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Peak oil focus of Michigan conference in November

Peak oil, the economic crisis, and climate change will be addressed at the Conference on Michigan’s Future: Energy, Economy, & Environment set for the November 14-16 weekend at Crystal Mountain Resort.

Keynote speaker Richard Heinberg, author of “The Party’s Over” and “Peak Everything”, will present live in Michigan for the first time. Ellen Hodgson Brown, author of “Web of Debt”, will detail the causes of the monetary and financial crisis.

In depth talks on personal conservation and solutions will be delivered by Albert Bates, author of “The Post-Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook”; Stephanie Mills, author of “Epicurean Simplicity”; and Bill Wilson of Midwest Permaculture.

Rising oil prices and shrinking liquidity have negatively impacted Michigan’s three largest industries of automobiles, agriculture and tourism. Michigan currently ranks last in the nation with the worst unemployment rate of 8.9%.

“Michigan’s current economic model is failing on all fronts,” says conference organizer Aaron Wissner. “It’s time to engage both individuals and industry to develop a new vision for the future of Michigan.”

Michigan legislator Kathleen Law will explain feed-in-tariffs. Renewable energy proponent Steve Smiley will unveil a 100% renewable electricity program for northwest Michigan. Tony Earley, Chairman of DTE; Paul Murray of Herman Miller; and Jerry Norica, President of Michcon will address nuclear energy, green industry, and natural gas. Richard Gilbert, author of “Transportation Revolutions: Moving People & Freight with Oil” will appear via live videoconference.

“This conference is unique in that it brings together the conservation and energy communities, creating an opportunity to not only discuss some of these key energy issues but brainstorm ideas that will shape Michigan’s future,” Jim MacInnes, CEO & co-owner of Crystal Mountain.

Experts will present on individual or business solutions. Speakers include Kurt Cobb, John Richter, Tim Hudson, Jennifer Alverado, Tom Stanton, David Gard, Patty Cantrell, Donna McClurkan, Thaddeus Owen, David Konkle, Jim Berneir, Mark Bauer, John Berrie, John Sarver, Eric Baker, Mark Wiitenent, David Barnes, TJ Brown, Knut Simonson, Richard Kolodziej and Christina Snyder.

Wissner, MacInnes and Cobb were attendees of the 2008 ASPO-USA peak oil conference in Sacramento. While in Sacramento, Wissner video interviewed over a dozen ASPO speakers including Matthew Simmons, Julian Darley, and Michael Ruppert about what Michigan should do to prepare for peak oil. A compilation of these video responses will be featured at the Michigan conference.

This is Local Future’s second major conference, the first being The International Conference on Peak Oil and Climate Change: Paths to Sustainability in May 2008, which attracted over fifty speakers and two hundred participants.

Major sponsors for the Conference on Michigan Future include DTE Energy, Herman Miller, and Crystal Mountain Resort.

For more information, and to register, visit: http://futuremichigan.org

Editorial Notes: BA: More information at the conference website, including program and presenters. Aaron Wissner writes: The conference speakers come from those that Michigan's future depends on coal and nuclear, to those who believe renewable energy must be the only choice, all the way to those convinced that the only realistic response is to power down as quickly and smoothly as possible. Industry leaders will be at hand and may for the first time get a serious look at what peak oil is and how it has impacted Michigan, and what will happen in the future if Michigan fails to change course.

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