How will the world work in the post-oil, post-coal future? Our transition could take the form of disastrous collapses in economic, political, and economic systems - or of a radical reinvention of energy. We could relapse into a new Dark Ages, or we could shift to a new economic model and international order that's not based on (the appropriately named) "fossil" fuels but on renewable energy. No matter what, global warming and resource scarcity will force us to do something. To avert environmental and economic disaster, we'll have to think beyond the weekly fluctuations in the price of gasoline and consider larger matters.
In "Fuel", writers and artists imagine the transition to a carbon-free future: an architect plans "Velo-city," a network of elevated bikeways; a designer models a perfectly internalized, tail-chasing energy system; an urbanist examines the new "Oil Cities" in Dubai and Saudi Arabia; a photographer documents the social and environmental damage done by the oil industry in Nigeria; and an architect proposes that oil rigs be turned into sanctuaries for marine and avian wildlife.
John Knechtel is Director of Alphabet City Media in Toronto.