A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash (2006)

November 2, 2008 § Leave a comment

“Oil is the excrement of the Devil,” begins this documentary, and I have to admit,the rest of the film makes a pretty compelling argument to support that statement.

It’s hard to review a film that’s certainly well made when the pressing issue it reveals is so much more important.  The argument the experts provide is basically this: oil is a non-renewable resource, a mineral slime we’ve counted on for a long time, but it’s finally safe to say with the population explosion “demand is on the march, and supply is flattening out,” even as we’re not working as hard as we should be on alternative sources of energy.  Statements like “We are coming to the end of the first half of the age of oil,” suggesting the age of cheap and readily available oil is over do make a kind of instinctive sense, given that the United States has charged out to secure their oil interests more than once since the 1990s.

The idea that we’re counting on oil to last many more decades while we casually work on alternatives, and work even less on implementing them in a practical way is an important enough (and an alarming enough) message for any film.  Add to that, a sputtering end to the oil age without alternatives (hydrogen, solar or wind power) would lead to an economic depression greater than the depression of the 1930s, except it might be harder to recover.  Air travel might be available only to an elite few, and life in suburbia would involve trying to figure out how you’re going to get forty or fifty miles to work (something European cities might have less trouble with, if they were built before the advent of the car).

Regardless of all this, oil is “a magnet for war,” and self-reliance without any need for conflict over dwindling resources is certainly ideal.  So, it’s a well made documentary, yes.  But more importantly it clarified all these ideas for me.  More people should see this film, and needless to say, more people should be pressuring our government about this issue.


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