fuels Now’ may stir up the emotion needed to build an environmental movement, but they’re unrealistic. Before getting caught up in a cause, we encourage people to think about all the benefits they get from oil and natural gas. They should know that fossil fuels make our world safer, healthier and more convenient in ways that no amount of sun or wind could ever match,” concluded Wigley.

To learn more about the Fossil Fuel Free Challenge visit www.FFFCHallenge.com.

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