Nicole Foss: A Century of Challenges

I don’t know what I don’t know, and what I heard from the Stoneleigh presentation by Nicole Foss at the Transition Conference, were a lot of things that ring true for me. I can only offer a modest summary here, but if after you listen to Nicole’s presentation and follow her slides, you think she is too pessimistic and overlooking something, I would love to hear from you.

The title of her presentation begged I find a quiet moment to sit and take it all in. So I stoked the fire, got comfortable and settled in. Not being one to run from bad news, I prefer to embrace it and let it make me stronger and more resolute to act in ways that I intuit may soon not be a choice. I can choose to cut my wood with a bow saw and know that I am building a bodily fitness, that may become needed, if not to cut logs by hand, but to work the land to grow food that is no longer being shipped many miles from energy intensive practices on farms persisting with industrial farming methods. In the future I’d like to think I may still have such choices, but to understate it, I’m not confident it will be the case.

Nicole begins by telling us that while her background is very much in the energy field, she and her partner have chosen to focus on the financial picture, because on the scale of time it moves much faster. However, she opens by acknowledging the energy-poor future we are heading for, and goes on to offer clear, concise data and interpret it in ways that seem to be inherently obvious. I know we can’t predict the future, but we can have fun trying, and I could find no fault in her logic.

Combine such factors such as increasing demand for energy in oil producing nations, just when production is falling and you have a recipe for a more rapid decline of available liquid fuels – the most used form of energy we have. A faster decline than is commonly shown on a Hubbert’s Peak diagrams. Onto that add an incredibly low EROEI (energy return on energy invested), and you’ll see the bio fuels and renewable energy sources can’t compete.

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