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Peak oil to be hot issue at SF's Green Festival Nov 5-6

Peak Oil is finally getting more attention in the mainstream media. Environmental circles are also discussing it more, as evidenced by the Green Festival in San Francisco Nov. 5-6. This 4th annual event is co-sponsored by Global Exchange and Co-Op America (www.greenfestivals.org). Their previous festivals have reportedly drawn 20,000 to 30,000 visitors, who pay only $15 for both days full schedule.

Author Richard Heinberg will be joined by eco-philosopher Joanna Macy on Saturday to speak about "Avoid Oil Wars, Terrorism and Economic Collapse." A lecture on "Creative Solutions to the Peak Oil Challenge" by Chantal Simonpietre and Cliff Paulin will be given at the same time. Peak Oil activists Brian and Ann Weller of Willits, CA, will follow with a solution-oriented presentation "Building Sustainable Communities," which will focus on the localization movement.

Author Linda Hempel is scheduled to speak on "Farmers Growing Fuel," also on Sat. The description of her presentations notes "As the era of cheap fossil fuels ends, alternative fuels are gaining rapid acceptance." She will focus on "biodiesel as a clean-burning, homegrown alternative fuel. Biodiesel is good for people, the planet and the future."

The description of PlaNetwork Jim Fournier's presentation on "The Shift Point" notes, "The human population, peak oil, atmospheric CO2, mass extinction of species and the overall rate of consumption of renewable resources are all rapidly approaching absolute limits."

Co-Op America Executive Director Alisa Gravitz will lecture on Sun. about "what it's really like to sit at the table and push corporations like ExxonMobil (and) General Motors to adopt responsible practices and policies."

Among the nearly 500 exhibitors will be various ones related to energy depletion issues. The Post Carbon Institute, for example, will be present with information about its work. Following the Willits presentation of Sa., at 6 p.m., there will be a gathering of people interested in Peak Oil at the Post Carbon booth, #953, which is in the Community Action/Networking area.

Publications reporting on Peak Oil will also have recent issues available to festival participants. HopeDance from Southern California featured three Peak Oil articles in its September/October issues, including reports on a recent Heinberg talk, on "Willits, CA Comes to Term with Peak Oil," and "A Peak Oil Primer." Its next issue also promises more articles related to energy descent.

Peak Oil is likely to be mentioned by some of the other more than 100 speakers. New Dimensions Radio cofounder Michael Toms will talk about "Ecology, Energy, Equity, Economics, and Everyone." Among other prominent presenters are Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now!, who "will deliver a scathing critique of commercial news media." National radio commentator and Texan Jim Hightower will speak about "The Powers That Ought to Be." Other speakers include actress and yoga devotee Mariel Hemingway, Global Exchange co-founders Medea Benjamin and Kevin Danaher, economist Hazel Henderson, green architects Sim Van der Ryn and William McDonough. All for only $15.

(Dr. Shepherd Bliss, sb3@pon.net, teaches college on the Big Island and writes for the Hawai'i Island Journal and the Honolulu Weekly.)

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