Taking a turn on the television

I was interviewed on Arizona Illustrated tonight about my latest book, Living with Fire: Fire Ecology and Policy for the Twenty-first Century. I had chatted with the program’s host, Bill Buckmaster, for about 30 minutes before we taped the segment. He took a few mental notes.


Midway through the interview, Buckmaster dropped in a question about the high price of gasoline. You can see where this is headed. Next thing you know we’re talking about … well, you know.
As Buckmaster clearly knows, peak oil informs every aspect of life on Earth. He really wants to move to Belize.
The final three minutes of the video, which included discussion of peak oil, were edited out of existence when the video was posted initially. But, after a little pestering by yours truly, the entire segment now appears.

Comments 14

  • I like Richard Heinberg’s analysis that we have approached a situation beyond Peak Oil, and the term “Peak Everything” might be a good way to describe it.
    Fresh water, coal, topsoil, biomass produced by fisheries, etc. are all increasingly scarce, and some are hardly renewable on human time scales.
    William Catton wrote of overshoot, and it seems paradoxical to me that the nations of the world tend to overshoot survival resources long before they overshoot the supply of bombs and bullets.
    Stan Moore
    Petaluma, CA

  • Saw the interview–looking good Professor Guy.

  • Any chance that you could get a bootleg copy of the part of the interview they chopped off…?

  • You probably saw this a couple of years ago when it first ran, but Harpers now has it as its top story on its web archives: http://www.harpers.org/archive/2006/08/0081156

  • Memo to Turboguy:
    I’m reminded again of your posting on the insolvable problem of the Israel-Iran nuclear problem.Tomorrow is the deadline set for Iran to comply with the ultimatum, which of course they will refuse to do.An unpopular Israeli leader ,set to leave office in disgrace,has a chance to rescue his political career,by doing what Israel has to do anyway. Ehud Olmert has made it very clear that an Israeli pre-emtive attack on Iran is inevitable.
    It will probably be sooner than later.

  • I would like to interject for discussion another aspect of the collapse. Peak Oil Theory states that the economic/financial systems of the world are utterly dependent on continuous (even exponential) economic growth. This is utterly dependent on cheap, accessible energy. When cheap, easily accessible energy is no longer cheap, nor is it accessible, then the underlying prerequisites of the entire financial system will be undermined, leading to collapse.
    But what we have been seeing in the news the past few months in terms of financial collapse is NOT driven in this way by Peak Oil to date, according to my understanding. We are seeing a parallel sequence of events in the mortgage, financial, and credit markets, driven not by scarcity of energy, but by greed and corruption. Now, we could argue that excessive greed and corruption as seen in the trillions of dollars of illicit financial maneuverings could only be made possible by the access to cheap, easily accessible energy. But I believe the evidence is that ultimately the system would collapse even if operated with integrity and scrupulous honesty, due to geological realities in terms of the impending increasingly scarcity of our planetary endowment of cheap fossil carbon energy.
    In short, we are witnessing a perfect storm of even more types of collapse-inducing stressors than anyone that I know of actually anticipated! We thought it was bad based on geology, but human behavior and corruption has exacerbated the inevitable problem, and some are predicting inevitable financial collapse even as we are still near the Hubbert’s Peak. If you don’t believe me, look at the daily updates of the website http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net
    In other words, our civilization is not only built on a weak, fragile foundation, but its very structure is unsound.
    I’ve got some bridges for sale though at good prices. Anyone care to make a bid?
    Stan Moore
    Petaluma, CA

  • Dear Stan,
    You are so correct.I believe we are in a final global economic collapse that I’ve termed the Terminal Depression for that reason.And I knew that long before I’d ever heard of Peak Oil, which Professor Guy just introduced me to this year through the piece he wrote in the Arizona Republic(Phoenix).Everything is falling apart,or collapsing at once.Humans(mostly)are so stupid they don’t know that all so called “progress” and all technology is self-defeating.Civilization is anything but.
    I don’t know the cause of CCD(colony collapse disorder)but I’d guess we are killing off the bees by wanton destruction of nature.Greed and vanity produce a global economic depression every 3rd generation that must always be worst than the one before until the present one when Capitalism is destroyed by it’s own excesses.
    It is a perfect storm.

  • Capitalism depends upon vanity, because the system must always grow.People have to always believe that their home and car are inadequate.But there is a limit on the size of a house, and the luxury one needs in a car.At some point it all had to come crashing down as it is now.
    I wonder how many people who read Vanity Fair magazine,know the origin of the” Vanity Fair”.How ironic.

  • Hey Frank, I see what you’re saying, but still believe that it will have to wait until the Israelis know who the next US president will be.
    If Obama, we will have forced Israel’s hand as Obama is widely seen as vehemently anti Israel, and especially against the possibility of strikes against Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. Obama, it would seem, would rather engage Iran in diplomatic means with little to back it up if Tehran decides to play hardball.
    With the rhetoric Ahmadinejad has expressed time and again about destroying Israel with atomic fire, Israel has little recourse. Either they act now or risk a country that is a supplier of terror having the ability to either launch a missile against them, or do so by proxy in a truck. (Or high yield dirty bomb, which is entirely too easy to make.)
    Anyway, off that topic and back to Olduvai theory! For those that see the possibility of human extinction over this, I say Fie! Unlikely to improbable. I have put a smidgen of thought that immediate cessation of fossil fuel burning might create a mini ice age, but there’s just too many other processes that prevent that one too. (Cutting trees for cooking/warmth etc)
    It would take quite a lot to whack humanity once and for all, and an energy crisis just wouldn’t have the momentum to do that. Nuclear war, maybe. Oil crash, not so much. We’ll probably wind up spooling down to a near “Western” style era. It’s not going to end, just get exponentially more difficult.

  • Yes Turboguy,
    Anything before labor Day here is just noise as far as American politics is concerned.After Labor Day we’ll get a clearer picture of who will win the election.Poor McCain is hapless and the whole world including Israel will know it will be Obama.
    October then would seem to be the most likely date for the Israeli attack

  • Dear Dr. McPh — One question to present Mr. Bill B. might have been about his intention to bring the local journalistic community together in supportive discussions to reexamine the responsibility of news reporting in this complex day and age. I have been reflecting that the reporters of the tele airwaves, in particular, are becoming vulnerable to deeply conflicting emotions about the constraint behind providing “balanced” news (an attempt at impartiality masquerading as a dose of the positive to offset the don’t-touch-that-dial-negative, perhaps) versus the mounting facts and figures of life on our suffering sweet, sweet planet.
    My appeal to you for consideration at this juicy juncture is this: Because the buzzing high of vindication only lasts so long, are ready as you will ever be to turn the blogging page and begin to explore solutions for our Tender Tucson right here, right now.
    How ‘bout it, Doc Boss?
    Ready, set, go to take us there soon?
    With the usual sincerest regards,
    Marguerite Daisy

  • Ms. Marguerite Daisy:
    As you know, I’ve been pounding the drum about Tucson for three years via the local newspapers and correspondence with city officials. I visit monthly with the original staff member in Tucson’s Office of Conservation and Sustainable Development (ack!).
    You can imagine the reception I’ve been getting.
    As Kierkegaard would have pointed out, the information I’ve provided has been met with derision, hostility, and finally resigned acceptance. Well, actually, we’re not quite to stage three yet, and it’s too late now. The city doesn’t have the resources, in this peak-oil-induced recessionary environment, to invest in the kind of infrastructure we need to “save” Tucson.
    As if the ultimate car culture is worth saving, anyway.
    So, I’ve given up on Tucson. I need to spend time, energy, and money at the mud hut. And I will continue to facilitate the kinds of discussions, online and otherwise, that might extend the lives of people who are willing to take action.
    I will continue to get out the word to anybody who’ll listen, and many who will not. I will continue to support the efforts of Dave Ewoldt and Brad Lancaster, Tucson’s “sustainability” gurus. But I’m not going down with Tucson’s imperial cruise ship. And the absolute cluelessness of the mainstream media, even though they know what’s coming, is enough to make me avoid trying to save them.
    As always, I welcome all comments. But keeping the current game going is beyond my interest or expertise. So, what to do? How to live in two worlds, responsibly?
    –Guy

  • Great interview. I have found it very informative. I look forward to reading your book.

  • I think that’s a good post. It’s important to keep positive.