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Peak Oil Council Forming in Western Massachusetts

A council of community leaders is forming to raise awareness of peak oil and its ramifications for Western Massachusetts and to support responses. Donald Campbell of Donald Campbell Associates (a solar energy company) has initiated the Pioneer Valley Post Carbon Council as a Local Think Tank (or “Outpost”) of Post Carbon Institute. Post Carbon Institute’s network links together local groups that are addressing peak energy issue in their communities.

People throughout the Pioneer Valley have been getting increasingly concerned about the imminent approach of the global peak of oil production. Study groups and events have been sponsored in Amherst, Northampton, Northfield, and Shelburne Falls, and other places. In Northfield the formation of an energy committee was approved by the selectboard.

On Monday, February 28, the Karl Davies Energy Task Force, from Northampton presented the issue of peak oil at a legislative forum at the State House in Boston. Representative Ellen Story of Amherst hosted the forum.

"The Pioneer Valley has the potential to be a model for others in meeting the challenges of the imminent peak of oil production.” Donald Campbell says "it is also essential to the work of keeping our communities healthy and thriving." The Pioneer Valley Post Carbon Council will serve as an educational and coordinating body to support all the effort that so many are already making.”

Basic membership is on the individual level, but businesses, non-profits, and governmental organizations are welcome to have representation. Campbell says “none of us know all we need to know by ourselves. Only our collective knowledge and wisdom based on experience can move us forward.”

Stephen Strong, an international energy expert from Harvard, MA said "the debate over when the last drop of oil will be extracted will never be settled and it needn’t be. It is largely irrelevant. What matters is when the world economy - now completely dependent on cheap oil and gas – will begin to falter due to price escalation and lack of supply. By then, the window of opportunity for a manageable transition to the post-petroleum era may be largely behind us."

As one of its first initiatives, the Council is hosting a showing of the documentary "End of Suburbia" at the Greenfield Community College Downtown Campus in Greenfield, MA on Thursday, March 10, from 9am to noon. The film will be followed by a chance to learn more about the work of the Council and space for community members to share hopes and concerns.

Pioneer Valley Post Carbon Council is a Local Think Tank (or “Outpost”) of Post Carbon Institute that serves as an educational and coordinating body to support efforts to raise awareness of peak energy and respond locally. Basic membership is on the individual level, but businesses, non-profits, and governmental organizations are welcome to have representation.

Post Carbon Institute is a think and action tank that explores in theory and practice what cultures, civilisation, governance & economies might look like without the use of (non-renewable) hydrocarbons as energy and chemical feedstocks. Post Carbon Institute advocates global relocalization as an essential response to peak oil, resource conflicts, climate change and other ecological problems. Their “Outpost” program is designed to start the relocalization process by mobilizing community groups to experiment on how to meet their essential needs within walking distance.


Donald Campbell

Pioneer Valley Post Carbon Council

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Editorial Notes: The Post Carbon Institute also announced today that David Room will be taking on the role of Director of North American Operations for the organisation. David is co-author of the PCI's forthcoming book “Relocalize Now! Getting Ready for Climate Change and the End of Cheap Oil” (New Society Publishers, Fall 2005). -AF

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