Peaks and troughs

What is Peak Oil?
“Peak Oil is about the end of cheap and plentiful oil, the recognition that the ever increasing volumes of oil being pumped into our economies will peak and then inexorably decline. It’s about understanding how our industrial way of life is absolutely dependent on this ever-increasing supply of cheap oil.”
(Transition Initiatives Primer)
So last night four of us met to watch the ‘The Power of Community' DVD. How did I arrive here?

For my part, I first heard of Peak Oil a year or so ago via the ever excellent ‘Alchemically Braindamaged’ blog/podcast.

Since that first exposure, I have gone through three distinct phases.

Phase one –denial: My first reaction was to treat Peak Oil as yet another internet conspiracy fad. I made a note of it for interest’s sake and then ignored the whole thing.

Phase two - anxiety: The problem with denial was that this ‘thing’ kept coming back. Further mentions in blogs I respected, an article in The Guardian, rising petrol prices.

I conducted a little research and started lying awake at night worrying. I desperately searched Google for ‘peak oil fallacy’ but uncovered absolutely nothing to reassure me.

Phase three - acceptance: Then suddenly, and only very recently, I passed through to the next phase. Peak Oil didn’t have to be treated as a ‘Year Zero’ doomsday scenario. Yes, it was very serious but inventing Mad Max scenarios at 3am in the morning was not going to help.

I looked around on the web again and came across the Transition Towns (TT) movement.

What are Transition Towns?
“The thinking behind (Transition Towns) is simply that a town using much less energy and resources than currently consumed could, if properly planned for and designed, be more resilient, more abundant and more pleasurable that the present.

Given the likely disruptions ahead resulting from Peak Oil and Climate Change, a resilient community - a community that is self-reliant for the greatest possible number of its needs - will be infinitely better prepared than existing communities with their total dependence on heavily globalised systems for food, energy, transportation, health and housing.”
(Transition Initiatives Primer)
With the TT imitative I found something positive, something concrete I could do in the face of the more-than-likely life-changing possibilities heralded by the end of cheap oil.

Unsure where to start, I emailed the East Cambs Green Party to see what they made of TTs. I got back a useful, friendly email which put me in touch with other Ely residents interested in setting something up here.

One of those residents invited me to the DVD showing, which I saw last night…