Margaret E. Atwood
Jul 27, 2015 · 27 min read

By Margaret Atwood

Animations by Carl Burton

Oil! Our secret god, our secret sharer, our magic wand, fulfiller of our every desire, our co-conspirator, the sine qua non in all we do! Can’t live with it, can’t — right at this moment — live without it. But it’s on everyone’s mind.

Back in 2009, as fracking and the mining of the oil/tar sands in Alberta ramped up — when people were talking about Peak Oil and the dangers of the supply giving out — I wrote a piece for the German newspaper Die Zeit. In English it was called “The Future Without Oil.” It went like this:

(Frank Carroll/NBCU Photo Bank; Visions of America/UIG via Getty Images; J. A. Hampton/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
(The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images; Getty Images; Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images)
(Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images; Terry O’Neill/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
(Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images; Arcaid/UIG via Getty Images)
(Feng Li/Getty Images; Tim Pershing/AFP/Getty Images; Wolfgang Simlinger/ASAblanca via Getty Images)
(Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images; Dave Einsel/Getty Images)
(Richard Blanshard/Getty Images; Giles Clarke/Getty Images)
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(Kurita Kaku/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images; Phil Inglis/Getty Images)
(Brent Lewin/Bloomberg via Getty Images [2]; Ben Nelms/Bloomberg via Getty Images [2])
(DeAgostini/Getty Images [3])
(Michael Blann/Getty Images; Rosemary Calvert/Getty Images)
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(2006; 2015)
(Photo via Tumblr)
(Xurxo Lobato/Cover/Getty Images; Bhaskar Paul/The India Today Group/Getty Images)
(Andrew Burton/Getty Images; Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images; Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
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(Howard R. Hollem via The Library of Congress; ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images)
(Photo via gettystation.com)
(Sébastien Bonaimé/Getty Images; Viktor Drachev/AFP/Getty Images)
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(Kevin Frayer/Getty Images; John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images)
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(Jonas Bendiksen/Magnum)
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(Farooq Naeem/AFP/Getty Images; Nichole Sobecki for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
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(NASA)

Appendix: Companies that take CO2 out of the air

by Margaret Atwood

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