Somebody Pinch Me: Activists and Politicians Work Together to Take On Peak Oil

Peak Oil seems to be an issue that really concentrates the mind. While climate change is certainly a terrifying prospect, it is still somewhat difficult for many people to grasp exactly what the melting of polar ice means for them. Tell them that gas is going to get more expensive, and you immediately have their attention. While some 'peak oilers' tend to adopt a "head for the hills" mentality, predicting catastrophic social collapse, others are taking a pragmatic, community based approach. Witness our posts on community groups planning for peak oil in Portland, and in Totnes in the UK. For a concise rebuttal of the "head for the hills" position, read Rob Hopkins' excellent "Why the Survivalists Have Got it Wrong". Now the latest installment of Peak Moment TV, whose previous shows we have also featured here, gives us even more insight into potential community responses as it delves into the Portland Group in detail. In particular, the show explores how the group have managed to get the attention of policy makers at Portland City Hall.

The show is essentially a conversation with Brendan Finn, Chief of Staff to Commissioner of Public Affairs and Randy White, Peak Oil Task Force, Portland, Oregon. The two discuss how a small group of citizens started out talking about energy security over pizza and beer, and ended up persuading the city to set up the peak oil task force, the first of its kind for any city anywhere in the world. We also learn a little more about the issues that the task force will be exploring, and the two share advice on how groups in other cities can follow their lead. Just look what pizza and beer can do. Let's just hope it was local and organic

Update: the Portland Peak Oil Task Force public comment draft report is online here.

[Written by: Sami Grover]

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