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Economist Nicole Foss is co-editor of website The Automatic Earth. Here she provides easy-to-understand answers in response to questions on peak oil, financial crisis, energy descent, resilience, community, and simple living.This is the full interview we shot with her for our film A Simpler Way: Crisis as Opportunity. We can only ever fit in a few minutes’ worth of the amazing interviews we get to shoot, so here’s the whole thing for people who want to get into the nitty-gritty!

This is the full-length version of the interview from our documentary A Simpler Way: Crisis as Opportunity.

These are the timecodes for the questions we asked Nicole:
00:00:00 – Introduction

00:00:41 – What is the relationship between energy and economics?

00:08:05 – What is peak oil and why is it important?

00:15:57 – How do you respond to those who say that, due to the shale boom in the US, ‘peak oil is dead’?

00:30:27 – Can you describe the essence of the global financial system and explain why it’s so fragile?

00:38:37 – Could you please explain your understanding of the global financial crisis and what role expensive oil played in this?

00:46:43 – You have argued that the instability of the financial system is of greater and more immediate concern than climate change and peak oil. Please elaborate.

01:00:10 – What is your take on whether renewables or nuclear energy will be able to save us from peaking energy resources?

01:06:18 – You’ve said that the system cannot be reformed. Why can’t strong financial regulation, environmental regulation, redistributing through taxation help?

01:17:34 – You’ve said that the future belongs to the adaptable. What is resilience and how do we become more resilient?

01:31:30 – Would it be fair to summarise that strategic advice by saying that the main thing we need to do is try to prefigure a low energy, low consumption, simpler way of living?

01:41:35 – You’ve said that building community is one of the most important things we can do. Why do you think this is?

01:47:53 – When thinking about the world, I constantly find myself battling to find a space between naive optimism and despair. Can the crises underway and on their way be turned into opportunities?


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  • Mary Dunn says:


    Pity not many more women in the economics and financial

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