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Presentation by Local Author of The Eskimo and the Oil Man: The Battle at the Top of the World for America’s Future

Bob Reiss Berkshire Museum Pittsfield MA

Please join local author Bob Reiss for a thought-provoking presentation on the not-so-cold fate of the earth’s Polar Regions. This presentation takes place on Wednesday, January 16, from 7pm-8:30pm at the Berkshire Museum on 39 South Street. There is a fee of $5 for adults. Students attend for free.

The Arctic century is upon us. A great jockeying for power and influence has erupted between nations in the high north. At stake is trillions of dollars in profit or loss, US security, geopolitical influence, and the fate of a fragile environment as well as the region’s traditional people. As the ice melts and oil companies venture north, the Polar Regions are becoming the next Saudi Arabia, the next Panama Canal.

Reiss spent three years traveling to the US high north to tell this story through the eyes of two men, one an Inupiat Eskimo leader on Alaska’s North Slope, the other the head of Shell Oil’s Alaska Venture, which seeks to drill for oil offshore in 2013. Their tale is set against the background of an undersea land rush in the Arctic; of Russian bombers appearing off Alaska’s coasts recently; of rapid changes in ice that will effect millions of sea mammals and the day-to-day lives of every American, in their cities and towns and in their pocketbooks.

To report thoroughly on this story, Reiss spent time with scientists, diplomats, military planners, Eskimo whale hunters and politicians at the highest levels of Washington. He traveled to remote villages and sailed on a US icebreaker. Shell hopes to drill off Alaska in 2013 and the fight will make headlines. The Mayor of the North Slope seeks to protect his peoples’ 4,000-year-old culture and guarantee them income. The story begins as a fight and in the end the Eskimo and the Oil Man reflect the issues dividing every American community wrestling with the balance between energy use and environmental protection.

Co-sponsored by Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT), Berkshire Museum, Williams College, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, and Berkshire Community College. For more information please contact Jane Winn 413-230-7321 or jane@thebeatnews.org.

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