A Disillusioned ExxonMobil Engineer Quits to Take Action on Climate Change and Stop ‘Making the World Worse’
After 16 years of working for the oil giant, Dar-Lon Chang said Exxon would not address climate change. So he quit the sector for good, and began a new low-carbon life.
For 16 years, Dar-Lon Chang worked as an engineer at ExxonMobil. Fresh out of graduate school, he was by all accounts exactly the type of person the company is known for hiring: smart, driven, diligent.
From his base at Exxon’s sprawling campus outside Houston, Chang helped the company maximize production at far-flung oil and gas projects, from Guyana to Qatar to America’s fracking fields.
He’d had an interest in alternative energy since his college days, and thought science and technology would blaze a path towards a future without fossil fuels. Exxon, he believed, could help lead the way. When he could, Chang tried to nudge the company along in small ways, holding out the hope that change would come.
But with each passing year, Chang watched the climate crisis grow more urgent, while the company he had devoted his career to only deepened its commitment to oil and gas. Eventually, he became disillusioned.
So in 2019, without any prospect of future employment, he resigned, packed up with his wife and daughter, who had known no home other than Houston, and moved to a net-zero community outside Denver built around environmentally-conscious living.
He had hoped to find a job in the renewable energy sector, but meanwhile, he poured himself into his new Geos Neighborhood, where residents hold monthly meetings to discuss how to lighten their load on the planet.
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