If Exxon Knew, So Did You. Today in 1988, Climate Change made the front page in the New York Times

June 24, 2022 by Joshua
in Nature, Nonjudgment

As the title said, today 34 years ago—Friday, June 24, 1988—the New York Times printed on the front page, above the fold as its main headline:

Global Warming Has Begun, Expert Tells Senate

If Exxon Knew, So Did You

A lot of people say Exxon knew and therefore are guilty of crimes for not acting on it. Well, front page of the New York Times means it’s no secret. You knew. Besides scale, I see more similarity than difference in how individuals respond than Exxon. I’m not saying they’re innocent. But if they’re guilty, why isn’t everyone who bought their gas, paid for flights, and so on?

Just because you consider someone guilty for something big doesn’t mean someone who does that thing on a smaller scale is innocent. Exxon denied. Everyone I know denied. Exxon misinterpreted things in their favor. So did everyone.

Again, I’m not saying they’re innocent or deserve lenience if they’re guilty of crimes. I’m saying if you’re outraged at them, how do you feel about the hundreds of millions of people who funded them? They didn’t buy their product. We did.

How do you feel buying Exxon’s products?

How do you feel buying what Exxon sells, whether in the form of filling your gas tank, airplane tickets whose costs fund displacing people from their land, poisoning air and water, and heating the globe?

Does it make a difference if you shop from BP, Shell, or Chevron? Can you buy less from them?

If they should change from the ground up, what should their customers do?

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