My dad received an award from his employer for driving a million miles without an accident. Those triangular windows resulted in hearing loss in his left ear. My voice range during his audio exam was exactly the range he failed, knowing this as a witness to the exam. But the hearing loss got him what we called his Blues in the Night check from the Veterans Affairs 50 years after he got out of the Army and they caught up with him when he went in for the hearing test. Why did we call it that?
"My Momma done told me...." echoed throughout the camp he was mustering out of. From behind him, he turned to listen to the lone voice belting out the song and was marked deaf for not hearing the commands given in his quick hearing exam. My daddy worked for Shell Pipeline as an electrician and his territory was large. He covered eastern New Mexico, west Texas and the panhandle of the state. He drove for 35 years in company cars before air conditioning was standard and depended on that little vent window to direct air for some comfort and to draw some of his cigarette smoke out of the vehicle.
We believe it was the noise and air pressure that caused his hearing loss. But the Veterans Administration thought it had been caused by the war so he began receiving a small check for his disability each month, until moving to follow employment, the VA lost track of him. All the while his compensation piled up in his account. After we forced him to go for the hearing exam so he could be fitted for hearing aids and give us relief from his debilitating hearing loss in his later years. We got to communicate with him again and he got those lost years of compensation in what we called his "Blues in the Night" check.
Shell Pipeline gave out service awards, longer service the better quality.
Tie tacks were the thing for men and he received several, each in the shape of what else? a shell. Shell's logo is a shell. The original company actually sold sea shells and never forgot their origins.
I got one of the last awards he received. This one hung from a golden bow and could be pinned on a garment. Marked with the date 1963 and his initials, RCF which were also mine and my brother's initials. I have treasured it, but have actually never worn it. Me with a diamond pin attached to a bow? Then through the years I have learned more about fossil fuels and how using these fuels for energy around the world is actually causing the changes we are experiencing with our climate. Our earth's future, and our own is tied up in a bow with fossil fuels. As an environmental activist, could I wear it?
The big oil companies have had a great ride, made a lot of money for their stockholders and put a lot of people to work extracting oil and gas all around the world. Use of fossil fuels throughout the last century and into this one has put a lot of daddies to work, but the damages continue to mount to humans and our environment from our use, our overuse of them.
Only one fossil fuel has a nickname, that being Clean Coal. Sure pick up any size clump of coal with a white glove on and that glove will no longer be white. The coal industry had a great public relations guy to come up with that phrase! Coal is dirty to handle, but also dirty to burn causing green house gases that get trapped in our atmosphere and actually change it, dirty and unsafe for the miners working to extract it from deep in the ground. Many, too many continue to develop a condition that affects their lungs and causes many to die before they reach 50 years of age. If the coal industry worked cleaner, many of their lives could be saved. That is not the end of the dirty deal coal gives us. When it is burned, the smoke is carried dropping the heavy metals embedded in the coal far and near, adding to the loading of mercury in our oceans, lakes and ponds, contaminating our fish.
Fossil fuel has made extracting companies rich, but they are beginning to see the future and the future will be renewable energy sources like wind and sun. There will be other ways to generate energy and these guys will find it including using waves and gravity.
Losses to our health and the environment and lives have occurred under these energy extractors' watch. In the years from 2008 through 2017, 1,566 workers perished trying to extract oil and gas in America, that is about as many U.S. troops died fighting in Afghanistan during that period.
One of the other companies is figuring out how to use algae to make energy. We are making way too much algae, because we are allowing the factory farms to pollute our waters, it is as if they will be partnering with another polluting industry to clean up both messes and continue making money.
Shell is investing in Green Energy, low carbon emissions and looking at the wind.
My dad could have told Shell years ago that wind would be the new power, power to produce energy and powerful enough to reduce hearing for sure.
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim