> * Bart Anderson*
> * From the Margin: Bringing New Ideas to the Mainstream*
> * (using peak oil as an example)*
> *  *
> Bart Anderson is an editor of the Energy Bulletin website
> (http://energybulletin.net), a news aggregator supported by the Post
> Carbon Institute whose co-editors collect current articles in the
> mainstream press, peak oil & sustainability blogs and sites, and other
> news media which provide insight into the implications of peak oil
> across broad areas including geopolitics, climate change, ecology,
> population, finance, urban design, health, and even religious and gender
> issues.
> Bart is also one of several people who have started a transition town
> movement in Palo Alto (http://transitionpaloalto.org). Transition Palo
> Alto is a network of individuals and groups committed to building local
> resilience to cope with peak oil and reducing carbon emissions to cope
> with climate change. The group takes a different approach to climate
> change and resource depletion - seeking to develop community and
> encouraging people to do things directly for themselves, rather than
> preaching doom or lobbying legislators.
> Bart will discuss his involvement with the Energy Bulletin clearinghouse
> and the transition grassroots movement, and the idea that social
> networking is at the heart of it.

Bart began by explaining that he had been an editor and reporter in the alternate press for many years at the beginning of his career. Then he had realized there wasn't any money in that. He'd been a technical writer at HP for many years after that. After retiring around the turn of the millennium he'd looked for a way to make a difference and had settled on being an editor for The Energy Bulletin, which at the time was very much of a startup website.

Then he talked a bit about peak oil, an idea that was originally developed by Colin Campbell, an oil industry analyst. Campbell realized that the yield curve for an oil field was the sum of the yield curves for the oil wells pumping it. He decided to extend that work to figure out the yield curve for the entire USA. At the time it was still the 1950s. Based on this work he predicted that the USA would reach peak oil somewhere around 1970. Looking back from the present, his estimate was quite close. Building on that work, others have concluded that the world would reach peak oil somewhere in the period between five years ago and five years hence.

While talking about resources, Bart mentioned that peak oil is just one of the resource issues we will have to deal with. It turns out there are similar yield curves in coal, natural gas, uranium, and many other resources.  One that particularly concerns Bart is peak phosphorus. One of the key ingredients for fertilizer is phosphorous, which is mined from the ground. Our crops need it, and there is no substitute. It could be that peak phosphorus is also happening about now.

Bart sees hope for the future in the transitions movement. This is based on the work of Rob Hopkins, an English social scientist who has been working on ways to make the transition to a low energy future more socially acceptable. There are Transition groups starting up locally in Palo Alto and Mountain View.  Highly recommended is taking part in a book group reading "The Transition Handbook" that lasts about 6 weeks.  Films, garden shares and other groups are open to all:


Tian Harter