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The Energy of Slaves - Oil and the New Servitude - cover

The Energy of Slaves - Oil and the New Servitude

Andrew Nikiforuk

Publisher: Greystone Books

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Summary

“A robustly researched and smoothly written overview of the many challenges confronting our devotion to fossil fuels” from the author of Tar Sands (Quill & Quire).   Ancient civilizations relied on shackled human muscle. It took the energy of slaves to plant crops, clothe emperors, and build cities. Nineteenth-century slaveholders viewed critics as hostilely as oil companies and governments now regard environmentalists. Yet the abolition movement had an invisible ally: coal and oil. As the world’s most versatile workers, fossil fuels replenished slavery’s ranks with combustion engines and other labor-saving tools. Since then, cheap oil has transformed politics, economics, science, agriculture, and even our concept of happiness. Many North Americans today live as extravagantly as Caribbean plantation owners. We feel entitled to surplus energy and rationalize inequality, even barbarity, to get it. But endless growth is an illusion.   In this provocative book, Andrew Nikiforuk, winner of the Rachel Carson Environment Book Award, argues that what we need is a radical emancipation movement that ends our master-and-slave approach to energy. We must learn to use energy on a moral, just, and truly human scale.  Published in Partnership with the David Suzuki Institute   “In his cautionary tale about the evils of oil . . . Nikiforuk makes his case for impending doom if we don’t mend our energy-spending ways.” —The Star   “In this cogently argued book, Andrew Nikiforuk deploys a powerful metaphor. Oil dependency, he writes, is a modern form of slavery—and it’s time for a global abolition movement.” —Taras Grescoe, author of Shanghai Grand   “A startling critique that should rouse us from our pipe dream of endless plenty.” —Ronald Wright, author of On Fiji Islands
Available since: 08/17/2012.
Print length: 298 pages.

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