Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Oil: A World in Short Supply

Did you hear Riki Ott's talk as a part of the lecture series accompanying the Minerva Course "Oil: A World in Short Supply"? Here's a summary of what she said!

On May 4 marine toxicologist Riki Ott, PhD, spoke about the transition from oil as society’s main energy source, the BP oil spill, and how the US government protects profit over democracy. Ott travels the country to speak about the Exxon Valdez and BP oil spills. Her talk was entitled “From Exxon Valdez to BP Disaster: Changing the End Game”.

Ott described how oil dependency is linked to consumerism, commodification, privatization, globalization, and militarization. She believes that society must change its main energy source as well as its lifestyle, culture, and economy. She talked about the similarities between the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 and the BP oil spill. The effects of the Exxon spill were much worse than scientists had thought, but the laws haven’t changed since. She discussed how BP saved millions of dollars by spraying a chemical dispersant to hide the magnitude of the spill. Ott described how surprised she was that the BP spill didn’t rally support from the public. She talked about how democracy was hijacked at first by the railroad companies then later the corporations. Corporations don’t have to follow certain laws and are protected by constitutional rights through courts. Finally, she stressed the importance of creating a self-reliant community. 

Riki Ott is very knowledgeable about both the Exxon Valdez and BP oil spills. She is an interesting and energetic speaker. Ott really understands the secondary and tertiary effects of the spills on the environment and the people who make those places their home. 

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