Jesse Ashlock Says We Have Two Options: "Gecko or Eco"


Rob Hopkins and Gordon Gecko

Jesse Ashlock was the last editor of ID Magazine, and is the moderator of the Conversations in Design: A World Without Oil

He laments that we may well be living in a world without magazines long before we live in a world without oil, but then he reminds us that oil is in everything, in plastics, in textiles, even in our food, that we live in a world where everything runs on oil. He enjoys the benefits of it, and notes that he is wearing a suit made in Romania, designed by a Belgian, and bought in Italy by an American. He can only do that because of the oil that moves it all.

But the cost of oil, both in money and environmental impact, is soaring, and unless we change our way of doing things, the ride down is going to be a lot faster than the ride up was.


Ashlock says that there are two opposite approaches to this problem; the SuperFreakonomics approach of Levitt and Dubner, (and Wall Street) that says we will keep finding oil and will solve climate change with expensive geoengineering, and on the other side, the Transition Town movement of Rob Hopkins.

  • unapologetic energy consumption and the other side, austerity.

  • the desire to do good vs the desire to have good stuff.

  • Greed vs self denial or restraint.

Or, as Ashlock so cleverly summarized it: Gecko vs Eco.

More on Transition Towns in TreeHugger:

Rob Hopkins of Transition Town Totnes and Transition Culture
Transition Towns USA in the New York Times

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