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Peak Opportunity or Ignorance?

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by Vonnie Roudette Fri, Sept 24, 2010

It’s a fact that everything we see and use that supports the contemporary ‘modern’ lifestyle has the major ingredient of fossil fuel in its composition or manufacturing process. From food to car tyres, computers to printed packaging. Statistics are widely available on how much fossil fuel energy is consumed in every aspect of our oil dependent cultures.{{more}}

At the same time, everything we see and use that has been manmade is also the product of design processes, the highly creative being the most effective and competitive. As such, creative thinkers, artists and designers are at the forefront addressing any shift that impacts on oil consumption.

It stands to reason, therefore, that artists and designers must be concerned, with ‘peak oil’ not only as it relates to global warming and climate change, but also through the carbon footprint of their own design practices and production. From creating awareness about critical environmental issues through visual means through environmental art, animations, films, documentaries, websites, to designing energy efficient architecture, products from local materials, recyclable items, eco-commerce enterprise etc.

As crucial as creativity and education for sustainable development are our nation’s future, it seems that they are overlooked in our schools curricula and socialization. I have heard some Vincies say that “environmental issues affect the rest of the world, not us,” a comment that is the product of an education that failed to deliver connective thinking. Widely held as this assumption is the increasing cost of fossil fuel is impacting on every economy in the world as the reserves begin to diminish. A shift towards reducing our oil consumption is unavoidable, and can be undertaken creatively with a burgeoning of new possibilities.

One local idea has already emerged into the global arena – Herbert Samuel’s self-organizing system of saving household electricity through a free service provided by Welectricity has reached fifth place from 2200 innovations submitted for the GE Ecomagination Challenge Award (vote to promote this project to No 1 in the world by voting at www.welectricity.com)

St. Vincent has a latent abundant creative resource in her people to create these possibilities in a climate of adventurous times. Many more creative and practical ideas will be needed for localized solutions. From where will they come if not our youngsters, our artists collaborating with scientists, from connective thinking? Where will their skills be developed and supported? Where will their excitement for developing new ideas be kindled, if not in schools and colleges, where as yet the environmental issues upon which many other economies are acting, have yet to be introduced?

Global challenges of energy descent may not concern us, but a life lived and taught with a creative attitude is much more productive and fulfilling, friend-filled and supported. In a wider connective picture, these two are synergistic- can we afford to ignore one at the expense of both?

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