Wednesday, June 08, 2005

sharing information about peak oil

I've spent the evening looking for a good "beginner" site to recommend, and I've settled on Wolf at the Door: a beginner's guide to oil depletion. Despite it's rather sensational name, it provides a very easy to read, well documented introduction to peak oil. Thompson invites the reader to download the same statistics he did and do their own analysis, and this transparency builds his credibility.

I am not an oil expert. All my knowledge of oil depletion comes from books, websites and by studying the statistics. Up to a few years ago, I was as ignorant of the crisis as the average person still is. Consequently, there is nothing on this site that the ordinary uninformed person cannot unde rstand since I am also an ordinary person who was uninformed. The facts of oil depletion are littered with oil jargon (see Jargon) and endless tables of figures. Every statistic seems to be defined differently by different authors and even a term such as "oil" has a multitude of meanings. It is no wonder that the ordinary man or woman in the street is not aware of the problem.

The bulk of the statistics I am using in this site are from two sites: the BP Statistical Review and the ASPO News (The Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas). I use these because the sets of statistics are easily available to download from the respective websites whilst much data is difficult to find and/or expensive. Neither set of oil figures can be relied on for total accuracy but, since the inaccuracy tends towards the optimistic (certainly in the BP figures), it will bring home to you the trouble we are in. If things seem bad with these figures, think how bad it really is.

I also found a letter with advice on how to introduce the topic to people, and judging from my own difficulties with accepting the information when it was first presented to me, I'd say it is right on--and even then, don't take it personally if it doesn't go over too well. (I hope this link works, you might have to log into yahoo to see the post).

The energy decline message is unavoidably a 'disappointment' to the listener. The nature of the message puts the explainer in a position of power-of-knowledge over the hearer. To them, that can be shocking, intimidating, distressing and repulsive. Here are some ways that avoid those things. Ask for permission before talking about the energy decline. The natural tendency is simply to excitedly, overpoweringly, blurt ouwhat youou know, without protecting the listener. This typically causes resentment, defiance and denial...
And if you are ready to take some action, I invite you to join me for baloghblog's "challenge of the week".

Buy a single fluorescent light bulb and put in the light that you use the most or leave on the longest in your house.

That's doable!


baloghblog said...

Thanks for the link, it sounds like you are looking into to doing a lot of the same things that I am, in regards to a sustainable (local) future in the face of peak oil.

A must read is James Howard Kunstler's The Long Emergency", and there are some great sites that I have come across too. sustainablog is a good one to check out. As well as odograph.

I will check back often with you and see how my south west counterpart is doing. I'll send you more challenges as they come out.


Jay Denari said...

Hi, Liz,

I checked out that site. Thanks, it's a great resource.

Did you see the "Oil: Caveat Empty" article at thhe Bulletin of Atomic Scientists? It seems that even ExxonMobil is now acknowledging, albeit quietly, the oil supply is running out and can't be practically replaced by such things as tar sands anytime soon...

Liz Logan said...

Your welcome baloghblog and Jay! And thanks for the links in return!