Wednesday, 28 November 2007

The Invitation

Many hundreds of man-hours are being invested in preparation for a hypothetical situation that is extremely unlikely to occur any time in the forseeable future. Why are so many people being 'focused' on a hypothetical scenario when there are other, more tangible threats to our Communities? The ethos of Transition Town is internally focused, yet global legislation is currently being drawn up, which will potentially 'flush away' the local initiatives that TT is driving forward.

Is there more to 'Transition Town' than is currently being disclosed ... or is it simply a case of well-meaning ecologists dreaming of sustainable community while being oblivious to the geo-political realities. Only time ... and a greater regard for intellectual transparency ... will tell.

In 2005, I attended a presentation by Naresh Giangrande on 'Peak Oil'. The presentation incorporated the standard Campbell/Simmons/Ruppert hypothesis on 'Peak Oil' but was presented as FACT. During the Q&A session, it became apparent that Naresh possessed limited oilfield knowledge. At the end of the evening, I approached Naresh and suggested that perhaps the issue of 'Peak Oil' should be opened up for debate. He declined the invitation. Subsequent suggestion, to both Naresh Giangrande & Rob Hopkins, that the issue be debated publicly were rejected.

Over the next two years Transition Town trotted out a series of 'Peak Oil' protagonists (not an oil industry representative amongst them), to promote the eschatological scenario of a world without oil.

Eventually, Ch
anging Times, a Lewes based organisation who focus on providing a vehicle for questioning received wisdom, arranged the debate that Transition Town Totnes had successfully avoided for the previous two years.

In the aftermath of the Lewes debate, I tried once again, to encourage the Transition Town founder, Rob Hopkins, to participate in a similar event, so that the population of Totnes may have the opportunity to hear an alternative view on the issue of 'Peak Oil'.

The following Email was sent to Rob Hopkins (cc: Naresh Giangrande) on Friday 14th September 2007.

Hi Rob,

I believe it is now more than two years since I first broached the proposal of a public debate with either yourself (or Naresh) on the subject of Peak Oil. Although the basic premise of TT philosophy is based upon “an understanding of Peak Oil and Climate Change as twin drivers …”, you have (perhaps understandably) been reluctant to acknowledge the validity of counter proposition. However, I am sure that you will be aware of my participation in the recent Peak Oil debate, hosted by Changing Times, in Lewes, Sussex, on Tuesday September 4th.

Mike Grenville, representing the Transition Town Community, made some very interesting comments and observations during the course of the evening but it was very apparent that some of the information which I presented was new (by his own admission) to at least one of the three TT members who had come along in support of Mike. It was interesting, if rather surprising, to learn that, according to the event organisers, both Mike Grenville and the Lewes TT community had elected not to promote awareness of this debate, either on their respective websites or via their respective mailing lists. If this is the case, it is really quite startling and raises the question as to whether those who actively seek to promote the hypothesis of Peak Oil are wary of their hypotheses being placed under scrutiny!

As Lewes is but a satellite of the Totnes initiative, it would seem most pertinent to continue this debate in Totnes. Consequently, I propose to hold a similar event in Totnes on the evening of Friday 18th October at St. John’s Church, Bridgetown. As prime movers in the TT movement, I would like to invite either yourself or Naresh to present the case for Peak Oil; I would then present the counter view.

If either of you are unable to participate in this event, perhaps you would like to recommend an alternative Peak Oil or TT campaigner to present the case for Peak Oil.

Please do not hesitate to contact me, if you would like to discuss the proposition further.

Meanwhile, I look forward to hearing from you.

The exchange of Emails which followed this invitation ... speak volumes!