Episode 32: Peak Oil : Participate in “The New Game for Humanity”
André Angelantoni, founder, Inspiring Green Leadership, hosts the free, bi-weekly Peak Oil, Climate Change and Business Online Executive Briefing, which educates businesses and individuals on the coming oil shock and how they can prepare for it.
In this episode Andre explains what peak oil is, how to educate yourself so you can take a position on this issue and how you can prepare for peak oil at an individual, family and community level. We discuss the emotional changes by discussing the 5-stage grief process as well as Andre’s personal experience with ecological awakening.
Learn about the “New Game for Humanity” and the four types of players involved in this new game. Access and learn what your role is in our changing world.
Announcer: This program is brought to you by http://personallifemedia.com
Meredith Medland: You’re listening to “Living Green: Effortless Ecology for Everyday People”. I’m your host Meredith Medland. You can follow this interview by reading the written transcript being pictured and clicking on the links referred to during this interview; by visiting our show website at http://livinggreenshow.com
I’m Meredith Medland and we’re here with Andre Angelantoni. He’s a former business coach who decided the planet wasn’t getting enough attention and launched “Inspiring Green Leadership”, which educates businesses and individuals on the coming oil shock and how they can prepare for it.
He’s also the founder of “Post-Carbon Marine”, a group located just north of San Francisco that’s preparing for the coming of peak oil. Stay tuned for the highlights from today’s show.
Andre Angelantoni: The fossil fuels upon which we run our society are going to deplete eventually. And you can break up the people who are talking about this into two primary groups. You’ve got people who are considered Near-peakists. These are the people who think the peak is going to occur now, maybe already occurred, and 2015.
And then you have the Far-peakists. The Far-peakists think we’re going to get through until maybe as far as 2040 before the oil runs out and the natural gas and so on.
The idea that’s floating around called “peak oil” is going to make a difference in the amount of carbon that we put into the atmosphere. And when I started looking into it I discovered it’s going to make a huge difference. It turns out that there is going to be a lot less carbon that we’re going to put into the atmosphere simply because there isn’t as much carbon as we all thought.
That means that there’s going to be a lot of unemployment. If people want to get ready for that a very good thing to do is to get themselves to the productive side of the economy. Learn how to make something, learn how to repair something, learn how to be useful to the community and then you’ll thrive in this new environment.
Probably the best way I found to be with people who are grappling with this is to simply be present and let them sort things out for themselves.
Meredith Medland: Welcome to “Living Green”. Hello Andre.
Andre Angelantoni: Hello Meredith, how are you?
Meredith Medland: I’m doing great. Thank you so much for joining me on the show today.
Andre Angelantoni: You’re very welcome. It’s absolutely my pleasure.
Meredith Medland: Excellent. Well, the most important thing about our conversation today is the quote, “Coming oil shock.” I’ve done a lot of research on people in order to prepare for today’s show and there’s a lot of mixed opinions about what peak oil really is and if it’s a farce or not. Can we start there?
Andre Angelantoni: Absolutely, that’s a great place to start.
Meredith Medland: All right. So what do you think? You’re an expert in the industry. What do we need to know? What are the facts? And what are the misconceptions about peak oil?
Andre Angelantoni: Well, let’s start with giving a little bit of context. There are a few people who say that peak oil won’t occur but the overwhelming consensus is that the fossil fuels upon which we run our society are going to deplete eventually.
And you can break up the people who are talking about this into two primary groups. You’ve got people who are considered Near-peakists. These are the people who think that the peak is going to occur sometime between now, maybe already occurred, and 2015.
And then you have the Far-peakists. The Far-peakists think we’re going to get through until maybe as far as 2040 before the oil runs out and the natural gas and so on.
The first thing to understand is that there are only a few people and they’re really increasingly becoming marginalized who say that the depletion of fossil fuel isn’t a problem.
Now, I happen to fall into the camp of the Near-peakists and there are quite a few people who do as well. We look at what are …one of the most powerful ways of understanding when oil is going to peak is by looking at what are the number of mega projects. These are the oil projects that take up to six years on average to come to life. What are the numbers of those oil projects? How much oil are they going to bring into the market? And is it going to meet the projected demand?
It’s possible to go to Wikipedia where the oil mega projects task force is publishing its work. If you type in oil mega projects in the Wikipedia, you’ll see a very exhaustive list of the oil projects from around the world and you will see that we experience a really dramatic drop off in 2013.
We actually can look that far into the future because it does take, now, so long for an oil mega project to come to life. And 2013 is within our horizon of looking forward. The numbers are very shocking. We are not going to have enough oil to meet demand and in fact the International Energy Agency is now publicly saying everywhere it can that the shortage is going to start showing up somewhere around 2012.
In reality, if we have one major deal political event that causes a worldwide oil disruption, we won’t have to wait until 2012.
Meredith Medland: Thanks for the great description. How did you even get started in this? I mean, what was your first step and how long has this been going on?
Andre Angelantoni: Well, I got into the environmental field by looking at what was happening with the world and seeing that I could either watch it happen or become a part of it. My entry point was really climate change. I saw the inevitability of pouring the amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere it just became self evident to me that this was going to be a problem. So I started learning about that and I created “Inspiring Green Leadership” to support businesses and organizations that were doing something about this to do what they were doing better and faster.
Towards the middle of last year I hadn’t really paid a lot of attention to peak oil. And then towards the middle of last year I thought to myself, “I should really investigate whether this idea that’s floating around called ‘peak oil’ is going to make a difference in the amount of carbon that we put into the atmosphere. When I started looking into it I discovered it is going to make a huge difference.
It turns out that there’s going to be a lot less carbon that we’re going to put into the atmosphere simply because there isn’t as much carbon as we all thought.
For instance, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the IPCC) which has done some really excellent work on understanding the impacts of global climate change is using assumptions for global fossil fuel availability that are just simply incorrect. Those numbers are being changed all over the place.
Just to give you an example: Out of the 40 special emissions scenarios that the IPCC used to understand what’s going to happen to the planet, 13 of them don’t even predict a peak in oil before 2100. I don’t know why they allowed those kinds of assumptions into their assessments.
So the world is working on a set of assumptions of fossil fuel availability that are being dramatically revised downward. And the International Energy Agency in Atoba of last year held a press conference where they admitted as much and they said that their next of port, which is the World Energy Outlook for 2008 is going to have dramatically different numbers so all of us are waiting for that report.
The expectation is that they’re going to say something like, “the world has 300 billion barrels less oil than are currently on the books and we don’t expect the markets to react well to that.
Meredith Medland: So how does this affect my listeners on an individual level? I mean, you’re definitely an expert in this arena. We can’t all be experts in everything, so what level of education do our listeners need to be informed and what are the actions that you suggest they take?
Andre Angelantoni: Education is absolutely key; Education and action. Time is short because as I mentioned I fall into the Near-peak. When I speak publicly I use the numbers from the International Energy Agency so I say by 2012 we’re going to have a global oil shock.
The first thing to do for your listeners is to read a Peak Oil Primer. There are a number of excellent primers on the net. I happen to like the one that’s on my website and I think I gave you that link so that you can maybe post with the Podcast and also post it on my front page.
And that Peak Oil Primer, as people read those articles and watch those videos, they’ll learn what’s happening with oil. We’re basically at roughly the halfway point in terms of how much gas is in the gas tank. So that’s the first thing. They have to start to get educated on that.
The second thing is they want to look at their life and examine each area that depends on fossil fuels and start to lessen their reliance on it. So for instance, my wife and I…I have a Subaru. I love my Subaru but I’m selling it and I’m creating an electric car. I’m just taking an old Geo Metro and I’m replacing the internal combustion engine and then putting a new motor in it. I also have my name on a waiting list to purchase all-electric vehicles, which aren’t yet on the market. My wife is just purchasing a Prius because a Prius not only takes less gasoline but you can add a battery pack and you can use the Prius completely on electricity instead of gasoline.
So the first thing I would have people do in the terms of…in the sense of taking action understanding their impact on transportation. Because we are going to have long gas lines like what occurred in ’73 and ’79 when the crisis hits. Transportation is going to be hit very hard at that point.
The second place I would encourage your listeners to look at after they look at their transportation is the overall energy use. So for instance in California, the electricity supply isn’t dependent on oil but it is dependent on natural gas. And natural gas is actually at a point where it’s decreasing in production even though the number of natural gas wells is exploding in their number.
We’re actually going to be dealing with, not just peak oil but in North America, peak natural gas at the same time. North America has only 4% of the world’s reserves and we’re about to use all of those up. So if a household uses natural gas either for heating or cooking, that’s going to get very expensive very soon.
In California, 50% of the electricity (actually 49% of the electricity in California) comes from natural gas. So that means that we Californians, when natural gas starts to get scarce we’re going to experience an increase in the price of electricity. So anything that your readers can do to reduce their reliance on electricity and natural gas I would say is the second thing that they could do to start preparing.
Meredith Medland: Thank you very much. We’re going to talk more about what those gas lines might look like and what you see is coming up in the future so that we can be prepared. We’re going to take a break to thank our sponsors and then we’ll be back.
My name is Meredith Medland. You’re listening to “Living Green” and before we go to our first sponsor I just want to remind you that Citrus Online is a wonderful sponsor of our show. You can try gotomypc.com free. It’s a service for secure access to all your files and email from any web-connected computer anywhere in the world. So if you go traveling you can check in. If you’re commuting you can check into your home computer as well. So if you’d like a 30-day free trial all you need to do is go to http://gotomypc.com. Use promo code Living Green when you sign up and watch how your pc desktop instantly appears on any computer.
Thank you so much for listening to “Living Green”. I’m your host Meredith Medland and you can follow along on our episode page at http://livinggreenshow.com.
Meredith Medland: Welcome back from the break. I’m Meredith Medland and we’re here with Andre Angelantoni. He’s a former business coach who decided the planet wasn’t getting enough attention and launched “Inspiring Green Leadership”, which is supporting businesses and green operations getting their green business certification as well as giving more information so he can educate business and individuals on the coming oil shock and how we can prepare for it.
Welcome back to the show Andre.
Andre Angelantoni: Thanks!
Meredith Medland: All right so can you get really specific at an individual level how this is going to affect our listeners?
Andre Angelantoni: Sure. And before I say a little of that I want to just point out that probably one of the best things your listeners can do is either join or create a local peak oil awareness group. They’re going to get a lot more information from their communities than I can give on this wonderful Podcast.
If they’re in North America, your listeners could join one of the groups that are forming at http://relocalize.net.
If they’re in Europe, another group that they can join is the “Transition Towns Movement”. These are groups of people who are preparing their communities to operate in a low fossil fuel environment.
Now, that said, some of the specific things that…aside from transportation it’s going to get really expensive to have a car. And despite what I said about what my wife and I are doing with the hybrid, the reality is that the day of the individual car is probably over. We’re going to move to carpooling first and then eventually even that will get so expensive (if you can get the fuel, there will be a period where there will be tightness in fuel) then people are going to move to mass transportation.
If mass transportation isn’t available, then one really good thing to look at if you’re listening to the show is how close are you to where you work? So moving closer to where you work might be an idea that people will want to consider.
Another thing people should look at is, aside from their overall efficiency, is what are they…this is actually one of the key things…what are they doing to stay mentally prepared for the world that we’re about to enter?
We lived, you and I and everyone that’s listening, we have lived in an energy abundant world. Every year there’s been more oil produced than in the year before, or almost except for a few dips. We’re now moving into a world where Lester Brown points out that for one country to get oil another country must get less. That’s going to change the whole game. The world is going to be dramatically different because of that.
So the thing to do as we go down the energy depletion curve also known as ‘power down’ is people have to stay engaged and I think the best thing to do is to really reach out to their community. Get to know your neighbors. Learn how to ask and give favors with no expectation of return. Become a local leader in your community. Become someone who knows what’s about to happen and becomes a resource. That’s I think going to make people able to handle what’s about to happen. It also gives us all an opportunity to reshape our communities so that they’re thriving, and healthy, they’re definitely going to be more local [xx].
We’re all going to be riding bicycles a lot more in time and we have the opportunity to grow our own food. That’s actually one of the most exciting things. I think although there will be downward pressure on the amount of food that we can produce, because first of all global climate changes is reducing the amount of variable land. And for every calorie of food you and I eat it takes roughly ten calories of oil to grow that food and harvest it and transport it to us. So as oil becomes scarcer, food is going to get more expensive because oil is going to get more expensive. That means that people are going to grow their own food a lot more.
I don’t think we need to get to a situation where that’s actually a problem. At the turn of the last century, in the 1900s, Paris, using the French intensive farming method, created so much food within its city limits that the city of Paris was actually a net food exporter.
Meredith Medland: Oh, wow.
Andre Angelantoni: Yeah. And during WWII the Victory Gardens produced as much as 40% of the nations vegetables. So there are some people who see peak oil and the suburbs as incompatible; that the suburbs are going to become ghost towns. But the suburbs actually have a lot of land through which we can grow vegetables and produce a lot of our own food. So I think that’s going to happen naturally. In fact you can already see that happening. There are people who might knock on your door if you own a house and they’ll say, “My, you have a wonderful backyard but you don’t appear to be using it. Can I grow vegetables there?” And they’ll offer you 50% of the vegetables they grow as long as they can use your soil. There are people who are making a living doing this and selling their vegetables at the local farmer’s market. Some of them actually harvest up to 25 backyards simultaneously. It’s a full time job.
So you’re going to see a lot of that coming up simply because food is going to get more expensive then. And probably if there are two wage earners in the household you can almost guarantee that one of them is going to lose their job. As oil declines the global economy is going to shrink and that means that there is going to be a lot of unemployment.
If people want to get ready for that a very good thing to do is to get themselves to the productive side of the economy. Learn how to make something, learn how to repair something, learn how to be useful to the community and then you’ll thrive in this new environment.
Meredith Medland: Wow! I mean for people who aren’t prepared this definitely could be emotionally challenging.
Andre Angelantoni: Well, it is. It is even for me, Meredith. I sometimes wake up and I’m afraid of what the world is going to be like. What I do at that point is I ask myself, “Are you bigger than the circumstances that are about to occur?” And the answer is always “Yes.” But I have to stop the automatic reaction of being afraid and panicking and I have to ask myself that question, “Are you bigger than the circumstances that are about to occur?” That makes a huge difference for me personally and I know it does for my wife as well.
Meredith Medland: Are there patterns or emotional waves, or ups and downs that you’ve gone through because you’re a little further ahead on this journey that now you’re assisting other people in going through?
Andre Angelantoni: Well, …[laughs] that’s really interesting. There are definite responses that people I think follow that are very similar to the grief cycle. I don’t have it all committed to memory but there was a fabulous researcher who looked at the stages of grief. At first it was denial, then it was anger, and so on and then eventually the person gets to acceptance. I that that model is very useful because I think a lot of people, including myself are going to go through of have gone through that model.
And probably the best way I found to be with people who are grappling with this is to simply be present and let them sort things out for themselves. To be gentle and to give them a lot of space, pause in the conversations a lot so that people can work through things themselves. And that makes a difference. If you are relating this to your friends or your colleagues how you’re being in that conversation: If you’re being confident, if you’re being steady, if you’re keeping your head on straight, then that makes a difference in how the people that are hearing the message will respond.
If in contrast, your way of being is excited and panicky, that’s going to spread. And if we move into a panic mode, (sometimes by the way I don’t think panic is unjustified. I think panic actually people can get a lot done when they start to realize that urgency is required). But at the same time panic can have people stop thinking and it can have them make decisions that actually shoot themselves in the foot and create a future that they don’t really want if they think about it and they take the time to actually think about it
So the key is, I think is to remember, everyone who is listening, remember that we are all bigger than what’s about to happen and when we join hands with our community members, with our neighbors, with our local city councils, we’re going to get through this. And in fact, life is still a beautiful, beautiful gift. It’s just going to look really different.
Meredith Medland: Thank you for that Andre. We’re going to take a break in just a moment and when we come back from the break we’re going to talk more about what you’re doing with businesses and some new things you have going on around coaching.
Before we take a break I just want to make sure that one knows a little bit more about those stages of grief. That was actually in the late 60s there was a woman named Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and she wrote a book on death and dying. She’s the one that coined those five stages of grief.
The first stage is denial. And that is like, “This can’t be happening, this isn’t true, this is totally bullshit!”
The second, with a little more research and education is anger which is like, “Why me? Why us? Why now?” Like, this isn’t fair. I don’t want to be living in this. This wasn’t like this before.
The third is bargaining, which is like, “All right, let’s see, maybe if I just do this and I just do that or if I reduce and recycle and don’t really…” you know, bargaining.
Number four is depression. And I think there are a lot of people in that place right now which is the overwhelming sensation of sadness, like “Why bother? What can we do about it?”
The transition I’d like to make in our next segment is around the fifth stage of grief, which is acceptance. And you talked about that just a few moments ago. A lot of your sentence structure is associated with acceptance. “It’s going to be ok. We’re going to make it though.” There’s a positive outcome in accepting whatever it is occurred that’s causing grief.
So what I’ve learned myself in this case from the research that I’ve done around this specific topic as being the host of the show is that the connection and the community and the intimacy and the playing songs around the fire or on the beach or in the living room; real intimacy that I got at camp as a kid is starting to come into my adult life. And it’s coming through conversations around the changing of climate and what’s happening with people and all different things.
So there’s a whole living green community occurring around me and I know that that’s happening in the lives of other individuals. So Andre, when we come back will you tell us what’s going on in your life?
Andre Angelantoni: Absolutely.
Meredith Medland: I know you’ve got some neat things coming up so listeners please stay tuned, we’re going to take a break to thank our sponsors and we’ll be back right after that.
Meredith Medland: Welcome back from the break. I’m Meredith Medland you’re listening to “Living Green”. We’re in our last segment speaking with Andre Angelantoni of http://inspiringgreenleadership.com , and we’re just about to transition in this last segment into the impact that peak oil has on business.
Andre, I know you have some exciting coaching programs coming up and I’d love for you to share the impact of what you’re up to in business world.
Andre Angelantoni: Ok, I would love to. First of all I am moving the entire curriculum of “Inspiring Green Leadership” to dealing with the discontinuity that’s going to occur in terms of peak oil and climate change, but more specifically with peak oil. What that means is that I am interested in working with people who are committed to taking a leadership role either in their lives or in their businesses.
Here’s how I introduce that idea. When I do public speaking I introduce a new game that I am creating. I call it “Peak Oil, a New Game for Humanity.” In the game I say, “The way we’re going to win this game is by creating community sufficient communities by 2011.
Now what do I mean by community sufficient? There’s nothing wrong with being self-sufficient and in fact everyone should take good care of that. But community sufficient means looking for how the community as a whole, each and every member of the community is ready for peak oil and how each and every member of the community can contribute back to the community for it to become ready as a whole.
And then why do I say 2011? Because I’m working off the 2012 date that the International Energy Agency is using when supply is no longer sufficient for demand and we’re going to have our oil shock.
So, that’s the “New Game for Humanity” and in this game, which is only going, to last three years and then we’ll create another game when that one’s done, in this game I outline in my speaking that people have the opportunity to take one of four roles.
The first role that they can be, or they can take is the role of the victim. This is actually a really, really fun role sometimes. You know I even fall into being the victim sometimes. And if people are going to take this role what their job is to go around and say, “Oh, this isn’t fair,” A lot of the stuff you said earlier, “This isn’t fair! I should have heard about this sooner! Why is this happening to me? My parents didn’t have to deal with this!” Maybe they’ll say, “ My parents are at fault!” that sort of thing. It can be fun but it drives the rest of us nuts. But that’s a valid role that people play the victim.
The second role people can play is they can choose to be a bystander. If they’re going to be a bystander then what they say in preferably in a surfer’s voice is, “Well, you know dude, it’s all good. Things are going to work out.” And they don’t actually take any action they just watch as events unfold.
If people take the third role, than they’re going to be a participant in the game. As a participant they take action to win the game and they’re playing to win.
The fourth roll is to be a leader. For people to be a leader they simply must choose to not accept the predictable future that’s going to occur. They simply want to create a different future. It’s a complete myth that leaders are born. Leaders are all faced with the choice. “Do I allow the events as I can see them to unfold, or do I create a new future?”
The CEOs of a company, they’re paid for a future that doesn’t exist yet. A football coach is paid for a future that doesn’t exist yet. So if your listeners want to become a leader in their community, what they’ll be doing is creating a future that isn’t going to happen anyway. It’s not going to happen without them stepping in and making it happen.
So all that is to say if people want to take a leadership role we have a series of courses and programs that are ready for them. The one that we’re rolling out now is a Six-Month Energy Diet for Business. People can come to the website, sign up. In this program they meet once a month for a three-hour period where they learn about specific aspects of peak oil and reducing energy in their business.
They get to communicate with the other members of the course online and they take action in their community, or sorry, in their business, and they’re supported by their instructor all along the way.
It takes six months because there are many, many actions that have to happen and you can’t learn it all in one session. So I would say that if people are in a business or they’re owners of a business and they are prepared to become leaders in peak oil and getting their business ready I highly recommend that they take the “Six-Month Energy Diet for Business”.
And of course, if they want more individual coaching we also coach in programs as well one-on-one where they can set up goals. They’re put inside of a structure. They’re held to account, “Are you meeting your goals? What’s getting in the way? Let’s look at that, why is it getting in the way?” and so on.
Those are the two things that I would recommend your listeners look at if they choose to become a leader.
Meredith Medland: That was so well laid out I can see now why you get hired for so many speaking engagements. Inspiring and direct I was thinking, “He’s delivering this so stably.” I’ve not been in a lot of conversations with people in regard to this subject that are as steady as you and that’s the strongest point I’ve taken from this whole interview. It’s imperative that as we become more educated about our essentially global crisis that’s occurring to be able to make sure we’re communicating that with strength and with love and with hope.
Andre Angelantoni: I completely agree because business will continue. It’s not the end of the world. After every major traumatic event in an economy, almost immediately markets reappear naturally because it’s a natural thing for humans to do, is to trade goods and services.
Business has a huge opportunity to be a positive force to organize us and to provide the services that we all want. They’re going to look different. We may not buy as many Plasma screen TVs anymore because there won’t be the money necessarily for it but we do have the opportunity as business people to create thriving and healthy communities. And that’s what I’m committed to.
Meredith Medland: I definitely know that you are. Thank you so much. We have just one more moment, one more minute left here before we wrap up today’s show. And I’d love to end the show just by asking you a little bit more about your personal life. I know that you love rain forests and I’m curious about your most powerful connection to the environment.
Andre Angelantoni: Yeah, I [laughs] I tell people that I am an unabashed tree hugger but I’m a tree hugger that’s willing to put his business hat on. I find that there is a connection that is possible for me when I just sit still, and it doesn’t have to be in a rain forest. I find that it’s easy there and I have this natural affinity to it. I love the moss and lichen and I love the moisture in the air and I love sound of birds chirping and the crickets…you know, I love all that.
I think human beings do have this natural affinity to nature and we sometimes let ourselves get cut off from it. When I go into any forest, but particularly a rain forest, I love seeing how I’m part of the universe. That re-energizes me so that I can go back and do the work that I do and know really why I’m doing it. It’s for both the planet and the people on the planet.
Meredith Medland: Andre, thank you so much for your contribution to the show today, it’s really been a pleasure speaking with you.
Andre Angelantoni: It was wonderful, thank you for having me.
Meredith Medland: Thanks a lot. For more information on Andre Angelantoni you can go to http://livinggreenshow.com and look at episode number 32. You’ll see all the links that we talked about during today’s show.
And of course you can contact him directly by going to http://inspiringgreenleadership.com.
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So thanks so much for listening. I have a few more comments that I’d love to share but we are at the end of our show.
For text and transcript of this show and other shows on Personal Life Media Network, go to http://personallifemedia.com.
And as the host of the show I’d love to ask you for your support. The main way that you can support this show is to go into the Podcast directory in ITune, type in “Living Green” and as you log into the ITune environment you have the opportunity to write a customer review. And as you write those customer reviews we have a goal of getting a hundred of them within the next three months, with a five star rating, that would be ideal but we do want you to tell the truth. Those reviews are what determine what shows get on the front page on ITunes along with a few other criteria. So if you do that it’s a great way to bring green more into the mainstream and allow conversations like the one that Andre and I had today to be heard by more people.
So thank you so much for listening to “Living Green”. You can see Andre’s post on the blog at http://livinggreenshow.com and I’ll be back with you next week. Thanks so much for listening to “Living Green”.