A perspective from an oil & gas V.P. from Midland, Texas

A Natural Electric Rig in the field- for the Grateful Web

I need to correct Grateful Web over their bias over the impact of oil and gas on the environment.  First of all... the production that bush wants to open up in Colorado is GAS.  Gas is very clean,  not only for burning, but also to drill and produce.  An average house in Boulder is far, far worse for the environment then either an oil or gas well.  It only take a few weeks to drill a well, where a house is pretty much permanent. An oil well normally has a 20 year life span... if the producer is lucky. Granted oil wells require pump jacks, holding tanks and an access road, but even so,  ten oil wells cause less pollution then 1 household i.e. water/waste, garbage, non-indigenous landscaping, etc. Plus, let me remind you that the Colorado stuff is gas and gas wells are only noticeable when being drilled.  When they are put on production the gas head is smaller then a large dog and the gas is piped so no need for roads, hence, gas is THE cleanest energy source possible.


Hydroelectric power is hundreds of times more damaging to the environment, so is wind power (although I think the huge windmills north of Denver are actually very artistic and awesome to look at), solar power is a great idea, but not practical or economical at this time.. plus who knows what effect all those mirrors might have? (joke) And I don't think I need to say anything about nuclear power.


I am not sure, but I suspect that oil wells are what is purposed for Alaska. And I do agree that oil would impact that environment a great deal.  Not because of the actual wells, but because the heat from the pipeline is bad for the permafrost and obviously tankers suck. However,  when you consider that the Clinton administration emptied the majority of our strategic reserves... and that the US  only has about 24 hours of reserves left.   I think a bit of damaged environment (less then 1% of 1%) is worth world peace.  How on earth did I come up with "world peace"?  Well,  back in 1997 the commerce department reported that if we had another crisis like when Iraq destroyed Kuwait oil production, the US would have no choice but go to war and begin civilian rationing of energy. So you ask... "perhaps things have changed?"  Yep, they have gotten worse.  In 1997 we were only 50% dependent on foreign oil production, we are currently over 60% dependent. Granted, the US only gets about 15% of our imports from the middle east.... but Germany, France & Japan get almost all of there production from the middle east. Hence,  world war.  Like it or not petroleum products are vital to the world economy. (did you know that 80% of ALL chemicals used in manufacturing come from petroleum? Like  petro-based fertilizers that have increased the average yeld 100%,  can you imagine world hunger without the increased yeld of grain?)


I don't think I need to explain that wars aren't about religion or politics,  those are more noble justification,  war is about economics and feeding people.  Look at Ireland... when their economic sucked, they bombed each other... now Ireland has one of the fastest growing standards of living.. and there is peace in Ireland.


Taking the above into account, I feel that the USA is currently raping the entire world by hoarding our domestic reserves and not producing them. What will happen when the world reserves wane and the USA is forced to open up its reserves?  What right does the US have to be gluttons? 

Pamela's stories from Africa

- for the Grateful Web

Hi everyone!  Hawajambo wote?

I returned to my village 6 days ago, and have been adjusting well despite a few struggles.  Being in the States ruined me in some ways!  I had a fabulous time there, enjoying all the luxuries that are so often taken for granted, such as daily hot showers, driving, a vast variety of food, comfortable chairs, clean stuff, wine and GOOD BEER.  And of course above all else, I immensely enjoyed spending time with family and friends.  Other volunteers that have gone back to the States warned me that everything would be so strange and that I might have a hard time relating to people.  However despite having felt a bit repulsed by our greed (which repulsed me before I left) I otherwise did not at all feel out of place.  With family and friends, I felt more connected to them than ever before.  Everything felt so comfortable and so much like HOME.  
The two weddings I was lucky to attend were very special times.  My friend Lori had a very simple yet elegant wedding set in an old mansion bed and breakfast, catered with Indian food and a scrumptious chocolate strawberry cake that she made herself!  My sister had the big traditional wedding, quite extravagant yet earthy, with gorgeous yellow and orange roses, a hummer limo, huge gourmet buffet at a country club and a raging dance party.  Good times all around, with so many friends and family in town!  Time of course flew by way to fast.
The Wednesday after my sister's wedding, I got on a plane again for Tanzania, reminding myself I have only 8 months left.  All my flight connections went smoothly, even having a 3 hour emergency landing in Goose Bay, Quebec to let off a sick person.  I spent Friday in Dar taking care of business related matters, and all day Saturday on the beach, where I ended up sleeping off most of my jet lag.  A great place to do it!  Sunday I took a bus to Mafinga, and Monday returned to the village.
I returned to find my house and everything in it intact, except there was dirt everywhere that had fallen from the ceiling or blown in, my clothes cabinet and all my clothes inside and my bed and bedsheets were infected with mildew, weeds had overtaken my garden, one of my (thought to be) hens turned into a rooster, and my cat was missing!  She later turned up; I discovered she had kittens in the forest behind the house because she apparently was scared of my guard who slept there every night.  On Thursday she finally brought them (4 of them!) to live with us.  I love having kittens!  Other things to be happy about (after cleaning and washing everything)  is returning to the awesome natural beauty I am surrounded by, the peaceful solitude, being out on my bike again, and my very welcoming village friends. 
I brought back almost as much stuff as I brough to America - all gifts - but to America I brought baskets, wood carvings, batiks, and fabrics, whereas to Tanzania I brought M&Ms, sweaters and sweatshirts (thanks Mom and Dad and Vic!), potholders, calendars, candles, jewelry, and bubbles.  They LOVE everything I brought for them, especially the jewelry and bubbles.  Even the adults have never seen bubbles before and get quite a kick out of them!
My last 8 months here I'm sure will go fast, because I have plenty to keep me busy!  This month I'll continue teaching English at the school, organize a second beekeeping seminar, begin making fuel-efficient stoves, and track down another place to buy modern breed roosters.  The Rhode Island Reds I brought a few months ago are not getting it on with the local hens!  (Any advice in this area would be much appreciated!  My uncle suggested country music, but I haven't tried this yet.)  The first week of May will be Girls' Empowerment Camp, same as last year but this year at an Italian convent (= good food!).  Then mid-May I'll head to Dar to pick up my friend Jamie from Alaska.  She'll be here for almost a whole month and we're doing everything there is to do here - safari, village, Zanzibar, and most exciting, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro! 
I want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who donated money for my students.  I now have enough to take (maybe 30!) primary students on safari, buy several books for the new library, and pay secondary school fees for at least 3 maybe 4 students.  I'm still in the process of organizing everything now, but as soon as I can I'll be sending you pictures of the students and hopefully letters from them.  *** If you haven't donated but would still like to, it's not too late.  You can still send checks addressed to me (my mom has power of attourney) at my parents' address.  They'll deposit them in my account there, I'll withdraw the funds from an ATM in Dar, then deposit them in the account I am setting up here.  Wanafunzi wanawashukuru sana!  The students thank you very much!