Black Century

The clash of civilisation is real. But usually civilisation clashes with the environment and with local communities. It is a fight called progress.

But progress is often simply another name for the insatiable hunger for oil. It is a clash happening all over the world. Are you ready to watch it?

While it is getting colder outside in some parts of the world, there is no better thing to pass time with than watching documentaries. Documentaries are also a nice way of learning about new topics. In case you’re not yet too acquainted with hydraulic fracturing or simply fracking, I have just the right thing for you: a documentary-introduction to the destructive nature of fracking and other practices by the oil industry:

1) The Pipe: In a remote corner of the West of Ireland sits Broadhaven Bay. It is the perfect picture postcard…” and home to the first fracking story. Here lies the little village called Rossport which decided to fight the mighty Shell company and the Irish state and avert the construction of the Corrib Gas Pipeline. What they are fighting for are their lands and fishing grounds and the beautiful landscape. The State, protecting the interest of the big oil company tries to ensure that the pipe is being built by sending in police troops…

2) Oil on Ice: Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, USA: another stunning landscape which is in danger because of the oil industry. It’s home to an outstanding number of animals as well as the Gwich’in Athabascan Indians and Inupiat Eskimos. The film asks the question: “How can one rationalize development of irreplaceable wilderness areas or ignore the cultural survival of indigenous populations?”. Why is the price higher to push “improved fuel efficiency standards for vehicles and development of alternative sources of energy than to save these landscapes from being destroyed forever?

3) Crude: This documentary “takes place in the Amazon jungle of Ecuador, pitting 30,000 indigenous and colonial rainforest dwellers against the U.S. oil giant Chevron.” It is a story of contamination and pollution in one of the most important ecosystems of the world. It also tells the story of the local communities who are suffering from cancer, leukemia and many more health issues due to the “death zone” created by the oil extraction in the forest. Crude “is the epic story of one of the largest and most controversial environmental lawsuits on the planet. The inside story of the infamous ‘Amazon Chernobyl’ case.”

4) Gasland: United States: filmmaker Josh Fox finds fracking sides popping up all over the country, including his backyard. It is time for him to find out “Is fracking safe?”. What follows is a “cross-country odyssey uncovering a trail of secrets, lies and contamination.” What he finds are stunning stories of people living in the middle of “Gasland” and living with the consequences: some can light their water on fire, others get sick; so what do you think: is fracking safe?

5) Poison Fire: Finally, we are in the Niger delta: “Africa, oil, climate change, globalisation, repression, violence, rights.” Again it is local communities which suffer from the impact the oil industry leaves in their environment. In this documentary you will get to see “creeks and fish ponds literally filled with spilled oil … a violent fire from a wellhead explosion that has been burning for months, and blackened mangrove swamps where oil continues to seep up from spills long ago.”

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3 thoughts on “Black Century

  1. Pingback: The Constant Fighters | Kosmos 9

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