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2039Re: [hreg] Media Meeting Monday Night

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  • chasmauch@aol.com
    Jun 25, 2003
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      In a message dated 6/24/03 11:09:24 PM Central Daylight Time, rox1@... writes:

      Did anyone go to the media meeting with Richard Heinberg Monday night, please give us a report on it.  I wanted to go and was unable, so if someone would please let me have the experience through their eyes, I would appreciate it.

      I know his book states a case that the earth is about to run out of petroleum.  The DOE-EIA published that there is enough fossil fuel to supply world demand as it increases 5% per year until the year 2300.  Thus, my case for renewable energy before 2300 has been to prevent pollution and increase freedom/peace.  I would like to add to my argument for RE that there is a shortage of fossil fuel if someone can put forth a convincing, scientific proof of it.  Does anyone have a copy of his book?

      I went to the meeting Monday and found the panelists interesting, although I think most of us are aware of the general thrust of the program which was basically that the long-awaited energy crisis will soon will be upon us, if it isn't already here. Heinberg does not say we are running out of fossil fuels - they will be around for a long time but are declining while consumption is increasing and once the curves cross we have a crisis.

      The critical thing is that world oil is peaking (already has or soon will), natural gas won't save us because it is already in short supply in this country, solar cells cost so much to make that there is a very long payout for the amount of energy they can produce, hydrogen is abundant in water but it takes more energy to break down the water than you can get back from the hydrogen, and so on. He basically recommends revolutionary changes in our way of life - conservation, renewables, a no-growth economy, population control, local self-reliance, and more (lotsa luck on all that). Wind is OK and coal is plentiful but has problems. Don't remember if he was pro- or anti-nuke. You can find what appears to be a brief summary of his PowerPoint presentation (I only scanned it) at http://www.museletter.com/partys-over.html.
      The other panelists were also good. Julian Darley is founder of the Post Carbon Institute which basically educates the public about the energy crisis. Information about it can be found at www.PostCarbon.org.

      The other panelist was Mark Sardella who promotes various ways of producing energy locally (see www.localenergy.org). I was especially interested in one idea which sounds like an improvement on what some friends of mine are working on locally. Most of you have probably heard of using local currency, where you print up some local "money" and then get local merchants and individuals to agree to exchange goods and services using that money rather than US legal tender, the idea being to keep the money circulating in the community rather than being drained off to various out-of-state corporations and banks.

      I have always liked the idea since historically the big cities like Athens, Rome, and NYC have drained money from the countryside to the plutocrats in the big financial centers, but am not sure the local currency plan is very practical. However, Sardella has a twist on this that makes sense to me. He says just go around and try to sign up all the locally owned businesses you can. Then make up a directory and encourage people to patronize them rather than the chain stores, franchises, WalMarts, etc. This has the advantage of using US money but tending to keep it circulating locally, creating jobs, and appealing to regular businessmen, not just environmentalists, vegetarians, etc. He says they are working on something like this in Santa Fe (where he is from) and it seems to be popular.

      NOTE: In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit I may be partial to Local Energy since the president is David Bacon, who ran for governor of New Mexico in 2002 on the Green Party ticket and got 12% of the vote. He was present and I enjoyed meeting and talking with him.

      I understand that these panelists are traveling around making this presentation in various cities, and the educational aspects are useful. Unfortunately there were only about 25 or 30 people in the audience, which was discouraging considering that the panels were very good and their message so important - one of the great crises of our times that is soon going to change our way of life - maybe as soon as this summer we will have a real gas shortage (with no need for Enron to create one). They need to find a better way to spread the message. Isn't it amazing how such a crisis can be virtually upon us and yet very few politicians are talking about it and most people either don't know about it or are in denial. You gotta love that corporately owned free press of ours.

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