Bad News for Oil

It has been a long, difficult struggle to attempt to protect Mother Earth from the devastation of fossil fuel extraction and burning. Indigenous peoples have been doing this work for centuries.

“The coronavirus is telling the world what Indigenous Peoples have been saying for thousands of years — if we do not help protect biodiversity and nature, we will face this and even worse threats,” said Levi Sucre Romero, a BriBri Indigenous person from Costa Rica and co-coordinator of the Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples and Forests (AMPB).

A growing body of scientific research supports the claims that Indigenous Peoples and knowledge systems have raised for thousands of years around the damaging effects of deforestation, loss of biodiversity and expansion of large-scale industrial development.

Researchers have highlighted the importance of Indigenous lands for global conservation, the role of forest conservation, degradation and disturbance in Indigenous territories and a rights-based approach to conservation and climate action.

“The cure for the next pandemic, and even for this one, can be found in the biodiversity of our Indigenous lands. This is why we need to protect our lands and rights, because the future of life depends on it,” said Tuxá, who traveled across Europe last year with a delegation of Indigenous leaders, encouraging investors to boycott companies who benefit from exploitation of Indigenous lands.

COVID-19 crisis tells world what Indigenous Peoples have been saying for thousands of years By Emilee Gilpin | News, The National Observer

My small part was to stop owning a personal automobile some forty years ago. And organizing and training for nonviolent resistance with the Keystone Pledge of Resistance, No Dakota Access pipeline (#NoDAPL) and working in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en to block the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline in British Columbia. I always feel uncomfortable writing about my experiences but as those who know me know, I don’t do so to call attention to myself. Rather, it is by sharing our own stories that we might change people’s minds. I believe what Richard Wagamese wrote below. This is also why I encourage others to share their own stories, you to share your stories.


From the moment we are born to the time we continue on our spirit journey, we are involved in the creation of the story of our time here. It is what we arrive with. It is all we leave behind. We are not the things we accumulate. We are not the things we deem important. We are story. All of us. What comes to matter then is the creation of the best possible story we can while we’re here; you, me, us, together. When we can do that and we take the time to share those stories with each other, we get bigger inside, we see each other, we recognize our kinship — we change the world one story at a time.

Richard Wagamese (October 14, 1955-March 10, 2017) Ojibwe from Wabeseemoong Independent Nations, Canada

A federal judge handed down a major victory for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe of North Dakota on Wednesday, ruling that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated the National Environmental Policy Act by approving federal permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The USACE must complete a full environmental impact study of the pipeline, including full consideration of concerns presented by the Standing Rock Tribe, the judge ruled. The tribe has asked the court to ultimately shut the pipeline down.

‘Huge Victory’ for Standing Rock Sioux Tribe as Federal Court Rules DAPL Permits Violated Law. “This is what the tribe has been fighting for many months. Their fearless organizing continues to change the game.” by Julia Conley, Common Dreams, March 25, 2020.

As the oilpatch awaits a bailout from the federal government, the price of Canadian crude plunged to a new historic low of US$5 per barrel Friday.

The industry has been left staggering in recent weeks thanks to the double whammy of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has sent global markets into a tailspin, and a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia. Now a barrel of Western Canadian Select (WCS), the Canadian benchmark, is going for roughly the same price as a Big Mac.

“This is really unknown territory,” said Warren Mabee, the director of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy at Queen’s University.

The abrupt spiral of the oil and gas sector, which contributed 11 per cent of Canada’s gross domestic product in 2018, has broad and dire consequences ⁠for the federal and Alberta economies. Already, oil producers are cutting spending plans and analysts are forecasting that production will need to be slashed, with WCS closing at US$5.06 per barrel Friday.

Canadian crude plummets to US$5 a barrel as oilpatch awaits federal bailout By Emma McIntosh, Canada’s National Observer, March 27th 2020

Fortunately that bailout for the oil industry didn’t make it into the stimulus bill that was just passed.

WASHINGTON – A planned purchase of 30 million barrels of crude for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve does not appear to be funded under the $2 trillion stimulus package agreed to by Republicans and Democrats Wednesday.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a letter to senators Wednesday Democrats had eliminated from the legislation a, “$3 billion bailout for big oil.”

Last week Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette said he talking to Congress about getting $3 billion in funding to buy crude from small and medium-sized U.S. producers, with hope of starting to fill the reserve within weeks.

Funding for purchase of 30 million crude oil barrels left out of stimulus by James Osborne, Houston Chronicle March 25, 2020

In the days leading up to this near-final bill, much of the debate centered around Democrats’ attempts to include certain green provisions, like support for the struggling renewable energy industry, and a requirement that a bailout for airlines be contingent on emission reduction promises.

The fight broke down into a sandbox tussle on Monday when Mitch McConnell accused Democrats of delaying relief for hospitals and struggling Americans in their pursuit of the Green New Deal, while Democrats argued that if the government was going to bail out the oil industry by purchasing $3 billion of oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, why not help other hurting energy industries, too? The clash seems to have ended in a draw, as neither the oil bailout nor any clean energy or emissions reduction measures are in the most recent version of the bill. The only thing that stuck was $32 billion for the airline industry — no strings attached.

At least the coronavirus stimulus package isn’t bailing out the oil industry By Emily Pontecorvo, grist, Mar 26, 2020

“While we applaud this first step, there is still much more that Congress can do in the long term to uplift people and the planet. Along with immediate relief, we need a long-term, climate-resilient recovery plan that charts a bold path forward to a livable future for all. There is no going back to ‘business-as-usual’ after this pandemic. We need a reboot. Congress must prioritize real climate action that creates millions of jobs, sustains  families, responds to systemic inequity, and directly invests in Black, Indigenous, and communities of color facing economic insecurity. The climate crisis is already here, and it is already compounding threats to our economy and health. Let’s learn from the wake up call of this pandemic and act boldly. We must make a downpayment on a regenerative economy to prevent future crises.” Responds to Passage of Senate Coronavirus Stimulus Package, March 26, 2020

Recently the efforts of the Wet’suwet’en peoples to stop the construction of the Coastal GasLink (CGL) pipeline from being built on their territory have gained international attention and support. Solidarity actions across Canada stopped most rail shipments and shipping operations at the Port of Vancouver, shutting down Canada’s economy in ways similar to the COVID-19 pandemic now.

Because of the global economic slowdown there have been numerous signs of decreased air and water pollution. The coronavirus has accomplished what decades of pleading from Indigenous peoples and other environmentalists to reduce greenhouse gas emissions have not.

The question is whether we can find ways to continue methods of conservation and move away from fossil fuels, move to renewable energy when we begin to recover from this pandemic.

We need to create and share our stories for a better way forward. Many years ago there was a photographic practice called previsualization. That basically involved a number of steps to calibrate what your film and paper processing would look like under standard conditions. That made it more possible to set you camera and paper exposures to make the photo as close to what you wanted, ahead of time. These days your digital camera shows you your image before you click the shutter. (Back in the old days…)

The challenge for us is to previsualize the world we want to see post pandemic.

This entry was posted in #NDAPL, climate change, Indigenous, Uncategorized, Wet’suwet’en. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s