Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Spreading the message locally

I've had a couple positive experiences spreading the message about resource depletion in the last couple of days. Here is what happened.

I had the opportunity to speak about peak oil straight out with some different co-workers Monday night. They were really receptive. I was surprised. I must've had about 20 minutes of undivided attention from a 2-3 person audience. I summed it all up about agriculture, things made from oil (told them to look around at everything made of plastic around us), rising demand from China and India, cost of extraction and discoveries, business packaging and transport, sustainable communities, etc.

One of them called me a hypocrite for driving an SUV right now but I told them I just found out about peak oil in February of '04 and my lease doesn't run out until December, then it's gone. I didn't get into the whole aspect of hybrids being nothing more than the same as using a filter on a cigarette like Matt Savinar said in an interview recently! But they listened attentively.

They all agreed that they'd like to see life slow down and that life has been moving too fast for them. They liked the ideas I had about bike paths, apartments over businesses downtown again in our small town, locally produced food and a coop, etc. So, I left them with some ideas about solutions along with the doom & gloom and they seemed to internalize it a little better.

It's been the first time I've had co-workers or acquaintances take me seriously.

Then, just a few hours ago I had a representative from TruGreen Chemlawn rap on my door soliciting business. We used them for about 15 years in the past but stopped in the last 5 years or so after factory closings and resultant family job losses and the increasing expenses of the service. (We weren't aware of the fossil fuel subject back then) Since then, we've been using Jerry Baker's concoctions with a hose-end sprayer. Our yard isn't any worse or any better, by the way.

I told him to pass along to his superiors the reasons why I wouldn't start the service up again. I went into the use of petroleum and NG-based fertilizers and pesticides and how I was trying to limit my use of non-essential products that use these products. I also went into the usual peak oil speal with the facts I just listed in a posting below. He seemed receptive and verbalized understanding and told me he would tell them. I told him to tell them if they switched over to more sustainable methods then I would reconsider. We talked about population overshoot and sustainability and ERoEI of hydrocarbons. He said he had a degree in agriculture or chemistry but didn't seem to have as much of a grasp on the details as I did but he did state that we wouldn't have the food we have today if it weren't for the petroleum and NG-based fertilizers and pesticides.

So, I think I made a hit and made someone think about our present situation and its implications. I will call it a good day for my pursuit of planting the seeds of awareness.

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