The Naked Option
The Naked Option by Candace Schermerhorn portrays the peaceful protest by courageous Nigerian women against the Chevron and Shell oil companies. Women in Nigeria’s Niger Delta, the location of Africa’s largest oil and gas drilling activity where Chevron and Shell operate, used the threat of stripping naked in public, a serious cultural taboo, to hold the oil companies accountable to the surrounding communities. For ten days in July 2002, 600 rural peasant women, ages 20 – 90, took over Chevron’s Niger Delta facilities, the largest in Nigeria, which is the third largest oil supplier to the United States. Unarmed, the women blocked the flow of a half million barrels of oil a day through non violent protest.
Some environmentalists say as much as 550 million gallons of oil have poured into the Niger River Delta during 50 years of production. The film depicts thick black oil lapping up in brackish delta creeks, polluting the drinking supply and harming vegetation and fishing, women’s traditional means of livelihood. Drilling for oil involves flaring natural gas flaring, which emits greenhouse gases and releases toxins that can cause asthma, cancer and respiratory illnesses. Even though neither Chevron nor Shell kept their promises to the women, the film inspires us to question corporate responsibility and to take collective action to bring about change in our own communities in the same way in which these women transformed fear into political activism.
Omolola Adele-Oso, a local woman of Nigerian descent, will facilitate the discussion following the film.
The Reel & Meal is sponsored by three Greenbelt affinity groups. The Peace & Justice Coalition of Prince Georges County plans this month’s film as part of Greenbelt’s Peace Month. For more information, contact Donna Hoffmeister at .
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