Peak oil and community engagement

As I discussed yesterday, Whitehorse City Council has released a Peak Oil Action Plan. As they point out

While Council may be able to assist in initiating and managing some community responses, the success of many actions will be dependent on the level of interest and engagement at the individual, household and neighbourhood level (p. 30).

They suggest a number of responses that community members can be involved in:

  1. Be informed
  2. Build a strong sense of community
  3. Improve your fuel efficiency
  4. Be active
  5. Think local act local
  6. Reduce your waste
  7. Grow your own food

(They also give a plug for Transition Town initiatives. To found out more about what is happening in Newcastle visit our site.)

So many things are going to have to change when we start running out of oil. Here are over a 100 things made from oil. (They are taken from a few sources and I can’t guarantee their accuracy):

Ammonia, Anesthetics, Anti-freeze, Antihistamines, Antiseptics, Artifical limbs, Artificial turf, Aspirin, Car parts, Aviation fuel for planes, Awnings, Balloons, Ballpoint pens, Bandages, Beach umbrellas, Boats, Bowls, Brake fluid, Bubble wrap, Cameras, Candles, Car battery cases, Car seats, Car tyres, Carpets, Caulking, Combs, Cortisones, Cosmetics, Crayons, Credit cards, Curtains, Deodorants, Detergents, Dice, Diesel for cars, lorries and ships, Disposable diapers, Dolls, Drinks bottles, Dyes, Electrical wiring insulation, Explosives, Eye glasses, Tap washers, Fertiliser, Fishing line, Fishing lures, Fishing rods, Flower pots, Food packaging, Food preservatives, Food wrappers, Football boots, Garden hose, Glue, Golf balls, Hair brushes, Hair coloring, Hair curlers, Hair spray, Hand lotion, Hearing aids, Heart valves, Household paint, Ink, Insect repellant, Insecticides, Insulation, Life jackets, Linoleum, Lipstick, Lunch boxes, Medicines, Milk jugs, Motorcycle helmets, Nail polish, Oil filters, Panty hose, Parachutes, Perfume, Petrol for cars, Petroleum jelly, Plastic bags, Roads, Roller blades, Rubber cement, Rubbing alcohol, Shampoo, Shaving cream, Shoes, Shower curtains, Telephones, Tennis rackets, Toilet seats, Toothbrushes, Toothpaste, Toys, Rubbish bags, Umbrellas, Upholstery, Vitamin capsules, Water pipes, Raincoats, Weed killer, Yarn.

I wonder what the impact is going to be of peak oil if all these things (and many others) become more and more expensive and harder and harder to get?

To address peak oil is going to take a huge shift. When we add climate change into the equation, the magnitude of the challenge before us becomes clear. We really are going to need to become heaps better at community engagement.

Of course it isn’t all bad. There are many positives that could be associated with localisation.  Creating the resilient, resourceful, local communities has never been more important.

About Graeme Stuart

Lecturer (Family Action Centre, Newcastle Uni), blogger (Sustaining Community), environmentalist, Alternatives to Violence Project facilitator, father. Passionate about families, community development, peace & sustainability.
This entry was posted in Environmental sustainability, Working with communities and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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