Campus Life

Gauging the effects of peak oil

Peak Oil is the point in time when the rate of oil production reaches its highest level and begins an immutable reduction. There is wide speculation surrounding whether this event has already happened or how far into the future it can be expected to happen. Peak Oil and related issues will be the subject of the University of Lethbridge Students' Union's (ULSU) Peak Week, Feb. 22-26.

"The thing that inspired me to focus on Peak Oil is the fact that most people don't even know it's an issue, even though it threatens the very core of modern civilization," says Alex Massé, University of Lethbridge Students' Union vice-president academic and organizer of the event.

"Oil is not only used to power our vehicles," says Massé, "it is also used in the production of everything from plastic to food. The week will address such issues as how oil and gas depletion will affect the economy, Canadian and International politics, manufacturing, food supply and much more. It will open people's eyes to the fact that everything we take for granted is under threat."

Massé describes how experts differ on the issue of whether humanity will be able to adapt to this changing world.

"We know that if we don't adapt soon, oil depletion will cause the collapse of global civilization and the collapse of humanity's capacity to sustain our population," he says.

The ULSU has an exciting week of events to shed light on the issue of Peak Oil. There will be displays in the U of L Atrium featuring educational content and student artwork related to Peak Oil.

Thomas Homer-Dixon, one of Canada's most important academics, will deliver a keynote speech entitled Twin Peaks: Peak Oil, Climate Change and the Future of a Generation, Thursday, Feb. 25, 7 p.m. in PE250.

"Homer-Dixon's talk is going to address how we're facing two issues that could be catastrophic for human civilization – oil depletion and climate change," says Massé, "and how addressing one without the other won't solve anything."

The Prentice Institute will also be hosting Homer-Dixon along with U of L Geography Chair James Byrne and U of L Sociology Chair Trevor Harrison in a panel discussion entitled Science, Politics, Tipping Points. This event will take place at noon, Feb. 25 in Students' Union Ballroom A.

Other events for the week include a screening of the acclaimed documentary, A Crude Awakening, and, pending final confirmation, a lecture by acclaimed Alberta author Andrew Nikiforuk. Once confirmed, details will be posted on the ULSU website,