The Oil Alarm, a 17-minute animated film by Liam Scheff, looks at oil’s relationship with our food, as well as our dependence on oil for our food supply. It warns us about how the world we have built, that relies on cheap abundant oil, is in danger of a catastrophic collapse.
The Oil Alarm shows the extent to which food supply in industrialized countries rely on fossil fuels and the development of an inherently unsustainable food system which contributes significantly to global warming. It demonstrates the consumption of finite oil as a cheap and readily available source of energy at all stages of food production, and how the erosion of communities throughout the world, due to industrial agriculture and industrial food supply systems, occur. The extreme fluctuations in the availability of oil and the effect of oil prices on the global food supply systems; significant food shortages and sharp increases in food prices, due to environmental threats and energy scarcity, and danger to food systems by modern, commercial oil-dependent agriculture, is a warning to us all.
The Oil Alarm asks a few pertinent questions: How secure is our food supply? What does crude oil have to do with growing food? What will you do when trucks stop running or when grocery stores go empty? When food runs low — or runs out? How will high gas prices and food shortages affect you?
In The Oil Alarm, Scheff lays out all the details of a coming global collapse stemming from our over-reliance on oil, but more importantly, what we can all do to get ready for it. How do we secure our local food sources, build resilient food networks, and ensure our safety in the upcoming crisis? The key, he says, is to build a society that does not rely on fossil fuels in order to not just survive, but thrive.
“We live at the peak of the petroleum age, digging up every square mile of land for a little more oil. We’re ruining our water, soil, air and land — but we won’t stop. We’ve got a looming nuclear disaster staring at us across the Pacific, but we don’t want to talk about it. And just on the other side of the oil peak, we’re fearing a steep decline in the energy that’s built our society.
“Our food comes from distant fields, plowed by immense machines (that run on oil), carried to us on the back of trucks (that run on oil), sprayed and chemically-coated with pesticides (made of oil). Can you see the weaknesses in this system?
“It is not only our birthright — but our responsibility — to grow food where we live. The 21st Century is going to be about relocalizing our food growing, agriculture, and skilled labor — bringing it back to our towns and neighborhoods. We will be changing the way we look at our lawns, green spaces, parks and public spaces. Instead of thinking of lawns and parks as green chemical beds of inbred grass, we will be making them fertile places for food to grow.”
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