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Peak Oil, Climate Change Leaflet Text
Tuesday September 18, 2007 11:39 by John Baker - Cork Shell to Sea corkshelltosea at gmail dot com
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.
PEAK OIL, CLIMATE CHANGE
THREATS, OPPORTUNITIES AND AGENDAS
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.
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.
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