Curriculum Vitae
Chronicles of defreezing
Science and Technology
Industrial engineer and expert in climate change
Juan Carlos Sánchez M.
Green oil

At the beginning of 2007, the world was experiencing an unprecedented growth in the demand for goods and services. Oil prices began to climb and food became more expensive, threatening supplies to a number of smaller countries dependent on imports. This was caused primarily by the accelerated growth of the economies of the emergent countries, followed by the international financial and economic crisis that has already reduced an estimated 20% of the GNP worldwide.

At the same time, scientists warned of the risks associated with climate change: the use of fossil fuels, mainly oil, releases gases to the atmosphere that are destabilizing weather and warming the planet, with adverse consequences for ecosystems and mankind in the not-too-distant future. Water will be scarce; there will be extreme droughts and flooding; heavy loss of lives, infrastructure and wealth.

The developed world has taken note and now seems determined to reduce reliance on imported oil. The resolution of the ongoing crisis should not mean a return to the high demand and high prices of 2007, because there simply is not enough for everybody. Hence the need to turn our sights to green and look for a growth model that can answer the challenge of climate change with new modes of production and consumption that are much more responsible in dealing with natural resources. There are a number of legislative initiatives like the American Clean Energy and Security Act in the USA; the European Union's 20% reduction of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by 2020; as well as vigorous politics regarding business opportunities for green ideas, including renewable energies, smart electrical grids, green buildings, eco-urbanism, bio-fuels, hybrid and electric cars, higher rates of recycling, projects for capture and containment of CO2, among others.

A countdown for oil is ticking, an hourglass has been turned and each grain of sand diminishes the window of opportunity to make this a prosperous country. Rolando Peña shows us this in his own way by transmuting the oil barrel into ice, the ice melting relentlessly into water, source of all life, whose manifestations we observe in the hundreds of images projected around the barrel transforming itself endlessly, subject to the designs of nature.

The fusion of the barrel is both an anguished clamor and a hopeful message from this artist, who is telling us that this is happening at a time when we are dependent more than ever on oil revenues. An oil very thick and loaded with sulfur and other toxic metals; its exploitation generates more greenhouse gases than any other. Let us open our eyes, says Rolando, the future has another color: green, like our forests, holding riches we barely know and have mistreated, as well as the potential for clean and renewable sources of energy, recyclable products and all the goods and services our ecosystems have to offer, our biodiversity. All these are elements that will be appreciated more and more in our global society. It is probable that our natural gas reserves, comparatively a cleaner fuel than oil, would allow us to buy some time in our transition to a greener world, but the sand in the hourglass keeps falling, along with a barrel that is melting.

Caracas 2010