The age of cheap oil

I’ve just watched a brilliant presentation by Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition Movement on TED. He reminds us that the oil our world depends on is steadily running out, and proposes a unique solution to this problem — the Transition response, where we prepare ourselves for life without oil and sacrifice our luxuries to build systems and communities that are completely independent of fossil fuels. Rob makes some powerful points very eloquently and simply. Using a bottle of a litre of oil he highlights that this amazing porduct contains the energy equivalent of about five weeks of hard human manual labour; we can turn it into a dazzling array of materials – medicine, modern clothing and even laptops; we base the design of our settlements, business models and even economic growth on the basis that we will have oil in perpetuity. Yet when we look back over history at what may be called the petroleum interval, it is just a short slither in history in which we have discovered this extrodinary material and then based a whole way of life on around it. Rob suggests that we are now straddling the top of this energy mountain our degree of dependancy on oil now becomes our degree of vulnerability. For every four barrels of oil we consumer we only discover one new barrel. There are 98 oil producing countries in the world, but of that 65 have already past their peak in oil production.

The truth of the matter is that the age of cheap oil is over. in my latest presentation Brave New World I make the point that the world has changed and that there is now a new normal, and I show how over the coming years society is going to be transformed radically to the point that within ten to twenty years the society that we live in will be completely different and that businesses need to be preparing for this reality now. Of the two greatest factors influencing our world, an aging population and the end of cheap oil, are the two key factors that will force changes in the way we live and how we think about the world around us. If you would like to learn more about the Brave New World, and how you can prepare your business for it, please contact me for more information.

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