Update on A Call for Action
Dale Allen Pfeiffer
The response to the essay A Call for Action has been tremendous. We received numerous submissions in the months following the release of this essay, and articles are still trickling in. In general, we are very pleased by the quality of these submissions and the practical advice they contain. At present, we are about halfway through the editing process on all of the essays received to date.
We have changed our plans somewhat since A Call for Action was released. While we still intend to publish an anthology of the best submissions, we have also decided to put up all the articles which meet the submissions' criteria on a web site, where they may be browsed for free. Our main reason for doing this is to disseminate this valuable material as widely as possible. The web site is now operating, and so far about half of the current submissions have been posted. You can find the web site at this URL: http://www.survivingpeakoil.com/.
At this point, I want to step aside and thank web master Doug Mealing and his team for putting together a professional and easily accessible web site. Doug has volunteered his time to work on this project. His help has been invaluable, and he has managed this Herculean job while in the middle of a move from one household to another. Thanks, Doug.
Each article on the web site will have a "comments" feature at the end - similar to the comments features on the Indymedia web sites - where you can critique and discuss each article. We ask that you please refrain from flaming and stick to constructive criticism with documented critical assessments and practical advice. Additional submissions are also welcome.
The web site also features news gleaned from various sources, offered here without profit in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
The site also has a newsletter to alert subscribers when new additions are added to the web site.
In time, we will put together a store in association with amazon.com, where people may purchase books mentioned in the various articles and other materials related to the pursuit of a sustainable lifestyle. Commissions from sales will help to pay for the web site.
Sometime about the beginning of 2005, we will cull the best submissions for inclusion in a printed anthology. At this point, we are feeling much more confident that we will be able to find a major publisher for this book. Profits from the book will help finance the web site, provide funds for public education on Peak Oil & sustainability, and perhaps help to finance other sustainability projects.
Submissions & Contributors
Here is a brief review of the 25 submissions which have been posted to the site so far. We are working through the submissions in chronological order, so please be patient if you do not see your article listed yet.
The Simpler Way
Ted Trainer provides us with an overview of what a sustainable and just society might look like in a post-hydrocarbon world. Ted is a lecturer in the School of Social Work, University of New South Wales, and was one of the first people to identify in print the approaching oil peak.
Richard Heinberg is the author of The Party's Over and Powerdown. In this essay, he offers practical advice on growing your own food, based on personal experience.
Until the Last Drop
This is a large article containing practical advice on every aspect of sustainable survival. It is written from the perspective of a complete collapse of civilization and a die-off of humanity, where many of the survivors will develop predatory instincts. While we hope that the situation will not sink that far, the advice offered here is applicable to less extreme scenarios. The author, Ronald Greek, is a lawyer and a specialist in sustainable building.
The Effects of Oil Depletion on Global Warming, and what we can do about it
Dan Robinson gives us an overview of the problems and possible scenarios, and then offers advice about politics, population, CO2 emissions, wealth, sustainable energy, transportation & food. Dan is an amateur engineer with a background as a chemical technician.
Reverse Industrial Revolution
Alan Leishman discusses how energy depletion will lead to a reverse of the industrial revolution. He also gives a brief discussion of the probable economic effects of Peak Oil. Alan is retired in Switzerland after being forced out of a career in international commerce by a globalization takeover. He has a degree in chemistry from Edinburgh University, and his collection of minerals was on display until recently at the National Museums of Scotland. He is a supporter of the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee (http://www.gata.org/), and he is a regular contributor to Bill Murphy's daily Midas column at www.lemetropolecafe.com/.
Big Issues & Small Responses
This article starts by examining the beginning and end of the modern 'nation state', global warming, and Peak Oil. It then lays out a strategy for disaster mitigation. The article considers water, air, energy, and the integration of new technologies for community empowerment. The author, Dr. Gary Littlejohn, is currently an Honorary Senior Visiting Research Fellow in the Department of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford in the UK. He has given evidence to the Italian and European Parliaments, and has acted as adviser to the German and Norwegian foreign ministries. In addition, he has been a consultant to the Mozambican Government, the European Commission, the UN FAO, UNEP, and the IFC (the International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank).
Crap, Third Worlders, Food Preservation and Bio-Immunity
An unconventional essay by Monkey. After starting with a poem, this essay offers advice on small scale sewage treatment, living on the land, pre-refrigeration food preservation, and bio-immunity. The article ends with some general observations based on history.
James Haritos discusses the need for systemic change which will compel people to become involved in symbiotic relationships with the planet Earth.
Easing the Transition, simply stated for us with limited means
In a short essay, Robert Gregory discusses several steps that people can take to become self-sufficient and wean themselves from hydrocarbons.
Homeland Security Equals Free Range Chickens and a Good Dog
Contributor Jim Hogue writes about Carl Hammer's thriving business Vermont Compost, which is tied to his ranch of 600 free-range, egg laying hens.
Soil Aeration Enhanced Container Agriculture
Dew & Heat Collecting Roofs
Post-Oil Land Use
Currently unemployed aerospace manufacturing engineer, Robert Forrester, is one of our most prolific contributors. His designs have a great deal of potential. Robert is currently designing a CAM software package which is a solid model-driven approach for the automated generation of 5-axis machining of monolithic jet engine rotors of the BLISK and BLING variety. I hope you understand that, I sure don't. If you do understand and are interested, we can put you in touch with Robert.
Drawing Lessons from Experience, Cuba
Originally published in FTW, this article about Cuba's agricultural miracle holds valuable lessons.
A Little Role Model in the Horn of Africa
Thomas C. Mountain of the US-Eritrean Peoples' Friendship Association describes the country of Eritrea's quest for sustainable aquaculture.
Sociocracy is a system of government developed by a Quaker in the last century. Theoretically it allows for the interests of all members of a society or business to be served equally. Author Ted Millich practiced Sociocracy during his 12 years as a member of Twin Oaks intentional community.
Christine Johnson writes about her experience with co-housing in an urban area.
Information Requirements for a Viable World
Adapted from a presentation to the 14th World Congress of Sociology, this essay looks at how information is handled in our society. Alternatives to provide information on which the public may base their decisions are explored. Author Bruce Buchanan is a retired psychologist living in Canada.
Leveraging Commonplace Assets in a Co-operative(s) to Prepare Us Masses for Collapse
Gregory Dean describes a democratic alternative to corporations, based on co-ops. Gregory Dean has worked on various eco-village and eco-activist projects in Canada and Australia. He was one of the organizers of the J18 protest in Sydney, and he was one of the first blockade tacticians analyzing the WTO location in Seattle. Currently he is pursuing a degree in business and communications.
A Workable Transition to Democratic Retirement Systems
Harel B. offers a plan to transition from corporate fascism to a truly democratic economy, while at the same time offering retirees and prospective retirees an alternative to the current market based retirement schemes. Holding a Ph.D. in mathematics from Cornell University, Harel has been an electronic activist since the 1980s. Harel is on the faculty of Z magazine's Left Online University. In 2004, he received tenure at Salisbury University in Maryland.
Shakti offers some reflections on Michael Albert's system of participatory economics. Shakti is a classical and Spanish guitarist living in Australia.
Almost the Way Life should Be
Mike Bendzela talks about his experiences trying to become self-sufficient in rural New Hampshire. Mike is a professor of English, and old-time fiddler, a volunteer firefighter and EMT, and a farmer.
A 12-Step Journey to Oil Free Travel
Guy Dauncey, President of the BC Sustainable Energy Association, offers a plan to wean our transportation system from oil.
How to Transition from the Car Culture to the Bike Culture Paradigm
Curt Sommer is a bicycling advocate in the Portland, Oregon area. He is currently running for the office of State Representative as a Pacific Green Party nominee.
Yet to Come
Future articles will include several pieces on alternative economics and local currency, more practical advice, first hand experience, discussions of eco-villages, analysis of the failure of the current socio-economic system and alternatives. We have just broached the subject. There are many excellent articles yet to edit and put up on the web site. And new submissions continue to trickle in.
So far, this has been a very positive experience for all of us. It has provided a breath of fresh air amongst all the doom and gloom. We are confident that through the efforts of all of these contributors and the many others yet to come, we can make a difference. So welcome to a site which offers hope, practical advice and a helping hand.
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