What is it about Peak Oil that helps to ‘get one’s head’ around the converging challenges of this time in planet history? I like to see it as the ‘first story’: all the others – climate change, economic ‘recession’, arctic ice melts, pollution, obesity, loss of bio-diversity, floods, famines, having to recycle our waste and think about using the car less are ‘second stories’. Peak Oil is certainly the thing that made me, a theatre producer, sit up and decide to act consciously for the earth. 

This new report from Bristol City Partnership and Council. is an incredible resource for us to be able to learn from. At 104 pages it’s quite a read, (exec summary short) but it is mesmerising as it covers not only every aspect of the challenge of peak oil, but also the practical steps that can be taken in the face of it. For example, the NHS is heavily dependent on transport for patients and services travelling to and from hospitals. How will rising cost of fuels, have a knock on effect on the rest of health care budgets? Let alone in the longer term, the profiligate use of oil for transport needs when so many other precious things come from oil derivatives and ‘oil-embedded’ processes: medicines, drugs, hospital equipment, plastics, detergents. Oil is precious (took millions of years to form); has no equivalent as a resource and supply is declining at a time when the world’s demand for it is increasing. What does this mean for every aspect of our daily lives and how much oil would we like to be left for our children and their children and generations to come? It’s all a lot to imagine. What the Bristol Report does brilliantly is break this all down for us to see how it could work if we start NOW. The single most important suggestion they make for Councils is to ‘Publically acknowledge the threat of Peak Oil’. Transition Towns play a part here in creating the public space to hold these discussions for anyone and everyone who wants to get their heads around this amazing challenge. As our Trashcatching workshops showed, children and artists are beginning to do this. Let’s join them!