Oil, Water and James Bond

Oil and water don’t mix. But they are of such importance that both are featured in a James Bond film, as the next major international threat. In Quantum of Solace, Bond is seeking revenge for the death of his lover and stumbles upon Dominic Greene, a wealthy businessman and agent for the Quantum organization. In a dramatic opera-infused scene, Bond learns that Greene has been buying thousands of kilometers of oil pipeline in a quest to control the “world’s most precious resource.” In a previous scene, the CIA, having learned of Greene’s purchasing of oil pipeline, agrees to look the other way while he stages a coup d’état in Bolivia, in exchange for US buying rights for any oil discovered in Bolivia. The British government is also reluctantly in bed with Quantum, they are desperate for oil as the US and China gobble up the reserves in the Middle East.

After crashing landing an old plane in the Bolivian desert and taking cover in an elaborate cave, Bond stumbles upon a dammed river and an enormous underground reservoir and realizes that Quantum is actually after water; that water is the “world’s most previous resource.” By allowing the Americans and British to assume that they had found oil, Quantum quietly gained control of Bolivia’s water supply and created an artificial drought and exorbitantly high water prices for Bolivians.

Although obviously fictional, this environmental terrorism depicted in this film is relevant to thinking about the price of oil and water and their value as limited resources. That both the British and American governments were willing to makes deals with Greene for access to oil speaks to our dependence on oil. This and their inability to think outside of the typical energy-focused framework allowed Greene to secretly seize control of Bolivia’s water supply without drawing any suspicion. While an evil corporation does not threaten our water supply, water is a limited resource and the created drought depicted in Quantum of Solace could become very real. Finally, that the main twist in the film is that water, not oil is the “world’s most precious resource” speaks to the importance of creating legal and responsible methods for managing water’s usage.

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