Last week’s screening of “The End of Suburbia” was held with mixed results. About 10 people total showed up. It was however a public viewing of an alternative forecast concerning our future and the problems facing our way of life- not exactly a lite topic for a Thursday evening out. Many thanks to the George Washington Bookstore and Tavern for hosting and to all those who attended. More screenings are already being planned as I have been approached by individuals who were unable to attend but who are interested all the same. Most interesting was the discussion that took place after the film was over. The movie ended and those who attended were left with a less than rosy outlook on our near future. No one in the room seemed willing to just get up and walk out. The conversation was sporadic and varied wildly because of the wide range of opinions on topics most of the attendees aren’t made aware of daily. Awareness was the number one goal though and more people are now aware. Any information concerning future local initiatives to address or even discuss the coming global peak in oil production and its effects on Concord NC and the Charlotte region will be posted here.
Speaking of which, the Charlotte chapter of The Peak Oil Mitigation League is holding its November meeting this evening, November 9, 2005 at 6:00 pm. It’s to be held at the Robinson Middle School Cafetorium, Ballantyne Commons Pkwy Charlottte, NC 28277 980/343.6944. My apologizes for the last minute notification. I only recently became aware of this group and this meeting. I do not know much about either and would suggest using the above link to gather more information.
Last Thursday, during our discussion after the documentary was over, I made an observation that I hadn’t fully considered until it was on its way out of my mouth. For several years now (some would argue since the 70’s) there’s been a debate about whether or not the world’s oil production will ever peak, whether a day will ever come when we produce less oil as a planet than the day before. As you fast forward through history towards the present you see almost all authorities on oil production begin to agree that the peak is real and it is coming. The discussion shifted from “if” to “when”. Recently though the discussion has shifted again, this time from “when will it happen” to “well… what do we do about it?” Responses vary widely. There are those who still deny the existence of a problem. There are those who are unworried and point to the free market and the technological marvels of the past century as probable saviors of the future. I characterize these groups as ostriches with their heads fully submerged in the sand. There are however many individuals and indeed several communities who have entered into a dialogue concerning possible responses to peak oil and the end of cheap energy. These groups seem to understand that while the free market and technologies may play a role in any response to the problem they will not be enough to “save” us. They advocate personal as well as community-centered responses to the coming disturbances in the American way of life.
The following are a few of those offering resources concerning personal preparation.
First up is Matt Savinar. He runs a website called Life After the Crash. I don’t normally recommend Matt’s site to those who don’t understand peak oil because his introduction into the issue is so blunt that it can produce a traumatic reaction. He’s recently added a Post-Oil Bulletin section to his website though that is excellent. It costs around $7.00 per issue and is worth much more than that. His philosophy is that getting good advice costs money so he’s paying authorities on various subjects to spend quality time on peak oil response issues. I highly recommend this bulletin to anyone concerned with their future or the future of their family.
Path to Freedom is a website that chronicles the efforts of a family in Pasadena, CA to turn there urban home into an urban homestead. They grow much of there own food, produce much of their own electricity and even brew their own bio-diesel fuel; all of this accomplished from a residential lot within a few miles of the rose bowl. This site is an inspiration to those who think they can’t do more for themselves because they live in the city.
Lastly I want to mention Beyond Peak. This website is an excellent resource concerning all the specific information an individual or family might want to know more about when faced with the challenges of a post-petroleum lifestyle. It’s new and I’ve only just begun to take advantage of the all it has to offer.
There is another group of individuals emerging from the awareness of a future without plentiful petroleum. This group is characterized by a lack of hope when confronted with the extraordinary circumstances likely to be presented to us in the future. Some Americans are awakening to the idea of peak oil and are frozen with dread and inactivity during the very period in which their actions might do the most to mitigate its negative effects- the period before the peak. To this group I’d like to share the idea of doing your best to limit the amount of time you grieve over the future you’ve been promised. To be sure the news of peak oil can be depressing, but don’t waste the opportunity to take steps now to secure your future even if it doesn’t turn out to match your previous expectations. The time for action is now.
In a future post I’ll review some of the organizations and municipalities who are beginning to tackle community-centered responses to these issues. In the meantime please prepare yourselves or as my uncle use to say, “If you want to help feed others, first learn to feed yourself.”