Friday, July 14, 2006

Peak oil flyer for familes - draft one

I'm hoping to transform this into a flyer than can be handed out to parents at parent-type events, and hopefully encourage more people to look more deeply into peak oil. There will be website addresses and book references at the end for further investigation. Comments please?

Gas Prices are rising, with no end in sight. New Oil discoveries fall further every year. The oil being extracted is of lower quality, and costs more to get at. Natural gas is getting more expensive every year and is in danger of running out. It is called peak oil - and it means that fossil fuel will be getting more expensive and less available every year.

What will your children’s lives be like in 20 years if we don’t prepare for fossil fuel shortage TODAY?

Your children will be unlikely to:

- Be able to attend college. One logical economic effect of fossil fuel shortages is economic crisis. You can expect to lose your job, and have difficulty saving for children’s education. We can expect cuts in student aid packages, and to find financial aid more difficult to get, as more and more families need it.

- Find good jobs. Everything we do right now depends on large quantities of energy - energy to commute to work, to heat and cool and run the workplace, to purchase materials, to market and sell them, to transport them. When the economy falters, and costs get higher, unemployment rises, dramatically. Your children and grandchildren will face a world where jobs are much scarcer than they are today.

- Have adequate medical care. As companies are more and more strapped by high fuel prices, even those who have jobs will likely lose their benefits. More and more people will be uninsured, and too poor to pay for medical care. Your children may have to choose between groceries and dental care, essential medications and paying their rent or mortgage.

- Have enough food to eat. With poverty comes hunger. Rising fossil fuel prices raise the cost of EVERYTHING, including food. Lack of fertilizer and fuel for growing and transporting food means that your children and grandchildren are likely to grow up in a world where supermarket shelves are empty and they know hunger.

- Be warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Heating oil and natural gas are both rising rapidly in price, and that rise reflects the fact that there is little new oil being found. Competition for resources from other nations will drive prices still higher, and may make oil and gas nearly unavailable for heating and cooling. At the same time, as the climate shifts, temperature extremes get more severe. Your children may grow up shivering in their beds, and in danger of heat stroke, asthma attacks and other medical consequences from extreme heat and poor summer air quality.

- Travel much - the cost of visiting you far away, or seeing the world is about to get prohibitive. You may not see much of your children and grandchildren if they live far away.

They will be likely to:

- Live in a much more polluted world than you do. Because we’ve squandered a lot of time to work on renewable energy, we’re most likely to shift to coal and nuclear energy to take up some of the slack. Coal puts mercury into the atmosphere causing autism and brain damage in children, poisons ground water and acidifies rain. Nuclear accidents and storage leaks can cause increased cancer rates and endanger thousands - including your kids.

- Go to war over oil and gas resources. Already, we’re fighting in part to ensure access to fossil fuel resources in the middle east. As we run shorter, we’re likely to see the draft reinstituted and our children sent around the world to fight, be disabled and die for oil and gas.

- Live as long as you do. With poorer nutrition, medical care, more wars and more pollution, your children are likely to die younger than you do. Watching our children die is the worst nightmare of most parents, and it may be our reality.

What can we do to stop it?

-CONSERVE - don’t just recycle, change your life so that you children can have a life. Bicycle or walk instead of driving. Turn off the a/c. Skip the vacation. Use less, use it up, make it do, do without.

- BUY - local food, produced with the fewest possible chemical and fossil fuel inputs. Don’t spend money you don’t have to. Purchase things from local merchants, rather than large corporations whenever possible.

- WRITE (or email) your congresspeople and vote for increased funding for conservation, renewable energy and public transportation. Tell the president and congress that you want to get out of Iraq, and turn our resources to preparing our nation for the coming crisis.

-VOTE for candidates who support the above, and for those who support anti-poverty programs like food pantries and WIC. Remember, your children may be the poor of tomorrow through no fault of their own.

-AGITATE - demonstrate, write and speak in support of programs that encourage conservation and sustainability in your community, your state and your nation.

- SPEAK - tell others about peak oil. Warn your friends, your neighbors, your family. Get together with neighbors, church, synagogue, mosque members, family members and friends, and make plans for a future with a lot less.

- GROW - a garden, no matter how small. Every bit of your food that you can produce is one less calorie of oil we have to burn.

- TEACH - your children about the future, and prepare them for the skills they may need in the future. Teach them to grow a garden, to have healthy bodies that can walk and bike for miles, to live simply, to make do, to appreciate what they have.

- PREPARE - build a three month supply of stored foods for a balanced diet. Store water. Consider collecting rainwater from your roof. Take advantage of medical benefits now to get healthier.

- GIVE - your children a chance at a life as good as the one you’ve had, by using less and taking less.


PeakEngineer said...

Good article. Your suggestions are a great way for someone to get started shifting their mindset towards a sustainable future. However, I think you need go a little further in exploring family solutions, such as working your way toward fully sustainable communities. I'm working to develop Peak Oil design strategies on my blog at if you're interested in stopping by. I like your blog and your approach, we could use your insight.

Mechelle said...

Thanks for sharing your ideas. I want to bring up a topic that I am trying to wrap my mind around. I am a 39 year old stay-at-home mom with 3 children. Since I found out about Peak Oil in January of this year, I feel that bringing more children into the world is not a wise idea. Basically, we have built this large human population by utilizing 40 million years of stored sun's energy. At our current rate of usage, we will have gone through all of these fossil fuels in about 100 years. I do not believe that a world with less stored energy will be able to support this many people. Could encouraging families to reduce the number of biological children they have be added to the list? Easy for me to talk as I have already had 3 children myself. But still, I think, something that people need to be thinking about.

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