Click the star to add/remove an item to/from your individual schedule.
You need to be logged in to avail of this functionality, and to see the links to virtual rooms.

Accepted Paper:

The Ends of Oil: A Parable from the American Empire of Oil  
David Bond (Bennington College)

Paper Short Abstract:

This paper reflects on an ongoing fight to close a massive refinery in the US Virgin Islands. This fight productively centers the imperial energy networks of the United States in questions of who is working to end oil as if their life depended on it and who is profiting from the destruction.

Paper Abstract:

St. Croix stands at a climate crucible. For 50 years, a mammoth oil refinery underwrote the economy on this US outpost in the Caribbean before closing abruptly in 2012. The refinery was rushed back online in 2019 to disastrous effect – “The Island Where It Rains Oil,” ran the Washington Post headline – only to file for bankruptcy. Today, the aftershocks of fossil fuels— whether in an extensive legacy of toxic pollution or in the rising fury of superstorms—threaten life on St. Croix. Facing up to these challenges is a costly affair, and many worry over how to build a future that can rise above the throes of petro-capitalism. Backed by pedigreed expertise, one plan gains momentum: heavily subsidize the rebooting of the refinery in the hope of bending the fiscal properties of fossil fuels into new investments in climate resiliency. For many civic groups and residents, such a plan seems the very definition of foolhardy. Battered and bruised by the environmental properties of fossil fuels, citizens demand a forceful break with the refinery to secure a more sustainable future today. The situation in St. Croix raises a crucial conundrum many of us are beginning to inhabit: Just how does oil end?

To venture an answer, this paper draws on 4 years of working with residents to close the refinery. This story is instructive on just how difficult the great transformation away from fossil fuels may prove to be, even when there is popular enthusiasm for just such a revolution.

Panel P217
Life after oil? Undoing the contradictions of the energy transition [Environmental Anthropology Network (EAN)]
  Session 1 Wednesday 24 July, 2024, -