Notice to the Community
18, May, 2009
Valley Falls, Kansas
Are we beginning to experience a new era of existence on our planet brought on by the end of cheap fossil fuel, climate change and the end of the economic world that cheap oil has fostered?
This question stirs up tremendous controversy. Answers range from declarations that predictions of a peak in oil production and global warming causing climate disasters are all "bad science" amounting to "hog wash" and that we will enjoy business as usual forever, to dire predictions that it is too late to do anything to avert devastating climate and environmental destruction that will end the ability of humans to live on the earth.
We, members of the North Jefferson County Transition Initiative, don't know the answer to the question. We spend a lot of time studying the issues involved and have generally come to agree that the end of the era of cheap oil that our entire society and culture is based on could be coming to an end.
Whether or not human activity, primarily burning fossil fuel, is instrumental in raising the global temperature, scientists largely agree that the temperature is indeed rising and that this rise will be accompanied by dramatic shifts in climate and weather patterns worldwide. The current economic downturn being experienced could be just another loop in the "business cycle" or it could signal the beginning of an unprecedented collapse of a world economic machine dependent on a readily available supply of cheap oil.
We don't know and the range of opinions of the "experts" is wide and confusing. It's easy to find an expert with an opinion that will confirm your own, no matter how bizarre it might be.
Opinions aside, we have decided to begin our Transition Initiative by opening this information center.
The Transition we are talking about is that which will take our community from its almost total dependence on cheap fossil fuel for its survival to a community which may be able to survive and thrive in spite of changes and shocks brought on by dramatic increases in the cost of energy and the concomitant decreases in our personal income.
The information provided will focus on the three areas mentioned: 1) Energy 2) Climate and the Environment 3) Our Economy. Current structures of each area will be examined.
Other initiatives around the world will be shown as examples of what can be done and possibilities for local strategies will be presented. The overall goal of the initiative is to build resilience into our community.
"Resilience refers to the ability of a system, from individual people to whole economies, to hold together and maintain their ability to function in the face of change and shock from the outside." Rob Hopkins