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E-M:/ Lansing Post-Petroleum Planning Project

Enviro-Mich message from John Gear <jmgear@acd.net>

(This is my first post to enviro-mich, so I apologize if this post is redundant to previous discussions.)

This is a letter I sent to the Sustainable listerv that Urban Options runs, as well as to others.
I would be glad to hear from anyone on this list interested in helping with the challenges outlined below.

John Gear

I have been studying the topic of "peak oil" for a while now, guided by a very smart old friend who alerted me to this developing crisis some time ago. After finishing JH Kuntsler's new book "The Long Emergency" and reading widely on the net, I am impelled to turn from individual study to some form of group action.

I have been thinking that it's time to form a leadership-visioning group to begin the arduous process of trying to figure out how Lansing and surroundings can adapt to a radically altered world in which petroleum and natural gas are scarce/absent (with all that this means for both direct and indirect uses, including, most importantly, complete transformation of food systems, which for all practical purposes currently rest entirely on fossil fuel inputs). There is almost nothing we do that doesn't exist because of or depend on cheap energy from fossil fuels. Besides farming, there is education, medicine, manufacturing, aviation, finance, etc. All of it will be changing radically before too long.

My best illustration of what we are in for: Imagine if the Industrial Revolution (steam power; telegraph/telephone; bessemer steel) and then the Chemical Revolution (petroleum products; synthetics; chemicals; fertilizers; transport) and then the Silicon Revolution (digital computers; networks) all occurred on top of each other in the space of two decades, rather than two centuries. Now picture the world-wide industrial empire that rests on that great pyramid of "progress" created by those three revolutions going DOWN that pyramid in roughly the same amount of time.

Luckily, mid-Michigan -- although currently fantastically over-dependent on oil and natural gas that will soon be orders of magnitude more costly, when available at all --- is favorably situated in many other ways to live in the post-petroleum future -- we are still relatively close to arable land, fresh water is abundant. In fact, we are blessed to be part of a bioregion that may well come out the best of all in a post-petroleum future.

I would like to see who in this area is interested in helping out with this project. If you are, please write me at jmgear@acd.net. "This project" I would define as

** Anticipating the profound challenges of the soon-to-arrive post-petroleum future in the Lansing area;
** Identifying and serving as catalysts for responses that promote the well-being of present and future generations as we head towards and through a period of rapid and stressful social reorganization..
("Well being" meaning maintenance of an open, democratic, and lawful society, despite the inevitable social disorder and disruption likely to result from the shocks inherent in an abrupt transition to a post-petroleum world.)

(That definition is, of course, subject to change as new ideas are incorporated.)

For a wealth of information on our rocky energy future, probably the best single site I can suggest is http://www.energybulletin.net/, which contains or points to a vast library of resources on all forms of energy.

  John Gear

P.S.: Please do not contact me to debate whether this problem is real or to suggest reasons that nothing need be done. You may be right. We will not know for some time. Meanwhile, if I am correct, there is zero time to lose.

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