David Nicklin: "From time-to-time I am asked how I reconcile my dual roles as a geologist, particularly being a petroleum geologist, and the role I play as an environmentalist. My answer has always been the same. I have long understood there need not be a conflict. I became a geologist first and foremost because of my love of Planet Earth and a deep curiosity about how it works. One can not have those two characteristics and not be an environmentalist - at least in part. They inherently breed respect for the natural world. Becoming a petroleum geologist came later, but I have never lost a wink of sleep over my choice. Long before I was born, human beings set out on a course to improve their quality of life through peaceable commerce and trade, supported and enabled by the science and technology of natural resource utilization. From natural stone to commodity minerals - and eventually to oil and gas - humans have long striven to enhance their quality of life by utilizing natural resources ever more effectively. I feel I am a part of this process, a very small part, but still a part. I may not agree with all the things we do in the name of our shared human endeavor, but I cannot shake off the sense of responsibility born of being a part of it all. The petroleum industry, for all its perceived iniquities, has played it's part (a major part) in enhancing the quality of the life we share. Perhaps future generations will indeed look back and say we got it all horribly wrong, but I believe if we have got it all wrong, we as a species, using the same techniques and methods we have developed throughout our history, will solve the problems we face. In the meantime, I believe we can continue to exploit our natural resources with a clear conscience, provided we do so with wisdom and awareness of the scientific data that both monitors our progress, and raises red flags when we are overzealous. The key to our future lies in the manner we treat our home planet. If we are carefree and irresponsible, if we conduct ourselves without respect, we may yet pay very dearly for our mistakes."
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