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Resiliency and Transition Towns
Yahara - Wed, May 19, 2010, 9:10 A
Financial Crisis, Peak Oil & You Friday, May 21st at 7 pm.

Contact: Andrew Lawrence
Tel. (413) 268.0068

Financial Crisis, Peak Oil & You. (Or, How To Build A Lifeboat)
Nicole M. Foss, Energy Consultant and Financial Blogger, to Speak in Northampton

Date: Friday, May 21st at 7 pm.

Location: Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence, 220 Main St, Northampton

Cost: Suggested donation of $10 (but no one will be turned away for lack of funds...)

Peak Oil and the collapse of global Ponzi finance are a "perfect storm" of converging phenomena that threaten to trigger wealth destruction, social discontent, and global conflict. The consequences for unprepared individuals and families could be dire.

So believes Nicole M. Foss, an energy industry consultant and financial analyst from Ontario, Canada, who will be presenting "Financial Crisis, Peak Oil & You" at the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence on the evening of May 21st at 7 pm.

In addition to her work in the energy industry, Foss blogs under the name "Stoneleigh" at the website The Automatic Earth ( She plans to discuss the many converging factors that are contributing to the predicament we face today, and how individuals can build a "lifeboat" to cope with the difficult years ahead.

At her presentation, Foss will describe how our current financial system is an unsustainable credit bubble grounded in "Ponzi dynamics," or the logic of the pyramid scheme. She warns that most people are woefully unprepared to face the consequences of the devastating deflation that is now unfolding.

What makes this crisis different from past financial calamities? Foss will argue that this one has developed in the context of the fossil fuel age, which will prove to be a relatively brief period of human history. We have already seen oil reach a global production peak, and other fossil fuels are not far behind, she says. While there is still plenty of fossil fuel in the ground, production will fall, meaning that there will be less and less energy available to power the economy at prices we can afford to pay.

Societies have gone through boom and bust cycles before - for example, Tulip Mania, the South Sea Bubble and the "Real" Great Depression of the 1870s - but most people in the Western world today will face this crisis without the knowledge or means to provide the basics of their own survival. Our industrial system has nearly destroyed the individual capacity for self-reliance. Foss will argue that individuals and communities that take steps now to prepare stand a much better chance to thrive in a changing world.

Her presentation is produced in cooperation with -- and in support of -- the Transition Towns initiatives of Western Mass, a movement dedicated to building local resiliance in the face of Peak Oil and Climate Change.

Nicole M. Foss Biography

Nicole M. Foss is co-editor of The Automatic Earth (, where she writes under the name Stoneleigh. She and her writing partner have been chronicling and interpreting the on-going credit crunch as the most pressing aspect of our current multi-faceted predicament. The site integrates finance, energy, environment, psychology, population and real politik in order to explain why we find ourselves in a state of crisis and what we can do about it. Prior to the establishment of TAE, she was editor of The Oil Drum Canada, where she wrote on peak oil and finance.

Foss runs the Agri-Energy Producers' Association of Ontario, where she has focused on farm-based biogas projects and grid connections for renewable energy. While living in the UK she was a Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, where she specialized in nuclear safety in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union, and conducted research into electricity policy at the EU level.

Her academic qualifications include a BSc in biology from Carleton University in Canada (where she focused primarily on neuroscience and psychology), a post-graduate diploma in air and water pollution control, an LLM in international law in development from the University of Warwick in the UK. She was granted the University Medal for the top science graduate in 1988 and the law school prize for the top law school graduate in 1997.

She may be contacted through:

~ It would be great to see y'all there! :) Yahara