Thursday, September 15, 2005

End of Suburbia

So we had another monthly screening last night. This time in conjunction with the MFAH. The film was End of Suburbia by Gregory Greene. It was an insane turnout, the theatre was sold out and security had to turn away more than 100 people. We might have another showing of the film. The documentary questions the sustainability of the "american way of life" as demand for fossil fuels outgrow the supply. It talks about whether we have hit peak oil, which is when globally, you will get the most oil you will ever get and no matter what you do or how you drill or what technology is invented, the outcome will consistently be less and less despite the increased efforts. For ever.

Yes, forever.

A lot of people don't know if we have hit peak oil yet. Some scientists say that we have or that we will in2 to 5 years. Some drillers and the engineers say that peak oil will not happen anytime soon. Now, I know nothing about oil and fossil fuels and ladida but I understood the seriousness of the issues presented in film. The way most American cities are designed and built forces a dependance on the individual auto as the primary method of transport. The communities are not walkable and not sustainable within themselves whether it be food, clothing, energy, electricity, etc. The problem is that in order to sustain that type of existence, one has to have fossil fuel. To transport the people in their private car. To heat the homes. To make the electricity that cools the homes and allows industry and businesses to operate. To make the fertilizers that help the farmers go the food that we eat. To make the pesticides that the farmers use on the food that we eat. To lubricate the assembly lines that process and package our food. To power the trucks that drive all over the country with goods and food. There are just so many things dependant on fossil fuel that I never even considered.

Matt Simmons was in attendance and I had never heard him speak before or ever even heard of him, frankly, but it was obvious that he knows what he is talking about. He said that the difference between peak oil and running out of oil is the same as the difference between "I'm starting to get hungry" and "I'm starving to death". He said that Katrina might just be the wakeup call that we need in order to understand the impact of our superdenpendance on fossil fuels becuase now those rigs are out of service and probably will be for the next 6 to 18 months.

It was a lot of information and you know I'm just a regulargrrl but I think I understood what they were saying. Americans need to change the way they live now. Urban planners need to change the way they design. Move away from the traditional suburban ideal and more into new urbanism like this and this.


Blogger Mickell said...

Do you think America's super high consumption and burning of fossil fuels could have triggered the drastic climate changes in the form of more and more frequently-occuring violent storms? Some climatologists certainly do so. America has so far insisted on not signing the Kyoto Protocol. It has also refused to acknowledge their petrol-guzzling vehicles are the culprit behind the global warming.

2:53 AM  

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