Peak Oil and Pessimism: Lessons from Pooh Bear

With Planet Green, the first ever 24/7 TV channel dedicated to green living, launching today — it's an interesting time to reflect on the changing role of us TreeHuggers and environmentalists. Not too long ago, we as a movement spent most of our time trying to convince people, sometimes a little shrilly, about the imminent dangers of climate change, resource depletion etc, and trying to get across the gravity of the situation we were facing. Yet while the doubters remain, the debate has noticeably shifted in recent years from "Is there a problem?", to "Heck yes there's a problem! What are we going to do about it?" Rob Hopkins has an interesting post about this over at Transition Culture, specifically discussing how the peak oil community is shifting from sounding the alarm, to leading people towards the fire exits. And what better way to illustrate his point, than to draw on the age-old wisdom of Winnie the Pooh:
"As I read last night, I found a bit that illustrated something I have been musing on over the past couple of days. Pooh and Piglet are out walking one very windy day .

"Supposing a tree fell down Pooh, when we were standing underneath it?"
"Supposing it didn't," said Pooh after careful thought.

This quote resonated with me after watching James Howard Kunstler on Glenn Beck's show on CNN. It was also something I was thinking about after Monday's You and Yours show and a couple of talks I have given recently. Kunstler has always, as far as media appearances go, been the bearer of bad tidings, the Writing on the Wall, taking the role of persistently breaking the bad news about peak oil and the end of affluence to a population that really doesn't want to hear.

Things are moving so fast at the moment as we stand on the cusp of $130 a barrel oil and the impacts are starting to bite on everyday lives, and it feels to me like our roles are changing. In the CNN clip, it is actually the presenter who is in peak oil panic mode, and Kunstler finds himself more in the role of "whao, slow down, deep breaths now ". The presenter has clearly either just had, or is having live on air, his End of Suburbia moment, his peak oil revelation, and is turning to Kunstler for some support."

Rob goes on to describe how in his own work on peak oil and transition towns, he's found himself increasingly moving from trying to convince people that the problem exists to offering guidance on what to do about it. We couldn't agree more with Rob, and we're excited to see this shift taking place.

While there's still a place for the alarmism of Oily Cassandra and the like, we much prefer the hope offered by Transition Towns and we look forward to playing our part in finding a way out of the mess we've created.

::Transition Culture::via site visit::

Related Content on