"After the Peak" showing April 5

I actually think often of what our lives will be like after the assumption of plentiful and cheap petroleum is gone. For example in Chapel Hill, homes in walking distance of the campus will be even more valuable than they are now. How about homes near Carolina North? If we have managed to get some transit infrastructure into place, that will also drive the value of locations if the only appealing way to get to RTP is by transit. Or will RTP go away, a relic of the dinosaur age of cars? Will we see 10-story buildings in downtown Carrboro?

Anyway, like I said, I think about this, so I am very intrigued abut this film that is "a provocative look at the world of oil scarcity set in Orange County in the near future."

CARRBORO -- A group of concerned citizens, sponsored by local organizations, will hold a public meeting on April 5 at 7 p.m. at the Century Center to address our energy future with a focus on local solutions to global problems.

Local filmmaker Jim McQuaid screens his new film "After the Peak" -- a provocative look at the world of oil scarcity set in Orange County in the near future -- followed by a public meeting about the energy future and how to address these challenges locally.

The organizers include Mike Lanier, Stephen Hren, Tom Henkel, Alison Carpenter, Blair Pollock, Jim McQuaid, Dave Stancil and Sally Goerner. Sponsors include N.C. Cooperative Extension, N.C. Powerdown, SURGE, The Chapel Hill Solar Roofs Committee, The Alliance for Community Economics, The Orange County Economic Development Commission, The Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce and The Village Project.

Following the film, three speakers will give short presentations on ideas for local solutions to these global challenges. Those presentations will be followed by audience questions and comments. The speakers will include Simon Rich, a leader on the interconnection of energy and agriculture; Eric Henry, long associated with a wide variety of local solution issues from bicycling, to land use, to sustainable apparel; and Patrick McDonough, a board member of The Village Project and a transportation planner.

The meeting is free and open to all interested members of the public. For more information, contact Mike Lanier at 245-2063 or mlanier@co.orange.nc.us.
- heraldsun.com: LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS, 3/19/07

Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend on April 5, but hopefully this won't be the last showing.

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I'm glad to hear the importance of transportation on development discussed. When transportation was cheap and easy, people could pick places to live that were all of the area, hence you see thousands of people commuting from Cary to RTP every day. I remember moving here in '91 and people warning me not to live too close to the RTP because it was undesirable in the suburban value system which imagined the suburban lifestyle was healthy country living away from the big 'ol bad city.

Now there's the pricey Briar Creek development in Raleigh right next to the Airport and the RTP, and its desirable *because* its next to the major transportation hubs of the airport and I-40, and right next to many of the area's major employers. In just 15 years land that no one wanted has been transformed into upscale residences, although they are low-density McMansions on cul-de-sacs.

In Chapel Hill/Carrboro the obvious transportation need is getting people to and from campus, and I've never understood the idea of restricting building within walking distance of campus. The more housing available within walking/biking distance, the less people there are driving and taking the bus, and the less pollution. The more housing there is available, the greater the supply relative to demand, and the lower the price. The fact that the first condo buildings going up within easy walking distance are really expensive only points to a large demand for housing in that location.

By the way, Robert Peterson started an interesting discussion about this over at Blue NC: http://www.bluenc.com/after-the-peak-from-orangepolitics-org

There will likely be additional showings of "After The Peak" locally, however, there is nothing scheduled at the moment. For more information on the film, go to www.afterthepeak.com. You may also send an email to be notified when the next local showing is scheduled, to: info AT turnipvideo DOT com.

"after the peak"? peak what? peak prices? peak production?
peak political action? another chicken little tome.

Dear John of Sparta,

I know how you feel. A lot of people fell for the Y2K scare. To know the difference though, takes effort in researching who is making these claims, figuring out whether they have anything to gain by making them, and then making your own decision.

Personally, I never thought Y2K was a serious threat. It had nothing to do with the laws of nature, just man-made computer code. On the other hand, there is a finite amount of oil in the ground and the world currently uses 84-85 million barrels a day. Since most everything we do requires the use of energy, declining energy supplies is a serious threat. For example, since food in the current food system travels an average of 1500 miles and requries 10+ units of energy of every one unit of food energy produced, what happens when oil and gas prices spike to 2-3 times current prices? Food production today is very energy intensive. Fuel is required for tractors, combines, trucks, and processing plants. Natural gas is required to make nitrogen based fertilzers (we won't be able to maintain food supplies at current levels by switching to organic production overnight -- that is a conversion that will take many years). And food production is just one strand of the fabric of our society. Fifty years ago, most of our food was produced locally and supported good local jobs. Maybe if we start relocalizing food production and manufacturing, we could save enough energy that would buy us enough time to transition to renewable energy supplies such as solar and wind.

Anyway, if you want to know more about this issue so you can decide for yourself, I suggest these websites: http://www.energybulletin.net and www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/. There are thousands more if you'd like to choose your own sites. Just google "Peak Oil" and go for it.

I also suggest Googling "peak oil" with any of these people or organizations:
"T. Boone Pickens"
"Matthew Simmons"
"George Schultz"
"James Woolsey"
"Robert Gates"
"Alan Greenspan"
"Condolezza Rice"
"Bill Clinton"
"James Schlesinger"
"US GAO"
"US Department of Energy"
"US Military"
and on and on

Wishful thinking will not help us make this transition. Only by changing our priorties (personal and societal) will be able to make the change. Oh, and I also suggest an excellent article by Bill McKibben in the current issue of Mother Jones magazine entitled "Reversal of Fortune". The concept of living with less could help us regain the meaning in life that many people seem to be searching for today.

"Peak Oil as a proper noun, or Hubbert's peak applied more generally, refers to a singular event in history: the peak of the entire planet's oil production."

I would like to suggest to other readers to be careful not to spend too much time trying to understand or respond to folks who post without their real name and make no real contribution to the discussion. In other words, please don't feed the trolls.

John of Sparta sounds a lot like John Kramer who also posts here as jmk. If it is JK, he goes beyond skepticism of global warming into downward anger toward any discussion of it. On other topics, he is usually reasonable even though I don't always agree with him. I wouldn't call him a troll--just someone who knows there isn't going to be a discussion of both sides of the issue.

I missed the video also. Here's a good article for others like me who don't read much about this issue: http://www.truthout.org/issues_06/040407ED.shtml

At the risk of seeming like a troll, James Kunstler's thesis is basically this:

1) I hate surburbia and think it has destroyed America.

2) Therefor I am going to keep positing scenarios that result in its' destruction (Y2K, Peak Oil).

Go back and read Kunstler's screeds about the Y2K software bug. He says the exact same things he was saying about Peak Oil.

I'm not saying we don't have problems, but I have grown weary and skeptical of the harbingers of future doom on both the left and the right. When I was a kid in the 1970s Paul Ehrlich was running around talking about how we'd have famines and disaster. Hal Lindsey was talking about the late great Planet Earth and the impending religious apocalypse. Neither happened.

Now we have the Peak Oil guys and the Left Behind guys.

At the risk of responding to a troll: No one is saying that disaster is inevitable. Indeed, the peak oil problem is quite avoidable by improving efficiency, employing conservation, and expanding renewable energy - all of which are readily available opportunities right here and now. The disaster will only come if we keep our heads buried in the sand, or rather if you do.

Chris, there are a lot of serious individuals working on the Peak Oil issue. It's easy to ridicule some of Kunstler's more extreme speculations about a post-Peak Oil future, but that doesn't mean he has gotten the key facts of the issue wrong.

If you're interested in more sober assessments of why Peak Oil is approaching, I'd suggest one of the following resources:

1. Twilight in the Desert by Matt Simmons. Simmons is a Harvard MBA oil industry banker who was part of the Bush-Cheney transition team on energy issues after the 2000 election. Simmons also has a series of powerpoints from speeches he has given over the last few years that are interesting.

2. The Hirsch Report. This is a scenario-based report developed for the US Dept of Energy in 2005. Among its conclusions are:

Peak oil IS going to occur
Mitigation of serious shortages in liquid fuel supplies will take 20 years lead time.

3. A statement from Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) on the recently released GAO Report on Peak Oil.

However, if you had to read any one item, I would read a piece by physics PhD Stuart Staniford, who wrote a good Peak oil explainer titled Why Peak Oil Is Probably About Now in March of 2006 at the leading website for Peak Oil discussion, The Oil Drum.

 

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