Christian Long

Edward Burtynsky: Photographs the Landscape of Oil

In TED Talks on May 5, 2010 at 9:45 pm

Reflection by DEVEN P.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Edward Burtynsky:  Photographs the Landscape of Oil

Thirty years ago as Edward Burtynsky was working in a mine he noticed a world that the average person would not know existed. So he devised a plan to change all that. He decided he would take photographs of the oil industry. He’s been doing this for the past 17 years.

His photographs have three “chapters” to them. The first “chapter” is the extraction and the refinement. The second is how we use it: transporation, cities, homes, etc. The third “chapter” is the disposal, where every vehicle, tires, and any other gas powered machine goes once it’s out of use. His goal is to get everybody to imagine the horrors illustrated in his pictures anytime they use an oil induced machine.

The two largest dirty oil suppliers, Canada and Saudi Arabia, will only produce enough oil for the next 15 years. The whole world holds an estimated 1.2 trillion reserves, which will only last us approximately 45 years. Oil is made slowly from the ocean and phytoplankton through photosynthesis. Ecologists estimated that it would take 500 years to catch up to our 30 billion barrels we use annually.Like Edward said “[this] is probably one of the most challenging issues of our time, to deal with our energy crisis”.

If we only have 45 years left until we run out of oil, it is imperative that we attempt to mitigate this problem now.

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