Responding to peak oil will require reshaping our communities. These two interviews, taped in September 2008 at the ASPO-USA conference, are with Megan Quinn Bachman of Community Solutions, and Bryn Davidson of Dynamic Cities Project.
Megan observes that while the ASPO-USA conference focuses on the energy depletion problem, what's needed are solutions and strategies for communities and people. Her town's anxious response to a recent power outage provided a lesson, as many people didn't know what to do, nor had they built a network of mutual support. We need community contingency plans for sharing and surviving with less energy. [www.communitysolution.org]
Focusing on urban planning, Bryn Davidson uses scenarios to test strategies for an energy-constrained future, particularly for infrastructure like roads. He asks, how do we make investments today that will pay us back in multiple plausible futures — from "business as usual" to long-term energy decline and shortages. He notes wryly that as a result of peak oil, we may have also reached "peak roads". [www.dynamiccities.org]
Yuba Gals Independent Media production partners Robyn Mallgren and Janaia Donaldson have been producing local video programs for community access television since 2002.
The Yuba Gals live in rural Nevada City and their business is named for the nearby South Yuba River, a part of the Wild and Scenic river system in California. They live on 160 acres of forest land, in a 1500 square-foot off-grid home using about 10% of the electricity of the average American home (including home office). Their home is heated by a wood stove using deadfall wood from their property. Propane heats the cookstove, on-demand water heater and backup generator (needed only during gray-day periods in winter). Not yet energy independent, but moving in that direction!