Petroapocalypse Now?

(Aceditor Ltd 2008) Written by, produced by, directed by, starring and narrated by one man – Andrew Evans. Not only that, but if you want to buy a copy and venture over the Petroapocalypse web site at you will get redirected to EBay where none other than one ‘Andrew Evans’ will sell and ship you the DVD. This might give you the impression that this is some student project and amateurish to boot. You would be wrong. The clue is in the claim that this 48 minute documentary has been shown by several television stations including Al Jazeera. This is a slick and glossy broadcast-quality documentary with its own animations, graphs, the works. Anyone brought up on a steady diet of such TV documentaries as “World In Action” or “Brass Tacks” may recognise its style.

It has that sort of ‘shocked air’ about proceedings making it a little less ‘matter-of-fact’ than the likes of “A Crude Awakening” or “Crude Impact”. For this reason it probably may not win the string of awards that these latter two works have deserved. However this is workman-like effort and certainly covers the topic thoroughly. All the usual suspects turn up – Richard Heinberg, Colin Campbell, Matthew Simmons and Michael Meacher to name but a few. However there are many faces here (that Andrew interviews personally) who you will not have previously seen in documentaries like this. These include some notable folks at both OPEC and the IEA. Several senior advisers to the United States Government also appear including one named “Hirsch” whom we assume is the man responsible for the infamous “Hirsch Report”. We also get a good mix of stock footage featuring Hubbert, Jimmy Carter and nice piece on Bill Clinton describing Peak Oil to his audience.

Apart from a long line of high profile names and faces we also get to see the view of folks at the ‘pit-face’ in the Oil industry on such topics as the role of new technology. All this expert testimony builds a pretty convincing case to doubt the head of OPEC’s claim that we have another 140 years of oil left…. And this is the main purpose of Andrew’s work. Indeed he subtitled this documentary “The end of oil may be sooner than you think”. It is aimed at an audience who may have never heard of Peak Oil and lays it out straight for them. Almost nothing is missing – even the effect upon our food security is given a slot. If anything is missing it is the problem of climate change which gets only a vague and oblique mention during a section discussing the exploitation of tar sands in Canada. I particularly liked the section where we see one north Londoner’s attempt to somehow survive Peak Oil by stocking up on three month’s supply of food and some solar panels. This will certainly be a talking point down at the local Transition Towns meetings!

Of course it is absurd to think that anyone is going to be surviving Peak Oil this way – as if it is some temporary three month blip in our comfortable fossil-fuelled existence. Survival is matter of changing society’s utter dependence upon Globalised economics and fossil fuels. Local resilience would be a better start. No one man can stock up on a few gadgets and pills… Where will he run to (in Britain) to escape the hungry hordes keen to plunder his few supplies? We are in this all together. It would have been nice if Andrew could have spent a couple of hours with a Transition Town Team or Rob Hopkins… Now, that would have been a Peak Oil Movie Documentary worth remembering! Recommended. Get yourself a copy now.

Posted in DVDs, Peak Oil permalink

About post-carbon-man

A passionate advocate of a peaceful transition to a sustainable political-economy, Mark hails from a working class farming background. Today he is a Company Director and Chairman of the Low Carbon Chilterns Co-operative. Whilst at University (Engineering Masters) he was active in Conservative Student politics but has had no affiliation since. He has travelled widely on business covering the USA, Europe, Middle East and Central Asian Republics. In 2007 Mark founded Post-Carbon-Living and a year later co-founded Transition Town High Wycombe. He lives with is wife & daughter in a home they retrofitted to be carbon-neutral. Today he blogs about surviving politics on a shrinking planet and is passionate in his rejection of Nationalism.

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