Indiana Energy Conference

Conference Speakers

Note: All speaker presentations were professionally video recorded at The Third U.S. Conference on Peak Oil and Community Solutions in Yellow Springs, Ohio on the Campus of Antioch College the weekend of September 22-24, 2006. 

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Michael Richards -- In addition to authoring Sustainable Operating Systems: The Post Petrol Paradigm, Michael Richards is the founder of the Life Academy, an open educational center dedicated to Sustainable Living. Over 300 businesses from all 50 states, 4 provinces in Canada and 8 nations have travelled to the Academy in Cedar Rapids, IA to learn sustainable business practices during the last few years.   Mr. Richards is also the original inventor of soybean wax and has travelled globally to work with business leaders. He has carried out this work in Great Britain, Canada, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Portugal, Germany and India. Mr. Richards is assisting the Richard Branson School of Business at CIDA University in South Africa as they set up soy wax production as a new industry for South Africa.

Richard Heinberg is a leading educator and international speaker on the coming global “oil peak” and author of the seminal work, The Party's Over: Oil, War, and the Fate of Industrial Societies as well as Powerdown: Options and Actions for a Post-Carbon World. His latest work, The Oil Depletion Protocol: A Plan to Avert Oil Wars, Terrorism, and Economic Collapse explains the great importance of this global tool in mitigating the dire economic and political consequences expected for most nations, as they are ill-prepared for Peak Oil.

Richard travels internationally to speak on the subject of Peak Oil and has given more than 100 presentations on the subject before university and general audiences. He is also a professor at New College in Santa Rosa, California, where he teaches courses on “Energy and Society” and “Culture, Ecology, and Sustainable Community.” He and his wife have implemented low-energy techniques in their own home, which has been renovated for energy efficiency and where they grow much of their own food.

David Orr

David W. Orr is the Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics and Chair of the Environmental Studies Program at Oberlin College in Ohio. He is perhaps best known for his pioneering work on environmental literacy in higher education and his recent work in ecological design. He raised funds for and spearheaded the effort to design and build a $7.2 million Environmental Studies Center at Oberlin College, a building described by the New York Times as “the most remarkable” of a new generation of college buildings and by the U.S. Department of Energy as one of thirty “milestone buildings” of the 20th century.

David Orr is the author of five books: The Fifth Revolution: Ecological Design and the Making of the Adam Joseph Lewis Center (2006); The Last Refuge: Patriotism, Politics, and the Environment (2004); The Nature of Design (2002); Earth in Mind (1994/2004); Ecological Literacy (1992) and co-editor of The Global Predicament (1979) and The Campus and Environmental Responsibility (1992).

Vicki Robin

Vicki Robin is co-author with Joe Dominguez of Your Money or Your Life, founding Chair of the Simplicity Forum and co-founder of The Center for a New American Dream, the New Road Map Foundation, Sustainable Seattle and the Turning Tide Coalition, all initiatives designed to foster a simpler, more just and sustainable future. She also co-created and spread Conversation Cafés , a simple way for friends and strangers in public places like Cafés to explore through conversation the big issues of the day. She has played a major role in the official organizations around simplicity as well as providing advice and support for a myriad of small local simplicity activities.

Vicki is currently writing a new book on Freedom and Limits, Harper San Francisco, 2007. She lives on Whidbey Island, Washington and is engaged in multiple efforts to increase local connections and sustainability.

Sharon Asytk

Sharon Astyk has an MA and is a candidate for a Ph.D in English literature, where her research centered upon literary, philosophical and historical responses to disaster and demographic crises in 16th and 17th century Britain. She is currently studying and writing about the forthcoming energy and demographic crisis of the 21st century. She is a teacher, writer and activist who has written widely about peak oil on various web sites.

Five years ago, Sharon and her family moved to rural upstate NY to begin a different life patterned on consuming only a fair share of human resources. She and her physicist husband run a small CSA and are presently at work on a book about peak oil, demography and consumption. In their spare time, they are raising four sons and assorted critters and livestock. Her work can be seen at her blog , and at her website on peak oil preparation for families, .

Peter Bane

Peter Bane publishes Permaculture Activist, the world's oldest journal of permanent culture and ecological design. He holds a Permaculture Diploma, co-founded Earthaven Ecovillage in the Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina, and is adjunct faculty at Indiana University.

At Earthaven he played a major role in the development of alternative methods of building using local sources of materials. In 15 years he's trained 800 practitioners in sustainable systems design and taught strategies for energy descent from Canada to Chile. As VP of the Association for Regenerative Culture he's helping create a network of well being centers across the Eastern U.S. He lives in Bloomington, Indiana. The Permaculture movement is on the forefront in designing new ways of living no dependent on fossil fuels.

Julian Darley

Julian Darley is founder and director of Post Carbon Institute and Global Public Media. He is also author of High Noon for Natural Gas: the New Energy Crisis (2004) and (forthcoming in 2007) Relocalize Now! Getting Ready for Climate Change and the End of Cheap Oil with Celine Rich, David Room and Richard Heinberg. Julian has an MSc in Environment and Social Research from the University of Surrey in the UK, an MA in Journalism and Communications from the University of Texas at Austin, and a BA in Music & Russian.

Post Carbon has developed a Relocalization Network with over 100 different organizations and individuals who have come together to plan for a post oil world. The organization has begun a research project to develop local fuels on an agricultural site in Canada. Julian currently lives in Vancouver, BC, Canada. He is a leader in the effort to mitigate Peak Oil by alternative life styles and ways of organizing society.

Megan Quinn is the Outreach Director of Community Service, Inc. She has been writing and speaking on the issue of peak oil for more than two years. Megan graduated from Miami University with a degree in Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs, writing her college thesis on "Peak Oil and U.S. Foreign Policy." She has been organizing presentations to environmental groups, civic organizations, and schools around the Ohio area on Peak Oil, Community Solutions, Cuba, and low-energy Agraria neighborhood communities.

Megan will explain how the development of Agraria neighborhood-communities is a vital strategy for peak oil-forced decentralization and the renewal of small towns and farms in the post-peak oil world. She will give an overview of the design specifications, discuss the project's significance as a model, and explain its role as a part of Community Service's vision of small, local, agrarian communities.

Richard Olson

Richard Olson , Director of the Sustainability and Environmental Studies Program at Berea College, explores pathways to a sustainable future through his courses in ecological design, environmental justice, and sustainability. He played a key role in the design and operation of the Berea College Ecovillage including an ecological machine wastewater treatment system. He works with students on natural building projects, aquaculture and greenhouse food production systems.

Olson is a founding member of the Berea Outpost, a citizens group working to transform the city of Berea into a sustainable community. He lives with his wife in a passive solar house with a two-kilowatt photovoltaic system, solar hot water, wood stove and extensive gardens located one block from campus. Richard has participated in establishing a regional network of colleges in Kentucky who offer a yearly conference on sustainability at different campuses.

Pat Murphy

Pat Murphy is the Executive Director of The Community Solution and the author of its New Solutions reports. He lectures widely across the country on peak oil, geopolitics, and community-based solutions.

Prior to directing The Community Solution, Pat was the founder of a software company that developed a "design for manufacturing" program for residential building, which greatly reduced waste in the construction process. He also designed and built active solar homes during the first energy crisis of the 1970s. In addition Pat had a long career in computer applications in the transportation, construction and energy industries. His main interest is on the techniques and strategies for a steady reduction in the per capital use of fossil fuels in years to come. He has been involved in community much of his life and sees community as the context within which “powerdown” can be viewed as a blessing rather than a curse.

Bob Brecha

Dr. Robert Brecha is the Bro. Leonard Mann Chair in the Natural Sciences, and Professor of Physics and Electro-optics, at the University of Dayton. He received his B.S. in Physics from Wright State University and Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Texas at Austin. He has been a visiting scientist at quantum optics research institutes in Munich, Germany and Florence, Italy.

Most recently, Bob has re-oriented his research to concentrate on energy and environmental issues. In the summer of 2006 he spent time working with economists and natural scientists at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Change Research in Germany. At a hands-on level, he has been helping in Yellow Springs with the installation of solar hot water systems and was co-builder of a High Performance House.

Jeff Christian

Jeff Christian is the Director of the Buildings Technology Center, which is a National Department of Energy user facility (BTC) located at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The Center's activities span research on zero energy residential and commercial buildings, advanced appliances, moisture control in buildings, roofs, walls, and foundations, cooling, heating and power integrated systems, and whole building design and performance. Jeff has written more than 130 technical publications, primarily in the area of building energy efficiency. 

Jeff Christian's most recent major accomplishments focus on systems research. He established a residential research park near ORNL in 1999 which, now has 9 test houses. In 2002-2005 designed and built the first five near zero energy houses with Habitat for Humanity, in Lenoir City, TN. These houses have solar grid-tie PV or solar water heater. The research park is a collaboration that includes TVA the largest public utility in the country.