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Letter sent to Mr David O'Reilly, CEO of Chevron, 10 June 2008

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Subject: "Human Energy" - A problem indeed!

Dear Mr O'Reilly,

Kindly allow us to refer to our letter of 14 February 2008, of which a copy attached.

It seems that you have meanwhile stopped running that advertisement.
We assume that we were not the only critics. Thank you very much.

Since you have demonstrated your understanding of the population issue you may also be open to the general overshoot problem that humanity is facing.

If you read the email that we sent to ExxonMobil, reacting to their advertisement on energy and climate gases, what would you say? Would you agree with the ecological arguments that we advanced?

I thank you for your kind attention and hope for your reply.

Yours faithfully,

Helmut E Lubbers
ecological psychologist


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Our letter of 13 February 2008

Subject: "Human Energy" - A problem indeed!

Dear Mr O'Reilly,

Enclosed you receive a print-out of my email dated 21 February 2008, and the lyrics of "An Emigrant's Daughter".

I do admit. My email was very blunt. But then, in face of the enormity of your advert, how should one say it more politely? Your advert says nothing less than that more people can be sustained by this planet if these people only use their brains.

Have you, Mr O'Reilly, ever looked at some statistical facts of increasing population size and its connection with dwindling resources of all kinds?

Population growth in combination with resource depletion and pollution (climate change is caused by polluting the atmosphere with greenhouse gases) is increasing the plight of this planet. But you tell the people not to worry about population growth, because "the problem ... becomes the solution".

This is highly irresponsible, Mr O'Reilly, since there is no way that the earth could continue to sustain our present population of almost 6.7 billion people at the present levels of exuberant consumption. Even less can the projected 9 billion be sustained by 2050.

A child can understand that growth is finite when there are limits.

So why can corporate leadership not understand these physical realities and stop promoting growth? Generations of Europeans and Irish left for the then seemingly empty and limitless new world. The "Emigrant's Daughter" sings her tale of those times:

      ...They spoke of a new land far away 'cross the sea
      And of peace and good fortune for my brothers and me...

But where can we go once resources run out and tzhe effects of climate change destroy our homes?

I will be happy, Mr O'Reilly, if you reply to this letter and answer the above questions. When doing so, you may want to ask the opinion of your wife Joan and your two grown-up children. Would they think ingenuity can solve all problems linked to increasing overpopulation?

I thank you for your kind attention and reply.

Yours faithfully,
Helmut E Lubbers
ecological psychologist


<<< the Chevron advertisement, as appeared in various media early 2008 >>>
    The world is growing by more than 70 million people a year.

    So is that a problem, or a solution?

    With our planet's population continuing to increase, and the quality of life for millions in the developing world improving daily, our demand for energy is also growing. And to meet everyone's needs 25 years from now may take 50% more energy than we use today.

    Finding and developing all the fuel and power we need for our homes, businesses and vehicles, while protecting the environment, could be one of the greatest challenges our generation will face.

    The key to ensuring success is found in the same place that created this need: humanity itself. When the unique spirit we all possess is allowed to flourish, mankind has proven its ability to take on, and overcome, any issue. It's a spirit of hard work, ingenuity, drive, courage and no small measure of commitment. To success, to each other, to the planet.

    The problem... becomes the solution.

    This human energy that drives us to succeed has been there every day since the beginning. And it will be with us to shape many tomorrows to come.

    So join us in tapping the most powerful source of energy in the world. Ourselves.

    And watch what the human race can do.