As of today, now playing in a theatre near you, is a film with a fascinating new look at the oil industry and it’s dark side. CRUDE, the film, tells a shocking story that Chevron, the 5th largest company on this planet, does not want the world to know. Like, The Cove, another documentary about the uglier side of industry, this one is a bombshell that should awaken everyone who sees it to the environmental tragedies that are ongoing here on Earth and the battle to save our planet.

Three years in the making by acclaimed filmmaker Joe Berlinger (Brother’s Keeper, Paradise Lost, and Metallica: Some Kind of Monster), CRUDE chronicles the epic legal battle to hold Chevron accountable for its systematic contamination of the Ecuadorian Amazon. If you are not aware of the disaster, it was an environmental tragedy experts call the “Amazon Chernobyl,” and believe is the worst case of oil-related contamination on Earth. I have had my own firsthand experience with the self absorbed and mostly indifferent oil industry in my own life; we had a property that was contaminated by big oil and basically lost our fight. I know how hard it is to battle these powerful people.

But here’s the story on this current battle. While drilling in the Ecuadorian Amazon from 1964 to 1990, Texaco, which is now called Chevron, deliberately dumped more than 18 billion gallons of toxic wastewater, spilled roughly 17 million gallons of crude oil, and left hazardous waste in hundreds of open pits dug out of the forest floor. The company selfishly resorted to substandard practices that were obsolete in order to increase its profit margin by a mere $3 per barrel of crude. Of course, the local people and ecosystems paid the price instead, and at a much higher price than $3.00. In fact, many have paid with their lives and their livelihoods. But, good for them, they have been fighting back and this is where the film comes in.

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Some folks are now investigating the possibility of using Pond scum, commonly known as Algae, as a natural energy source. Now, I had Aquariums and I spent endless hours killing this stuff with bleach and then rinsing for endless hours to rid the fish tank of bleach residue. A big process to rid the tank of the invasive scum and now I find out I might have had a valuable resource?

This whole thing spawns, no doubt, from the big energy crunch that has everybody scrambling for alternatives. Most of the interest, as you probably know, has centered on biofuels like corn, soybeans, switch grass and other vegetable sources. Because oil prices are now so high, vegetable sources, which used to be considered pricey in comparison, now look financially feasible. Algae, which basically cost nothing and has similar properties to other vegetable sources, is an interesting prospect.

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