Waiting for the first train

16 Jul 2009 admin

I’m waiting at Kings Cross – St Pancras with my rucksack for the 12:57 Eurostar to Damascus. The train isn’t quite direct yet — need to change at Brussels, Munich, Belgrade, Istanbul and Adana.

I’m leaving London – oil city and finance capital where BP and Shell extract knowledge, loans, social legitimacy and political power, where corporate executives sit in high offices building pipelines on flipcharts and hard-drives. Moving closer to the sites of physical extraction, where oil corporations pump crude out of the ground, to spend time with social movements, fossil fuel workers and local communities.

As part of PLATFORM’s Civil Society Project within Unravelling the Carbon Web, I will be based in the South, investigating the social, economic and environmental impacts of oil and gas projects. For the next three years I will travel slowly, by train, boat and bus, between the Middle East, Europe, the Americas and Asia.

Our project is pretty experimental: a tiny collective organisation basing a staff member abroad, planning visits, stays and workload so as to avoid any flights, basing a project around reactive work guided by needs and desires of affected communities. We’ll see how it develops.

This blog will probably include postings on BP and Shell’s attempts to break into oil & gas frontier regions, wider struggles against fossil fuel extraction, random cultural references and my attempts to travel slowly whilst working. We’ll see how often I blog — I plan to write most days, but at times posting may be erratic, with variable internet access. Writing style might also be a bit experimental …

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