Thursday, March 02, 2006

First draft of my 3 minute speech to the city council

I've just finished my first draft of my "three minute" speech to the city council. I would love feedback and suggestions.

There is an issue of utmost importance with profound consequences for our communities that has not gotten the attention it deserves. I'm bringing it up here because I believe that this city is capable of tackling the issue. The issue is "Peak Oil", and tonight I will take a few moments to give you a brief introduction to it and what it means for our communities.

Peak Oil is not about the end of oil, it is about the end of cheap oil. Peak oil is the moment in time when the global oil production peaks, and after that, the rate of production will decline. As global production declines, global demand will increase, and the gap between supply and demand will get bigger and bigger. This means that the price of oil will increase and eventually oil will become a scarce resource.

The implications of this are profound. The most obvious impact will be in transportation. It will become much more expensive to transport goods. What in this room wasn't transported here? Or take food, for example. In a 2003 study done at Iowa State University they found that your supper traveled an average of 1,500 miles to get to your table.

There are other, less obvious ways that we depend on oil. The fertilizers used to grow your food are made from oil, and farm equipment used to harvest runs on oil. In fact, oil is a feedstock for many products, including plastics, textiles and pharmaceuticals. Peak oil will affect every aspect of global industrial society that uses energy, either directly or indirectly.

As long distance transportation for food and other important goods becomes too expensive with declining oil supplies, local communities will have to become much more self-reliant and self-sustaining. In effect, the process of globalization
will reverse as a massive economic re-localization effort begins out of necessity. Energy production will become an issue. Alternative energy sources that don't make sense on a massive scale will become invaluable on the community level.

I have spent the last year researching and studying peak oil, as well as the steps we can take to prepare for it, and I would like to request 15 minutes of your next meeting to share more about this vitally important topic. Will you please consider adding me to your agenda?

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