Sunday, March 06, 2005

DOE Actually acknowledges Peak Oil!!!

So the department of Energy published a report recently acknowledging the reality of peak oil, and that it will take a minimum of twenty years to prevent a crisis - and that no one knows if we have twenty years or not (hint, probably not!). They acknowledged massive disruption to personal transportation and the economy if the problem is not fixed in time - not, however, to the food supply, which is the most urgent concern.

Peak oil is coming. G-d willing, the government might even wake up soon enough to start making a little bit of difference (after the next election, at the earliest, I'm sure!) But the rest of us can't wait. The DOE, (who I think are radically underestimating the scope of the problem, but at least they've noticed) are saying we need twenty years *from when we make radical change* - and trillions and trillions of dollars in investment (love those deficits!). So we're talking 23 1/2 years at a minimum (assuming we don't elect another oilman), and a hundreds of trillions of dollars we don't have.

We can't wait for the government to fix it!!!! The only way this can be mitigated, the only way the next depression can be softened, the only way the danger of actual starvation, war on our soil, and social crisis can be averted (to any degree) is by immediate, grassroots organizing. That means everyone reading this. Personal preparations are great - you need to get your house in order, and be prepared to deal with this on a personal level. But that DOES NOT exempt any one of us from creating community solutions. This cannot be a wholly personal thing - if everyone else in your community is jobless and hungry, all the personal preparations in the world won't help you. If there are no jobs, you may not be able to finish your preps in time. If the economy tanks and inflation goes wild, you may lose your "safe" home with all its preparations. If war comes your way, you may be made a refugee with no where to go. As important as personal preparation is, more urgent is preparing at every level - family, neighborhood, town, city, state, region, nation, to face this collectively.

What do you need? Greenspace to grow food, and people who know how. Local, sustainable industry and home businesses. Low carbon or no carbon ways of distributing materials and resources. Ways of making and doing things that are environmentally sound and energy efficient. Strong family and communal ties, that encourage collaboration and cooperation, rather than conflict. Support services for the needy - it might be you one day. A commitment to maximizing resources for everyone, rather than individual profit.

How do you get those things? Talk about peak oil to everyone - with your family, in your church/synagogue/temple/mosque, with your neighbors. But don't make them crazy - even if they don't believe in peak oil, they probably believe in things like stopping sprawl, creating community canneries and food banks, creating community gardens and greenspace, reforming livestock laws, encouraging food and water security, providing emergency training for EMS and fire services, sustainable woodland harvesting, gardening clubs, etc... You don't have to spend all your time yelling "peak oil" out loud - instead, start yelling "let's make this a better, more secure place for everyone.

Run for office - anything. School board? Sure, you can encourage energy wise policies, get gardening programs and 4H into the schools, bring in guest speakers on fossil fuel issues? Town council? Keep those woodlands open, build community gardens, make it legal to keep chickens within the city limits, create mixed zoning.

Start a peak oil group - meet up with people who are as concerned as you are. You find them in the strangest places - a friend of mine from synagogue, who has never been very receptive on the subject recently brought her father over for dinner, and it turns out he's involved in peak oil in his area. Post signs at the library, at the bookstore, on the bulletin boards, at meet-up.com, at your local university.

Run a showing of the film _The End of Suburbia_ which introduces the concept in a friendly way. The DVD is cheap, and you can have a party in your living room. Talk about it.

Get involved in providing support systems for the poor - there are going to be more of them. Write/call/email your legislators. Help your neighbor plant a garden. Write an article for your local paper calling for victory gardens, gas conservation days. Organize a celebration of a local food or product. Start a home business that isn't reliant on fossil fuels. Prepare your children to live in a post-peak world. Do it today, and tomorrow, and again the next day - the government won't fix it, so everything depends on us.

Sharon

10 comments:

Sylvia said...

Good stuff. It's easy for me to get into a "run for the hills" survivalist mentality, but a self-sustaining community, whether running for the hills or not, is a much more viable solution. Still, I can't see the end of the petroleum economy as being anything other than gruesome, both here and abroad. :-(

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