Narrated by Emma Thompson, this documentary examines the rise of extreme energy extraction in Canada and its impact on the environment, economy and local communities. The fossil fuel industry’s intensive hunt for unconventional non-renewables, including Arctic drilling and shale gas fracking, also gives rise to a formidable array of scientists, authors and activists who envision a post-growth economic future premised on co-operation, social justice and ecological stewardship.
We’ve got oily transport, oily heating, oily beverages, oily food, we drive on oily roads, and our homes are full of oily stuff. How do we get some or all of that oil out of our lives?
Most of our consumption of oil is so deeply embedded in our way of life that we’re unconscious of it or believe there’s no alternative. The antidote is to first make that consumption conscious and then get creative with alternatives, tailoring them to our specific situations. Here’s the good news: most of the steps you can take to purge oil from your life will make you healthier, happier, and your household more resilient! If you have kids, many of the steps will make them healthier, happier and perform better in school! Many of the steps will also make your community healthier, more prosperous, and more resilient. And if your prosperity is linked to your community’s prosperity, it will make you more prosperous as well.
We live in a time of tremendous political, environmental, and economic upheaval, which begs a profoundly important question: What should we do? We at Post Carbon Institute believe that, among other things, two areas of engagement are absolutely critical:
Understand the true nature of the challenges we as a society face. What are the underlying, systemic forces at play? What brought us to this place? Acting without this understanding is like putting a band-aid on a life-threatening injury.
Build community resilience. While we must also act in our individual lives and as national/global citizens, building community resilience is our greatest means of mitigating and adapting to the 21st century’s sustainability crises.
We’re offering this course — Think Resilience: Preparing Communities for the Rest of the 21st Century — to help you get started. You can either take it (consisting of 22 video lectures by Post Carbon Institute Senior Fellow Richard Heinberg, totaling about 4 hours) at your own leisure or participate in a six week long guided course, facilitated by Richard himself.
Naresh Giangrande, co-founder of the Transition Movement, in conversation with Richard Swift, author of “SOS Alternatives to Capitalism” and an editor of the New Internationalist magazine. Brought together in the Caribbean island of Dominica, with Earthbooktv’s Jessica Canham and Timothy Speaks Fishleigh at the Earthbook retreat centre in the mountains of Dominica.
Peak Prosperity / Chris Martenson / 31 December 2016
“The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.” ~ Al Bartlett
Perhaps the most vexing challenge remains how to more effectively communicate the various predicaments and problems we face.
It’s not having more numbers, or more data, that’s for sure. If numbers and data worked then we’d have taken a very different path sometime back in the 1950’s.
As Admiral Hyman Rickover said in a speech to a group of doctors in 1957:
“I think no further elaboration is needed to demonstrate the significance of energy resources for our own future. Our civilization rests upon a technological base which requires enormous quantities of fossil fuels. What assurance do we then have that our energy needs will continue to be supplied by fossil fuels: The answer is – in the long run – none.
The earth is finite. Fossil fuels are not renewable. In this respect our energy base differs from that of all earlier civilizations. They could have maintained their energy supply by careful cultivation. We cannot.
Fuel that has been burned is gone forever. Fuel is even more evanescent than metals. Metals, too, are non-renewable resources threatened with ultimate extinction, but something can be salvaged from scrap. Fuel leaves no scrap and there is nothing man can do to rebuild exhausted fossil fuel reserves. They were created by solar energy 500 million years ago and took eons to grow to their present volume.
In the face of the basic fact that fossil fuel reserves are finite, the exact length of time these reserves will last is important in only one respect: the longer they last, the more time do we have, to invent ways of living off renewable or substitute energy sources and to adjust our economy to the vast changes which we can expect from such a shift. Fossil fuels resemble capital in the bank.
A prudent and responsible parent will use his capital sparingly in order to pass on to his children as much as possible of his inheritance. A selfish and irresponsible parent will squander it in riotous living and care not one whit how his offspring will fare.”
resilience.org / Paul Hoggett, Rosemary Randall / 14 December 2016
Sustainable activism has what Gramsci called a ‘pessimism of the intellect’ which can avoid wishful thinking and face reality as squarely as possible. However it also retains an ‘optimism of the will’, an inner conviction that things can be different. By holding optimism and pessimism in tension, sustainable activism is better able to handle despair, and it has less need to resort to binary thinking as a way of engaging with reality. It can hold contradictions so that they don’t become either/or polarities and can work both in and against the system.
Whilst it believes there can be no personal change without political change it is equally insistent that there can be no political change without personal change. It insists optimistically that those who are not against us must be with us, and therefore carries a notion of ‘us’ which is inclusive and generous, one which offers the benefit of the doubt to the other.
Finally, sustainable activism holds that it is never too late. In the context of climate change it is able to face the truth that some irreversible processes of change are already occurring; that the two degrees limit in the increase in global temperatures agreed at the 2015 Paris climate conference may not be achieved; that bad outcomes are inevitable, and that some are already happening. Nevertheless it also insists that this makes our struggles all the more vital to reduce the scale and significance of these future outcomes, to fight for the ‘least-worst’ results we can achieve, and to ensure that the world of our grandchildren and their children is as habitable as possible.
Resilience is the ability of a system or community to withstand impacts from outside. An indicator is a good way of measuring that. Conventionally, the principal way of measuring a reducing carbon footprint is CO2 emissions. However, we firmly believe that cutting carbon while failing to build resilience is an insufficient response when you’re trying to address multiple shocks such as peak oil, climate change and the economic crisis together.
Wind turbines are responsible for 0.01% of bird fatalities from man made causes. The more important causes are buildings (58%), power lines (14%), cats (11%), and pesticides (7%). All other causes were less than 1%.