Transition Monday conversations to build back better

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Adern has been widely acclaimed as being both “compassionate and competent in crisis,” particularly with her management of Covid 19. (New York Times 17 October 2020).

Celebrating her government’s landslide win Jacinda Ardern said, “We will back better from the Covid crisis.”

We propose a different framing for building back better: one that moves beyond reactive crisis management framing, from one crisis to the next, to proactive framing, with more foresight about the most urgent issue of our time: the imminent end of the oil age and the need to transition to a sustainable, low energy future.

As energy specialist Dr Louis Arnoux points out, we are rapidly losing access two main sources of energy that we totally depend on: phytomass (living organic plant matter that life needs to survive) and net energy from oil, which we also depend on, including for accessing renewable energy. With respect to food security he says, “food production and supply networks all run on the millions of wheels of transport logistics, all dependent on net energy from oil, aka transport fuels … this net energy, by about 2022 on average, will be gone.” See infographic below:

For further details, see also Dr Louis Arnoux post in our Navigating Complexity section. Or check out our Resource and Q&A pages.

As Alice Friedemann puts it simply and vividly in her book, When Trucks Stop Running. Energy and the Future of Transportation: “Virtually everything in our homes, everything in our stores, got there on a truck. Prior to that, 90 percent of those items were transported on a ship and/or a train. If trucks, trains, and ships stopped running, our global economy and way of life would stop too.”

A friend of Transition Monday who lives self-sufficiently and is personally well-placed to feed herself and household summed up what many feel about change when she says, “I see the need for change but I’m not quite ready yet.”

Is there a way of preparing people for change, before the need to change is thrust upon us?

We believe this could be achieved with Transition Monday’s proposal for a 4-day working week that left Mondays free for New Zealanders to engage together in conversations about how local people, supported by governments and learning institutions, can connect and collaborate to create a viable future for all without fossil fuels.

Jacinda Ardern also proposed a 4-day working week as way to rebuild New Zealand after Covid-19. Rebuilding for a post-Covid future could simultaneously provide an excellent way for also rebuilding a post-oil future.

Let’s all ask our governments and energy specialists what would a disruption to oil supplies lasting months and years look like? And how can we all help with pre-emptive solutions?

He waka eke noa We’re all in this together.

Let us know what you think. See Contact details. Questions and critiques most welcome.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.