Why Peak Oil Will Bring us Closer

In this excerpt from his new book "Eaarth", Bill McKibben discusses how such efforts as the Transition movement and farmer's markets are tapping into our need for neighbors.

Cheap oil made us the first society in history that had no need for neighbors; we can acquire anything we want or need on our own. That's about to change, argues Bill McKibben, as the forces of peak oil and climate change will require that we get to know one another again.

"The Transition Town movement began in England and has spread to North America and Asia; in one city after another, people are building barter networks, expanding community gardens. And they've paid equal, or even greater, attention to suburbia; in the developed world, after all, that's where most people live. Across the country communities have begun to transform themselves.

Often a farmers' market is the catalyst -- not just because people find that they like local produce, but because they actually meet each other again. It shouldn't surprise us that farmers' markets are the fastest-growing part of our food economy; they are simply the way that humans have always shopped, acquiring gossip and good cheer along with calories."

Full Story: The Surprising Reason Why Americans Are So Lonely, and Why Future Prosperity Means Socializing with Your Neighbors
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Comments

Irvin Dawid's picture
Correspondent

Peak Oil?

McKibben writes:
'And so it heartens me that around the world people are starting to purposefully rebuild communities as functioning economic entities, in the hope that they'll be able to buffer some of the effects of peak oil and climate change."

By linking the theory of peak oil with the 'given' of climate change, McKibben does a disservice to those fighting climate change. For this article, he could just as well have used the term, "the end of cheap oil" which is a far better term, though as I observe the effects of the Greece financial debacle, I even question when that will occur....

Irvin Dawid, Palo Alto, CA

Disservice to peak oil or man-made climate change?

By linking the theory of peak oil with the 'given' of climate change, McKibben does a disservice to those fighting climate change.

I personally use 'the end of cheap oil' myself, but how does McKibben do a disservice to 'those fighting climate change'? Is the framing bad? Conflating he politics bad?

Best,

D

Irvin Dawid's picture
Correspondent

Peak oil and climate change

In response in D's valid question, I think it takes away credibility of the climate change effort, i.e. movement to reduce GHG emissions. Opponents to climate change think it's a theory too...so they are linked together as theories. I would liken peak oil movement to Paul Ehrlich's 'population explosion' warning - we are running out of oil, and too many people will kill the planet, whatever....another version of Robert Malthus' warning.

So I guess I'm saying "guilt by association"?

Human impacts, energy, and Anthropocene era.

We are back to framing and frame construction, Irvin.

Ehrlich's and Malthus's conclusions have been spun so hard it makes one dizzy. Bringing them into the conversation not only is hasty generalization but conflation. Invalid constructs.

The few opponents left have zero empirical evidence to support their psychological state of denial. There is no there there. Falling into their frames is conceding the argument to them. Simply pointing out there is no basis for their denial is enough to ignore them and move on.

Humans impact their environment. Earth's ecosystems are losing their ability to absorb our waste. It is not hard to grasp, nor to point this out. Our species' inability to grasp this simple fact notwithstanding, no need to throw in the towel because we fall into denialist's frames.

Best,

D

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