A World Without Oil with Richard Heinberg

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Within our lifetimes we will see the peak in worldwide oil production. Soon after, we will be forced to learn to function without fossil fuels. The impact on our culture will be extraordinary - in fact, as Heinberg warns, "Civilization itself may be fundamentally unsustainable. When you add fossil fuels to it you have civilization on steroids. That's what we've had over the last couple of centuries, and that is profoundly unsustainable." But while change is inevitable, it's also a source of hope. Heinberg points to the opportunities we'll have to work in service to our natural environment and our culture, and explains how we will, in fact, create a world where every culture around the globe is a sustainable culture.


Richard Heinberg is a journalist, editor, lecturer and a faculty member at New College of California. His monthly MuseLetter received Utne Magazine's Alternative Press award. His articles have appeared in numerous periodicals, including Earth Island Journal, Alternative Press Review and The Sun.

His books include: 

  • The Party's Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies (New Society Press 2003)
  • Cloning the Buddha: The Moral Impact of Biotechnology (Theosophical Publishing House 1999)
  • Powerdown: Options and Actions for a Post-Carbon World (New Society Press 2004)

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • How you can become less dependent on fossil fuels without sacrifice
  • Why nuclear energy is not a viable alternative to the fossil fuel crisis
  • How you can conserve fuel simply by eating vegetables in season
  • Why World War I and II were actually wars for oil
  • What strategies we can use to preserve our culture when we run out of oil
Host: Michael Toms      Interview Date: 2/2/2005       Program Number: 3079