Even if millennials don’t adopt the belief that fossil fuels are an immoral addiction, they almost always can’t refute it, which undercuts conviction and greatly undermines their ability to be effective, persuasive ambassadors who champion your industry and your industry’s freedom—an increasing priority in an era where companies are doing business in states with substantial opposition to fossil fuels, such as Colorado and Pennsylvania.
Or that many employees report feeling uncomfortable discussing what they do—let alone proudly advocating for their industry’s freedom.
I am routinely told that it’s impossible to impact most millennials, that they are “too far gone” or “too emotional”. But in my experience, this is simply false. It is possible to overcome the moral case against fossil fuels and turn non-supporters into supporters. But it requires a very different method of framing energy conversations than is conventionally used—a method I call “pro-human, whole-picture reframing.”
Reframing the conversation about fossil fuels
I have been able to persuade many people about fossil fuels by using the essential method by which I was persuaded—“reframing how” I thought about the issue.
I come from a background in philosophy, the subject that deals with the core frameworks we use to think about important issues.
When I began studying energy, I realized that the frameworks being used by both opponents and supporters of the fossil fuel industry were wrong in two ways: they were, sometimes intentionally sometimes not, biased and anti-human.
Let’s begin with bias:
Whenever we have to make a decision in life, we need to look carefully at the whole picture—we need to look carefully at both the positives and negatives of the different alternatives. And yet opponents of fossil fuels routinely looked only at the alleged negatives of fossil fuels (such as CO2 emissions) but not positives (such as the unique transportation properties of petroleum). One particularly blatant example of bias is the widespread condemnation of coal mining’s impacts on workers coupled with silence on far more dangerous rare earth mining for the raw materials for wind turbines.