The assertion that fossil fuels “literally fuel the loss of humanity,” as Ms. Betts Bartlett ’79 states in her letter to PAW in the April 2022 issue, and many in the Princeton community believe,  could not be more wrong on the facts. The world’s population has grown from 1 billion people 200 years ago, to over 8 billion now, and the capacity of the world’s farms and farmers to feed these burgeoning human populations directly depends on the extraction and refining of fossil fuels — namely natural gas for fertilizer feedstocks — and transportation fuels to ship that food to us. Without fossil fuels, the world’s farms would be unable to feed us, and there would likely be mass extinction of the poorest populations from starvation. In addition, without fossil fuels for heating our homes, humans would rapidly strip the world’s forests for wood to heat homes, leading to mass extinction of birds, animals, and flora. Is this future for the world that Ms. Betts Bartlett desires? As for me, I thank god for dead white men like John D. Rockefeller and their oil extraction companies, and German chemist Fritz Haber’s invention of fertilizer, without which at least half the world’s humans would starve. And can you imagine if Jeff Bezos’ Amazon delivery trucks had to ship us our products in wooden wagons with wheels clad in bog iron hoops instead of rubber tires? No, fossil fuel extraction is the very heart and soul of service to humanity, and it is incumbent upon Princeton to invest endowment funds wisely in natural resource development through oil exploration and production companies, to ensure that the future humans on this planet can be fed, clothed, and sheltered, not driven into starvation. 

John M. Chludzinski ’85
Spotswood, N.J.