Ashley Nixon rides a motor taxi in Quebrada Verde, Lima, Peru © Maricarmen Nixon
In the chronicles of Arthur Dent (The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy), Douglas Adams created an epic, interplanetary trilogy. One of my favourite science fiction works that actually began life as a radio play on Radio 4 in the UK. I was reminded of this as I made my way, yesterday, to reach a milestone in my career path. I retired from Shell.
Over the past 17 years or so I have had the good fortune to work with a lot of top notch people; to explore many fascinating places on our planet; and to figure out ways of addressing the challenges such as climate change as well as finding opportunities from energy development.
In the early stages, I worked on sustainable development affairs on the Camisea Gas Project in the Peruvian Amazon and then some time offshore and in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil doing HSE management. Although Shell didn’t progress with their development in Peru, others took it on and gas power now plays a prominent role in the lives of businesses and communities all the way to Lima.
I moved on to environmental assignments in the Niger swamps and streets of Nigeria that featured many wild commutes, Lima to Lagos, wrestling with oil spills and gas flaring and somehow, trying to get things in better order.
Moving to Canada, in 2001, took me to the north of Alberta for work on the Athabasca Oil Sands Project and even further north, to manage socio-economic issues and community development in the Canadian Arctic and the Mackenzie Gas Project. My last six years have featured external relations (aka public relations) around Shell’s business interests and environmental/social impacts across the Americas. Along the way, I got the Energy Diet Challenge going between Shell Canada and Canadian Geographic and even picked up a world record for a fuel-efficient drive across Canada. It was a fitting end to my career to see the launch of the Quest carbon capture and storage project (CCS), something I had been involved with, on and off, for eight years.
My next big adventure, post-Shell, is to take these learnings from working with many great people in a diversity of places and apply them in sustainability and external relations consulting, teaching, writing and photography.
This will be the place to see those chronicles unfold! As Douglas Adams so wonderfully put it in the title to the fourth of his five-book trilogy, So Long and Thanks For All the Fish.