17 Nov Why Oil and Water?
Catherine Gautier (Geography, UCSB)
Tuesday, November 17, 2009 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB
This talk is the keynote address for the IHC’s Oil + Water series. Unsustainable use of oil and water by a rapidly growing global population is creating a serious environmental security challenge. Intensified competition for these dwindling resources threatens global security. Oil and water are intertwined in many ways. Each needs the other in its respective extraction process, and the use of one accelerates the depletion of the other. Oil and water are also linked through climate change. Oil burning emits carbon dioxide responsible for the enhanced greenhouse effect and consequent global warming that modifies the water cycle and water availability.
The looming peak in oil represents a visible surrogate for most natural resource depletion, more conspicuously advertised than upcoming water shortages. One must question why “peak oil” has become a proxy for a host of dwindling Earth resources that may have dramatic consequences for humanity. While oil is considered a catalyst for economic growth and often associated with wealth and power, water tends to be conceived as a commons, inspiring hope for multinational cooperation around water resources. In this presentation, we will lay the groundwork for the IHC’s Oil + Water series. We will also reflect, together, on the problem of translating the scientific data relevant to these challenges to humanists.
Sponsored by the IHC’s Oil + Water series.