Everything You Know (About the Future) May Be Wrong

Watch video “Peak Oil — Adapting for Changes Ahead” (Peak Moment episode 155).

090809_bart_apt_250.jpgTaped a Peak Moment Conversation yesterday with Bart Anderson, for five years the dedicated full-time volunteer editor of EnergyBulletin.net, a reliable online source of information and thoughtful reflections on fossil fuel energy decline, alternative sources, and the transition to sustainability. (And in the spirit of full disclosure, Peak Moment TV is now available on Energy Bulletin).

We could’ve had a five-hour chat, easily. Bart’s quick playful mind and breadth of knowledge would make for a rollicking good romp into ideas and possibilities around energy, our future, and living sustainability.

I asked Bart: How to proceed? His reply: People first need to know what’s going on with energy decline. And they need to be prepared for the effects, first psychologically.

Prepared to do with less, conserve, spend less money. He suggested we learn to live like graduate students — meeting most needs within walking distance, living on nearly nothing, owning only the bare necessities, enjoying a wide range of inexpensive enriching cultural events, in an environment of ongoing learning.

Bart thinks we’ll see a different world within five years. Tighter constraints on petroleum. We’ll see it in higher prices for food, fuel, nearly everything. We’re especially vulnerable with much of our food being transported a thousand miles or so. He said it’ll be like the song, “Everything You Know is Wrong.” I take that to mean that everything we’re accustomed to, everything the mainstream media and government and corporations tell us — isn’t giving us the real story of what lies ahead.

We videotaped the show in Bart and Paula’s cozy Palo Alto condominium lined with bookshelves — I’m sure I could’ve read contentedly for months. Tucked in the corners between the bicycle and clothes-drying rack are well-loved practical antique furniture pieces like an authentic treadle sewing machine.

Bart and Paula live in walking distance of California Avenue’s vital neighborhood-within-a-town. The natural foods store, a grocery, hardware, bookstore, cafes, restaurants, provide plenty of places to chat with neighbors and feel part of community. The library, the railway station and bus stops less than six blocks away. A fine example of urban living heading towards sustainability.

Bart and Paula walk their talk — and it’s a low eco-footprint life they mostly walk and bike to. One model for an inwardly-rich, materially-sufficient, reduced-energy future.

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