The Oil Drum: New York City

Helping New Yorkers understand, prepare and adapt to the implications of Peak Oil

Monday, August 22, 2005

From Peak Oilers to Citizens for Sustainable Living

"Yeah, the Mets just can't pull it together this year. Turning to another subject, I'd like you to completely forget everything you believe about free market economics, reject your whole way of life and share my dark vision of the world to come. Won't you join me?"

From the strange looks and reactions I get that seems to encapsulate the way I must come off to people I talk to about peak oil. It's a lot to take in, requires many leaps of logic and overcoming many layers of mass denial and ends with a doomsday scenario that makes the Great Depression sound like a relatively pleasant experience. It makes me depressed to think too much about it, but my convictions run too deep on this issue to ignore it and not want to inform others. I believe that overcoming the problems of peak oil is the greatest challenge that my generation (I'm 29) will face.

But this is a problem that "peak oilers" face in communicating this issue to the general public (and even the well educated elites) - no one likes a pessimist, even if they have much truth in what they advocate. What politician wants to stand on the stump and say "Follow me and your children will have a lower standard of living than you do"?

That is why I would like to start reframing the peak oil issue from one that focuses on the negative doom and gloom consequences of inaction into one that presents a positive vision of creating a sustainable society with healthier lifestyles for all citizens. However negative the consequences, we must focus on what we are for, not just what we are against.



















So here's my short list of what should be included in the (peak) oil plank of the Citizens for Sustainable Living platform:

  1. Insist on complete transparancy of the world's oil reserves and production on a well by well basis.
  2. Make national energy independence a national economic and security goal
  3. Create an energy efficiency ethic in society that abhors wasteful behaviors
  4. Raise fuel economy standards for passenger cars and trucks - encourage adoption of hybrids, electric plug-ins and other more sustainable automobile designs
  5. Re-institute the 55 mph speed limit for maximum efficiency
  6. Decrease traffic through better design, congestion pricing, more telecommuting, staggered start hours, off-peak commuting incentives carpooling, etc.
  7. Invest in building and maintaining mass transit systems to connect as many communities as possible.
  8. Invest in the national passenger and freight rail infrastructure
  9. Revise building codes for maxiumum energy efficiency
  10. Encourage walking, biking, line skating and all forms of self propelled transportation through clearly marked lanes and public awareness campaigns.
  11. Encourage local food production, urban green gardens, farmer markets.
  12. Generate as much local power as possible from solar, wind, biomass, hydro/tidal and other sustainable forms of energy
I invite others to post their own ideas, elaborate on those listed above, debate which are the most important.

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2 Comments:

At 1:53 PM, Anonymous Raisin Toastie said...

All of these suggestions are great. I'd like to add that people shoud reduce their consumption patterns - reuse plastic bags and tupperware to bring lunch to work, sacrifice movies and concerts for parks and museums, eliminate unnecessary items like make-up, perfume and participate in new hobbies like yoga classes, Curves, bird-watching clubs, etc.

 
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