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Peak Oil, Climate Change Leaflet Text

category cork | environment | opinion/analysis author Tuesday September 18, 2007 11:39author by John Baker - Cork Shell to Seaauthor email corkshelltosea at gmail dot com Report this post to the editors

A leaflet put together by Cork Shell to Sea in response to Peak Oil conference in Cork City today

This conference was organised by the Irish branch of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil to bring together people from government and the industry as well as some of those working to alleviate the problems. Unfortunately for a variety of reasons Cork Shell to Sea has so far been unable to gain entry but stimulated by the ideas presented on the ASPO website and our own experinces we put this leaflet together that we think raises points that anyone working in this area would do well to consider. This is the text, we plan to distribute this leaflet outside the conference later today and to write a further article in the next day or two.


This leaflet has been put together by members of Cork Shell to Sea in response to the ASPO conference 17th 18th Sept 07.
It is not intended to be representative of Shell to Sea as a whole but we hope it will provide valuable material for discussion within and without the campaign.
We welcome the conference as a chance to raise awareness and develop strategies for survival in these vital areas but fear there are several points that are not covered in the agenda. This is our contribution.

Radical Change
Although there are ongoing debates as to the exact nature of the global crisis we are facing it is clear that it is happening now and a key response to it is the growth of autonomous, resourceful, self reliant, interdependent communities with a long term emphasis on ecological restoration and remediation involving ground up decision making processes. This will require changes so deep and wide-ranging that we strongly question the efficacy of clinging to existing political and economic structures to do so.

Unheard Voices
The people who have borne the brunt of the negative effects of oil and gas extraction and other technological advances and who are also in the front line when it comes to the effects of climate change, are those whose sacrifices make our quality of life in the west possible, yet who are invariably excluded from decision making due to lack of financial and educational resources. Any process attempting to deal with these issues without putting these voices first will be fundamentally flawed, especially so because these so called underdeveloped communities are often less dependent on fossil fuels and so have access to the skills, tools and confidence that the rest of us will need in a post peak oil world. It is also time that we began repaying them for what they have had to endure.

While many see the ongoing global crisis as a powerful wake up call and opportunity to shift to a kind, sustainable, freer way of life there are those who will undoubtedly welcome it for different reasons; the chance to maintain scarcity and reduced expectations for the majority, while the few consolidate power and control still further. One has only to look at the way wars and other crises have been financially exploited by big business to understand what is meant here.

Here are a few more illustrations of these points
The last 50 years of oil extraction in Nigeria have led to the current situation where many communities have been deprived of their livelihoods, the land and water has been polluted, people have been brutalised and murdered and oil companies have consistently meddled in the political process in that country

The current situation in Bolivia where hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of people have organised, largely outside of traditional political forms to regain control of their country’s natural resources beginning with water and now moving towards fossil fuels and minerals. Perhaps this gives an opportunity for these resources to be used for the good of the many and to create structures that can reduce the need for them in the first place.

The ongoing situation in Erris, County Mayo where a local community is resisting as Shell, Marathon and the Irish State determine to push ahead with the construction of a high pressure pipeline and refinery. How this situation unfolds is up for grabs but it is providing valuable lessons for a small remote community and a wider network of supporters in the harsh realities of fossil fuel extraction and the extreme deficiencies in democracy that facilitates it. How this conflict plays out is of key importance to the future of Ireland as it seems there is enough gas out there to solve many of the problems now facing the country, if it is used appropriately. Taking it out of the hands of an unaccountable, probably criminal minority is vital.

It seems as if there is something of a divide between those who are looking for the solutions in this matter and those who are getting hammered by the problems, often under too much pressure to think beyond the next day or week. The Permaculture movement globally (../www.permaculture.org.uk ) and the Transition Towns movement in the UK and Ireland (../www.transitionculture.org), offer great hope and inspiration but for those who are dealing with police brutality or the effects of pollution now it may be hard to see the benefits.
We would hope to see an integration here where those working on the solutions find ways to support communities under pressure and those under this pressure find ways to bring these solutions into their struggles making them more sustainable and delinking from the system that cause them the problems in the first place. This is about solidarity, this is what makes life worth living and what makes people strong.
This is important. After all, it’s Erris, the Niger Delta and Iraq now, next year it could be your community.

To engage in further discussion on this article please contact: Corkshelltosea@gmail.com

author by Johnpublication date Tue Sep 18, 2007 11:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Association for the Study of Peak Oil website is www.peakoil.ie, you can find info on the conference here too.

Related Link: http://www.peakoil.ie
author by dunkpublication date Tue Sep 18, 2007 18:08author email fuspey at yahoo dot co dot ukauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

active peak oil action ongoing in dublin: 3rd time lucky for community garden in Dublin 8?.... article about the new green space in the heart of Dublin city

also on the wider, more global aspect:

Climate camp(s) 2008 and beyond...london, germany, oz, barcelona, ireland.........
"What would it mean to win?" : a report after participating in the recent climate camp in London and exploring ideas on what a future sustainable society would look like and how we can get there....

Thanks to John and all the rest for bringing the issue of peak oil to the fore of discussion, it is the most critical, if we dont adress it we die. but there are solutions, as was shown when Cuba survived its own "special period" or peak oil period...

The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil
learn more and order film

The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil
Cubans share how they transitioned from a highly mechanized, industrial agricultural system to one using organic methods of farming and local, urban gardens aftger they lost global support in the early 1990's.
1 minute trailer

Learning from Cuba's Response to Peak Oil
Peak Moment #27: Megan Quinn of The Community Solution discusses her visit to Cuba, and the movie "The Power of Community". This young woman sees Peak Oil as an opportunity to create the communities we want, but notes that we must reduce our consumption despite environmentalists' assurances that biofuels will save us.
(28 minute interview)

and lastly an essay about what a future sustainable community would look like..."its not an option, its what were going to have to turn to, to survive"


author by Ray - Cork Shell to Seapublication date Wed Sep 19, 2007 16:43author email corkshelltosea at gmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Although we didn't get into the conference we leafleted the attendance outside and engaged some of the attendees in conversation/debate about the issues (many) surrounding the Peak Oil debate. These encounters were for the most part friendly and open, but the corporate types tended to keep their heads down and walk past us. Minor garda hassle was experienced - seeking to get names etc. which they well know already. Low cop presence overall esp. compared to last year's conference held in Italy, the venue of which one serial attendee at these events told us was ringed with carabinieri and security fencing.
The first day was mostly about the view from inside the oil industry. Unfortunately by a strategy of them distributing no printed information the first day's proceedings will remain rather opaque to outsiders until ASPO releases their DVD of the event. We did pick up some titbits of info but there's no point in us passing them on as we can't really substantiate anything. It would be really helpful (not to mention democratic) if one of the attendees could contribute to this thread and give the wider world a precis of what was discussed and confirm data that would be of use to those of us trying to understand the scale of the fix we're in.
Day two focussed on the wider economic social and political implications of oil and gas depletion. There appears to have been lively and sometimes animated debate, with a clear divide between the concerns of the corporate sector (who seem worried only about their own survival) and those of the community and voluntary sector, whose concerns are more focussed on helping as many people as possible make it through the transition. A major disappointment was the failure of one of the more interesting speakers, a Dr. Curbelo from Cuba, to make the conference. A first-hand report from the only country so far to have undergone a power-down from fossil fuel would have a great loss to the proceedings. In fairness to ASPO, the second day brought together a fine collection of activists from many corners and were we in there I'm sure we'd have enjoyed the proceedings.
We also managed to tell the Shell to Sea story-so-far to as many who would listen, though there was one tetchy encounter with one attendee who (sincerely!?) believes that you have to be completely conversant with all technical details involved and be a recognised expert (like himself I suppose) before you can object to never mind stop, the oil industry destroying communities and the environment. He walked off like a thwarted hero when it was put to him that such a viewpoint was elitist, unreasonable, impractical, and a straw man in the argument. It was momentarily upsetting to be reminded of the conceit of some who profess to be either respected researchers or community activists, but it should not draw away from the positive engagements we had outside City Hall.
Special thanks to Ed Moran who made it down from Erris to attend both days of the conference, and we'll be looking forward to his report and reminiscences of what transpired. He was a busy man in there I believe, getting the Erris experience to as many folks as he could collar. Without him, the campaign would have had no-one in there listening, never mind contributing.
All in all it was a worthwhile thing to engage with this conference - for if it were up to our public misrepresentatives there would have been no mention at all of what is being done in Mayo today in the name of so-called 'energy security'. Oh, and Eamon Ryan came up to us at the end of it all either pretending or wanting to remain friends with the campaign. To tell the truth, we were as gobsmacked by this as Eamon's garda special branch minder! Oh you should have seen the political cop's face!

Related Link: http://www.corribsos.com
author by Terencepublication date Wed Sep 19, 2007 18:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There is some coverage and summaries of what is being said at the conference each day over on The Oildrum.com website, as some of the various writers on that site are not only attending but presenting papers.

See for example:

The ASPO Conference -First Morning

The ASPO Conference - First Afternoon

FYI, The Oildrum.com website has been going for about 2 or 3 years and does very high quality discussions of all things related to Peak Oil.

Related Link: http://www.theoildrum.com
author by atomisedpublication date Fri Sep 28, 2007 14:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

At the link

Related Link: http://europe.theoildrum.com/node/3022
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