Empowering communities in New Mexico and Washington State

In this issue:

  • Empowering communities in New Mexico and Washington State
  • The power of sharing
  • New interview on the moral case for fossil fuels

New Mexico

I spent the last two days in Artesia, New Mexico. If you don’t work in oil and gas you might not be familiar with the area. But one way or another, it’s impacting your life, as it is a major player in the shale revolution—much like Midland, Texas, which I wrote about last week.

The Artesia Chamber of Commerce brought me in to teach a Constructive Conversation workshop, to speak at one of the major operators here (EOG resources), to help some of the leading communicators with strategy and messaging, and to give a keynote speech to 300+ members of the community. They also asked me if I would volunteer to speak to a group of high school students on the topic of ethics and science—which I happily did.

My experiences interacting with different groups in Artesia motivated me to try to positively influence the energy discussion in that state. The energy producers in the state are a minority that produce much of the prosperity in the state. Unfortunately, they are often demonized by the media and state government. It’s a case where I think better messaging based on human flourishing can make a big difference.

Special thanks to Chamber president Hayley Klein for seamlessly orchestrating my two days in Artesia.

Washington state

Last Thursday I set a personal record for number of speeches delivered in a day: 7. The occasion was a day of events put on by the Phillips 66 refinery in Ferndale, Washington. Refinery manager Jolie Rhinehart is a real champion of fossil fuels and wanted me to speak to every group possible.

Although I never plan to do 7 speeches (including 6 that, with Q&A, lasted over an hour) in a day again, it was rewarding to get to interact with different groups, hear lots of different questions, and try to offer helpful ideas on how to turn non-supporters in the state into supporters. Washington is often hostile to fossil fuels, with Governor Jay Inslee resembling my own Governor Jerry Brown in his desire to make a name for himself by taking some sort of prominent action to allegedly combat climate change. My fundamental advice, as always, is that the conversation needs to be reframed so that human flourishing, not unchanged nature (including an unchanged climate), is the standard guiding our energy choices.

The power of sharing

At the end of two days in New Mexico, I spoke to Eddie David, founder of David Petroleum, one of the sponsors of my closing keynote. He told me that he was the one who had introduced many community members to my book.

I asked how he found about the book. It turns out that several years ago he attended an event by a speaker who, unbeknownst to me, recommended the book and offered to send a free copy to anyone who asked for one.

The speaker’s name was Allen Gilmer, the founder of Drillinginfo. I’ve met Allen a couple of times and he has been very supportive of my work, but I had no idea he was promoting it in this way. Because of Allen’s generosity a chain of events was set off where eventually I could influence some of the most influential people in New Mexico.

I often say that sharing is the most underrated form of activism. While I’m grateful to Allen for spending his own money to give away a book, you can have a similar impact without cost by sharing the many free resources I’ve created or by recommending me to a high-level event you know about. Every week at the end of the newsletter I include some links describing how to do this.

Thanks, Allen Gilmer, for your support in person and behind the scenes.

New interview on the moral case for fossil fuels

Here’s an interview I did when I was in the Permian Basin with the local radio station KWEL on the moral case for fossil fuels. It includes an interesting discussion about debating fossil fuel opponents. (My segment starts about a minute in.)