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James Howard Kunstler on relocalization and peak oil
Global Public Media
James Howard Kunstler, author of “The Long Emergency”, gives a presentation in Vancouver, Canada to the city planning commission- city staff and the general public were invited to attend. He discusses peak oil, global warming and relocalization, deconstructing some of the popular but unfeasible “alternatives”. He also sits down for an interview with Global Public Media’s Julian Darley for further thoughts on the current state of affairs.
(13 June 2006, but just posted)
Two audios – a speech and an interview.

Forum on Michigan’s Energy Future – July 22

Shirley Kallio, Media Mouse
The program begins Saturday at 9 am. with an address by Cool Cities Mayor, George Heartwell, on the topic, “Cities will Save the World: the Future of Renewables.”

He will be followed by Aaron Wissner’s presentation on Peak Oil, what it is and and its far-reaching implications for our economy and our way of life, its impact on the world, our nation, our state and our community. Aaron is recent founder of Local Future Network, and a teacher and community leader, who has made it his personal mission to thoroughly educate himself on this topic and in turn, to educate his fellow citizens. Visit his website at

David Gard of the Michigan Environmental Council, and director of the Council’s energy program, will conclude the formal presentations with “Meeting Michigan’s Challenges — Energy Conservation, Efficiency and Renewable Energy Standards.”with an address by our own Cool Cities Mayor, George Heartwell, on the topic, “Cities will Save the World: the Future of Renewables.”
See website for details. The event takes place in Grand Rapids.

Sustainable Lifestyles Symposium Aug 20 -25, Ontarion CAN

Ian Graham, Sustainable Burlington
Sustainable Burlington (, one of the newest Local Post Carbon Groups in the Relocalization Network, is co-sponsoring a symposium on preparing, personally and locally, for a low energy world. Says organizer, Ian Graham, the event will “provide the grounding for planning a future in an energy descent scenario. You construct your most plausible version of that future and identify your preparations”.

The Sustainable Lifestyles Symposium will take place Sunday August 20th – Friday 25th at Waubaushene, Ontario, about 30 minutes north of Barrie. It offers attendees three different tracks for morning sessions:

  • Sensible Downshifting: an emphasis on public policy focus and the role of government to reduce waste and produce needs locally
  • Technology to the Rescue: the technological ‘levees’ that could protect many Canadians from hardships imposed by the high cost of energy and social disruptions
  • Building Lifeboats: the local actions we could take to live low energy lifestyles, irrespective of government and corporate action.

The event includes speakers (some by teleconference), demonstration projects, films, community building interludes as well as optional field trips to a local windfarm, hemp farm, two intentional communities, and a biodiesel garage. For speakers, topics, projects, timetable, see

Co-sponsors include The Sustainable Scale Project, Quaker Ecology Action Network, Green Enterprise Toronto.

Organizer Ian Graham writes: “It’s not a gabfest, doomsday wake, or conference hall talk-at event. It is the experience of rich resources at hand, demonstration projects, field trips, community building and the spirit of relocalization. The purpose is to create a platform for people ready to take their next steps into scaling their lifestyles more in keeping with energy, environment and climate constraints.”
(July 2006)
It’s an intriguing idea — to have three different tracks based on the level of urgency you feel about peak oil.

Peak oil and education

Original: “Increased fuel costs cramp Wayland school budget”
Russell Slater, Advance Newspapers
A global oil crisis may be in our future, and area schools could be severely impacted by energy shortages if contingency plans are not put into place, according to one concerned Wayland teacher.

Aaron Wissner, who teaches computer classes at Wayland Union Middle School and is also president of local and regional teacher’s unions, warned the Wayland Union School Board members Monday night that increased fuel costs and inflation could cause a “pinch on the district.”

“I want us to be able to weather any storm we may have here,” Wissner said. “I don’t want to see our school having to close early or anything like that. The mainstream media and educators for the most part have been oblivious to the problem.”

Wissner recently attended a meeting of the National Education Association in Orlando, Fla. and addressed nearly 10,000 delegates about the consequences of a looming energy crisis. Everything from student transportation and employee costs to food service could be radically affected by a shortage.

…A major curriculum shift will be needed to emphasize the necessity of food storage and farming in a predominantly local future. Wissner’s plan for local self reliance is based on meeting the basic needs for survival such as food, water, heat, shelter and security within the community itself. He specifically recommends investing in food sources of lasting value such as orchards and full-size gardens, installing hand pumps for water with reservoirs, adapting homes to accommodate solar heating and securing areas by getting to know neighbors.

Wissner has recently set up a soon-to-be international organization called Local Future,, whose goal is to highlight the failures of globalization and to assist various communities around the world in recognizing the looming energy problems and becoming more self efficient.
(20 July 2006)
A good example of leveraging one’s professional connections to spread the word about peak oil.

Contributor Aaron Wissner writes:

This is the second time I’ve address this board of education on this topic. I’ve also brought this up with the the local teacher’s union, the regional union, the state union, and the national union.

Some of the quotes sound a bit off, or out of context, but overall its okay. The student quote should have said something like, schools should be helping students to understand what is going on and what is needed, so they in turn can be effective members of their families, and communities. The security quote doesn’t quite make sense… the point should have been that participating in community will be important to help everyone feel united and secure.

Of Oilsands and Caviar and Malthus
Eric Sprott and Sasha Solunac, Sprott Asset Management
…we were shocked two week ago when Shell Canada and Western Oil Sands announced that the price tag of their Athabasca oilsands expansion won’t be $7.3 billion (Canadian dollars) as initially projected, but rather $11 billion – or 50% higher! If that’s not inflation folks, then we don’t know what is. This isn’t the first, and we doubt it will be the last, cost increase that we’ll hear about in the oilsands. Costs there are a continually moving upward target.

Announcements like this make it most obvious that the era of cheap oil is clearly over, especially when it costs so much for the world to get that incremental barrel of oil production, especially from heretofore unconventional sources. Remember that the oilsands were supposed to be the great saviour of the world’s energy problems. It would appear that this purveyor of abundant energy is on its way to ignominity due to spiraling costs.

As unfortunate as that announcement was for oilsands producers, this article isn’t about the oilsands. More interesting is what it implies for the cost of all things going forward. To wit, this article will be a general discussion on two inter-rated principles, or perhaps more accurately, two inter-related perils.

One is cost-push inflation, and the other is Malthusian theory. As we’ve already said, we found the oilsands announcement to be shocking – so much so that it effectively changed the landscape. Not only is it highly inflationary, but we fear that it is the kind of inflation that threatens to pervade absolutely everything. It is difficult to envision a scenario where the cost of energy soars without impacting the cost of all things, whether good or service. Just about everything we do comes from or relies on energy.
(July 2006)
From an investment firm that’s peak oil conscious.