The Great Debate – SLF 2015

SUBHEAD: Sustainable Living Conference Great Debate: To Collapse or Not to Collapse.

By Raul Ilargi Meijer on 19 February 2015 for the Automatic Earth - 

Image above: Nicole Fosse at the start of her presentation about 33min into video below. From (

A few days before I arrived in Melbourne, The Automatic Earth’s Nicole Foss was one of the key speakers in The Great Debate, which this year took place on February 13. It’s sort of the main event in Melbourne’s annual Sustainable Living Festival, which in 2015 runs from February 7 to March 1. Apart from Nicole, other speakers included  David Holmgren and George Monbiot.

In an impressive ‘take no prisoners’ speech, Nicole makes short shrift of the vast majority of idea(l)s about ‘softly transitioning’ into the world that lies beyond the dual credit ponzi and cheap energy bubbles. Everybody who harbors such idea(l)s should take note, lest they end up finding themselves in any one of a large variety of dead end alleyways.

Something along the vein of what my buddy Scott used to say: ‘it’s a good idea but it’s wrong’. People need to think about how much energy use and how much complexity is involved in what they would like to see as their way forward. If there’s too much of either, let alone of both, that way is simply not viable, and it’s back to the drawing board.

I’m not going to transcribe too much of her talk, it’s well worth watching the few minutes she talks. Still, here’s one quote from Nicole:
Our society will be forced to simplify. The paradox with low-energy-profit-ratio energy sources is they cannot sustain the level of complexity necessary to produce them. [..] If your solution rests on complexity, it’s not going to work. We’re going to contract and simplify, like it or not.
Start at about the 33-minute mark for Nicole’s talk. She speaks for just over 10 minutes. Enjoy!  And don't miss the part about "Sucking the beer out of the carpet!"

Video above:  "The Great Debate" Runs about 1hour:50min. David Holmgren is up first. From (


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