A better way of living is possible on much less oil
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Full film available on DVD here
What made you make the film? I had a bad experience whilst traveling in South America, witnessing first-hand some of the struggles being faced by indigenous farmers fighting off large-scale industrial agriculture companies. That was very sad, but when I started looking around to see what could be done against this kind of thing, I found all these brilliant examples of what people were doing to take back control of their local communities and make them happier, more resilient places to live. And I found that these approaches were everywhere! What unexpected thing did you learn? I found that swarm intelligence is just overwhelmingly powerful! I had the chance to experience this in practice, with awesome transition initiatives being born in the cinema halls – just like that – after film screenings and finally, once Milpa Films became a 3-4 persons team, also in our daily work! For instance, we managed to build a coworking and co-sharing space from scratch all by ourselves, without further help from outside and one year later there were 60 of us in a 400 sqm building, moving and shaking. So now I know that cooking with synergies is the best thing you could ever do. It keeps on surprising me every day. How big do you think the risk of civilization's collapse is? And what kind of timescale? Predicting the future is impossible, but lots of very smart people and even institutions are telling us to prepare for turbulence. NASA, the IPCC, even the American military - they're all saying that things could get pretty rough quite soon. I'd rather be ready for that, and try to lessen the causes of catastrophic disruptions before they happen. One of the major arguments we make in Voices of Transition is that making these changes, freeing ourselves from addictive consumerism, can be very difficult, but once you step aside and do that stuff it will make you feel good and, most of all, politically re-empowered! Also, better relationships with our friends and neighbours, more time spent with our families... These are great things. Can we feed 9 billion humans without using oil? Yes, absolutely! Just to give you an idea, majority of the food we produce globally is still being nurtured on small hold family farms, so these need to be supported and protected from Monsanto’s ideology “the more artificial your farming method, the better”. Put another way - it's clear that we won't be able to feed 9 billion humans with oil. Too much energy is being wasted to grow too little food. For every 20 calories of energy we expend growing our food crops, we only get one nutritional calorie back. That's crazy! So when peak oil starts to bite, the only sustainable way to wean ourselves off oil-based farming is to re-discover intelligent "solar" farming, to draw inspiration from nature’s most efficient ecosystems - our forests. What can we do at home and in our lives to make a difference? We can all make changes in our daily lives – consuming differently, intelligently and less, recycling – the usual suspects, but what is most important is to build communities of likeminded people that can achieve large scale actions together. There are really inspiring examples from all over the world of ordinary people doing extraordinary things to prepare for those challenges. Voices of Transition was really meant as a sort of loud hailer and multiplying kit for some of these initiatives. The Transition Towns movement, for example, is a broad church that welcomes many different approaches. Everything from local power generation projects to community supported agriculture and repair cafés. Long story short, I would encourage people to start organizing themselves with neighbours and friends!