The Isle of Wight Chronicle has been contacted by James Barlow, a concerned resident from Island who is worried about the worldwide peak oil crisis and how it will effect us on the Isle of Wight. Ed
Let me just start with a brief description of “peak oil”…it is the point in time when we have globally used roughly half the worlds oil reserves and it is my opinion that we have reached this moment in time now.
Most of us (myself included) never stop to think how integral oil is to our every day lives, I would say the average person associates oil with petrol and plastics and not much else,would this be fair to assume?….if so then let’s think a little deeper on this resource we have.
From roads to clothes and medicines to toothpaste oil is used in all of it, infact within our globalized trade system NOTHING moves without oil, so what else is oil integral to?….well all the products oil is used for (some 10,000 + and counting) are for trade or to fuel the fluid movement of trade e.g Planes, ships, lorries, vans… it is also used in the manufacturing of these machines and in the fuelling and running of them.
So…it’s used for product’s that we trade and machines that keep the trade moving, it’s a direct influence of jobs and prosperity, infact if I may be so bold… oil is our economy, we are completely dependant on it within the social and trade system we have at the moment.
Half of the oil reserves still leaves half right?….well yes it does and there is still a lot of it left, the problem is geopolitics and the location of the remaining oil, it’s such a fantastic resource that the countries that have it don’t really want to sell it or trade it (and who can blame them once they realize we have reached peak), we also have India and China into the fray of consumption and demand simply can’t be met for everybody to consume at present sustainable rates on a depleting resource.
Why should you believe me?………great question & one that I can only skim in this article as there are so many dynamics at play & I would have to go in-depth,but let’s just apply some critical thinking to what we know for fact.
OK…we have established that oil is our economy and that economy is in a terrible state due to depleting oil reserves, we can see this in rising unemployment, future benefit cuts, infrastructure cuts, lack of maintenance to infrastructure, no large scale job projects on the horizon, food and fuel prices set to rise & findings pulled. Also the fact that the oil companies are tacking ever more increasing risks to extract the oil, why else do you think the catastrophe of deep water horizon came about other than the fact that there is NO easy oil left?… incidentally the head of the IEA (International Energy Agency) Mr Birol has admitted on record that this is the case.
The present globalized trade system we have is a fast moving and a delicate balancing act of supply and demand operating on a jit (just in time) system and the fact is there is only ever 3 days worth of food in our supermarkets at any given time, this is not only fool hardy but it’s extremely dangerous given our dependency on oil to get the food to the shops on time, this was seen locally in Ventnor last winter when the snow halted deliveries and a fight broke out over a loaf of bread and I can have this verified by the witness, also for those of you that remember the fuel blockades around a decade ago you will know the chaos that can be caused by lack of fuel.
What can we do?…….. above all else we MUST come together as a community in small and larger groups and grow food, we need all public and common land (it’s yours, your taxes pay for it) we also need understanding farmers willing to set aside what ever acreage they can to grow crops FOR THE ISLAND PEOPLE, private land owners that are willing to donate the use of land for community projects are also needed, donations of seeds, materials and equipment are needed, gardening and permaculture experts already exist on this island and I’m sure with the right ethos and community backing these people would donate their time and efforts, if they have financial commitments that stops them from giving time then we must compensate them to do so, these people are our source of knowledge and must be given as much help as possible in order that they can teach us and pass these skills on to our children.
The results of this would be fresh healthy local food that isn’t dependent on anything other than our own efforts, it will bring fractured aspects of society back together again let us have fun working within our own communities once again, there are many things that need done but we must firstly secure our food supply before we do anything else. Goodness knows we will have enough people to volunteer for various projects as the future is looking bleak regarding jobs every where.
The one thing we can’t do is wait for government or local “authority” to step in to implement this, the fact is they won’t, if they feel they wish to contribute or be involved then all the better but for now let’s act like we can take care of ourselves people.
I understand the gravity of these words so I will close with saying this……. If I’m right and we don’t act then we have a seriously dangerous situation on our hands, if I’m wrong and we do act then we’re left with an abundance of food and communities formed for the betterment of us all.
I really wanted to avoid a patronizing slant but in order for us to trace back our root dependency to oil I feel I have to explain it in simplistic fashion so please….forgive me.
Ryde, Isle of Wight
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