What we're about
December 2016 Update
The Resilience NYC Meetup stands for responding to climate change and transitioning to clean energy. What makes us a little different from other environmental groups is our deeper recognition that unlimited growth on a finite planet is impossible, that we have reached those limits, and must deal with depleting supplies of natural resources, especially of fossil fuels. There are pathways to humanely managing this transition, (http://www.postcarbon.org/program/erc/)and the biggest obstacles are not technological but social, psychological and cultural. The 2016 election has made these obstacles even more challenging.
Why resilience and not sustainability? After Hurricane Sandy, it became widely accepted that we must retrofit our communities to become more resilient. No matter what we do now, climate change is unavoidable, the era we might remember as normal is now behind us. The way the world operates now can not be sustained in its present form. We must still try to step on the brakes and hopefully avoid the most severe outcomes.
The Post Carbon Institute and many activists recommend building resilience locally (http://www.postcarbon.org/program/res/) - whether to extreme weather events, financial turbulence, or political upheaval. In response to the new state of political affairs, we will collaborate with other progressive populist groups for whom the climate crisis is a central concern, and republish some of their events. Allies include: 350 NYC (https://350nyc.org/), NYC Grassroots Alliance Meetup (https://www.meetup.com/NYC-Grassroots-Alliance/), the People's Climate Movement (https://peoplesclimate.org/), and NY Renews (http://nyrenews.org/).
Send your suggestions on how you think Resilience NYC can make a difference, and help you make a difference, to Dan at firstname.lastname@example.org (http://richardheinberg.com/museletter-286-100-renewable-energy-what-we-can-do-in-10-years).
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Why energy is crucial: climate change and fuel depletion
Most reasonable people who accept scientific evidence recognize that climate change is a severe crisis. However it is still necessary to keep reminding people of the scope of the crisis, partly because of how distracted we are individually by the responsibilities of our daily lives, and the sea of media and entertainment in which we swim. At the latest UN climate conference in 2016, delegates agreed to the ceiling of 2 degrees Centigrade of warming (http://peaksurfer.blogspot.com/2016/11/trumproofing.html), and hopefully only 1.5 degrees. Exactly how nations plan to meet their carbon emission targets remains to be figured out. Serious efforts to meet those goals imply very serious but doable changes in how we run things. We should push for leaving oil, gas and coal in the ground, because burning them all will push climate change info overdrive.
What's possible, and how much of our energy needs can be met with renewable energy? The Post Carbon Institute has written about that extensively (http://www.postcarbon.org/). Here's a short article (http://richardheinberg.com/museletter-286-100-renewable-energy-what-we-can-do-in-10-years).
With a severe setback to US national efforts to cope with climate change, we have to focus on community, city and state efforts, and align with allies. Fortunately for us, New York City is one of the world's leading cities in those innovations. Can we find overlaps between green local initiatives that improve people's quality of life, lower carbon emissions, makes us more resilient, and support local or US jobs? Can we share those good practices with other networks in other communities?
It's important to know that in addition to climate change, we have to move away from fossil fuels because their supplies are limited. Since the Industrial Revolution, we've already burned through most of them.
Most of the world's supplies of oil, coal and natural gas were discovered long ago. Despite record investment in exploration and production development, conventional crude oil production has been on a bumpy plateau since about 2005. Oil companies are forced to drill in increasingly extreme locations, often miles under the ocean floor, because all the sources that are easy to recover are already in production. Increases in US and global oil production in the last few years all come from unconventional sources, like deep sea and arctic fields, and from unconventional methods, like fracking. The amounts of oil available through unconventional methods is limited, and will eventually go into decline. This phenomenon, called peak oil, is not theory but already measured in many oil producing countries. Here's a recent summary of how peaking of world fuel production will play out, and its economic effects. (http://www.resilience.org/stories/2016-08-09/an-updated-version-of-the-peak-oil-story)
We don't have 1,000 years of coal. We already mined easily accessible coal supplies, (http://www.resilience.org/stories/2016-11-22/trump-s-coal-delusions) and the remaining coal fields that are economically recoverable are only good for a few decades. Clean coal is a myth - as well as the fantasy that the coal jobs of the past can be restored.
As the anti-fracking movement has said, fracking for shale for oil and gas is incredibly polluting and toxic. What they have left out is that the industry has exaggerated the supplies of how much there is to be extracted. Fracked oil and gas production is a short-lived bubble (http://www.postcarbon.org/program/bsh/), and it's been a tremendous waste of money and resources.
Economic growth as we have known it over the last 200 years has only been possible because we've gone through most of the fossil fuels that have built up over the last hundred million years or so. The implications of declining supplies of fossil fuels that are easy to extract will be profound. On a shorter term basis, many analysts say the world's extravagantly growing levels of debt cannot be paid off, and a financial crisis bigger than the one in 2008 is long overdue. To learn more, go to Peak Prosperity (https://peakprosperity.com/) or Deep Connections (https://medium.com/deepconnections).
This Meetup and activists associated with it spent many years sharing the messages of the peak oil movement, and the Transition movement. The information that led to our concerns is still accurate, but the ways in which we share those concerns with the world have changed. ...Again, there are pathways forward. Please join us in taking the next step.