This ca. 1980 document from Imperial Oil Ltd., the Canadian subsidiary of Exxon, is a course on Environmental Pollution from Imperial’s Environmental Protection Department which was “originally prepared for, and presented to Imperial Oil personnel across Canada” in an effort to “add to their understanding of the environment and the effects of pollution on the environment.” This document is part of the ClimateFiles Imperial Oil document set, gleaned by DeSmog researchers from the Glenbow Imperial Oil Archive Collection.
This document contains both a crash-course in ecological education for Imperial’s employees, and insight into the perceived relationship among Imperial, humanity, and environmental stability. The language in this document indicates both a high awareness of the need to achieve balance with natural systems, and a reluctance to admit responsibility for any imbalance caused by industry. The document opens and concludes with the statement that “the greatest problem facing man today is the ecological one of harmonious adjustment to the ecosystem of which he is a part,” but quickly deflects this crisis by saying that while there is “a great deal of concern about the deterioration of our environment,” sometimes “it is exaggerated or untrue.”
After a written lesson in the causes and effects of various kinds of environmental pollution and damage, the document concludes in no uncertain terms that “man has enormously and often recklessly modified ecosystems. He is polluting his environment with increasing quantities of waste products from his technology, as his numbers and technical know-how increase.” Acknowledging that our economic and social development “must inevitably have an impact on the whole environment,” the document finds that “it is the duty…of man in every walk of life to minimize this impact. Our lives, our childrens [sic] lives, and the very life of the planet earth depend on it.”
This document and its distribution as an educational course for Imperial employees demonstrates the company’s concern with equipping its employees with basic background information and language about pollution and environmental damage as it relates to Imperial’s activities.