Locus Focus on 04/15/13
THE ENERGY OF SLAVES - An Interview with Andrew Nikiforuk
In ancient civilizations the energy of human slaves planted crops, clothed emperors and built cities. Slavery was the cornerstone of more recent societies as well, like the pre-civil war American South. Yet when the abolition movement in the United States finally triumphed at the end of the Civil War, it had an invisible ally: coal and oil. Fossil fuels dramatically replenished slavery's ranks with combustion engines and other labour-saving tools. Since then, oil has transformed politics, economics, science, agriculture, gender, and even our concept of happiness. On this episode of Locus Focus, we talk with Andrew Nikiforuk, author of a new book The Energy of Slaves. He argues that we still behave like slaveholders in the way we use energy, and that urgently needs to change.
For more than two decades Andrew Nikiforuk has written about energy, economics and the West. He is best known for The Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of the Continent, which criticized the pace and scale of the world's largest energy project and Empire of the Beetle, an account of how one tiny bug reshaped the geography of the west.