the last oil
the last oil symposium at the University of New Mexico is the first national convening to address the misguided and reckless Arctic and offshore energy policy of the Trump administration, which endangers biological nurseries of global significance, violates indigenous human rights, and threatens to derail the efforts to mitigate climate change and the Sixth Extinction. Twenty-nine leading activists, artists, attorneys, biologists, climate scientists, conservationists, curators, historians, policy experts, and writers will unite in Albuquerque for this public forum. the last oil is not a warning that we are running out of oil. On the contrary, there is so much oil — and gas and coal and other unconventional fossil fuels like tar sands and methane hydrates — that if we continue to dig up and burn all these fuel sources, we will push the Earth’s climate toward a runaway global warming from where charting a stable path will likely become impossible. the last oil instead draws attention to the ongoing collective action and determination to bring an end to the second Oil Age.
The colonization of nature under capitalism is rooted in an ethos that views human beings as separate to and above nature—Earthmasters for whom the Planet is an inexhaustible reservoir of natural resources to be exploited. With profit as the prime motive, the resources are denuded beyond sustainable limits for the disproportionate benefit of a wealthy few. Pollution and waste from this activity also is skewed in its impact, in this case to the substantial detriment of poor and marginalized people, indigenous communities, and biotic life. Capital’s colonization of nature has brought us to our current moment of grave ecological peril—climate change, Sixth Extinction, and other human-caused environmental crises that cumulatively and rapidly degrade Earth’s life-sustaining ecological fabric.
Decolonizing Nature has thus become an urgent priority if we are to progress toward a just and sustainable Earth for all living beings. How do we resist further ecological devastation? How do we achieve resilience in times of stress? How do we revitalize affected ecological habitats and communities?