Monday, July 24, 2006

The End of Suburbia


Another trailer to another doco about another dire problem facing humanity. I've come to think recently that peak oil is a bigger issue than global warming - at least a bigger issue for humans and a bigger issue sooner.
UPDATE: This film has now been screened at a Barneys gathering and I have started a series about peak oil in response. Series so far: I; II; III, IV.

11 comments:

Christopher said...

I have always found dystopian/apocalyptic theories or forecasts a little unbelievable i.e. Y2K. But peak oil does make me a little worried. I was talking to my wife about doing a survival course (mostly joking, but a little serious). I should have contiuned with Scouts.

byron said...

Same - I do believe that God is faithful and that fear is not to be our motivation. Yet I don't think there's any place for a naïve christianish optimism that disregards any thinking or planning about the future, or which assumes humanity is not able to self-inflict massive amounts of suffering

One Salient Oversight said...

Hello guys,

My friend Dave and I have been working on the problem of Peak Oil since mid 2004. We are both Christians.

Dave's website about Peak Oil is here.

Dave is married to Joy Lankshear - they do most of the graphic design work for Matthias Media.

Dave and I wrote an article in the Spring 2005 edition of Zadok magazine about the Christian response to Peak Oil. You can read it at my website here

Like Christopher, I too have an aversion to conspiracy theories and their ilk. Peak Oil is different, however, because it is not going to be some "cliff" we fall off into sudden anarchy, but a gradual, painful problem that will confound politicians and experts for a while.

I personally don't see Peak Oil as being the end of western civilization, but I do see it as a major turning point in our history. I think the best comparison would be the great depression of the 1930s.

Emma said...

Hey Byron,
Thanks for loading up that preview - I know that people are organising a screening of the whole thing at church some time soon which will be really helpful in prompting everyone to think. It's all scary, current middle east situation especially...
It's also scary when I contemplate the amount of plastic in my little three-room house and even in this little laptop that I'm typing on! There'll be none of that in future - sharpen up your lead pencils and stock up on stamps everyone - the internet goes back to Australia Post (i realise that Australia Post isn't international like the internet but canoeing mail across the world begins to sound unlikely!) and posties will have to go back to riding horses! ...not to be a drama queen or anything... ok, perhaps I just channelled Y2K for a minute there...
When I've done my marking (if I ever do my adjectival marking) I'm going to start my essay on sustainability. The plan is all written (because high school teachers know how to write essays!) but it's lacking development right now...

Looney said...

Today, the city planning department just ordered me to tear out some wiring and plumbing from my house. It seems this might allow me to make a separate rental unit in my house, which might allow a poor family to live 50 miles closer to their work location in Silicon Valley. Horrors!

If Peak Oil theory is right, the NIMBY mindset is going to make a catastrophe out of something that would otherwise be manageable.

andrew said...

Emma, you're not STILL doing that marking are you? If you leave it long enough then peak oil might render it inconsequential.

When I was younger I went to a lecture by environmentalist Paul Ehrlich. He absolutely scared the pants off me, and, although he convinced me of his point about environmental destruction and overuse of resources, he also demonstrated how not go about convincing people of your point!
I think people have to be presented with evidence of the problem as well as with avenues for positive action and possible solutions.

I gather an approach to peak oil has to come from the ground up, as much as from business or government. So, what are the most useful actions to take now?

nicole said...

i'm reading a great book on this at the moment - "half gone: oil, gas, hot air, and the global energy crisis" by jeremy leggett. he used to be a geologist for one of the big oil companies, before moving to greenpeace and starting his own sustainable energy company in the uk. it's quite easy to read - he uses accessible language, explains everything clearly, and provides some positive answers (so just as that 'we're doomed' feeling sets in, he feeds you some hope!).

i think i'll go buy a bike.

Rachel said...

Coming to a Barneys near you very soon...( we have just been given the go ahead to do the screening). I'm actually really excited by Peak oil. There is so much scope for community to take place in ways that have been lacking in our industrial/capitalist/consumerist society. It isn't scarry when you realise that first of all God is in control (der) and the biggest battle will actually be psychological. That is, the key to prepare now on an individual basis is to put time and energy into your community/communities as community will be in these New Times the thing that will 'save' many. What can communities do? Build community gardens, run bike maintanance cources, move in together, learn about developing biodiesal.... possibilities endless.

One Salient Oversight said...

what are the most useful actions to take now?

High oil prices will lead to higher inflation, which will lead to higher interest rates.

Although there's lots we can do over the medium term, reducing your consumption and paying off debt is probably the most important personal choice to make.

byron smith said...

DD: Is America losing its romance with sprawl?

byron smith said...

Grist: Have sledgehammer, will farm. Is it possible to turn concrete suburbs back into farms?