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Documentary now online!

It’s been a little over two weeks since our exhibit at Georgia Tech, and I’m happy to be posting the 30-minute documentary we showed that night. It reveals everything we uncovered during our time we spend along the gulf coast, with interviews from locals hearing their take on the oil spill and its aftermath. There were many interpretations and opinions (sometimes conflicting) about everything, and all are portrayed in the film.

Since there were so many topics that surfaced during this complex debacle, we were originally going to separate them all into five mini-documentaries. But, once we got to pouring through the hours and hours of footage we shot, we decided to make it all part of one story–which, after all, it is.

We got great reception, and many people have been requesting we put it online so that friends can see it, as well as people who couldn’t make it out to the event. Feel free to share it with as many people as you like, and contact us if you have any feedback or would like to schedule a screening. Enjoy!

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10 2010

“It’s All About Money”

Daryl Arnold has been living with his girlfriend and mother for the past 5 years in a camper on his property in Pearlington, Mississippi. His home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, and he is a few months away from completing his new home, much of which he has constructed himself. Brandon mentioned in a post below the sense of strong resilience that this family exhibited, and it was very representative of the zeitgeist of the entire region. The amount of objects he had collected and salvaged from Katrina was truly remarkable. Hearing him talk about the hundreds of objects he fixed himself redefined my concept of what it means to work hard.

He talked with us for a few hours, explaining his thoughts ranging from the safety of eating the fish, to how BP possibly intentionally didn’t stop the leak earlier, to how they survived Katrina. Below is a clip of Daryl describing how he thinks money played a very important role in how and when the leak got capped.

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08 2010

BP’s History and Role in the 1953 Iranian coup d’etat

The history of BP is both fascinating and angering. Take a look at the video below for a quick history of how the company exploited Iran’s oil and used it entirely for Britain’s development of cars, trucks, factories, and even the Royal Navy. BP used to be called the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, and, along with the CIA and British Secret Service in 1953, overthrew the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran, Mohammad Mosaddegh, who sought to nationalize Iranian oil.

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08 2010

Macro Re-Engineering vs. Micro Suffering

There are two conflicting things that are spinning around in my head about this oil spill situation.

The first is that there is major suffering occurring in the affected areas of the Gulf region in the form of job loss, poverty, habitat destruction and fragmentation, and just overall economic and ecological stress. Suffering divulges in other areas as a result, such as in divorces, sickness, homelessness, crime, and so on.

The second is that we need to end using oil as our main energy source, period. The world’s dependence on oil, and specifically, Middle Eastern oil, causes an exorbitant amount of global suffering, on a much, much, much, much greater level than suffering along the Gulf. This kind of suffering includes exploiting entire countries, systematically keeping people in poverty for decades, outright stealing of oil, an insatiable appetite for political control of oil production and distribution, and of course, pollution and global warming which puts all of humanity at risk.

We absolutely need to re-engineer our energy sector so that we can continue to thrive on the Earth, because oil won’t get us very much further. We need clean energy from sustainable sources, if we, as a species, want to be sustainable.

Contrast that with the massive oil-industrial complex of the world, or more locally, the Gulf. The Gulf region is a major hub for oil exploration, extraction, processing, and distribution. Because of this spill and the moratorium on deep-sea drilling, the entire supply chain of oil production has come to a halt. Subsequently, all the people who depend on those jobs for income are now at risk and are suffering greatly, as mentioned above. The oil industry is such a massive influence that nearly every job somehow relates directly or indirectly to the survivability of the oil industry.

So here is my dilemma: How are you going to tell someone who has lost his or her oil industry job, who only wants that job back, that we need to move beyond oil, and their job will not and should not exist in the future? All they want to do, understandably, is make a living and provide for their family.

This dilemma is really part of a vastly complex, more general question: How do we move beyond X when we currently depend on X? In our case, not only do we depend on oil, but we have unimaginably powerful entities deeply entrenched in the fabric of our society that use their massive influence to keep things as they are, because they profit from keeping the status quo. So what do we do?

Is it this scenario that motivates me to go on this trip.


08 2010