Cartoon Energy Descent!

Leave a comment


Well, it had to happen at some point. It’s all been a little full-on recently. Work pressure, parenthood . . . taking their toll on the old blog.

Anyway, I have been turned into a cartoon by A2 Geography student, Max, as part of a homework task on energy security. Not sure about my bug-eyed cartoon alter-ego, but some excellent questions dealing with the theme of peak oil and climate change.

The 'Guy from Texas' looking happy with the oil industry . . . for now!

The ‘Guy from Texas’ looking happy with the oil industry . . . for now!

Interesting take on the ‘business as usual’ approach of big business, as represented by the ‘guy from Texas’!


Here’s the overview!

Thanks for the flattering hair situation . . .

Thanks for the flattering hair situation . . .

And finally . . . the rise of Green Man to move us onto renewable energy resources. Resistance is futile.


What’s peak oil? It’s time to know this.

Leave a comment

One of my previous posts commented on the need for greater awareness of peak oil. Well, where do you start?

Here are three videos with peak oil as a focus, but with vastly different angles. We’ll start with a gentle introduction.

I’m thinking that this might be a good one to show teenagers, rather than expecting them to sit through the whole of End of Suburbia, as I did last September with a group of A Level students. This one might also be the one I’ll use next time I’m giving a presentation about Transition and energy descent.

The other one I’ve shown before is the excellent Peak Oil: Visually Explained. This has a groovy-sounding soundtrack and some nice, clear graphics. It was also used in the film, In Transition 1.0 to great effect. It really is a good starting point for an audience who are totally unfamiliar with the concepts.

You could allow yourself a little chortle watching this next one. If you like cartoon characters straight out of The Sims with robot voices swearing at each other about the concept of peak oil, then this one’s for you!

Finally, if you feel like a dip into the archives, take a look at this clip from 1976, showing key petroleum geologist, Dr Hubbert, explaining peak oil with state of the art graphics . . .

So, hopefully some accessible ‘for beginners’ introductions to peak oil and energy descent to be found here. Clearly, I’m also anticipating the first Simpson’s episode to feature peak oil too!

Are We There Yet?

Leave a comment

Awareness raising has been the first priority of most Transition Towns, coming before setting up projects, because there is a huge need for some information on the clear and present challenges we face.

There remains a massive disconnect out there, despite growing evidence, about the reality of peak oil. Many institutions, including local authorities, have failed to consider the impacts of resource depletion in the near term, and most development plans assume the growth of available energy (along with the growth of all other indicators). One key global institution which falls into this category is the UN, as outlined on the Post Carbon Institute website today.

On discovering this video today on the Post Carbon Institute, it struck me that the history of the 20th century is also the history of oil. Any of us could tell a similar story based on our own family histories, whether or not we are American. All of us, and our immediate ancestors,  have benefitted from abundant oil and the economic growth that it permitted. The 20th century was an unprecendented era of energy ascent. Where we are today could well be at the top of a peak in oil production. It is well documented that US oil peaked in 1970 and the UK in 1999. What happens next is uncertain, but amazingly, little discussed or even considered by the majority of us.

It is incredible how the role and future of energy is underplayed, and this suggests that there is still plenty of awareness to raise, not only amongst communities, but also within even the largest and most global of institutions.

This video helps to make the link between energy and the economy. Most of us are ignorant of this link. Cheap energy has resulted in creating our ‘normal’ way of life; expensive, less abundant energy will result in a new ‘normal’. The new normal is likely to be radically different. It’s probably worth thinking about this now and doing something. The first thing to do is become aware. The second thing is to act on that awareness.

My own ‘doing something’ was to start up a transition group where I live. Time to get ready for the journey.

This is Worthing, 2012. What Next?

Leave a comment

Spending an hour or so in central Worthing  last weekend taking photos of the urban landscape for the EDAP resulted in a document of grey, cold concrete, a car-dominated space.

There’s a few here, and what we’re going to do is ‘doctor’ them using Photoshop to create some images of a ‘transitioned’ Worthing circa 2030. What’s changed? Oil is too expensive to use other than for exceptional circumstances. The climate has warmed. We’re doing more for ourselves as a local community. People travel less. We’re growing more food ourselves and learned new (old) skills.

The big question here is: what does Worthing look like after all this has happened? What does the urban fabric of the town look like in a post-peak oil world?

What will be our street furniture, or what logos will we see?

Will we want to retain some great examples of car culture’s great monuments and architecture?

Can we creatively re-think how we use space in a world where the parameters have been totally changed?

How will we make use of all the urban land that is no longer needed for cars?

Can we maintain it all? Does this landscape lose its meaning in 2030? Will people inhabit central town locations or is it still dominated by commerce? What sort of commerce will prosper and function in a post-oil future?

So many questions; so few answers.

What do you think?