Sunday, April 20, 2008

Richard Heinberg: Peak Everything + Solutions

Richard Heinberg is amazing. He's the author of many books with his latest "Peak Everything" (Oil, Natural Gas, Coal, Uranium, Population, Food, Water, Economy, etc)

Richard is now working with Post Carbon Institute (Producers of The End of Suburbia) and has been instrumental in getting Peak Oil resolutions passed in cities in Northern California. From his experience he now knows many different avenues for solutions.

Richard's Peak Everything Presentation:






In his recent museletter he talks from his experience that he's learned the most effective form of change will come from the grassroots, not only from awareness but in people actually changing themselves and their actions.

But, the grassroots can't be the only solution as there are bigger problems that can only be solved through government intervention, such as what happened during WW2 with the victory gardens. The problem currently is that government is still primarily interested in working for economic growth and even though they say they care, nothing significant is being done. He suggests an alternative approach through Disaster Management by which he calls "Resilient Communities" (read more from his Museletter). [Update: The new movement that is growing rapidly around the world is Transition Towns, which I am part of in my local community - check it out!]

Richard's latest talk has been summarized and posted at It quickly lists the problems that we will be facing and the actual solutions and lessons learned that are taking place now to prepare ahead. Highly recommended reading!


There are historic examples of crisis equals opportunity, for example in Cuba, there were these organic agronomists who'd been promoting eco-agriculture for years before the crisis, but no-one listened. They'd been developing strategies and at that point of survival crisis they were called in to redesign Cuba's food system. If they hadn't already been working on it, they would not have survived. This got Richard to thinking we need to be doing this — formulating a plan that can be implemented in a crisis situation.

So - Don't wait for others to change or the government to be proactive. Start changing now. I've been getting my garden together, learning as much as I can about organic methods for improving soils by composting, fertilizing and growing beneficial crops. I'm going to be riding my bike to the farmers market and the local co-op to eat primarily local and seasonal foods. Do whatever you can to learn to live with less and learn as much as you can about the basics of life. Get out of debt and reduce your expenses as the economy continues to decline and prices for food and energy skyrocket.

Richard's way ahead of the game and is practicing what he preaches as well!! In this 25minute peak moment tv episode he gives a tour of his home with his partner. Here's the summary:

Tour Janet and Richard’s quarter acre for an example of what’s possible in suburbia. Their front yard of edible plants also provides habitat for birds and insects. The backyard radiates out from an herb and kitchen garden to vegetable beds and containers; 25 fruit and nut trees; and a restful Zen garden. Near a future pond is a “three sisters” spiral of corn, beans and squashes. Check out their rainwater catchment barrels system, solar ovens, grid-tied photovoltaics with backup batteries, a low-energy house, solar-heated garden room, and a comfortable “summer palace” of natural & salvaged materials.

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