Cross-Pollinating the Greatest Shift in Human History —
From Endless Growth to Sustainable Living
Peak Moment TV is an online television series featuring people creating resilient communities for a more sustainable, lower-energy future in the face of energy, climate and economic uncertainty.
Episodes range from permaculture farms to electric bikes, ecovillages to car-sharing, emergency preparedness to careers for the coming times. They also include conversations with big-picture thinkers like David Korten, Richard Heinberg, and Chris Martenson, whose framing provide context for societal and environmental events unfolding worldwide.
As of early 2014, over 260 half-hour Peak Moment episodes are available online. They’ve received over 4 million viewings on YouTube, Energy Bulletin, Resilience.org, Transition in Action, and Peak Moment TV since 2006. Podcasts are downloadable from iTunes. Episodes are cablecast on many community-access TV stations nationwide, and can be downloaded for free. We also produce DVDs of Peak Moment TV and other presentations, workshops and conferences.
Who produces Peak Moment TV, and why?
Robin Mallgren and Janaia Donaldson of Yuba Gals Independent Media are the creators of Peak Moment Television. Janaia is producer and host, Robin videographer and editor.
Peak Moment TV emerged out of our desire to find models among grassroots entrepreneurs working to create a sustainable future. Environmentalists since the 1970s, our deepest concern is for global climate change, deepened by our reading Bill McKibben’s The End of Nature in 1990.
Our “peak oil wakeup moment” came in 2005, after watching the documentary End of Suburbia and reading The Long Emergency. After arousing some panic, their depiction of declining oil supplies cascading into economic downturn led us to ask, “how are others responding to this information — in constructive ways?” Although we feel that climate change is the biggest issue, we considered that economic impacts of resource decline (especially oil) might awaken people to turn towards more sustainable living.
Janaia started by co-founding and coordinating Alliance for a Post-Petroleum Local Economy (APPLE of Nevada County) to educate and awaken our local community.
We began Peak Moment TV episodes early in 2006, starting in our local community access TV studios, Nevada County Community Television. We expanded our scope that summer by visiting over twenty West Coast communities and recording more than 140 half-hour Peak Moment conversations, thanks to our connecting with other groups in Post Carbon Institute‘s Relocalization Network. In 2010, we returned to the Pacific Northwest, where we taped over 60 updates and new programs. As of early 2014, we have videoed another 60 new programs in the Pacific Northwest, including western British Columbia.
How do we live?
Peak Moment TV is also an outgrowth of our desire to live more sustainably. Since 1990 we have lived and worked on 160 forested acres in the Sierra Nevada foothills of rural Nevada City, near the South Yuba River, on which we have precluded further development using conservation easements.
Our 1500 square-foot off-grid manufactured home uses about 10% of the electricity of the average American home (including our video business home office). The home is heated by a wood stove using deadfall wood from our property. Propane heats the cookstove, on-demand water heater and backup generator (needed only during extended gray-day periods in winter).
Our trusty VW Vanagon took us on the 2006 Pacific Northwest tour. Deeply inspired by this journey, we wanted more. In 2007 we purchased a used motorhome to permit more extensive travels. We customized this “mobile studio” for taping Peak Moment programs, and embarked on another Pacific Northwest tour in fall 2010. We were hooked. Now with an eye to longer trips cross-continent, we have rented our house and downsized our belongings. In summer 2013, we embarked on a longer tour, starting with the Pacific Northwest, including western British Columbia.
What did we do before Peak Moment TV?
A self-employed illustrator and graphic designer, Janaia Donaldson co-founded, coordinated and taught in the Graphics Certificate Program for University of California Extension, Santa Cruz. From 1984-1998, she worked as a user interface designer for Xerox, initially on the Xerox Pro Illustrator team led by Robin Mallgren. She is a full member of the Society of Layerists in Multi-Media (SLMM).
Following her Ph.D. in computer science, Robin Mallgren worked from 1982-1998 at Xerox, first in the Advanced Development Group, and later as a team leader in Product Development creating software for technical illustration and multi-function peripherals. She has worked as a self-employed GIS contractor, website developer, and videographer.
After leaving Xerox in 1998, we started Ecografica, a website development business. In 2002, we started Yuba Gals Independent Media, when Robin began videotaping events in our community and cablecasting them on NCTV. (Our business is named for the nearby South Yuba River, a part of the California Wild and Scenic river system.) It rapidly grew to a full-time vocation as our skills expanded. We sure lived up to our motto, “We Make a Production Out of Anything.” Peak Moment Television was a natural outgrowth of that experience, where the motto has been carried right along.