Archive for April, 2009

Understanding Peak Oil video presentation

Just another quickie – a really good video from Post-Peak Living. This is a great introduction to peak oil, so if you know someone who doesn’t yet understand the issues, send them this link. It’s U.S. based, but is still good – I liked a couple of the points particularly:

People lived well before oil, and people can live well after it.

Life is going to get very local, very quickly.

Worth remembering!


The Guide to Post Peak Living

Just found this great resource over at Post Peak Living- “The Guide to Post Peak Living” – it’s a well-organised, comprehensive guide to preparing for life after the peak, including food storage, water, skills to learn and many others. Well worth a good read.

ExxonMobil: U.S. Gasoline Consumption has peaked

In an interesting article on the Obama approach to Peak Oil, The Huffington Post reports that ExxonMobil have declared that U.S. Gasoline Consumption peaked in 2008.

Even the oil patch’s biggest cheerleaders, ExxonMobil, who earlier helped frighten a public and a market to $147/bbl oil, now finds itself obligated to acknowledge that that U.S. consumption of gasoline has peaked.

 The article goes on to propose that remaining Oil and Gas reserves be taken into a National Oil Trust – essentially nationalising the U.S. Oil industry. Very interesting.

Background to Peak Oil – Interview with Colin Campbell

There is a great interview with Colin Campbell over at The Oil Drum – running through all the Peak Oil basics. It covers tar sands, new discoveries, potential of polar oil fields, reserve growth, and all the rest. I particularly liked the concluding paragraphs:

We enter a new world, as the principal energy that drove the anomalous past two centuries heads into decline from natural depletion. This is not necessarily a doomsday message. I have known many simple people in different parts of the world who smiled and laughed not being part of the consumer society.

There are encouraging signs. A BBC film crew who was here recently told me that they had become so convinced of the Peak Oil issue, which they had studied to make their programme, that they had decided to quit the BBC and buy a small farm in the west of England on which to build a simple sustainable future. That was most encouraging, I thought.

Inspirations: The Downshift Project

Just finished listening to the first podcast from The Downshift Project – a really interesting insight into the lives of budding escapees from this oil-based rat race.

I’ve never really got into listening to non-radio podcasts so this is a new one on me, an extra, personal, dimension to a blog. This podcast is an strangely intimate confessional, and as I found the content so interesting I didn’t really think about how vulnerable the author must feel, and I hadn’t had any thoughts about the quality of her podcast until she mentioned it at the end – which must be a good sign.

In it, Tess, the creator of the podcast, discusses how she got from traditional daily life to living in a wooden cabin in west Wales. She talks about the difficulty in leaving your established career, something which often defines you in our work-based society. She confronts the fear of losing skills built up over many year, but a turning point comes when she makes the realisation that she couldn’t survive without Civilisation. That was a good point for me: how could we survive without the constant crutch of nearby shops, water and power? And I guess that really is the ultimate question we’re facing here at Gentle Descent.  I liked her advice that the best way to free yourself from the constrictions of your existing job-and-skills mindset – focus on the future, and as you develop those new skills and interests, you’l leave your old “protective shell” behind without even noticing.

The description of their Narrow-Boat life was great – I liked the intimate connection to nature. Something that I remember from our un-insulated timber house in Brisbane. The community of narrowboaters sounded fun, and I wonder if our desire for land (and therefore space between us and others) is the sort of thing that reduces community bonds. It’ll be interesting to see if they can find that kind of community again in a rural, land-based world.

Their aim to be debt free, so they can minimise the time they have to work for others, really resonates with me. And the balance that they’re striking between life and career goals is certainly refreshing. I’ll be interested to see how their paid work/life/self sufficiency work balance pans out, and whether Tess manages to spend enough time writing and composing music or will her time all be taken up with producing food & fuel? Lets watch and see!

George Monbiot on the G20 and Peak Oil

From today’s Guardian – “G20 forgets the environment“:

“We, the Leaders of the Group of Twenty, will use every cent we don’t possess to rescue corporate capitalism from its contradictions and set the world economy back onto the path of unsustainable growth. We have already spent trillions of dollars of your money on bailing out the banks, so that they can be returned to their proper functions of fleecing the poor and wrecking the Earth’s living systems. Now we’re going to spend another $1.1 trillion. As an exemplary punishment for their long record of promoting crises, we will give the IMF and the World Bank even more of your money. These actions constitute the greatest mobilisation of resources to support global financial flows in modern times.

Oh – and we nearly forgot. We must do something about the environment. We don’t have any definite plans as yet, but we’ll think of something in due course.”

Tragically accurate. Doesn’t that just sum it up?

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