The fossil fuel chain of destruction begins with the quest for new reserves of oil and gas. This search often results in the construction of roads and other infrastructure in previously undisturbed wilderness areas, posing a threat to biological and cultural diversity. The Earth's remaining wilderness areas are home to most of the world's traditional indigenous cultures; 75 percent of them in old growth forests alone. When energy corporations invade ancestral lands, indigenous peoples are exposed to deadly new diseases and environmental pollution, subsistence economies are disrupted, and, often, a process of cultural decay begins.
If oil or gas is discovered, the extraction phase begins. Fossil fuel extraction leads to the construction of additional roads and infrastructure, often in pristine areas. The roads and infrastructure allow loggers, ranchers and displaced peoples to access previously impenetrable forest or wilderness areas, leading to further destruction. The extraction process also frequently results in leaks and seepage that cause massive environmental pollution and health problems for local communities.
Fossil fuel transportation requires massive pipeline and infrastructure projects that pollute local ecosystems and open up additional territory to destructive development. The fossil fuels are shipped on tankers around the world, sometimes resulting in oil spills and other accidents which devastate marine ecosystems.
Greenpeace, the environmental pressure group, succeeded to humiliate oil company Shell and the UK government over abortive plans to sink the Brent Spar oil platform at sea.
In 1995, Greenpeace apologized to Shell for erroneously claiming that 5,000 tonnes of oil were on the rig that was planned to be dumped in deep sea. However, there were other toxic substances on board the rig which Shell itself listed.