Crude Distillation

In my world, “crude distillation” generally means distilling crude oil into the stuff that quenches the national thirst for gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and building blocks for plastic (and a few other things).  This video posted at CNN however gives a whole new meaning to “crude” distillation.  You really should go watch it, then come back and read the rest of this post.

I’ll wait…

You back?

So I find it very tempting to want to use this as an opportunity to tell a few people that the problems/issues we have are really nothing to worry about when you consider the plight of others in the world.  If you look at the oil slicks on the water in this video, why in the world would you think we need to spend resources on cleaning up anymore of the oil in the Gulf of Mexico?  Send those resources to Nigeria.  Why in the world are you concerned about whether you’ll get a new iThingy for your birthday?  These guys might not even get lunch for a few days – IF they live until lunchtime.  Really – what ARE you worried about?

I know that’s neither a politically correct nor a practical answer.  The safety and health of our own environment is not predicated on the safety and health of others.  It’s not okay to put a few people at risk over here just because the working conditions somewhere else are worse.  Which is what really bothers me here.  The people in this video – they may or may not have a clue about safe operating procedures, and they most certainly recognize the risks of what they are doing (they know others who have died doing this).  And they almost certainly believe that this is what they MUST do in order to survive (if indeed they do survive the day).  It makes my heart heavy to know that as hard as I try to create safe and healthy workplaces for my peers, and I try to help them understand that they do NOT have to sacrifice their health to make a living, there are places in the world where people do, in fact, have to sacrifice their health – even their lives – to barely make enough money to buy food for their families.

Say a prayer today for these people, and all the children working in factories in India, and migrant workers who are treated like sub-human slaves, and…the list goes on.


About Joe

Writing on the things I'm passionate about: my family, my faith, and my work. View all posts by Joe

4 responses to “Crude Distillation

  • James F (Bug) McClellan

    Part of AA training for families is learning not to be an “enabler”. “Enablers” make excuses for alcoholics and otherwise help them to continue in their destructive lifestyle. A good friend of ours was the leader of the local AA group and I asked him one time how he quit drinking. He told me that he used to get drunk every Friday (and sometimes during the week) and his father would always bail him out of jail. Then his father died, he got drunk, was thrown in jail and “nobody came to get him out.” That’s when he dried out.
    The Nigerian’s problems are manifold, I think the root is a culture of dishonesty and corruption. But Shell and other companies continue to “enable” the corruption by drilling, transporting and refining oil in the country. I know that some will say that if Shell didn’t do it, others would. Yes . . . but it wouldn’t be Shell supporting the corruption and unsafe practices.

  • Joe

    True. And true that WE are enabling the people of India to put their kids to work in sweat shops because we are buying the stuff they make. I’m still saying a prayer for them, and for the guy pouring oil on the fire for his still.

    I do believe that the people (in Nigeria, Iraq, and a host of other oppressed countries) need to stand up (revolt) and take back their country and government.

  • gregengland

    It is sad. Wherever there is money to be made, there will be corruption. And death.

  • Dee Andrews

    Check our “Finding Direction” Joe. You’ll be glad you did!


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