Living in the 21st century, we have witnessed endless wars. The wars to control the energy supply have defined our generation. For many of us, the fossil fuel industries have paid for our lifestyles. It likely gave us peace of mind and a life of privilege. It paid for our world-class education and allowed us to travel without limits, to put food on the table and support our families, whether we were direct or indirect beneficiaries. However, most of us were distanced from the global conflicts that were launched in order to control the oil and gas supply around the world as we were more focused on simply living our daily lives.
The simple fact is that the fossil fuel industries have sustained the very global conflicts in the 21st century into an era of endless wars. Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Nigeria, South Sudan, Libya, Ukraine, the East and South China Seas: the world has been bombarded with foreign interventions and renewed conflicts. At a cursory glance, these foreign conflicts appear to be independent events, however upon closer analysis, they all share the same key characteristics: ethnic, religious and national clashes that have masked the disputes to control the oil and gas supply of the world.
These wars and conflicts were never about ancient rivalries; about Sunnis vs. Shiites or Kurds vs. Turks, or about Muslims vs. Christians or Dinka vs. Nuer. It was never about Ukraininan loyalists vs. Russian-speakers aligned with Moscow, nor about the age old rivalries between China, Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines.
In the East and South China seas, vast undersea oil and gas reserves were estimated to have 23 to 30 billion tons of oil and 16 trillion cubic metres of natural gas which has led to tensions, disputes and clashes between China, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea amongst others in order to take control of this area. Photo by Sam Pepple/ Sample Cartography
The control of oil and gas fuels more than merely cars and automobiles, it also fuels military power, national treasuries and international politics. While ethnic and religious divisions may provide the ideological motive for these conflicts, it is the potential for oil and gas profits that keeps the struggles alive. As we move into an era of green energy, will the leaders around the world move away from the militarisation of our people and stop the support of these forever wars?