The Second U.S. conference on “Peak Oil” and Community Solutions will be held September 23-25, 2005, in Yellow Springs, Ohio. The conference will explore:
- The implications of Peak Oil.
- An in-depth look at changes in agriculture.
- The characteristics of a new economy.
- Peak Oil’s effect on our financial system.
- Alternatives to oil and our high energy way of life.
- The communities of the future.
- Ways to transition and answers to “What should I do now?”
Conference brochure & registration (246-KB PDF)
See what last year’s conference was like.
Click here for proceedings from the First U.S. Conference on Peak Oil and Community.
The Importance of Peak Oil and Community Solutions
Peak oil — the point when world oil production reaches its maximum and begins to decline, is an event which is likely to occur this decade. As global demand exceeds supply, oil will become increasingly scarce and expensive.
The end of cheap abundant oil represents an unprecedented challenge for humanity. It heralds the end of many things to which we have become accustomed; the ever growing economy, transportation as we know it, cheap food and goods from around the globe.
“Our response to Peak Oil has major consequences for future generations.”
The implications of Peak Oil are far reaching. Oil provides close to 40% of our society’s primary energy (over half of which is imported) and 95% of our transportation fuel. Fossil fuels are a necessity in our way of growing food and in making and transporting everything we buy.
Many react to these coming changes with fear and dread. But we envision a more cooperative, just and equitable world of small local communities.
“Solutions to Peak Oil will require a major shift in our thinking and in our way of life.”
Friday Night Keynote – Richard Heinberg is a leading educator and international speaker on the coming global “oil peak” and author of the seminal work, The Party’s Over: Oil, War, and the Fate of Industrial Societies as well as Powerdown: Options and Actions for a Post-Carbon World. He is also a professor at New College in Santa Rosa, California, where he teaches courses on “Energy and Society” and “Culture, Ecology, and Sustainable Community.” He and his wife have implemented low-energy techniques in their own home, which has been renovated for energy efficiency and where they grow much of their own food.
Richard will explain the coming peak in global oil production and its implications for our society, our communities, and our lives. He will then give a comprehensive review of a government document that outlines mitigation strategies. Finally he will explore peak oil’s effect on the U.S. dollar and our debt-based financial system.
Saturday Night Keynote – Michael Shuman is the author of Going Local: Creating Self-Reliant Communities in a Global Age and Vice President of Enterprise Development for the Training & Development Corporation. Michael specializes in community economics, business financing models, local investment strategies and North-South development cooperation. He speaks and consults around the country on ways to strengthen local and regional economies, and is one of the founding board members of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, an international network of community-based businesses.
Michael says that Americans today purchase 58% of their goods and services from local place-based businesses and further argues that current trends in the global economy, especially rising oil prices, could easily make 80% localization cost-competitive. He will enumerate the key tasks consumers and households can undertake to make a community-enriching transition from peak oil possible.
Steve Andrews is an energy consultant, freelance writer on peak oil, builder and co-founder of the Associatioin for the Study of Peak Oil ‐ U.S. He has taught solar and energy-efficiency classes at universities and colleges, worked on the PBS TV series “Running on Empty” and frequently works with the state of Colorado on energy issues related to building, transportation, and land-use planning. He lives in a super-efficient, off-grid home that he built in Westcliffe, Colorado. He is working on the design of a system to evaluate alternative energy systems.
Steve will give a realistic, unbiased assessment of the potential of various alternative energy sources. He also will explain how to measure the viability of popular alternatives and share ways of evaluating alternate energy sources, including net energy analysis, dollar costs, environmental impact, and others.
Diana Leafe Christian is the editor of Communities magazine, a quarterly publication about intentional communities in North America, and author of Creating a Life Together: Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities, a guide to launching and sustaining successful new communities. Diana has been interviewed by NPR and the BBC about intentional communities, and frequently leads workshops for forming-community groups and educational centers nationwide and at communities conferences. She is presently a member of Earthaven Ecovillage in North Carolina.
Diana will share examples of successful ecovillages and intentional communities and explain their role in the coming transition to a more agrarian, sustainable lifestyle with the onset of peak oil. She will discuss how these communities can both fulfill the yearning for a sense of connection and community and help create a just, sustainable future.
John Ikerd was raised on a small dairy farm in southwest Missouri. He holds a BS, MS and PhD in agricultural economics and taught at four major Land Grant Universities for 30 years. Since retiring he spends most of his time writing and speaking out on issues related to sustainable agriculture with an emphasis on the economics of sustainability. He is the author of The Case for Common Sense: The New Economic, Ecological, and Social Revolution and Sustainable Capitalism: A Matter of Common Sense.
John will critique the fossil fuel-based industrial paradigm that he sees as inherently exploitative and unsustainable. He will then describe the need for a sustainable economic system based on biological principles and discuss agriculture as a key element. Finally he will explain how social and ethical values can be reintegrated into capitalist economics.
Jan Lundberg is the founder of “Culture Change” a non-profit organization that publishes a newsletter on the collapse of petroleum civilization and the resurgence of sustainable living. Its first major project was the Alliance for a Paving Moratorium with its flagship, the Auto-Free Times magazine. He formerly ran Lundberg Survey Incorporated and published the Lundberg Letter, an oil industry analysis, which was known as the “bible of the oil industry.”
Jan will explain why the solutions to our coming oil crisis are cultural rather than technological. He will further explore the current cultural values of our society and the need to develop new ones for the low-energy world to come. He will talk about the new paradigm shift he sees as part of the post petro-collapse and our options for changing our lives and the direction of society.
Robert Waldrop was born and raised on a working farm and ranch in southwest Oklahoma. He is the founder of the Oscar Romero Catholic Worker House in Oklahoma City, a community which is interested in sustainable living and urban agriculture, and maintains an extensive website network of simple, sustainable and frugal living resources. He is also the founder and President of the Oklahoma Food Cooperative and the moderator of the peak oil internet discussion group, “Running On Empty.” He is the author/editor/publisher of the Better Times Almanac of Useful Information.
Robert will talk about the development of local food systems, which will be critical when the petroleum-dependent global industrial food system collapses. He will share his lessons from organizing the Oklahoma Food Cooperative, explain the role of urban agriculture, and enumerate the personal changes necessary for adapting to a local food system.
Liz Walker is Director and co-founder of Eco Village at Ithaca (EVI) in New York State and the author of EcoVillage at Ithaca: Pioneering a Sustainable Culture. EVI combines multiple cohousing neighborhoods with organic farms, green building, open space preservation and a growing program in sustainability education. Liz has been interviewed about EVI for special programs on CNN, PBS, NPR and feature articles in The New York Times and Wall Street Journal. She is also a contributing writer for Cohousing Journal and Communities Magazine.
Liz will share the inspiring story of creating the EcoVillage at Ithaca, NY. She will explore its relationship with the local community and the global ecovillage movement, the importance of Community Supported Agriculture and the role of ecovillages in the transition to sustainable post-peak oil communities.
Pat Murphy is the Executive Director of Community Service, Inc., the designer of the organization’s latest program, The Community Solution, and the writer of its New Solutions reports. Through this he has been exploring the small community’s role in responding to global oil peak and decline. Prior to working for Community Service, Pat was the founder of a software company that developed a “design for manufacturing” program for residential building, which greatly reduced waste in the construction process. He also designed and built active solar homes.
Pat will explain the role of oil and energy as they relate to global inequity, continuous conflict and resource wars. He will describe the development of our oil based consumer lifestyle in the late 20th century and contrast it to a conserver lifestyle that will be inevitable and necessary for living in a post-peak oil world.
Megan Quinn is the Outreach Director of Community Service, Inc. She has been writing and speaking on the issue of peak oil for more than two years. Megan graduated from Miami University with a degree in Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs, writing her college thesis on “Peak Oil and U.S. Foreign Policy.” She has been organizing presentations to environmental groups, civic organizations, and schools around the Ohio area on Peak Oil, Community Solutions, Cuba, and low-energy Agraria neighborhood communities.
Megan will explain how the development of Agraria neighborhood-communities is a vital strategy for peak oil-forced decentralization and the renewal of small towns and farms in the post-peak oil world. She will give an overview of the design specifications, discuss the project’s significance as a model, and explain its role as a part of Community Service’s vision of small, local, agrarian communities.
Faith Morgan has been associated with Community Service, Inc. for 20 years and is a member of CSI’s Board of Trustees. She has traveled to Cuba three times in the last two years to learn what happened there after the fall of the USSR in 1990, when over half of Cuba’s oil subsidies were suddenly cut off. As a member of CSI, She is producing a documentary, “Peak Oil, Cuba and Community,” to tell the story of this major social disaster and Cuba’s creative response to living without cheap and abundant oil.
Faith will show an early release of this film at the conference. She will lead a panel discussion with other Cuba experts to determine the relevance of the Cuban experience to the world situation.