This past June ABC News Nightline interviewed Neil McKenzie, an aboriginal native of Australia and member of the True Cost of Chevron Network.
In May, Neil left his country for the first time and traveled thousands of miles to meet with senior Chevron executives at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in Houston, Texas. He had intended to communicate his reservations to Chevron’s planned natural gas exploration and production operations in Western Australia but learned upon arrival that Chevron officials weren’t interested in listening to him. Despite the fact that he was legally entitled to represent himself at the annual meeting, Chevron security officials denied him entry along with dozens of other proxy shareholders, in a move indicative of the lack of respect Chevron’s executives hold for the communities in which the company operates.
The video footage from the Nightline story captures the beauty of the Kimberley in Western Australia, an incredible landscape inhabited by diverse species of wildlife which the native aboriginals claim as their ancestral home. Nightline describes Chevron’s effort to buy off the impoverished people residing on the land it wants for its operations and the divisive influence this has had on Neil’s community. Chevron offers the opportunity for economic advancement but it will come at the cost of the community’s land and history. Neil describes his people’s relationship with the land and the pressure on them to abandon their heritage.
To learn more about the Kimberley and what you can do to support Neil’s work, please visit The Wilderness Society, an environmental NGO on the front lines of the battle against the oil and gas industry’s ever-expanding reach into Western Australia and other regions of the world.