We hear a lot about “peak oil” these days. What does it mean? It means that we have arrived at a point where oil consumption begins to overtake oil production, because we are using ever more at a time when we are discovering less.
“Fifty years ago the world was consuming 4 billion barrels of oil per year and the average discovery was around 30 billion. Today we consume 30 billion barrels per year and the discovery rate is approaching 4 billion barrels of crude per year.” ( Asia Newspaper, 4 May 2005)
Presumably things have moved on since this article was written and the situation now may be even worse. Recent price spikes give us a taste of what the future might bring when oil gets short at the pumps. The message is that we should be preparing for an oil short future now, not wait until it happens.
More use of public transport, where it is available, more walking and cycling in environments where it is practicable, are some solution to which we can all contribute. Better insulated houses, tweaking down the thermostat on your heating, installing solar panels or wind turbines are all being promoted as partial solutions to which individuals can sign up.
Shopping locally and buying local produce reduces the carbon footprint and helps to maintain local businesses and local employment opportunities. In the past communities like Smarden were almost self-sufficient. There was employment in the village in the numerous businesses and shops that existed then. It may not be possible to return to those times but in some larger urban communities they are already trying to develop what they term local resilience, where resources and business and money cycle round the local community instead of being exported outside to national and international concerns. This is the basis for the launch, last year, of the Totnes pound and more recently the Lewes pound, where the issue of a local currency encourages people to shop locally. It may not be feasible to launch a Smarden pound, but we can still make an effort to support our local businesses. See the Parish Magazine adverts when you need services provided by local businesses.
Smarden Country Market
The next market is in the Smarden Charter Hall, 10.00-12.00 on 21 Feb 2009.
Come and put into practice your new year’s resolution to help promote a more sustainable local community!