Here's the rough draft of my text for an introductory flyer to peak oil and Transition Town OKC (currently in incubation stage ;). The flyer/pamphlet will be formatted by my co-chair on the Steering Committee, who will snazz it up and make it lovely and eye-catching and add some graphics and charts.
MY job is to write text that will persuade people that peak oil is a threat/opportunity and to visit our (upcoming) website. So it needs to be short, clear, to-the-point, and factual, without scaring the pants off people, but still motivating them enough to make the next step - looking at our website.
Keep in mind that we are in Oklahoma City, the original land of oil production, and the home of the F-150 ;). Wording is important, but I also don't want to pussy-foot around any of the issues. Let me know if you have any thoughts on how to improve this....
What is Peak Oil?
And what does it mean for YOU?
What is Peak Oil?
Every oil field has a finite amount of oil. When the oil field is first tapped, oil production increases, then it peaks, and finally it decreases. Some fields fall fast, some fall slow - but none produce forever. When the oil field reaches maximum production - that’s called peak oil.
Oil-producing countries also reach peak oil and then their oil production declines. The United States reached peak oil in 1970. Even though we continued discovering and producing oil, production continued falling. We now have to import over 66% of our oil.
Over two-thirds of the largest oil-producing countries have reached peak oil. Only a few countries can still grow production - Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. We're not sure how much oil they have, because they don’t allow independent analysts to look at their data.
When is Peak Oil?
Energy experts agree that the world will reach peak oil at some point, and then oil production will begin to decline. Even though we will no doubt continue finding and exploiting oil resources, there will be less and less oil available every year. Conservative estimates for the timing of peak oil are 2 - 5 years in the future. The most optimistic estimates are for the year 2020.
Before oil is produced, it must be discovered. We know that world oil discovery peaked about 40 years ago and has been falling ever since - even with record high oil prices last year. Since oil must be discovered before it can be produced, this is a good indicator that oil production will peak soon as well.
Why does Peak Oil matter?
Our entire economy and lifestyle is based on easy access to cheap oil.
Our cars, trucks, trains and planes run on oil.
Coal for our power plants is mined and shipped using oil.
Our food is planted, harvested and shipped using oil.
Plastics and roads are made of oil.
10% of US homes are heated by oil.
Sources: International Energy Agency
US Federal Government Hirsch Report
Association for the Study of Peak Oil
Central Intelligence Agency
What is Transition Town OKC?
and why do you care?
Oil: A Blessing, and a Curse?
Although oil has been a blessing in many ways, it has also been a curse. Global warming, pollution, traffic jams, sprawl, strip malls, the destruction of small towns and native ways of life, and globalization are just a few of the problems caused by fossil fuels. With fewer fossil fuels available, Transition Town OKC believes we have an opportunity to move forward into a future based on local economies, renewable energy, and energy efficiency.
We depend on oil for so many things - transportation, agriculture, heating oil, and shipping coal for our electricity, just to name a few. Because oil is so vital to our economy, terrorists frequently target oil pipelines, refineries, and tankers. Oil shocks caused by terrorism, peak oil, labor strikes, international unrest, or even accidents have the potential to cause serious havoc and hardship. Oklahoma City should have a plan to deal with the consequences of a severe oil shock.
Yes, we can - but only with a lot of work
Here in the U.S., we have a fleet of 250 million cars and trucks, and we use over 20 million barrels of oil per day. Oil production after peak oil is predicted to decline 6 - 9% per year. That amount of energy is not going to be replaced by any combination of wind farms, solar panels, and ethanol. The plain fact is that we will have to use less energy - a challenging task, but one which can be accomplished.
Without a plan, peak oil could cause scarcity and hardship. If we work together to create a plan, Oklahoma City can transition to a better, more local, way of life. It won’t be easy, but we can come out of the transition stronger, healthier, happier, and closer to our communities.
The future will have less fossil fuel energy. What will it have more of? More gardens and bikes? More local stores, local food, and neighborhood schools? More insulation and clotheslines? More solar panels and wind farms? Transition Town OKC invites you to help us create a vision of this future.
Join the Momentum
Transition Towns are spreading across the country as citizens begin to realize that we can’t wait for government to save us. We need to act, and we need to act now. Visit the Transition Town OKC website at www.goinglocalokc.com for further information, events you can attend, and ways that you can help us create a positive vision of the future - AND help turn that future into a reality.