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It’s Not That Bad, Is It? The Changing Role of the Peak Oil-Aware
Rob Hopkins, Transition Culture
... This quote resonated with me after watching James Howard Kunstler on Glenn Beck’s show on CNN. It was also something I was thinking about after Monday’s You and Yours show and a couple of talks I have given recently. Kunstler has always, as far as media appearances go, been the bearer of bad tidings, the Writing on the Wall, taking the role of persistently breaking the bad news about peak oil and the end of affluence to a population that really doesn’t want to hear.
Things are moving so fast at the moment as we stand on the cusp of $130 a barrel oil and the impacts are starting to bite on everyday lives, and it feels to me like our roles are changing. In the CNN clip, it is actually the presenter who is in peak oil panic mode, and Kunstler finds himself more in the role of “whao, slow down, deep breaths now…”. The presenter has clearly either just had, or is having live on air, his End of Suburbia moment, his peak oil revelation, and is turning to Kunstler for some support.
It left me wondering, as did the You and Yours programme, about how those of us who have already undergone our peak oil moments, who have sat in the dark place already, and who have re-emerged with our daily lives underpinned by an awareness of the great impermanence of our industrial surroundings, are finding our roles changing as the rest of our friends and neighbours catch us up.
I find that with more and more people my role changes from saying “do you know what, this is really, really serious”, to saying “well yes, given that it is really serious, don’t panic, let’s explore this…” Clearly there are times when a peak oil fire and brimstone talk is appropriate, but I am finding more and more as I travel and give talks that audiences are catching up very fast and need clarification and the placing of their work in the context of the emerging responses, of which Transition is one.
(21 May 2008)
So, you've just discovered peak oil!
Sharon Astyk, Casaubon's Book
Original title: Peak Energy and an Overview of Its Implications for Food
... just knowing what peak oil *is* doesn’t necessarily help you. [Sharon's co-author] Aaron had to, as he joked, “talk a friend off the ledge” this week, and I suspect there are a lot of people out there who have just encountered a new and terrifying idea, and who are now panicking. And this is scary. It does mean an enormous amount of change.
BUT- and this is an important but - we are not all doomed. This is hard and scary, but it is not the end of your world. So before you rush out and buy MREs and ammo (Aaron’s line was “Spam and automatic weapons are the new black” ;-)), read some more stuff. Because it is important to remember that what is happening is the beginnings of a huge and difficult change - but change can happen. There are a lot of people - a lot on this site, a lot in the world - who can help.
To the extent I can help anyone, here’s some stuff I’ve written before on this:
The truth is, your world has just changed. You can’t unknow things. But that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing good left.
If you are still dubious and don’t understand how this is different than the 1970s, you might look here:
(21 May 2008)
Part of a long post about many things, titled "Peak Energy and an Overview of Its Implications for Food". -BA
New Zealand Guide to Surviving the Future 2008
Kevin Moore, book
New Zealand Guide to Surviving the Future
By Kevin Moore
ISBN 9781877 400001
The 2006 edition of The Thinking Person’s New Zealand Guide to Surviving the Future highlighted the imminent arrival of a worldwide triple crisis -an energy crisis, an environmental crisis and a financial crisis.
During 2007 oil prices reached new highs, food prices rose, hedge funds and finance companies collapsed, gold hit new highs, and currencies fluctuated wildly. We can confidently say that the world as we have known it -a world of cheap
energy, cheap food and financial stability- is disappearing fast. Whilst many are preparing for what is to come, most on board the 'Titanaic' fail to notice the sugns and are still unaware the 'ship' has been 'holed'.
The world is now rapidly dividing into those who will ride the storm and those who will not: survivors and perishers. Those who wish to take advantage of the rapidly vanishing window of opportunity need to act quickly.
The above text is the correct text from author Keven Moore. The text at the link may not be up to date. Keven adds:
The full story is that "The Thinking Person's New Zealand Guide to Survivng the Future" was first published in mid-2006. The updated 2007 edition never got onto the website. I updated and rewrote much of the book though late 2007 to early 2008 and called it the '2008 Edition' to make it quite clear that it is effectively a new book, as opposed to a reprint of the original.
Counterpoint: Dangers of Focusing Solely on Climate Change
Alex Steffen, Wired
Another example of how carbon blindness leads to counterproductive policies: embracing nuclear power as a clean energy source. ... a cut-carbon-at-all-costs approach blinds us to more-sustainable, and ultimately more-promising, solutions.
To have any hope of staving off collapse, we need to move forward with measures that address many interrelated problems at once. We're not going to persuade people in the developing world to go without, but neither can we afford a planet on which everyone lives like an American. Billions more people living in suburbs and driving SUVs to shopping malls is a recipe for planetary suicide. We can't even afford to continue that way of life ourselves.
We don't need a War on Carbon. We need a new prosperity that can be shared by all while still respecting a multitude of real ecological limits - not just atmospheric gas concentrations, but topsoil depth, water supplies, toxic chemical concentrations, and the health of ecosystems, including the diversity of life they depend upon.
We can build a future in which technology, design, smart incentives, and wise policies make it possible to deliver a high quality of life at lower ecological cost. But that brighter, greener future is attainable only if we embrace the problems we face in all their complexity. To do otherwise is tantamount to clear-cutting the very future we're trying to secure.
Alex Steffen (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the editor of the green futurism site Worldchanging.com and of the book Worldchanging: A User's Guide for the 21st Century.
(19 May 2008)
Counterpoint article to the current issue of Wired: Inconvenient Truths: Get Ready to Rethink What It Means to Be Green.