Friday, 2 March 2012

The real story of unlimited growth

This has to be the best short film - animation - about the state of the world today; it summarises decades of study and observation of the state of our world's reliance on fossil fuels with incredibly dense 30 minutes of information about everything we all should know about our reliance on oil, gas and many other non-renewable resources.  It takes on the problem of our current economic model and the debunks whole idea that economic "growth" based on debt, increased energy use and industrialisation is sustainable or is the solution to poverty anywhere.

It also takes on the extremely relevant issue of energy return on energy invested (EROEI) which can't be ignored (early oil fields delivered 100 units of energy for every one invested, today we're closer to 1 to 10. Tar sands in Canada offer far less, ethanol from corn closer to 1 to 1, or less.  And so on).  In Pakistan (which is facing a massive energy crisis at the moment) they're talking about a new massive coal field in the Tharr desert (SE Sindh) which could power the nation, but would require the construction of a massive canal to divert Indus river water to "clean" the coal.  Even without the environmental issues of using this coal, folk have to look at the EROEI of this scheme, which just couldn't make sense.

Another terrifying issue is that of food - how many people know that the vast majority of food is grown with oil and gas inputs? That lands now denuded would be unproductive for years without these "magic" substances? How vulnerable have we made ourselves? How sustainable is this? And, critically, what are we going to do about it? How much more proof do we need to urge us into some radical preventative action?  How much of our aid and international development efforts reinforce existing, destructive and unsustainable conventional agriculture?

Anyone working on building community resilience needs to watch this film and think about how their project builds people's resilience to these very real threats.

In fact everyone needs to take 30 minutes out to watch this film.

But I'd also like to hear from anyone who disputes the thesis put forward by this film.  I would like to see or hear evidence that disputes these points.

Thanks to Mandy Meikle in Scotland for sending this round! 

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