Interactions Between Peak Oil & Health

Recently I received a really nice letter from a reader who read the Peak Oil Primer I wrote for Slate's Matt Yglesias. He mentioned that health care was his primary business, not energy, but he has been interested in these energy issues for some time.

And it reminded me that one of the first Peak Oil conferences I ever attended was on the subject of Peak Oil & Health. It was at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.

What was fascinating about this conference was that it was NOT the usual crowd of Peak Oil commentators, it was actual public health professionals gathering together to discuss how energy relates to their field. The "Peak Oil & Health" conference (agenda) was a wonderful event and the conference slides are still available.


I do not come from a public health background, so everything in this conference was new to me: As the speakers discussed everything from the petrochemicals/plastics in medical supplies to thinking about emergency response during energy emergencies (on that note, the second embedded video to the right is a recent TED talk on ambucycles and rethinking our ambulance-based response).

My only disappointment with the conference was that I fully expected more of these type of events in the future from other industries. Energy affects every industry, so I assumed we would eventually see "Peak Oil & Agriculture", "Peak Oil & Transportation", "Peak Oil & Education" and other forums for professionals in those industries to discuss these issues. In their absence, the ASPO-USA conferences have mostly played these roles.

But the lack of those additional forums does not diminish the legacy of the Peak Oil & Health conference and the papers the conference speakers went on to produce: