How liberal elitism and narrow mindedness are hampering the energy transition

Sunset on a deepwater drillship in the Gulf of Mexico (Photo/author)

My mom is what’s wrong with the oil industry. Specifically, my mom is smart, passionate, empathetic, and the most environmentally conscious person I know. She does everything right (solar panels, electric vehicles, conserving energy, and resources) and has devoted her career and free time to sustainable design and community outreach. But culturally she, my family more broadly, and myself at times, carry a mindset about energy, climate change, and the oil industry that is problematic and hampering the energy transition.

I lived in New Orleans for four years and when people there asked me about my background, I told them…

The complex role of oil companies in the energy transition

Silhouette of a power plant with cooling towers and trails of clouds.
Silhouette of a power plant with cooling towers and trails of clouds.
Photo by Malcolm Lightbody on Unsplash

I started thinking about this question after seeing an Instagram post by 350 dot org commenting on an Axios article headlined “Shell CEO: The world needs our help on climate change.”

An evergreen reading journey for this strange year

Photo by Madina Koishybayeva on Unsplash

Books have an impact on our day, mood, and energy, just like other forms of consumption and expression. Rather than wait until the end of 2021 to reflect on this year's reading journey I’ve decided to instead create an evergreen reading list, committing to jotting down a quick couple of sentences about each book I read this year as I go. Here is a list sorted by month with what I’ve read so far.

Suggestions for future reads welcome!

Swing back later in the year for updates!


Klara and the Sun by Kazuuo Ishiguro — I really didn’t like this…

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash.

Every year my goal is to read 50 books. Depending on the year I usually end up right around that mark. In 2020 I passed my fifty book milestone in October and have kept right on reading. Here is what I’ve been reading and some reflections on the books I’ve found most impactful in 2020.

Every book I read this year impacted my mood, my headspace, what I was thinking about, and how I view the world. …

Photo by Devin Spell on Unsplash

President Trump claimed he could exchange drilling permits for $25 million during a rally in Arizona today. On Twitter this evening, ExxonMobil clarified that this hypothetical phone call never took place.

Even in hyperbole and hypothetical, the entire discussion is a stark reminder of the interplay between money and politics.

Exchanging drilling permits for campaign money is obviously illegal (in theory) but it is conceptually alarming for a variety of reasons. …

Food for thought from Bolivia on preparing for political turmoil

(Photo by Kayle Kaupanger on Unsplash)

What is going to happen on and after November 3?

No one really knows but many are speculating, particularly because expanded mail-in voting will change the timeline over which results are tallied.

Trump’s rhetoric on the campaign trail is raising concerns about if, when, and how a peaceful transfer of power will take place, especially after calls to “stand back and stand by” and the recent domestic terrorist attack in Michigan. Doomsday scenarios are being described as some brace for disaster.

Are we ready for what is coming? Should we be doing more to brace ourselves for potential unrest?


6 ways Boomers can be climate change allies

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash.

This morning I had a conversation with a liberal, forward-thinking, climate-conscious Boomer (someone born between 1946 and 1964). This Boomer, the father of a friend, expressed that climate change is not his problem because he’s going to be dead in the next 20–30 years.

He was glad that young folks, like my friend and I, are fighting for change. When we pointed out that climate change is everyone’s problem he agreed but expressed doubt that things would change in his lifetime. …

Past, Present, and Future of an Interesting Bivalve

Photo by Matt Lamers on Unsplash

What are shipworms and why should we care about them?

These slimy little wormlike clams have been around for over 150 million years and may help us unlock new antibiotics and biofuels.


Shipworms, also called ‘termites of the sea’ or teredos, are really interesting invertebrates. A cross between a worm and a calm, they have soft, worm-like bodies and with shells on one end that they use to eat wood. They are marine bivalves in the family Teredinidae and come in over 150 different species.

Unnecessarily gendered outdoor gear promotes inequality and exclusion

(photo / author)

Skis don't need to be gendered, and yet they are made and sold that way and it is an example of how bias and inequality are perpetuated by the outdoor industry.

While procrastinating and dreaming of snow, I recently found myself browsing skis on the REI outlet webpage. Scrolling through I saw a couple of pairs of brand new, non-mounted skis listed as men’s and women’s. This led me to wonder: What makes men's skis specifically male? Besides stereotypically gendered graphics, darker colors for men, lighter colors for women, is there anything about the technical specifications? How they were made…

Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash

Unpacking the myth of the linear career trajectory

As the pandemic ground day-to-day life to a halt, many found themselves pausing and taking stock. Many Millennials, myself included, have come up for air during this slower time and realized how dissatisfied we are with our status quo, looking around and asking questions like, “This is it?” “How’d I end up here?” and “What’s next?”

Part of this dissatisfaction results from the burnout culture described in Anne Helen Petersen’s new book Can’t Even: How Millenials Became the Burnout Generation. But, in addition to the exhaustion of burnout, many of us are also paralyzed by the myth of the linear…

Chase Joy, PhD

Geologist & Writer. she/her. I write about the intersection of society, energy, and the environment. Open to collaboration / freelance:

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