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The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture Message Board › Planning for Peace in the Post Petroleum Era

Planning for Peace in the Post Petroleum Era

Ted M.
Brunswick, ME
Post #: 52

This notice was circulated in the Peaceworks listserv. I am posting it here (for Pilar) as an invitation to the discussion listed at the bottom.


As depicted in Howard Kunstler's forthcoming novel "World Made by Hand" the default scenario for the post-petroleum era is not peace. (Kunstler is also the author of "The Long Emergency.")

In fact, the Democratic Republic of Congo (where the International Rescue Committee just announced yesterday that 5.4 million people have died in the worst humanitarian crisis since the Holocaust) is already crossing over into the post-petroleum era. The price of gasoline is now $12 per gallon -- and the average annual income is $100 per year. So what is their post-petroleum experience like? This is one of the most violent places in the world, where the IRC says that 45,000 per month are still dying.

The problem is, there is no way to make peace, because there is no way to create an economic framework where young people can settle down and raise a family and provide for themselves. For young men who can't find jobs to support a family, the only solution that seems available is violence: either join the military, join a militia, or join a gang (doesn't this sound like our ghettos in the US?).

No way to make pleace -- unless someone plans for it.

And in fact -- thanks in a very large measure to donors from Peaceworks -- there is one tiny, but growing island of of peace in Congo: the Working Villages International project in the Ruzizi Valley­

So the point here is that Peace is not a default scenario for when it becomes too expensive to use petroleum any more. The default scenario of life in the post-petroleum era is violence. In Congo, there is so much violence that the news reporters hardly even dare to set foot in the area to report on it. Which is one reason people don't hear much about it in the news.

However, with good planning, it is possible to create a sustainable self-reliant local economy which is based on producing for local people's needs, not on creating things to sell on the international market (for which shipping will likely become impossibly expensive over the next 20 years).

Peace in the Post-Petroleum era is possible -- but we must start planning for it -- now.

Peaceworks is hosting a small discussion on the topic of "Planning for Peace in the Post Petroleum Era" for anyone who is interested. The date will be Friday, May 16th at the Curtis Memorial Library, 23 Pleasant St, Brunswick. Time is 7:00 pm. We see this as a very low-keyed event, but as a beginning of thinking about the role of localized economics, production focussed more on needs than wants (inspired by Gandhi), and the role of small-scale appropriate technology (such as the animal traction which the Cubans have found to be such a life-saver in their own post-petroleum experience). We'll also talk about how to engage various local entities, such as libraries, 4-H clubs and even police and fire departments into coming up with a "Back-up Plan" for how we could continue to have a great community (and in many ways, an even better, more neighborly one, with 100% employment) if somehow we are not able to have the cheap fuel we use today.

If you are interested in this, it would be great to have you come and contribute to our discussion.
David S.
Washington, ME
Post #: 165
Here is something to think about....­
user 3832381
Portland, ME
Post #: 35
Here's a thought:
I wonder if Alastair and Pat would give a Transition Towns pitch to this group sometime in the near future!?
Rob Hopkins' approach certainly has my rapt attention!
user 3022592
Portland, ME
Post #: 166
Thank you for initiating this discussion Aaron.

David that's a devastating You-Tube piece! Reminds me of http://www.libertynew...­ whose shows are produced by two of our own permaculture members Matt & Lori Power and their team). I'll forward it to my peace email groups.

And I say yes with Susannah, the transition town route is what you're suggesting Aaron.

user 3022592
Portland, ME
Post #: 215
I thought this interesting news would fit under this topic. Elaine


The Renewable Revolution: World's Biggest Solar Farm Is About to Open?Is the End of Oil Near? The world?s largest solar photovoltaic farm is strangely beautiful. Fields lined with solar panels tilting sunward seem almost like a massive environmental art project?one with an empowering message to the world. We can find ways to run the world predominantly on clean energy if we choose to. It?s already beginning. By 2020, Portugal plans to generate over a third of its energy from renewables, with that percentage increasing every year.
The farm, located high on the Alantejo Plain near the small town of Mouro, will be twice as large as any other project of its kind. The farm is comprised of 2520 giant solar panels, positioned at a 45 degrees angle to track the sun as it moves across the sky.

Portugal has already made its mark as a world leader in switching to clean energy. Why? Partly because unlike other developed countries, Portugal doesn't have an economy dominated by coal, gas and uranium extraction industries.

The world's biggest wind farm also lies in Northern Portugal, with more than 130 turbines. Portugal?s plans for wave power are sparking interest around the globe, as well. Currently, the world's first commercial wave farm is being assembled near Porto. These "sea snakes", developed by the Edinburgh-based company Pelamis, will shortly be towed out to sea and will start pumping electricity into the grid later this year.

Portugal is leading the European clean-tech revolution, and economics minister Manuel Pinho hopes that this is just a start. He recently told UK?s Guardian that Portugal looks forward to a potentially giant global investment into clean energy tech.

According to Pinho, ?We have to reduce our dependence on oil and gas. What seemed extravagant in 2004 when we decided to go for renewables now seems to have been a very good decision.?

Pinho says Portugal is not interested in nuclear power.

"When you have a program like this there is no need for nuclear power. Wind and water are our nuclear power. The relative price of renewables is now much lower, so the incentives are there to invest. My advice to countries like the UK is to move as fast as they can to renewables. With climate change and the increase in oil prices, renewables will become more and more important.?

He adds, "Countries that do not invest in renewables will pay a high price in future. The cost of inaction is very high indeed. The perception that renewable energy is very expensive is changing every day as the oil price goes up."

Not only that, but experts say that renewable energy has many intangible benefits to human health and the environment. Renewable energy means cleaner skies, waterways and soil, which over time could make all the difference in the world when it comes to the future of humankind.

As far as economics are concerned, advancements in the solar industry have led experts to believe that it will reach grid parity with coal in less than 5 years. If this happens, we'll be seeing a huge shift towards renewable energy. Recently Ray Kurzweil, who has been remarkably accurate with his tech predictions in the past, said he believes that in 20 years 100% of the world?s energy will be from clean and renewable sources.

While that seems almost absurdly optimistic at the present, Kurzweil explained at the recent World Science Festival in New York, that technology is often deceptively exponential. What seems unlikely today will seem completely obvious only a few years from now. Kurzweil backed up his claims at the conference with charts and graphs that showed some of the exponential advancements of the past.

One graph showed how computing power started with the first electromechanical machines over a century ago. Initially they doubled every three years. At mid-century, they began to double every two years, which was the rate that inspired Moore?s Law. It now takes only a year.

Kurzweil believes that renewable energy will follow the same exponential upward trend. While it may seem deceptively slow in the beginning, once the world is behind clean energy in earnest, things will start to happen very, very quickly.

Lets hope he?s right.

Related Galaxy posts:

The World?s First Zero-Emissions City?In the Middle East?
The End of Oil?
Google Prepared to Spend More on Green Energy than U.S. Gov't
Exponential Technologies: Cheer Up World?We Are On the Verge of Great Things
Harnessing the Stars: EU to Attempt Laser-based Fusion
Science + Business = Real Clean Energy Solutions
Quantum Crystals: The Secret to Inexpensive & Efficient Green Energy?
Green Energy -The NexGen Wave is Here

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