Profile: Energy Bulletin
Post Carbon Institute is happy to be supporting Energy Bulletin, one of the web’s best clearinghouses for current information about peak oil and the global energy supply. Every day, the volunteer-run site pulls together key news stories and pieces commissioned for the site.
“We thought that the work of this all-volunteer group was extremely valuable to the peak oil community,” said Julian Darley, founder and director of Post Carbon Institute. “So when we saw Energy Bulletin needed some technical help, and we had the capacity to host them on our new servers, we were happy to lend a hand."
Bart Anderson, one of the co-editors of Energy Bulletin, told us that traffic has been booming on the site: “We’re getting about 370,000 visits per month or about 1,325,000 page views. The numbers seem to jump up every few months, then stay at an ‘undulating plateau’ until the next jump.”
A good portion of the content of Energy Bulletin’s content comes from stories that readers email in from around the world. Energy Bulletin’s editors then select and excerpt the best stories. And the editors have developed a growing stable of researchers and writers who produce articles for Energy Bulletin, such as Amanda Kovattana, Tom Whipple, Byron King, Rob Hopkins, Richard Heinberg, John Michael Greer, and Jan Lundberg. Another service which Energy Bulletin provides is collections of stories on special topics, like “Solutions and Sustainability.”
“What sets us apart from other sites is the desire to provide a variety of viewpoints, as long as they are serious,” Anderson explained. “Rather than promote only our particular point of view, we would like readers to be able to understand the issues and think for themselves.”
“We make an effort to emphasize thoughtful, well-written pieces. Also, we probably take in a wider variety of subjects than most sites, e.g. global warming, energy politics, sustainability—but other sites are increasingly widening their scope beyond just peak oil.”
Energy Bulletin was started in March 2004, by Australian activists Adam Fenderson and Liam Cranley. Fenderson, a specialist in web design, wrote the PHP code for the site himself, emphasizing clarity and usability. Fenderson, Cranley and Anderson share editorial responsibilites for the site.
Anderson said that Energy Bulletin’s readers were generally supportive, and that some of the best submissions have come from unhappy readers rebutting stories they disagreed with. He said Energy Bulletin would love to have more editorial helpers. In the end, he asked us to make sure “to thank the hundreds of story contributors, writers and others who make Energy Bulletin possible.”
My take on what makes EB worthwhile is that Energy Bulletin, like the Post Carbon Institute and much of the broader peak oil movement, is based on a much more useful and accurate foundation than the assumptions underlying most corporate media and government planning discourses -- who generally take as a given continuing growth in access to energy. We think that the global era of expansion is drawing to a close, that energy descent is more or less inevitable, that peak oil and climate change and other ecological pressures will transform our societies radically for better or worse. In understanding the significance of energy we have a powerful lens we and our contributors apply to topics from health care to geopolitics, finance to philosophy, ecology and agriculture and so on. But rather than creating a confusion of issues, our contributors -- who themselves are from a diverse range of backgrounds and political orientations, from primitivists and permaculturists to serious investors and political conservatives -- find some common ground in these perspectives to draw into a remarkably coherent narrative.UPDATE: Or to put it more succinctly, 'peak oil helps you cut out a lot of the crap.' Big thanks to Julian and Celine of the Post Carbon Institute and the help we've been receiving from their technical experts Mack and Jerry. -AF