Saturday, March 7, 2009


Today was our first TT Parma event at the local library. We screened the documentary 'End of Suburbia' and discussed the implications of Peak Oil for Parma.

Unfortunately, when I say 'we' I refer to my father (the skeptic) and one other brave soul.

It was not quite the turnout I expected! However, onward and upward. I will be more vigorous in promoting events in the future. I sort of went at the schedule backwards; setting up events without really allowing for enough lead time for newspapers and whatnot.

Anyway, the documentary can be summed up thusly:  Suburbia is wholly dependent on cheap oil for its existence. Remove either cheap or oil from that equation and Suburbia, we have a problem.

Now, where things get interesting is when we look at Parma in the context of climate change and peak oil. You know, Parma is sometimes maligned. In High School, my Geography teacher used pictures of Parma to illustrate how souless the suburbs were. I remember being horrified at the houses lined up like soldiers and thinking I would never want to live in a cookie cutter.

And, well, here I am! Actually, Parma is a great place to live and I believe, in the context of Peak Oil and Climate Change, we are a diamond in the rough. Peak Oil means proximity to city centers is going to be important and Parma is the perfect distance from Cleveland. Climate change means water will be important and we have Lake Erie. Further, Cleveland will continue to be a vital juncture between Chicago and New York and thrive itself. Ohio, in general, is going to thrive post-peak simply because we have water.

I do not believe that we will see people fleeing from Parma. I think the opposite will occur, people will want to join our community.  The challenge will be in absorbing all the people who will flock to Parma and ramping up infrastructure (roads, older home upkeep) and city services to support an increased population. Street cars or a light rail system connecting Parma and Cleveland (in addition to the Brookpark station) will make Parma as close as you can get to a Post-Oil Utopia.


  1. Hi, I stumbled across your blog after reading your comments on the Crunchy Chicken, and am enjoying it. I particularly like your positivity about the Upper Midwest and the Great Lakes basin. It's good to hear that someone agrees with me that this region will be valuable post-peak, and when climate change hits. I am in southwestern Michigan, and while the rest of US has written our state off, I look around me and see so many plusses about this area. We have abundant water and the greatest agricultural diversity second only to California. We grow wonderful fruit and other crops in my little corner of the state. I don't know if most people will be smart enough to realize the valuable assets we have in our region. When people think of Michigan, for example, they think only of Detroit and the industrial wasteland that it is. There are seriously people that think the whole state is like Detroit. But maybe that's OK - we won't have to worry about overpopulation! Good luck with your endeavor in Parma. I'll be reading along.

  2. Don't fret about the low turnout. We did a flyer mailout for a community pesentation at one of the church halls, and we had two show up (out of a community of about 450). One already knew about Peak Oil and the other did not. It will come - we all just need to be patient.

    My gut tells me that once the economy starts to recover, it will be choked back, like a dog on a chain, by oil supply issues, and this time the smoking gun of Peak Oil will be easy to see. That is when you'll start to see people perk up and pay attention.

  3. Get the movie about how Cuba survived peak oil - there's a lot more about the positive side of community building out of an energy descent.

  4. Oh! Thanks everyone for the comments!

    Urban Workbench: I have The Power of Community and it will be one of the movies I will show. PoC is essential simply because it is positive. Most PO stuff is pretty dire and I thought it would be important to show people that this doesn't have to be an apocalypse.

    J.C. I used to live in MI. Various cities but spent the most time in Lansing/E. Lansing. MI is underappreciated! Especially as CA can't provide water for crops this year and is losing billions in crop yields as a result. Also, I am addicted to Cherry Republic jam. Yum.

    Coldstream: I think people know, on a gut level, that something is wrong. They need help putting the pieces together though. I need to push myself on the viral marketing stuff I put together for TT Parma and do a bigger mailing and more flyers and see if the papers will do a feature or something!