Fall Film Series features ‘Beyond Oil’ to promote cleaner energy

David Kim

The Center for Peace and Justice Education presented two screenings, each followed by a discussion, of “Beyond Oil,” sponsored by the Villanova Environmental Group in cooperation with the Sierra Club last Thursday. 

The 13-minute mini-documentary, which is part of CPJE’s Fall Film Series, presents a visually vivid account of the long-term effects of this summer’s oil spill on the local population and urges President Obama to adopt cleaner energy sources beyond crude oil for Americans.

The film follows the story of the nearly five million barrels of oil that steadily oozed its way toward Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, washing onto local communities and leaving symbols of destruction — pelicans dyed from crude oil, pasted onto the shore.

However, focusing beyond the quantitative and financial setbacks, “Beyond Oil” turns its attention to the local communities and populations directly impacted by the consequences of BP’s shortcomings. 

Because of BP’s “arrogant complacency,” as one local refers to BP’s inability to abide by safety protocol that inevitably resulted in the explosion, many individuals and families who depend on the environment for not only their jobs, but also their main food source, are in a troubled and debilitated state. 

Highlighting the environmental effects, “Beyond Oil” also conveys the dissatisfaction and animosity toward this catastrophic event. 

In response, those most directly affected, along with environmental activists, urge President Obama to act on their behalf. 

The film ends with President Obama saying, “The time has come, once and for all, for this nation to fully embrace a clean energy future.” 

The screenings were followed by a signing of prepared petitions to President Obama, urging him to take the necessary steps toward cleaner energy. 

“Everyone in here can write letters to the government,” said Joanna Simonetti, a board member of VEG. “That’s where our power lies.” 

Many viewers were also struck by the reality that individual efforts would ultimately remain unnoticed.

“Change is simply not feasible for the individual,” said freshman Mike Bucaria, another board member. “But one of the bigger things we can do, as individuals, is to write letters to the government.”

While some worried whether their voices would go unheard, others criticized the media for dropping coverage of the disaster in recent weeks.

The oil spill called to arms activists and concerned citizens around the world, but as the media coverage decreased, so did the momentum behind the desire to take action.

This, according to Carol Anthony, professor and moderator of the Film Series, is a bad habit of the media, as the same negligence plagued Hurricane Katrina and, more recently, the earthquake in Haiti.

“We tend to move on as if nothing happened — consumed or distracted by the next crisis,” Anthony said. “We seem to lack the ability to tend to problems in the long term.”

However, despite this setback, Anthony remains optimistic in the grassroots works around the world and on campus. 

“The Peace and Justice Lecture and Film Series is devoted to the issues of oil, energy and the environment since they are such pressing issues,” Anthony said. “Tapping awareness into the students, the rising generation, is the most important thing. There is a tremendous amount of work to be done.”