Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Peak Oil Primer

I am assuming that most of the members are aware of Climate Change and the possible effects it will have upon us all if we don’t act soon to avert the crisis.  So if anyone wants me to cover it off in a post, let me know.


I will dedicate this post to explaining Peak Oil and what it means to us on a local level.  Peak Oil is basically the end of cheap oil.  The worlds oil fields get to a point that it takes more than one barrel of oil to extract one barrel of oil, therefore the field goes into decline.  When all the oil fields in the world reach this point then we reach the plateau that is know as Peak Oil.  The graph below shows Australia’s oil production and demand predicted out to 2030.  As you can see, our oil fields in this country have now clearly peaked.


After that event, which the International Energy Agency has determined happened in 2007, oil demand outstrips supply and oil gets expensive.  We have seen that happen already, and it was one of the catalysts of the Global Financial Crisis.  Colin Campbell who founded ASPO, predicted the GFC back in 2005.  Have a look at this video to get a better understanding.

So if oil becomes scarce, which it will again as the economy picks up, what does it effect?  Well, I wrote a post not long ago about Peak Oil and what it means to our food supply.  Have a look at “Nine Meals from Anarchy”.  Our transportation systems will slow down dramatically and so will our dependence on someone else providing our food. 

So what can we as a group do about Peak Oil?  Well as it states in our vision statement, we can build resilience in our local community so that the people in it have all the tools at their disposal to help themselves.  One great way of building resilience is to teach people how to grow their own food.  We have quite a few members who to that already, so we will have no shortage of keen and willing gardeners that will be able to help with reskilling.

Permablitz is a great way of changing someone's backyard from a boring old backyard to a food forest in one day.  Have a look at this video to see what you think.

I am sure we can do something like this if the willing home owner provides most of the materials!  I think we could put this form of working bee to good measure around the town.  I wonder if the shire would let us have a small community plot to try out first.  I suppose we won’t know if we don’t ask. 

Hopefully you now have a fair idea what I am talking about know when I mention Peak Oil.  A better movie is “The End of Suburbia” which explains it a lot better than I can.  We will have a viewing at our next meeting.  I am not trying to be a doomsdayer, just prepared for the inevitable.

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