[permaculture] Peak Oil

Bart Anderson bart at cwo.com
Wed Oct 12 19:50:03 EDT 2005

Kaia Bronte wrote:

> I notice that a lot of people try to predict the future in relation to peak
> oil scenarios, armageddon, the rapture, aliens invading, and the sun
> exploding. Your guess is as good as Art Bell's I suppose.
> We cannot predict the future with any consistent accuracy. Making a plan
> based on an unknowable future is not regenerative--it's folly. 

I wish it were possible, Kaia, to concentrate on gardening and "take no thought for tomorrow."

Unfortunately, peak oil and global warming are two very serious problems which require a lot of thought.  I wonder if you are responding to the wild speculation -- doomsday scenarios -- about the future?  If so, I agree that they are not very useful.  

However, it is both necessary and possible to come to some general conclusions about the future.  There's general agreement that Peak Oil will occur within the next 20 years, for example, and that the climate will become increasingly erratic.  The price of energy will almost certainly rise, perhaps dramatically, with both economic and political consequences.  The next few decades will be a period of great change, though the particulars are hard to discern.

Permaculturalists are well placed to weather the changes, with our emphasis on reducing inputs and relying on natural cycles.  But even permaculture will undergo a shift, as sustainability becomes critical for survival.  Peak oil writer Richard Heinberg characterizes the coming period as "Sustainability with teeth."  

More on Peak Oil from permaculturalists:

 Tim Winton of the The Permaforest Trust  in Australia (AUDIO)

David Holmgren on Energy Descent

DH: Global Energy Peak: Threat or Opportunity
abridged version

Holmgren's latest book is one of the best on the subject of a low-energy future:
"Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability"

Best wishes,
Bart Anderson

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