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Interview: Richard Heinberg

Richard Heinberg and Cow.
Richard Heinberg takes no guff on energy, even from cows. Photo: Copyright ©2009 Isaac Hernandez/

I sat down with Richard Heinberg in late December via Skype to learn about his forthcoming book, The End of Growth, and to hear more about what he thinks lies ahead as energy declines accelerate and the world economy sinks further into recession. The transcript is almost exact, with only occasional and very slight edits for clarification.

LC: Thanks so much for taking our call tonight, I’m really looking forward to interviewing you.

RH: Sure.

LC: Have you seen Transition Voice?

RH: Yes, I have.

LC: Good. Okay, so we’re a new publication and our mission is to try to tell the peak oil story in a new way, in a different way than it’s maybe been told before. Our hope it to reach a kind of broader audience.

RH: Terrific.

Doom and boom

LC: Upcoming stories are going to be focused on “Doom or Boom,” and “Doom to Boom.”

RH: (laughs)

LC: So the first question I wanted to ask you tonight is your own take looking ahead at energy and the economy. What are the areas that you would say you feel a little “doomy” about, the areas of discouragement? Areas where you think things need to be worked on.

And then on the other end of the spectrum, where do you see cause to feel positive, what do you feel is “boomy?”

RH: (Laughs) Oh, wow, well we could take three hours just on that. Well, it’s pretty easy to talk about the doomy stuff. I think what gives me most cause for concern are that most of the incentive structures for policy makers are driving them away from doing the right things.

There are lots of things that we could be doing right now to reform our economy. To develop policies for conserving resources, for reducing carbon emissions, for making our economy fairer and more sustainable, for replacing our monetary system with one that’s not based on debt and less likely to collapse at a moment’s notice. Proposals for all of these things are out there.

The problem is that for policy makers all of the incentives are to continue with business as usual. To pursue economic growth, for example, even if it’s no longer possible.

And to deny that there are even limits to economic growth. Which means that, because there are, in fact, limits to economic growth, this means that policy makers are basically operating in a delusional condition.

And deluded people who are fundamentally separated from reality just don’t make good choices.

Now, what are these incentive structures?

They have to do with just the sclerotic political system itself. The fact that it’s so dependent on enormous campaign contributions from corporations and other big vested interests.

The fact that the economy has become so top heavy that there’s enormous economic inequality between those at the top and the bottom. And that means that those at the top of the pyramid just have enormous power to shape the structures of society and to prevent any kind of reformulation of the economy even if it’s in their ultimate long term interests to do so. These are generally people that are not thinking in the long term.

This goes to the incentive structures in the financial system. Folks on Wall Street, their incentive structures are all very short term. Making a killing as quickly as possible rather than thinking about the long term health of the economy. And so on.

I could go on at some length about all of this.

But it’s this that worries me the most. I mean the good ideas are out there. And all of our problems are actually solvable in principle. But we have incentive structures that are keeping people who could be make a difference from doing so.

Now, what gives me hope are all of the people who aren’t part of that incentive structure. People who aren’t necessarily in Washington or on Wall Street and have a lot more freedom to think for themselves and to move and make different choices.

Unfortunately a lot of those people are still—sorry to go back to the other side—are themselves deluded because they don’t have good information.

Word on the street

RH: One of the structures of our society that is victimized by this incentive structure that I’m talking about is our news media. So if people aren’t getting good, clear information about what’s happening and what the options are, then even if they have the freedom to make good choices, and get outside the mainstream, it’s difficult for them to do so.

Nevertheless, even in spite of that, we see things happening like the Transition Movement, and the Common Security Clubs.

And there is, I would say, a kind of aware class that’s emerging, largely as a result of the Internet. People who get their information by seeking it out on Websites like Transition Voice and Energy Bulletin and we could go through dozens of these. Independent Websites run mostly by people who are in most cases just doing these things out of pure citizen concern for getting good information out there, not making any money at it. But going out of their way to get really good information to people and to make the issues plain. So that gives me a lot of hope.

Limits to growth

LC: I want to ask you a little bit more about the economic side of things. In this past year in particular, or the past eighteen months or so given what we’ve seen happen in the markets with all the bad faith players. This has become an increasing story among peak oil thinkers, too, who are looking at the convergence of peak oil, climate change and now, economic crisis. And a lot of that thinking has tipped on one hand to the side of short term incentives that drive Wall Street behavior as well as just overt crime by these bad faith players on Wall Street and some might argue with government collusion, or government rewarding of that behavior.

On the other side is the case for the input of energy as a mover of economy in the peak oil story. This has kind of been a little more downplayed as this economic crisis issue from the point of view of markets has taken more center stage. I’m curious your thoughts on that especially your coming book, The End of Growth. Intuitively I would think this has something more to do with the inputs of energies. So if you could give just a little bit of commentary on your thoughts on these types of economic issues.

RH: Sure. Let me just say a few words about the book. The book is making the argument that we have reached the limits to growth.

And the first of those limits has to do with oil. We’ve reached the end of cheap oil.

I mean, whether we’ve actually, technically seen the highest month or year of oil production at this point may still be arguable. Maybe in 2011 or 2012 we will see a month of oil production higher than July 2008, or maybe 2011 as a total year will see higher production than 2005 which is so far the record year for world oil production.

But that’s all kind of academic.The reality is that the cheap oil is gone. And we’re seeing oil prices right now in the range of, well today $90 a barrel (this interview took place 12/21/2010) historically a very high price.

In effect, the oil price has become a limit to economic growth. Because if the economy starts to recover, then that drives oil prices higher. Every time we have high oil prices, really high oil prices, that undercuts economic activity.

If you look back in the last forty years, every time we’ve had an oil price spike we have had a recession immediately following. It happened in 2008. We had the highest oil price spike in history and we had the worst recession starting then since World War II.

Now, was the oil price spike the only cause of the recession? Absolutely not. And I agree with people like Nicole Foss who say that the financial economy was set up for a crash.

The financial system is based on debt and there are limits to debt. And we’re beyond those limits to debt and that’s part of what’s causing the economic crisis.

But at the same time, I would say that the oil price is essentially forming a cap on possible economic recovery at this point. That’s why I’m fairly confident in saying that we have reached the end of growth. And what we’re seeing now is basically the US economy just sort of bouncing along under that ceiling.

The Chinese economy is still growing, but for, I would suggest for probably a very short time measured in years, not in decades, for a number of reasons that I unpack at some length in the book.

So in answer to your question, it’s not one or the other. I think what we’re seeing is a profound economic crisis that will continue to unfold for the remainder of our lifetimes. This is not going to be over. We’re not talking about a single dip or a double dip. It’s not a Vee shaped recovery or a W shaped recovery.

It’s a El shaped non-recovery. We’re in an new economic era from here on. And scarcity of resources and energy are absolutely instrumental in what’s brought us to this point.

And how we handle our human relationship with the natural world, and how we handle also the redesign of our economy, the redesign of our economic system, our financial system, these things will determine whether we adapt to this new reality successfully or whether this really means the end of civilization as we know it.

Changing the conversation

LC: Earlier when you talked about those who have an incentive to behave a certain way, kind of not acting in their own long term interest, with what you’ve just now said, what do you think the prospects are on starting to shift the dialog among policy makers? And also in business, in a sense among business leaders who might make certain decisions about how they would operate businesses that would adapt to these changes?

What’s your take on that piece of the puzzle?

RH: Hmmm, well, it’s daunting. I’m hoping the book will inject this observation into the discussion; the observation that growth is over.

So far, I think nobody else that I know of is really making that case strongly. And if we can show that this is true, I mean it’s going to upset a lot of people. There will be an enormous amount of denial. And I’m sure, you know, nine out of ten economists will pick up the book and say "This is bu..." (he humorously searches for a strong word) "hogwash!" (Laughs.)

But nevertheless, if it at least gets in to the discussion then people will have to address the questions raised by the book, one way or another, whether they dismiss them or think about them seriously. They’ll at least have to address them.

Meanwhile, I had a discussion just this afternoon with a very, very high placed environmentalist who was instrumental in the founding of some of the country’s foremost mainstream environmental organizations and has worked in the White House and so on. I asked him, does he see any policy maker in the US who really gets growth and how growth is undermining the environment and how we need to move away from a growth-based economy? And he thought for fifteen, twenty seconds and he said, “No, can’t think of a single one.”

LC: So a lot of work to do there, huh?’

RH: (Laughs). Yes.


LC: I recently called a new trajectory for growth asymmetrical growth. It was really for me a new way of articulating the familiar argument that relocalization and looking towards regional economies is the way not have growth in the traditional way that these economists think of it, like “how much it’s going to grow the GDP for a given year”, but more how do you get money moving, how do you get economic activity happening? You know I know that the Post Carbon Institute views relocalization as a big piece of the vision for economies of scale in the future. Does your book touch on that?

RH: Well yes.

And conventional economic growth is over. But what we need to do in the wake of that event—the end of growth—is to stimulate certain kinds of economic activity at the local level. Kinds of economic activity that will in fact give people jobs, work to do that will help them keep a roof over their heads and food on their tables.

And this has got to be organized outside the conventional system of finance and debt based financing. And there are structures that could enable that to happen. And I do talk about those in the book.

It’s no secret that there are a lot of people who are already working on cooperative businesses, cooperative financing methods, no-interest banks like JAK in Sweden. The possibility of state banks as in North Dakota that could help finance municipal and state operations, because obviously this is already a huge problem.

We have states like California and Illinois that are literally going broke and firing teachers and closing libraries and all the rest, talking about closing state parks and so on just because the tax base is being eroded to the point where it’s blowing holes in state budgets. So, the way around that is by states basically financing themselves through state banks as North Dakota is doing.

So again, there are avenues that we can use to create economic activity at the local level and to support activity at the local level.

One of them that I’ve talked about is local economic laboratories. In every town across the country having a place, a building downtown that’s devoted to the stimulation of this new grassroots non debt-based economy.

Each one of these could be like an alternative mall in a way. A place that people could go to to find work, to buy stuff, to trade—that’s outside the decaying, dying debt-based, growth-based economy—that is going to help them survive and help their community to thrive.

LC: So much of what you’re talking about sounds like a paradigm shift. It’s certainly a cultural shift and that’s one of the most difficult areas to shift society barring a very concrete event that occurs. I understand social change and even economic change is more often thought of as glacial. And maybe all this has been in the works for a long time.

I feel the earth move under my feet

LC:What other ingredients do you think are necessary or do you see a precipitating event coming down the pike, as in the notion of a collapse? Something shocking that’s going to hit and there will be no way to not have a paradigm shift? And/or do you see some other pieces that need to be in place there in order to help facilitate these changes?

RH: I’m not worried about whether we’ll have shocks to catalyze change. We will have a whole series of them. And it’s possible to see a whole line-up waiting in the wings , actors waiting to take central stage from sovereign debt crises in Europe to state and municipal insolvency in the US to controversy within the Congress as to whether they’re going to raise the debt limit.

And if we get people in Congress who for purely political grandstanding reasons decide to oppose raising the debt limit, that suddenly creates this whole crisis in the bond market.

I could go on.

There’s a whole range of not just possible but likely crisis scenarios that will force change.

Change we can count on

What I’m concerned about is that we have seeds of alternatives already in place and able to be grasped by people. This is why I go on and on about these local economic laboratories. It’s great to have good ideas lying around but the vast majority of people have no contact with them, have no familiarity with them.

But if there’s a place within each community where people are actually working on these things, a place where you can go to find out about them, that can make all the difference in the world.

Business people have known about this for centuries. This is why we have downtowns and shopping malls, you know a central place where people can go to do their business. It’s more functional than having businesses spread all around just randomly throughout the city. It works better for everyone.

Same thing with the new economy. If we can give it a place to take root, a place to grow, then I think it’s going to be a lot more successful.

Mass hysteria

LC: Within that doom to boom idea that we’re looking at, how resilient do you see the American people, particularly given some of the real degraded elements of our culture in terms of communications and news media and mass media as you talked about earlier and our priorities. I mean our priorities are often Dancing With The Stars rather than what really makes sense for how we live. And then heated, polarized political dialog and a lot of delusion as you mention, which I think is very key. That’s a big factor.

At the same time, shocks can change people very quickly.

What’s your own take on such a diverse culture with such a large land mass adapting to some severe changes?

RH: Part of me wants to channel my friend Jim Kunstler. Because he is very eloquently cynical about the prospects of the American people adapting just because we’ve been advertised into stupidity, quite frankly.

LC: Yes.

RH: And this goes back generations. It’s not just today.

But it’s cumulative. And I think people are stupider now than they were ten years ago. And they were stupider ten years ago than they were twenty years ago. Just as a result of our immersion in this commercial...well, you said it yourself Dancing With The Stars based reality that so many of us get locked into.

That said, when people are face-to-face with losing their homes, losing their jobs, they start to think. They’re forced to think.

Teach a man to fish

RH:And if the tools are lying around to help them think through these problems and there are opportunities for them that actually will help them solve their concrete problems they will listen. And they will think. And they will change their minds.

Once again it really all depends on having the ideas and the opportunities in place. And when I say opportunities, I mean specific opportunities to help them solve their problems. Whether it’s...

...every town has a food kitchen. Okay. Well what if that food kitchen is also connected with opportunities to do community gardening? To learn how to grow more of your own food. To get to know your neighbors. To share what skills you have and what seasonal abundances you have and so on.

So it’s not just come on in and get a bowl of soup, but come in and learn about the food system and participate in transforming it.

LC: And what are some of the communities that you look to, in the States in particular right now, where you really think wow there is really some movement happening that puts this area in place to really be resilient. Some of the leading examples?

RH: Well there’s stuff going on in so many places. When I travel around people say, “Oh, wow, I wish we were like California. So much is going on in California. Oh, look at Berkeley, ah!”

You know, I don’t think that’s true at all. When I travel to places like Des Moines, Iowa or Bloomington, Indiana...I see towns in Vermont...and I happen to spend a lot of time in New Orleans because my wife’s family lived there. And, New Orleans has been through a lot but people there are incredibly resilient. And there’s a very thriving local food movement there. And a movement for coordinating farmer’s markets. So, you know, it’s north, south, east, west, midwest you’re going to find great people doing fascinating things wherever you are.

LC: Well sounds very boom-y! That’s an upside.

I wanted to ask you...well, first of all, when is your book going to come out?

RH: June or July of 2011, depending on how quickly I can get the manuscript in.

LC: Okay, good.

Dumb ideas

LC:Now here's one. We decided to read a chapter from Glenn Beck on peak oil. His take on peak oil lead him to conclude that the direction the United States needed to go was more coal-to-liquid.

What are your thoughts on this direction and what are your thoughts on the probability of policy makers and those in the position to move things going in a dirtier energy direction or going in a cleaner energy direction?

RH: Right, well coal-to-liquids really has no future.

It’s going to be a very expensive way of making liquid fuels. I think the only future it’s likely to have is with the military to produce fuel for tanks and fighter aircraft and so on. But even at that it’s going to be really problematic.

Because, as I pointed out a few weeks ago in an article for Nature co-written with David Fridley of Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories, our analysis shows that global coal prices are going up. And sharply up. Largely because of consumption patterns in China.

China’s going to be absorbing virtually all of the export coal volumes that are presently available.

Countries like Australia and Indonesia and South Africa are going to really have a tough time mining and exporting enough coal to satisfy the needs of China, much less China and India and all the other countries that want to import coal. So that’s going to drive up coal prices not only for those countries, but also for the US.

Even if you can somehow make the math work for coal-to-liquids with coal at current prices, once you start factoring higher coal prices you’re talking about liquid fuels that are so expensive that economic activity would be highly depressed by liquid fuels at that price point. So again, the only way that works really is for the military which doesn’t have to worry about paying for things.

So, you know I’m sorry that Glenn Beck doesn’t have better sources of information. If he could look into these things a little bit more deeply, I think he’d come to very different conclusions. But they’d be conclusions that I think he would find upsetting to his whole paradigm.

Because you start following out all of the potential solutions to the energy problem, we did in our study at Post Carbon Institute last year, Searching for a Miracle, we looked at 18 different energy sources, analyzed them by 10 criteria and our conclusion was there is no likely mix of alternative energy sources including nuclear and solar and wind and tidal and all the rest that’s likely to make up for fossil fuels as fossil fuels become scarce and expense.

They’ll help, certainly, around the margins, especially if we invest now while we still have some cheap energy.

But the days of abundant cheap energy are effectively over and that means we have to change the way we live. And we have to change the goals that we’re pursuing.

I think people like Glenn Beck imagine that we Americans have economic growth sort of as our birthright and we should all be driving SUVs. And if we don’t it’s because some pointy-headed intellectual in Washington who works for the EPA is writing regulations keeping us from doing so.

That’s simply not true.

The reality is that it’s the market that’s going to keep us from pursuing business as usual. So we have to adjust to that. And helping people adjust to it could be a huge help.

Glenn Beck with his national TV show, regardless of his politics, if he were helping people to understand the situation we’re in, and helping them to adapt, that would be a good thing.

Tipping the scales

LC: I think with a lot of people I’ve interviewed since starting Transition Voice last October...there's this concern with the view among some optimistic observers of continuing to imagine that we’re going live life at the same scale, we’re just going to find the new thing to let us live life as we have. Not just the "growth" word, economically, which doesn’t kind of drill down into the details of us each having our own car, and us each going shopping every weekend and out to eat all of the time and disposing of every thing and buying new version within months and upgrading to the latest techno-gadget. But those pieces, those sensual details of our daily lives that I think aren’t understood when Glenn Beck advances an argument like we’re just going to move to coal-to-liquids. There seems to be no understanding of the scalability and that it’s all going to shift.

RH: Yes. Well, I worry about our electricity grid.

I think with a non-fossil fuel input base...I mean if we don’t have lots of cheap coal and if there are severe problems with natural gas that currently energy policy makers aren’t seeing—they’re assuming that we have a 100 years of natural gas as a result of this fracking unconventional gas—but if that’s not the case, and we’re working on a...David Hughes at Post Carbon Institute is working on a major report that’ll be out in May. He’s skeptical about those expectations of a 100 years of natural gas but...take away the fossil fuels that we currently have in our electrical power systems—coal and natural gas—and the reality is we may have to get used to not having the lights come on every time we flip the switch.

If we’re relying primarily on renewable sources of energy for electricity, we’re going to have less electricity, and it’s not going to be available always just when we want to have it.

Already, in 100 countries around the world the lights aren’t on twenty-four seven. They’re only on for a few hours every day. That’s what most of the world’s people are already living with.

We in the US and our European cousins are, I think, going to be in the same boat in a couple of decades. We’ll be seeing the lights on for some hours every day and we’re going to have to rethink our lives and plan our lives differently.

We’re not going to be able to go out and get in the car and drive wherever we want when we want. Initially we’ll probably be doing a lot of carpooling. We’ll have to coordinate with other folks, and see when we can organize a carload of friends and neighbors to all get together and go to wherever on the other side of town.

And, you know, in some ways that’ll be good. Obviously we’ll be putting a lot less CO2 into the atmosphere. And we’ll get to know our friends and neighbors a lot better.

But it is going to be a big adjustment. It’s going to require us to give up a certain image of what the good life is all about. And it’s going to require us to dig down deep in ourselves, in our souls, and find out what we’re really made of.

People have always done this in hard times, Whether it’s the Great Depression or World War II or going further back in history. And very often it’s actually good for people in a certain way.

Clearly there’s likely to be a lot of suffering as there was in those historic examples.

But at the same time, when you’re living in a generation, in a period of time where there’s such abundance, and it’s so easily acquired, and people are getting rich doing things that don’t really do anybody any good; that’s corrosive, I think, of human character in a pretty profound way.

So it’s possible that if we adjust well to these new economic circumstances it could, once again, be good for us in some ways that might even be hard to predict.

Dark days ahead

LC: On the doomier end of the spectrum, clearly talking about things like electricity not being on as consistently and also government responses which could kind of go either way, some of the more colorful figures in the peak oil movement speak of the privation being a lot worse than just some inconveniences; instead die-offs, martial law, things like that.

In your darker moments do you go there?

RH: Sure.

I think we probably, certainly over the short term, are headed toward increasing centralization of government power. Even though we have a seemingly dominant political party, at least they were in the most recent election, that pretends to be all about reducing the power of central government and reducing the government budget and deficit and all this sort of thing. Make government so small we could drown it in the bathtub and all this.

The reality is that the only thing that’s keeping the economy together right now, and it’s likely to keep the economy going over the next few years, is the government. The Federal Reserve and the US Treasury spending enormous amounts of money, going into further debt to bailout banks and businesses, to dole out to folks whose unemployment benefits are running out, and all the rest.

If you subtract the stimulus packages from GDP over the last two years, what looks like a recovery disappears. The recovery, such as it’s been over the past two years, has been all about the Federal government pumping enormous amounts of money, trillions of dollars into the economy.

So that’s going to continue.

And that doesn’t come without a cost. Part of that cost is increasing power of central government.

We’re seeing that right now with the whole WikiLeaks phenomenon. The government as it has a larger role in the economy is also going to have a larger role in our lives. And it’s not going to like being outed and examined and questioned.

It’s going to defend itself ever more ruthlessly from the public eye. And we’re going to see more government secrecy. More government repression. Because as people become more desperate economically they’re going to become more obstreperous and we’ll see more street protests and so on.

So the governments going to clamp down on that and call all these people domestic terrorists and the rest. That’s scary. If you want to talk about doomer stuff it’s not very palatable.

LC: I don’t like to, but..

If the people will lead

RH: I don’t see much alternative to that. I think that’s where we’re headed.

But I think in the face of that we have to continue doing what we’re doing at the local level to build local economies. And to basically make the federal government as irrelevant as possible.

Create parallel structures.

Unless we create parallel economic structures there’s no way that we can get out from under the more repressive political aspects of a federal government that’s just doing what it thinks it has to do in order to preserve order.

LC: What are some of the goals for Post Carbon Institute for 2011?

RH: One of the things we’ll be doing is supporting the book in various ways. In making sure that it’s not just a book that comes out and a few scholars read it and sort of that’s it.

This is a message that we feel as an organization is really important to get out there. To change the conversation about the economy in this country.

So rather than just focusing on the peak oil issue, we will be putting a lot of emphasis on the question of the economy.

And also on how to identify and shift the thinking of the 200 most influential people in the country. That’s going to be an interesting project. We are still in the process of identifying those people and figuring out unique strategies for contacting and influencing each one.

So if anybody out there has any ideas, or wants to help in some way, especially with a contribution. Because an organization like Post Carbon, we run on a shoestring, we’re very small and a very lean organization. But we’re hoping to, again, make a substantial difference.

LC: Okay.

Right now clearly Big Oil and Big Coal create a logjam in public policy and in Congress, and it seems rather difficult to penetrate. I know Post Carbon Institute also works on public policy and you mentioned a little bit about that tonight.

What do you think can be done to kind of loosen that stranglehold and begin to have some inroads in—this may sound kind of pie in the sky—to something like a peak oil policy in the United States?

RH: Shoo. Well I wish I had an easy answer to that question.

I know a lot of folks who are working on that and in most cases bumping their heads against the wall.

I go to Washington from time to time. And I’m sitting in rooms with policy makers, and my experience is, the higher up they are the food chain they are, the more immune they are to any discussion that’s outside the very narrow prescribed boundaries of what’s politically acceptable to discuss.

You go off message even a little bit and they just shut down. They’re not going to listen to a word you have to say.

So, I wish I had a magic answer to your question.

I think if it’s possible to reach these people it’s going to have to come through the back door. We’re going to have to first influence thought leaders and leaders in business and finance, because they know how to get the ear of the policy makers in Washington.

Folks like me, people in think tanks, and authors of books and so on, we can toss our material over the transom all we want and, I have to say, it just goes into the garbage can.

Music to my ears

LC: Last question.

I know for myself, that I’m passionate about the issue of peak. I talk about it all the time. I want to write about it all the time.

But at the same time it takes an emotional toll because it’s a pretty big issue. It’s a scary issue. It’s heavy. With implications for my children, and our society, and earth and everything.

Obviously you’ve been doing this work longer than me, much more seriously than me, and you’re one of the most hugely influential persons on this issue.

So what’s your coping method? What’s your happy side? Not that you don’t come across as being an optimistic individual generally speaking, save, you know, you’re laying out the bad case...

RH: Yeah, right.

LC: ...but you still seem to have a generally happy demeanor.

What are your hobbies? Or what kind of makes it all something you can cope with?

RH: Well, for me personally I have to say music is the one thing that keeps me going more than anything else. I’m a pretty serious musician...

LC: Oh.

RH:...that was my main training when I was young. I play the violin and I practice probably 90 minutes every day. I try to play with other people every chance I get.

Obviously not everybody is going to choose the same route, but I think the arts in general, and you can use that word in the broadest sense. It could be the art of gardening, or the art of healing. Sharing in natural healing with friends and neighbors, herbalism, growing food, you know, all of these things.

If you approach them with that attitude of artistry, it can be immensely nourishing and calming and enjoyable.

That’s what recharges my batteries personally.

LC: That’s great, so are you in a band?

RH: I’m not currently in a band. I play mostly classical music these days. I play with a string quartet, and a piano trio, occasionally sit in with an orchestra. I did a recording session a couple of days ago. Oh, I don’t want to go into too much detail, but yeah...(laughs)

LC: That’s nice. I come from a very musical family and then I have a daughter who is extremely musical and she just plays piano all the time in our house. It just brings us so much joy.

So I can see in watching her passion why it would be a nice way to get out of your head, get into your heart and into your body and the whole thing, communicate with others through the music. So that’s great.

RH: Good. (Smiles)

LC: Thanks so much. Thanks for your time tonight.

RH: Well thank you, Lindsay. Good talking with you.

LC: Good talking with you, too. Good bye.

RH: Good-bye.

--Lindsay Curren, Transition Voice Magazine

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The "Syrian Sickness": What Crude Oil Gives, Crude Oil will Take Away

Crude oil had created modern Syria, crude oil has destroyed it.

Drought Influenced Syrian Civil War; So What, Says U.S. Congress

This singular thought, that climate change can stir dangerous human …

Peak Oil Review - Nov 23

A weekly roundup of peak oil news, including: -Quote of the Week -Oil and …

Despite Low Oil Prices, Renewable Power Gaining Traction, Energy Agencies Report — But Not Yet Fast Enough for the Climate

The shift away from coal and towards renewable sources of energy is slowly …

Peak Oil Notes - Nov 19

 A midweek update.Oil futures fell as low as $39.91 a barrel in New …

Keeping warm with minimal heating: small-scale solutions

I discuss some of the ways you can add the equivalent of an extra layer of …

Can We Afford the Future?

As a child of the 1950s I grew up immersed in a near-universal expectation …