Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Musing's From Last Night's Lecture

Another lecture of doom
I don't have any formal writer's training or reporting skills so I will just ramble on a bit about our outing to the library and my thoughts from Mr. Pat Murphy's lecture based on his book, Plan C.

Craig had reserved Deacy again from our nearby Zipcar lot.  When he pulled up with the car and we all piled in, it felt like this was "our" car.  After only several reservations, this car had become so familiar that I started to feel lovingly posessive about it....
Deacy the Zipcar from North Campus
We arrived at the library in plenty of time, knowing that parking at Mallets Creek is a hassle.  As we entered the building, Mr. Murphy drove by looking for a spot.  His license plate is "Peak Oil".

I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Murphy and his wife before the lecture.  This was her first outing in several months, while recuperating from a broken leg.   They now live in Ohio and travel in support of their advocacy work.  Mrs. Murphy grows all their own food as well as baking their bread - we had lots to talk about. 

While we were chatting, the room at Mallets Creek was slowly filling up.  I should have counted chairs but estimate that 80 or so chairs were place and by the time the lecture started, all were filled up.  I overheard two people talking that "all the usual players are here tonight". 

From that statement and considering the look of the crowd, I took this to mean that, environmentally conscious, middle aged adults who cared about this topic, were in attendance tonight.  This didn't look like a crowd that would be heckling the speaker.

Mr. Murphy was introduced by City of Ann Arbor representatives and had attend earlier sessions on similar topics over the last few days.

Mr. Murphy used slides while he spoke about Plan C, a concept he developed.

"Climate change and energy depletion are happening much faster than anyone predicted, yet most of us still cling to technological mainstream solutions that require little or no modification to our high-consumption lifestyles. If Plan A means continuing to use fossil fuels and Plan B involves switching to renewable energy sources, then Plan C proposes to break us out of our complacency by advocating a drastic reduction in consumption as the necessary ingredient for a sustainable, equitable world. Plan C argues that only by changing our behaviours in the areas of food, health, transportation and the built environment can we achieve the needed localization, reduced consumption and reduced impact on the planet to survive. Of critical importance is the task of renewing and reviving small, local, cooperative communities. Plan C is an indispensable resource for anyone interested in living a lower-energy, saner, more cooperative and truly sustainable lifestyle."

Now here is where I start to get critical of the presentation. 

1.  Mr. Murphy is a kindly individual who looks sort of like Berl Ives, a grandfather type.  He sort of mumbled and sped through uninteresting slides with a number of comments about, well this person develoepd this, you know about that already...he assumed, and I believe rightly so, that most of his audience was well read on the topic.  I could over look this assumption except for there was nothing new or forward thinking when he got to the end...he just rehashed all the old stuff.  It wasn't like he was leading up to some monumental break through that he just developed and needed to speed through the beginning to save more time for the important stuff at the end of the lecture.

2.  There were some interesting statistics that I wasn't aware of - the number of cars in existence, the number of cars produced every year, the annual average miles per gallon estimates of cars in Europe and Japan as compared to the United States etc. 

3.  But what really annoyed me was that the presentation announcement included the statement that "He will place special emphasis on the Ann Arbor area for this community presentation."  I wanted to hear about what I and my family could do, other than obvious things that we are already doing.  There was nothing in his formal presentation that didn't apply in a general sense to any person or community.  He talked about the community where he lives in Ohio a few times but nothing at all related to Ann Arbor.

It was nice to get out, especially with a Zipcar, teach our sons about conservation, meet new people but in summation, I was disappointed with the lack of depth, foward thinking, and specifics of the lecture.

Any thoughts from other's in attendance?


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