Urban sustainability and the environment have continued to remain at the forefront of the Maroondah community with the Croydon Conservation Society holding a film night, showcasing Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth and the End of Suburbia.
An Inconvenient Truth is a documentary surrounding former US Vice-President Al Gore’s presentation on climate change. Through the presentation Al Gore explores the impact of climate change on ocean levels, the polar ice caps and the migration trends and habitat of wildlife. In particular Al Gore stresses the need for immediate action to curb greenhouse emissions and draws a comparison between the worldwide action that resulted in the agreement to phase out CFCs. The phasing out of CFCs came into force in 1989 through the Montreal Treaty of 1987 and has often been hailed as one of the most successful international treaties in regard to its commitment and implementation.
It is interesting to note that at the time there was much controversy surrounding the effects of CFCs and the needs for a treaty, a situation that appears to have repeated itself in regard to climate change and the Kyoto treaty.
The second documentary, The End of Suburbia explores Peak Oil and the ramifications that rising petrol prices and the end of cheap fuel will have on suburbia. Peak Oil, where the supply of oil is unable to cater to rising demand, has risen in prominence within Australia due largely to overall trend of rising petrol prices. In particular the film explores why alternative fuels cannot simply substitute the current dependence on oil meaning that sustainable forms of transport such as public transport will be need to be improved. Hydrogen is a net energy loser (since it consumes more energy in its production than it actually provides) and biodiesels, such as ethanol, would currently require all agriculture land currently used for food production to be diverted to fuel production, obviously leaving a chronic shortfall in food sources. Evidence of this is already seen within a number of developing countries that have experienced rising food prices due to the increase of biodiesel production at the expense of food production.
While debate may still surround climate change and peak oil, the discussion is shifting from one of doubt to one of questioning the magnitude of when these events will occur. In this regard it seems imperative to begin mitigating the risks associated with both climate change and peak oil.