Although the things that Alanis Morrisette speaks of in her famous song are not de facto ironic, the title of the song does pop into my head when I see or hear of certain things in the news.

Such as people who protest fossil fuels.

Americans have a constitutional right to protest.  It is a hallmark of our freedom.  And there are those who protest the fossil fuel industry.  They’re not passive couch-potatoes.  They are engaged.  They research the issue. They decide which company to target. They formulate their message. They determine their strategy. They get fired up!

And then they get in their cars and SUVs and drive to the protest.  Probably stopping to fuel up and get snacks for the kids. (“Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?”)

While most of these people protest crude, they probably don’t consider everything that is made from fossil fuels.  I tell well-meaning “environmentalist” friends that if their child needed an i.v. it would be a plastic tube that would be used.  If they got run over on their bicycle going to the farmer’s market, an ambulance which runs on gasoline will get them to the ER much faster than a rickshaw.  This usually causes the “ah ha” moment, followed by “What about the environment?” to which I start talking about how our industry is working to help clean the environment while still being able to manufacture its product and provide jobs to thousands of Americans. It makes them think.

People who are passionate about a cause sometimes get tunnel vision.  They want to stop that oil rig from being floated out from Puget Sound.  So they get into their plastic kayaks with the polypropylene oars and paddle around the rig to try to disrupt the process.  (“A little too ironic…..I really do think”)

These people need to be educated on the benefits of fossil fuels.  They reap those benefits daily.  If they actually got what they wanted, no more fossil fuel, they would hate the consequences.  As would we all.

And the last lines of Ms. Morrisette’s song do ring true with the benefits of fossil fuel products:

“Life has a funny, funny way of helping you out.”

Dan Strachan

Posted by Dan Strachan

Dan Strachan is the Director, Industrial Relations and Programs for AFPM. To learn more about AFPM, visit AFPM.org.