My wife Robyn and I have been asked to speak at a professional development day in February for Selkirk College staff and faculty. The general theme for talks was sustainability, and we’ve proposed a talk entitled, “Sustainability or Survival” aiming to present the facts about climate change, peak oil, and the economy; and outline the likely impacts of the collision of these three issues on life in the Kootenays.
To get Robyn up to speed on many of the issues, and different perspectives, I recently bought her the book, “Depletion and Abundance” by Sharon Astyk. Sharon is one of the only women writing about the coming energy descent.
Our lives in North America are based around the reality of cheap abundant oil – we all need to accept the reality that this is not the normal situation for humanity, and unlikely to continue for much longer. The other day I was reading something about “conventional oil”, that oil that is/was easy and inexpensive to extract and refine, and I realized how wrong the descriptor “conventional” actually is. There is nothing conventional about oil. The historically recent abundance of oil is an anomaly, a quirk of history and the only reason why we have computers, iPods, cell phones, suburbs, health insurance, airplanes and a multitude of other things we take for granted.
[ad#200-left]Without cheap abundant oil our world will change, the products and services we take for granted will become less available and our world will contract to those locations and distances that are available for travel without relying on oil. Most of our existing transportation networks are not viable at the current extent without oil. Roads cannot be paved, tankers cannot sail without deisel, the heavy equipment that maintains our roads, railways and runways cannot operate without oil. What changes do we need to make to make a smooth transition to a lower energy society?
Over the coming weeks I’ll be posting some of the thoughts from our preparation for the presentation