With issues of peak oil, fossil fuels and global climate change in the news nearly every day now, it timely and relevant to explore the impact of our petroleum habit. One useful tool for doing so is the new documentary Crude: The Real Price of Oil. Crude explores the many-tiered and complex case of "Amazon Chernobyl": a lawsuit brought by 30,000 indigenous and colonial residents of the Ecuadorian rainforest against U.S. oil company Chevron (which now owns Texaco). The plantiffs assert that Texaco spent decades contaminating their home, polluting the air, water, and land, as well as creating a "death zone" the size of Rhode Island, in which there are high rates of cancer, birth defects and other ailments among residents. Chevron insists the allegations are false.
One of the unique elements of this film is that it explores a multiplicity of interconnected issues: environment, human rights, multinational corporations, global politics, and indigenous cultures, among others. Additionally, the film looks at the perspectives of a variety of stakeholders. As the website says, "Crude focuses on the human cost of our addiction to oil and the increasingly difficult task of holding a major corporation accountable for its past deeds."
This film would be a terrific resources for helping people explore the many impacts of multinational corporations and oil production, as well as for better understanding the different viewpoints of those involved in such struggles as this one (and perhaps finding ways to build bridges).
The film has been making the film festival circuit and will be released in some theaters this fall. Here's the trailer:
If you can't view the film above, see it here.
To enhance exploration of the case, look for news stories on the topic, such as the 60 Minutes segment.