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Michigan conference on peak oil and climate starts May 30

Grand Rapids, Michigan - Today’s gas prices may seem high but could skyrocket as global oil supplies dwindle.

The coming crisis in the oil supply is one of three key topics to be covered at a conference bringing together national experts on “peak oil”, climate change and an environmentally friendly and sustainable economy.

The conference is scheduled for Friday, May 30, through Sunday, June 1, at the Calvin College Fine Arts Center, 1795 Knollcrest Circle in Grand Rapids.

The first “International Conference on Peak Oil and Climate Change: Paths to Sustainability” will feature:

  • Richard Heinberg author of “The Party's Over: Oil, War And The Fate Of Industrial Societies” and “PowerDown: Options And Actions For A Post-Carbon World”;

  • Dr. David L. Goodstein author of "Out of Gas: The End of the Age of Oil", Frank J.Gilloon Distinguished teaching and Service Professor of Physics at the California Institute of Technology;
  • Megan Quinn Bachman co-writer & co-producer of the documentary film, "The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil";
  • Julian Darley author of “High Noon for Natural Gas”, Founder and President of the Relocalization Network and Post Carbon Institute;
  • Stephanie Mills author of “Epicurean Simplicity, In Service of the Wild: Restoring and Reinhabiting Damaged Land”, and “Whatever Happened to Ecology?”;
  • Pat Murphy author of "Plan C: Community Survival Strategies for Peak Oil and Climate Change" and Executive Director of "The Community Solution".

Internationally renowned authors Heinberg and Darley appear live via interactive videoconference from California. U.S. Representative Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) of the Congressional Peak Oil Caucus introduces the concept via pre-recorded video.

The conference is being organized by a new nonprofit group, Local Future, founded by Aaron Wissner, a Grand Rapids-area educator and environmental speaker, to inform the public about issues such as peak oil. Wissner was featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal in January for his peak oil education efforts.

Many international experts believe that the worldwide production of oil has “peaked” and that the coming decades will bring a decline in the amount of available oil, leading to a global economic crisis unless steps are taken to promote conservation and sustainable local economies.

“Dwindling oil supplies are causing a ripple effect across the economy, threatening the American way of life, as sharply rising gas prices impact the price of food, shelter and heating. And fierce competition for oil threatens peace around the globe,” Wissner said. “It is imperative that we begin to understand the impact of peak oil so that we can move quickly toward finding solutions.”

The conference will be geared toward helping the general public understand these crucial topics and as a complement to more technical conferences such as the ASPO (Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Natural Gas) conference or the IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change) conference.

In addition to the speakers, the conference will include four break-out periods arranged in twelve tracks covering broad topics of energy, food, environment, community and economy. A call for presentations is going out for all interested speakers. Online registration is open now at

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ABOUT Aaron Wissner – Wissner became aware of the issue of peak oil in 2005 after doing research to determine the ultimate cause of rising gasoline prices. Since then, Wissner has worked to inform the public, via live talks, free public screenings of educational films, and online videos and articles. Wissner is an educator with sixteen years experience in Michigan public schools. Website:

ABOUT Local Future – Local Future is a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the public about crucial issues such as peak oil and sustainability. It is organizing “The International Conference on Peak Oil and Climate Change: Paths to Sustainability” at Grand Rapids’ Calvin College for May 30 to June 1, 2008. Local Future’s charter group in Middleville, MI., hosts free regular events on sustainability topics. Local Future will use the experience gathered from the charter group to start additional local groups around Michigan and in other communities around the world. Website:

Editorial Notes: Contributor Aaron Wissner writes: I invite all Energy Bulletin readers to visit the conference web site, and to consider attending the conference. A goal is to bring together peak oil interested individuals from around the world to have some in depth discussion on the issues of peak oil and to determine best practices for working with the public to understand peak oil and related concepts of unsustaianbility.

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