Life After Growth
Yesterday I had the privillage of listening to a talk from Richard Heinberg who is visiting New Zealand as part of his ‘Life After Growth’ tour.
Richard Heinberg is a Senior Fellow of the Post Carbon Institute and is widely regarded as one of the world foremost Peak Oil educator. He is the author of ten books including the End of Growth.
We all know about the increasing sacristy of resources, and that when people talk about Peak Oil, what we really mean is Peak Everything, but there was one part of Richard’s talk that really stood out to me. Richard spoke about the things in our society which are not at their peak . The things that he listed were:
- satisfaction from honest work done well
- intergenerational solidarity
- health of the environment
- beauty of the build environment
Now there is no question that such a list could probably go on and on, but I think it serves as an important reminder that whilst industrial civilisation may have reached it’s peak, we as humans have a very long way to go. The things that are truly important to us cannot be bought, sold or traded. Those things that we rely on most to sustain our lives on the planet such as food and water supply are harmed, not helped by our current economic model, especially though specialization and decentralization.
Perhaps by simply re-prioritising the things that are innately important to us as human beings, the road to resilience and a bright future post-oil age will become clear and simple to follow, increasing, not decreasing our quality of life.