Environmental Impacts of Oil Exploitation
Natural Gas
Global Warming
On these pages we explore the environmental impacts that occur where oil is extracted, plus the direct and indirect consequences of oil usage upon society.

  1. Environmental impacts of oil extraction
  2. Environmental impacts of oil usage
    • Climate change
    • Air pollution
      • The Real Price Of Gas "Environmental, health, and social costs represent the largest portion of the externalized price Americans pay for their gasoline reliance. These expenses total some $231.7 to $942.9 billion every year. The internal combustion engine contributes heavily to localized air pollution."

  3. Impacts on society
    • Usurpation of indigeneous peoples' rights
      • The Beyond Oil / U'wa Campaign is focusing primarily on Occidental Petroleum's project on the ancestral land of the U'wa people, an indigenous people of 5,000 in the cloudforests of eastern Colombia.
      • Oil extraction in the Amazon has already caused the extinction of the Tetete and Zaparo nationalities and continues to threaten indigenous peoples.
      • Fueling Destruction in the Amazon, An Interview with Luis Macas
      • Savages, a book by Joe Kane. "In this impressive, funny and moving work, Joe Kane tells the story of the Huaorani, a tribe living in the deepest part of the Amazonian rain forest in Ecuador. The Huaorani have only in the last generation been exposed to such items as the wristwatch. But the modern world is reaching them quickly; for better or worse--usually worse--they live astride some of Ecuador's richest oilfields. Oil production in the Amazon has opened the forest to colonization and industrialization, often with alarming results: about 17 million gallons, of raw crude, more than in the Valdez spill in Alaska, were spilled from a Amazon pipeline between 1972 and 1989. Kane, who lived with the Huaorani for months, immaculately reports on the tribes' connections with the old world and its battles with the new one."
    • Economic upheaval from disruption of supplies
    • Military intervention to secure supplies
      • Militarism and World War II "In 1940, Japan occupied French Indochina (Vietnam) and joined the Axis powers Germany and Italy. These actions intensified Japan's conflict with the US and Great Britain which reacted with an oil boycott. The resulting oil shortage made Japan decide to capture the oil rich Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) and to risk a war with the US and Great Britain.
    • Decommissioning of ships
      • The ShipBreakers "At Alang, in India, on a six-mile stretch of oily, smoky beach, 40,000 men tear apart half of the world's discarded ships [side by side in progressive stages of dissection, spilling their black innards onto the tidal flats], each one a sump of toxic waste. Environmentalists in the West are outraged. The shipbreakers, of course, want to be left alone -- and maybe they should be." [William Langewiesche, The Atlantic, August 2000]
updated 2000 July 21
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