We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Rush for Oil in West Africa – The New Wild West?

Click here to access article by Meena Bhandari from Inter Press Service. 
...the history of oil in Africa has so far been a tumultuous one. A recent EU report found that the negative impacts of the oil industry in sub-Saharan Africa were a major concern, for the health and livelihoods of local communities.

It also stressed the need for better accountability, transparency and governance, and came hot on the heels of the United Nations findings highlighting the impact of oil spills in the Niger Delta.

The Niger Delta is said to be one of the most polluted sites in the world with oil spills over the last 50 years, having a devastating impact on human and wild life. A clean up is estimated to take 30 years at a cost of around one billion dollars, according to the U.N.
As more discoveries of oil occur in Africa, many worry about whether such discoveries are a blessing or a curse given the history of oil on this continent. Perhaps there is some connection between these discoveries and the new US military mission in the heart of Africa. See especially this article entitled, "Scramble for Africa", for much more background on the involvement of Western countries and China in the continent.