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Chelsea Green Blog

The Russia-Georgia War Detours through a Gas Station Near You

Are you surprised that control over oil and natural gas has a role in Russia’s diplomacy-by-other-means in Georgia?

The sudden war in the Caucasus brought Georgia to heel, reasserted Russia’s claim as the dominant force in the region, and dealt a blow to U.S. prestige. But in this part of the world, diplomacy and war are about oil and gas as much as they are about hegemony and the tragic loss of human life. Victory in Georgia now gives Russia the edge in the struggle over access to the Caspian’s 35 billion barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of gas. The probable losers: the U.S. and those Western oil companies that have bet heavily on the Caspian as one of the few regions where they could still operate with relative freedom.

It’s a global market for these fossil fuels. American over-consumption plays a role (not the only role, of course, and sometimes not a leading role; but a role nonetheless) in every one of these energy-related power plays. Our first responsibility is to get ourselves out of Iraq, but we’ve got responsibilities beyond that. Time to transition.

  • Drive less. Or not at all. It can be done.
  • Stop using natural gas, heating oil, propane, or fossil-fuel-derived electricity in your home. It can be done.
  • Eat local, organic food. It can be done. Year round.
  • Grow your own food. Can’t get much more local than that. Even in the darkest basement apartment, it can be done.
  • Feel free to add to the list.


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