Since this is a global warming blog, it should come as no surprise that I perceive of petroleum in terms of its effect on the climate of our lovely planet. Such a perception, of course, is important. However, the process of delivering petroleum fuels to our local pumping station is complex and highly polluting.
Worse still, it is easy for the world to lose sight of the fact that only a fraction of the world’s oil is buried beneath desert sands. Most, in fact, is entombed by tropical rainforest or other territory which is important to wildlife and people, especially subsistence farmers. It is for this reason that petroleum companies owe a special debt of gratitude to the peoples who grant mineral rights to the oil beneath their feet. In some cases, though, such a debt is abused, as in the case of the Cofan Indigenous community of Ecuador.
For many years, Texaco, now part of Chevron, deliberately dumped waste oil from its petroleum mining activities into a river which its personnel knew was utilized by the Cofan people. As a result, many Cofan families suffered horrible side effects.
The new film Crude details this horrible, deliberate and avoidable tragedy. I invite you to view the teaser and sign the related petition at
Even as we move into the era of peak oil, it is imperative that we never lose sight of the fact that our reliance on petroleum for energy causes a whole range of negative consequences, most of them avoidable if we exert will power. The poisoning of the Cofan Indigenous community of Ecuador is one of the sadder (but by no means saddest) results.
No member of the human race deserves abuse, particularly by greedy oil companies which use a portion of their profits to engage a propaganda campaign to convince citizens of the industrialized world that petroleum is not a dirty business. It surely is!