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Peak Oil is You


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Page added on April 29, 2009

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Interview: David Gard, Michigan Environmental Council Energy Program Director

…A lot of challenges we face: economically, I’m increasingly reading about peak oil, where we can no longer take for granted that we’re going to have plentiful resources that we’ve never questioned. Especially as other questions around the world, their quality of living explodes and people are replicating the American Way of doing things around the world. These are really serious issues. The future of a group like us is leading people to understand the scope and severity of the challenges we face. The environmental movement started back in the late 1960s or 70s. Back then it was focused on things you could see: power plants and dirty cars, but that’s where it needed to start. That was the front and center. But over time, I think the challenge has been once you get some of those solutions under control, the problems become more dispersed and harder to put your finger on. They all add up.
The best example of that is climate change, because you can’t see it, and it’s got these big delays built into it. What our future holds to be really successful is to be good communicators and help people understand why this is relevant to our lives. Everyone is worried about the economy right now, and people aren’t getting why the economy is wholly surrounded by the biosphere. It’s all based on the resource space, the health of the air, the water resources, and all these things. All the trends are in the wrong direction. Take agriculture for instance. We’ve created an agriculture system that is very energy intensive. We throw all these fossil fuels into creating our food. We’re depleting huge aquifers across the water table … It’s easy to ignore things like this when they’re not eminent, but a lot of the trend lines are not favorable. To close that loop, people are thinking about the economy but we can’t solve where we are right now and build a viable long term prosperous economy until we think about the other things and take into account and take care of the things that the others depend … They don’t factor in the whole cost all over the place. Energy prices might rise a bit, but over there, health care costs might dramatically reduce.

Michigan Policy Network



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