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Bringing ‘A Crude Awakening’ to campus

Michelle Fordice | Friday, October 5, 2007

Whether it is through a New York Times article on the shrinking amount of arctic ice, the constant questioning of presidential candidates on their policies or the upcoming meeting of 70 government heads to consider a replacement for the Kyoto accords, issues concerning the energy crisis hold a strong sway over world interest. Beginning this Sunday, Notre Dame is offering its own forum for discussion of energy related issues with the Notre Dame Energy Week.

To open the events, the Notre Dame Energy Center, the Energy and Environmental Issues Committee, Joint Engineering Council, Students for Environmental Action and Notre Dame Student Government will present a showing of “A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash.” The film offers a perspective on one of the most contentious facets of the energy debate.

Produced and directed by European journalists and filmmakers Basil Gelpke and Ray McCormack, “A Crude Awakening” is a 90-minute documentary that uses archival footage, recent film from around the world and a wide range of interviews to argue that society is addicted to oil, a resource that is about to peak, if it has not already, and begin running out. Advocating an overhaul of industrial society, the film attempts to illustrate the possibly dire economic and political effects of ignoring this issue for too long. Students for Environmental Action co-president Thomas Furlong says that the film “shows a different perspective; instead of focusing on the issue of global climate change it narrows the focus to an issue that no one can deny. Oil is running out and steps must be taken to prepare for decreased supply.”

The film includes interviews with Colin Campbell, a petroleum geologist who predicts that oil production will peak this year; Matt Simmons, the chairman and CEO of Simmons & Company International; Roscoe Bartlett, a Maryland congressmen who supports renewable energy legislation; Fadhil Chalabi the former Iraqi Oil Minister, former Secretary-General of OPEC and current director of the Centre for Global Energy Studies; and Terry Lynn Karl, a Stanford University political scientist who wrote “The Paradox of Plenty: Oil Booms and Petro-Sates.”

Winning prizes at seven film festivals, “A Crude Awakening” is being hailed as the next “Inconvenient Truth.” Whatever one’s opinions on the world’s energy situation, films like this these bring awareness and sponsor the debates that lead to innovations and solutions, so don’t miss this Sunday’s screening.

“A Crude Awakening” is a free event that will show at 8 p.m. in DeBartolo 101. It will be followed by “Kilowatt Hours,” which reviews America’s energy-related problems.