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Peak Moment Conversations » Blog Archive » 115 Calm Before the Storm

115 Calm Before the Storm

pm115_150.jpgRichard Heinberg, author of “Peak Everything”, reviews the accelerating events since mid-2007, including the credit crunch and fossil fuel price volatility, noting that we’ve missed most of the best opportunities to manage collapse. He asks, “how far down the staircase of complexity will our global civilization have to go until we’re sustainable?” His answer: when managed properly, with deliberate simplification, not as far as we might otherwise. In addition to long term efforts to relocalize our economies, he advocates developing community “resilience” to withstand short-term catastrophic events like food shortages or extreme weather. Noting that healthy fear can move us into action, he encourages an attitude of clarity, concern and informed action in this “calm before the storm” that he feels is soon coming to an end. [www.richardheinberg.com]. An English language transcript of this conversation is here.

That evening we videotaped Richard’s presentation on Peak Everything, titled “Kiss Your Gas Goodbye.” DVDs are available here. Read Janaia’s reflections on her conversation with Richard at Janaia’s Journal.

13 Responses to “115 Calm Before the Storm”

  1. Chad Pescod Says:

    I have a great deal of respect for Richard and the work he’s done. Thanks for bringing his knowledge, and other’s, to the public via your website.

    Chad Pescod
    envirosposnible.com

  2. A Calm Voice About Oil - Political Forum - US & World Political Discussion Forums Says:

    […] Calm Voice About Oil Peak Moment Conversations Blog Archive 115: Calm Before the Storm This is a link to a recorded interview of Richard Heinberg on developing energy issues and how […]

  3. Larry Saltzman Says:

    A calm and brilliant analysis of the problem and the solution. Add the coming bank crisis to the problem and our lives are about to change greatly.

  4. Alison Riley Says:

    Fear is in fact a very vital instinct which when utilized appropriately helps insure our survival. It is meant as a warning sign that absolute action must be taken to avoid harm or even death. The key is to have enough intelligence to understand this reality and either manage or learn to manage it as the helpful tool it was intended to be. No tool of any kind can perform a task without action. And, to ignore fear on the one extreme and to panic on the other extreme, is not appropriate management and it certainly can not produce appropriate action. The present and rapidly changing circumstances of our modern society should certainly cause fear in any human being who likes to eat food, breath air, and drink water. And, they had better start learning how to manage fear pretty quick, too. And, for the sake of all our lives, please take some action, no matter how small it may be!

  5. Stuart M. Says:

    I think Richard Heinberg has mellowed a bit! I guess a certain peace of mind descends on a person when the evidence is in… and one has been proven right. I detect a bit more optimism in this interview than in his earlier Peakmoment.tv appearances. Am I grasping at straws???

    I think his earlier outright dismissal of biofuels (see conversation 63: Peak Oil, Peak Coal, and Beyond) is a bit tmore tempered here. I agree with him that biofuels will be necessary for fueling emergency vehicles and allowing agricultural mechanization, applications where electric drivetrains won’t work.

    Regular gasoline is now up to $6.49 a gallon here in Japan. Ms. Riley, it may be a drop in the bucket, but I ride my bicycle or walk to work four days a week, my lightbulbs are energy-savers, I only shower every 3 to 4 days, my laundry is minimal, I try to eat as little meat as possible. In my job as an English teacher I try to interest the Japanese kids in environmental, energy and food issues without scaring them.

  6. Faisal Hamid Says:

    Dear Janaia,

    I watch your interviews regularly, I find them very informative. I really appreciate the work you do.

    Last week I send to you a comment regarding the way you dress in an earlier interview, which you kindly answered, and ask me to clarify my point. I hope it was not misunderstood; my point is that I felt formal dress would be more suited to the subjects that you presenting. Perhaps my comment can be seen as an intrusion, but public figures (and you are one) should accept a degree of intervention by their fans (and I consider myself a fan).

    You asked me how I knew (Peak Moments), the answer is through (peak Oil) news site.

    Keep the good work and best wishes.

    Faisal Hamid

  7. Charles W. Nuckolls Says:

    Many thanks for the interview with Heinberg. What distinctively human qualities or capacities lend themselves to adaptation to societal collapse? Probably the most important one is sociality itself — that is, our ability to organize ourselves socially. By themselves, humans are not terribly well adapted; but in groups, and through cooperation, they prove remarkably resiliant. What, then, are the social concomittants of successful human adaptation? One has been, and still is, kinship. Most small-scale societies have been organized on this basis. Certainly “the family” can be defined in different ways — patrilineally, matrilineally, cognatically, etc. — but the family remains, in structural terms, the foundation of all traditional societies. Modern society tends to attentuate and reduce the importance of the family, and to define personal consumption as a primary life satisfaction. I would suggest that to reduce consumption one needs to restore the family to the intregal position it uses to occopy in the domestic economy. This, anyway, is what my training as an anthropologist tells me.

    Anyway, thanks again, and best wishes on future broadcasts.

    Charles W. Nuckolls (Professor of Anthropology, Brigham Young University)
    Quito, Ecuador

  8. Stuart M. Says:

    Dr. Nuckoll’s comments are very interesting. Certainly the slowing birthrate (family building?) in America has coincided with a very consumerist individual-centered phase of our history. However, I think there are many relationships which can constitute a family today that maybe do not fit the traditional definition, the traditional definition being father-mother-son-daughter. So maybe there are more families out there than we think. Re-emphasizing traditional families like those in India or Africa, for instance, might cause more harm than good, however.

    When I read some of the threads at a “simple living” internet forum I have been reading recently, I have to shake my head. Some “simple livers” insist that they just can’t sit still unless their baby calls in on the cell phone every 5 minutes and therefore they are not willing to dispense with cell phones to “simplify” their lives. I am serious, the list then goes on and on: baby has to go to summer camp, you can’t make them wear old-fashioned clothes, their baby needs a safe car, too… I’m trying to say that the traditional American family is very comsumerist, too.

    I think I agree more with Mr. Heinberg (sorry, is he a PhD, too?) that the most important social unit is the local community. In a big city, that might be your neighborhood; in a smaller town, that might be the whole town; in the countryside, it might be the surrounding homesteaders. To paraphrase Hillary Clinton’s book, it takes a town to raise a child. I think it will take a town/community to do everything else in the future, from securing local sources of food and energy, taking care of the young and old, and if worse comes to worse, to defending us, too.

    Ever since I have been following Peakmoment.tv, I have been greeting my neighbors with renewed vigor! I volunteer for all the local flower plantings and trash pickups. I attend the local festivals and try to shop at the smaller stores in the neighborhood. You never know when you will need your community.

    Oh, and by the way, I think Janaia is a wonderful dresser. That is a stunningly beautiful outfit she is wearing in the Heinberg interview!

  9. A to Z Energy ETF » Blog Archive » Peak Oil Media: Matt Simmons gets more pessimistic on CNBC, Heinberg, and others… Says:

    […] Heinberg, author of “Peak Everything”, reviews the accelerating events since mid-2007 with Janaia Donaldson of Peak Moment Television, including the credit crunch and fossil fuel price volatility, noting that we’ve missed most of […]

  10. Deep Green » Blog Archive » Richard Heinberg - Peak Moment Television Says:

    […] updates events since mid-2007 with Janaia Donaldson of Peak Moment Television, including the credit crunch and fossil fuel price volatility, noting that we’ve missed most of […]

  11. The Energy Net » Top Nuclear Stories (July 14th-17th) Says:

    […] Peak Moment Conversations » 115: Calm Before the Storm Richard Heinberg, author of “Peak Everything”, reviews the accelerating events since mid-2007, including the credit crunch and fossil fuel price volatility, noting that we’ve missed most of the best opportunities to manage collapse. He asks, “how far down the staircase of complexity will our global civilization have to go until we’re sustainable? […]

  12. Logan Says:

    Hey Jania,

    In rebuttal to Faisal’s comment I think you dress appropriately. In fact I believe less formal “costuming” allows your interviews to be more like conversations and permits a more candid and friendly interaction. :)

    Cheers,

  13. Iselin Celestine Says:

    I regard and appreciate Richard’s “voice” as one of reason. Already intending to send the link to this show to a number of people, I will include Alison’s response. Three years following the posting of this entry and it seems that relatively few of us are still motivated to take even the smallest of actions (even as I recognize that progress has been made). This has seemed evident to me in the last year as I have sought to meet a relationship partner. I try to present such information and ideas in the most palatable of ways. Yet, nearly to the person, most seem far more interested in attempting to preserve the status quo of their manner of living. A reasonable effort towards preparedness, whatever this might involve for any one person, seems complete anathema to virtually all. So unfortunate given Alison’s point about our collective wellbeing. Laughing ruefully. Perhaps this is reflected in Stuart’s experience with the “simple living” forum. I was surprised by the initial remark about Janaia’s on-camera attire. Admittedly, I have thought about the latter a number of times recently. I am in appreciation of her simple attire. Per my impression, it suggests that she lives her lifestyle values. And this results in my valuing her (and Robyn’s) work even more.

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