Friday, May 23, 2008

Comic-Strip Heroine Prepares for End of Oil

We thought a good way to introduce the concept of peak oil (that elephant in the room) and squeeze in a "Fun Friday" post for the close of Energy Week would be the heartwarming end-of-days comic strip, Luz, Girl of the Knowing. (I know, sick sense of humor around here.)

Informative, sweetly detailed, and sincere, the strip, penned by prodigious Canadian-Chilean talent Claudia Davila, illustrates urban kid Luz's "cup half-full" perspective as she prepares for life without petroleum. Some of the facts are scarier than you think, but Luz, comfortable in her role as bad-news-bearer, doesn't indulge in fear.

In Episode 17, she bravely tells her class that the U.S. is both the # 1 consumer of oil (Canada is #2) and the #1 importer. In 2007, the world started using more oil than it could produce. Hence the term "peak oil."

In Episode 29 (the latest one), Gord, the neighborhood survivalist tells Luz that people think we'll be fine when the oil runs out, because of alternative fuels, "But it won't, nuclear, biofuel, none of these put together could make as much energy as the world needs."

Gulp. So what will we do?

Says Luz: "Um, basically...we should start figuring out how to live without it."

A scenario which Davila envisions through rose-colored glasses as Little House on the Urban Grid, a journey back to simpler, more self-sufficient times of canning, candlelight, medicinal herbs and battery-powered radios. And perhaps raising one's own rabbits in the backyard for protein. Luz is a brave soul indeed.

To learn more about peak oil, check out this primer, provided by The Energy Bulletin. And to read more about our current oil situation, here are some recent articles from The Nation and The Wall Street Journal.

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