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The End of Oil and the Inevitable Road to Sustainability

"Most people, sometime in their lives, stumble across the truth. Most jump up, brush themselves off and hurry on about their business as if nothing had happened." — Sir Winston Churchill

An issue that has hardly been mentioned throughout the presidential campaign is oil depletion. The mainstream rarely writes about it. Some mainstream articles of note are posted on page 17 in this issue. Marginalized issues like oil depletion and peak oil include over-consumption, toxic jobs, simplicity, and the ever-marginalized topic of genuine sustainability (as compared to the ever-growing co-opting of the concept of sustainability). At times I think I’m living on another plant where basic needs like clean water, clean air, healthy food, right livelihood and a sustained and clean energy source are rarely spoken about.

Oil depletion takes everything to a different level. Y2K might have hinted at the inherently unsustainable structure of our system, but the resulting denial was way too great. We focused on getting a technological fix ASAP so business as usual wouldn’t be interrupted. There were a few people who spoke and wrote about our need to prepare, some more survivalist than others, and some spoke about organizing neighborhoods to really help out in case anything dire would emerge. Mostly though, we did not learn our lesson; the active inertia of business as usual dominated then as it does today. Neither did we, as energy consultant to Fortune 500 corporations Matt Simmons has said, learn our lesson in Toronto when the power stopped.

Now with oil depletion we have all the players on stage once again: the doom and gloomers, the denialists, the strategists, the lobbyists, the militarists who will wreak havoc in order to secure "our" resources, the politicos, the gun-toting survivalists, the hopeful yet deluded optimists and everyone in between.

We will eventually find our niche, locate like-minded individuals no matter what camp we find suitable to our personalities and begin to hunker down. And as usual we will need to hear all the varied stories to discover the truth in each perspective and potential action. HopeDance is on the pioneering edge looking at what’s coming and trying to get the word out, not dogmatically pronouncing a specific truth but being an umbrella, hopefully, where diversity of visions can dance with the multicolored kaleidoscope of practical solutions.

To me, oil depletion succinctly tells us that the FUEL we have been plundering from the earth to give us cheap transportation, subsidized suburbia, products galore, agricultural fertilizers and pesticides, etc. and especially globalization is about to run out. Without a reliable source of energy, economic growth will be curtailed and globalization will probably cease to exist. This could be good news.

After seeing the very important film "The End of Suburbia," I decided to focus our attention on this vital issue. It ties perfectly within the dimension of HopeDance, in its desire to publish material that is not within the mainstream antennae and to focus on implementing sustainable policies and solutions. After seeing the film, I also came to realize how draining it has been for the past four years dealing with the BUSH COUP. I feel the need to return to the roots of HopeDance where radical solutions inspiring hope can once again be our beacon. This does not however imply a judgment of those who are engaged in the maddening world of politics. All the power to them! But we all need to replenish our energy, hope and enthusiasm in such times. Rather than focus on things that may not be essential to the roots of our peculiar problem and get drained by them, HopeDance will focus on problems that don’t get enough air time, plus its continual work on solutions.

With oil depletion as a major wrench in the entire foundation of "civilization" there is much work to do. In this issue we have focused on people who are doing diligent research in this area (Richard Heinberg, Michael Ruppert, Jan Lundberg, Bill Seavey, Sandi Brockway and others) and document the variety of solutions offered; as well as humor as depicted by cartoonist Andy Singer! This topic is so hot and is so central to our inevitable road to sustainability that HopeDance will continue this trend for awhile, all the while balancing politics and spirituality, disturbing news and heartfelt solutions, despair and genuine hope. I wish you all the strength in this journey.

Editorial Notes: Hopedance ("Radical Solutions Inspiring Hope") is a tabloid/website from San Luis Obispo with an intriguing blend of local and global coverage. Past issues have had some outstanding articles (for example, see its Permaculture issue). Among the articles in this issue: Introduction Peak Oil and the Big Picture Interviews about Peak Oil and Solutions What Kinds of Livelihoods will be Vital? Inventing the 'Hood: Our Need for Neighbors The C.A.N. Car: A Vehicle for Change Shorts (see WHAT DID PEOPLE DO IN THE DEPRESSION?) -BA

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