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.