Power Beyond Extraction

Oct. 23, 2019 - Oct. 26, 2019 Multiple venues in Pittsburgh, PA

Programming Series @ Multiple venues, Pittsburgh, PA, October 2019

In October, the biggest players in the energy industry will descend on Pittsburgh for the Shale Insight Conference, an annual summit aimed at bending the national and international energy future in the direction of the extractive industries. Proposed as a low-carbon alternative to oil, shale gas is part of a climate change adaptation strategy that expands and diversifies the market for fossil fuels while broadening our collective dependency on nonrenewables. Climate scientists, Native Nations, and environmental organizations have long warned that for there to be a planetary future, fossil fuels need to stay in the ground. The future of energy requires not only a break from fossil fuels, but also from the extractive relation to the land that has underpinned the twin projects of capitalism and settler colonialism for centuries.

With a major petrochemical build-out slated for the Ohio River Valley over the next few years, Pittsburgh is becoming a key site of struggle over the future of energy. Power Beyond Extraction enters this struggle, bringing together Indigenous activists, environmental organizers, scholars, filmmakers and artists to collectively envision a future of energy beyond extraction. This future is aligned with movements for climate and environmental justice, informed by a non-dominating and non-exploitative relation to the land, and guided by an obligation to future generations.

Power Beyond Extraction is curated and organized by The Natural History Museum, a mobile and pop-up museum founded by the art collective Not An Alternative in 2014. An ongoing art intervention, The Natural History Museum has a mission to unleash the power of museums as agents of change.


Fire Underground: Animated film and discussion

Oct. 26, 2019 Carnegie Museum of Art & Natural History

This animated film by artist Nick Crockett, built in a game engine, presents an alternative version of the 300 million year history of coal. Hovering between homage and parody, fantasy and documentary, cinema and simulation, it pitches labor history and natural history against the confused representations of Appalachia in popular culture today.

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Power Beyond Extraction: A Buried History

Oct. 24, 2019 Carnegie Museum of Art & Natural History

On one hand, the history of coal is a history of exploitation of both land and labor. On the other, it is the history of the struggle of workers to organize for dignified work, fair pay, and safe working conditions. How should the environmental movement relate to workers whose livelihoods are tied to fossil fuel extraction?

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Decolonizing Green Power

Oct. 23, 2019 Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden

Building on centuries of Indigenous knowledge about the sun’s power to give life, Indigenous communities across the continent are modeling a solar energy future that breaks from the profit motive. This panel considers green energy as a site for decolonization.

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Defend The Water: Day of Action

Oct. 23, 2019 Multiple locations in Pittsburgh

Join Native leaders from across the country, former miners and steelworkers, youth activists and frontline community members for a day of action outside the Shale Insight gas and petrochemical conference.

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