Dear Millennials, Big Oil Is Not Your Enemy

Oil and gas is, apparently, the latest industry that millennials have marked for death. They don’t want to work in the industry because it’s dirty, difficult, and dangerous. Accurate as this may be, that millennial perspective is far from the whole story of oil and gas.

On the face of it, especially to millennials, the oil industry is only about making as much money as possible by pumping and selling as much oil as possible, harming the environment irreparably in the process. But that’s a rather narrow view. It seems all too easy set aside the fact that thousands of everyday products are either entirely or partially derived from petroleum and natural gas.

Yes, that Super Bowl commercial had it right, whether we like it or not. To be fair, some of the products made from oil derivatives do have greener substitutes, but certainly not all—including some important ones such as heart valves and synthetic fibers. And the alternatives are not always rosy either. The alternatives to synthetic fibers happen to be cotton, hemp, wool, and—not to put too fine a point on it—leather and fur…


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