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History of LATOC: 2003-2011

February 15th, 2011 No comments

Below is copy of the old “About Me” page from LATOC (LifeAfterTheOilCrash.net), which I ran from the winter of 2003 through spring of 2011. Those of you who still wish to access the site, Archive.org has a snapshot of it from August 2010 here.

From the old LATOC site:

Matt Savinar featured in Fortune Magazine Special on Texas Billionaire Richard Rainwater

According to the December 2005 issue of Fortune Magazine, Richard Rainwater, a billionaire investor and friend of George W. Bush, reads LATOC regularly:

“Rainwater,” the voice on the phone announces. “Now, type LATOC into Yahoo, and scroll down.” Rainwater doesn’t use e-mail. Rather, he uses rapid fire phone calls to spread the gospel he discovers every morning on the web. One day it might be the decline of arable land in Malaysia. The next it could be the Olduvai theory of per capita energy consumption. “LATOC” stands for LifeAfterTheOilCrash.net, a blog edited by Matt Savinar, 27, of Santa Rosa, California . . . Link to full article

The Fortune article goes on to quote Rainwater as saying:

The next blowup, however, looms so large that it scares and confuses Rainwater. For the past few months he’s been holed up in hard-core research mode — reading books, academic studies, and, yes, blogs. Every morning he rises before dawn at one of his houses in Texas or South Carolina or California (he actually owns a piece of Pebble Beach Resorts) and spends four or five hours reading LifeAftertheOilCrash.net, obsessively following links and sifting through data. How worried is he? He has some $500 million of his $2.5 billion fortune in cash, more than ever before. “I’m long oil and I’m liquid,” he says. “I’ve put myself in a position that if the end of the world came tomorrow I’d kind of be prepared.” He’s also ready to move fast if he spots an opening. Link to full article

Matt Savinar Quoted Heavily in the U.S. Congress (March 14th, 2005)

On March 14, 2005 Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (Republican, Maryland) spoke on the floor of the US House of Representatives for an hour about the dire consequences of Peak Oil. He quoted Matt Savinar extensively, in addition to employing several analogies and examples originally published on LATOC.

Approximately 30 minutes into his presentation, Representative Bartlett stated:

What now? Where do we go now? One observer, Matt Savinar, who has thoroughly researched the options, and this is not the most optimistic assessment, by the way, but may be somewhat realistic, he starts out by saying, “Dear Readers, civilization as we know it is coming to an end soon. This is not the wacky proclamation of a doomsday cult, apocalypse Bible sect or conspiracy theory society. Rather, it is the scientific conclusion of the best-paid, most widely respected geologists, physicists and investment bankers in the world. These are rational, professional, conservative individuals who are absolutely terrified by the phenomenon known as global peak oil.”

Later, Congressman Bartlett concluded by saying:

Is there any reason to remain optimistic or hopeful? Let me go back to Matt Savinar, that not-too-optimistic journalist. “If what you mean is there any way technology or the market or brilliant scientists or comprehensive government programs are going to hold things together or solve this for me or allow for business to continue as usual, the answer is no. On the other hand, if what you really mean is is there any way that I still can have a happy, fulfilling life, in spite of some clearly grim facts, the answer is yes. But it is going to require a lot of work, a lot of adjustments, and probably a bit of good fortune on your part.”

Matt Savinar Quoted Heavily in the U.S. Congress (July 20th, 2005)

Excerpt from speech, emphasis added:

Mr. Speaker, if you go to your computer this evening and do a Google search for peak oil, you will find there a large assortment of articles and comments. Like every issue, you will find a few people who are on the extreme, but there will be a lot of mainstream observations there.

One of the articles that you will find there was written by Matt Savinar. Matt Savinar is not a technical person. He is a lawyer, a good one, and he does what lawyers do. He goes to the sources and builds his case.

I remember in another life I was involved in morphing some of my knowledge of human physiology into the practical world, and I was awarded 20 patents. For every one of those I had a lawyer. I knew that he knew absolutely nothing about the subject that he was helping me on before he came to work with me. By the way, Mr. Speaker, the 20 patents I had, 19 were military patents so these were military lawyers. I was really impressed with how quickly they caught on and knew what was going on and were able to contribute.

I think that Matt Savinar has done that, and I wanted to begin this discussion this evening with a quote from Matt Savinar because it kind of grabs your attention and makes you either want to put down his article with the statement that gee, this guy cannot be for real, or you want to finish it to see the basis for his statement because he begins his article by saying, “Dear Reader, Civilization as we know it is coming to an end soon.”

When my wife read that she had the first reaction that I mentioned, Gee, this guy is a nut. I am not going to read any further.

I said, Please read on and reserve judgment until you have finished reading his thesis.

She read on and at the end was genuinely frightened by what she read. . . . Matt Savinar could be correct when he said, “Dear Reader, civilization as we know it is coming to an end soon.” I would encourage you, Mr. Speaker, to pull up his article and read it. It is really very sobering.

Matt Savinar’s Website Shown to President Bush in Private 1-on-1 Meeting (Spring 2006)

In the spring of 2006, Congressman Roscoe Bartlett showed parts of the LATOC site to President Bush in a private, one-on-one, 30 minute meeting. For confirmation of this, click here and fast forward to 53:13.

LATOC makes front page of the Wall Street Journal (January 20th, 2008)

Article excerpt:

Many converts have gone “off-grid,” cutting ties to the mainstream economy and growing yams in their garden as they wait for the coming chaos. Mr. Wissner and his wife fall somewhere in the middle: alienated by a car-obsessed culture, but still part of it.

Ms. Sager remembers well her husband’s conversion. She returned home one afternoon in August 2005, from her job as a software engineer for General Electric Aviation and found him at his computer, deep into a Web site he had found while researching gas prices called lifeaftertheoilcrash.net.

“He sat me down and said, ‘Do you think this is a hoax?’ ” she recalls. “And there went the next two hours.”

“Dear Reader,” the Web site announced: “Civilization as we know it is coming to an end.” Oil supplies are dwindling just as world demand soars. The result: oil prices “will skyrocket, oil dependent economies will crumble, and resource wars will explode.” From there, Mr. Wissner plunged into a burgeoning literature arguing that soaring energy costs will put a halt to globalization and the American way of life. His forebodings of banks faltering and food running out have turned him into a peak oil proselytizer in this community south of Grand Rapids. Link to full article

Matt Savinar featured in North Bay Bohemian article (June 2009)

Article excerpt:

But the worst-case predictions of post-oil society come from Santa Rosa attorney Matt Savinar, a controversial figure in peak oil premonitions. His website, Peak Oil: Life After the Oil Crash (www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net), offers an informational survivor’s guide for what he is certain is an impending disaster. While other peak oil thinkers frequently talk about “when” the shit hits the fan, Savinar says it already has.

“The shit is hitting the fan now,” he says unequivocally. “It’s just happening in slow motion, and it’s not hitting equally in all places.”

Asked what individuals can do to ease their way into life after the oil crash, the 30-year-old advises people to “learn basic camping skills.” Wilderness survival tactics will also be handy in the world that’s dawning. He urges Americans to relocate geographically to within miles of their families, as social support networks will be crucial in the coming age. For himself, Savinar hopes to marry into a large family.

While Transitionists see the coming change as one of potential enrichment — community gardens, cycling, skilled artisans at every corner — Savinar’s outlook is a bleak and shadowy contrast. He warns that in the foreseeable future the world will experience “staggering horror.” While life in remembered times has been about “the pursuit of victory and money,” life in the near future, he predicts, “will be about tragedy. We’ve been able to externalize this reality to the future and to other places only because we had access to this incredibly dense source of energy,” he says.

No longer. Savinar can’t say when, but he believes that a time will come well within just one generation when even supermarkets must close their doors. Then, unless the goal of Transition—to build resilience into communities—takes effect soon, chaos could only ensue in a culture so spoiled by excess and mass consumption as ours. In the North Bay, says the Post Carbon Institute’s Miller, residents have the open space, the soil, the sun, the water and the resources to hit the ground running when peak oil arrives. What the community doesn’t have, he says, is a full collective understanding of how much people need to cut back on individual consumption and how quickly they need to do it.

Savinar says too many people’s happiness depends dearly on external items and flimsy concepts of wealth. These people must reprioritize their value systems now and quit “waddling through Wal-Mart.” They must wean themselves from the comforts of supermarkets, leisure time and television. They — we — must forfeit luxuries; instead of feasting on steak, one may have to give thanks to a plate of beans and rice.

Because, if Savinar’s predictions are true, we will not always have Paris. Link to full article

Later in the article:

Savinar has been trying for years to invite government participation in peak oil preparation. In 2005, he sent a letter of warning to each member of the Santa Rosa City Council, advising that they begin aggressively readying the community for peak oil and its aftermath. The letter was articulate and “lawyerly,” he says, and included a copy of Heinberg’s Party’s Over in each package, yet not one councilperson responded.

“And I guarantee that if I was a car manufacturer and I scribbled out a letter with crayons, they would have answered me,” he says with a short laugh. Link to full article

Matt Savinar featured in Salon.com Peak Oil article (February 2006)

Article excerpt:

Matt Savinar, 27, once aspired to own a Hummer. He studied political science at the University of California, Davis, before going on to get his law degree at U.C. Hastings in San Francisco. He was into bodybuilding. Today, Savinar doesn’t own a Hummer. In fact, he doesn’t think that driving or the legal profession, with the exception of maybe bankruptcy law, have much of a future.

Savinar’s saving money to buy land; he’s not sure exactly where yet, but somewhere with a supply of fresh water, arable soil, low population density and that’s far from military bases. He’s starting to get back into bodybuilding again, too, all the better to be healthy and in shape to till the earth and grow food, when the time comes. “I happen to think that we’re going straight to hell, and I’m trying to figure out how to be in the least hot place of hell,” he told me recently on an incongruously balmy 72 degree February afternoon in sunny Santa Rosa, Calif., at a restaurant just a few blocks from the apartment where he lives.

For a young, quick-witted, able-bodied man with an advanced degree, living in the most prosperous country in the world, Savinar has a pretty dim view of his — and all the rest of our — prospects. He believes that many if not most of the trappings of modern American life are endangered species and he’s trying to figure out how not to become one of them. So Savinar has become a full-time prophet of “peak oil,” spreading the word about how the world’s oil production will soon peak and global demand will outstrip supply.

When that happens, he imagines that all the ways Americans now depend on oil will become rudely apparent, as the price of everything from filling up at the pump to fruits and vegetables in the supermarket shoots up. Cities and towns will start to struggle to provide basic services like police, firefighting, school buses, water and road repair. Office workers will lose jobs because they can’t afford to commute to work from their suburban homes. Even if they could get to the office, there’ll be fewer white-collar jobs, as businesses flounder under the strain of a flailing global economy. Yet suburbanites will be grateful for those big backyards to support vegetable gardens, if they can just keep their hungry neighbors from sneaking in at night and stealing their harvest. All that is before we even consider the possibility of an oil war with the likes of China, where, incidentally, so many of those cheap goods that we’ve come to depend on are manufactured.

But here’s what really drives Savinar crazy. As our whole world is about to go hurtling, sickeningly, down the other side of peak oil, we cling to the vain hope that better fuel efficiency, more conservation and alternative energy will step in to save the day. He can’t believe our ignorance. Just look at his lunch: chicken fajitas with red and green peppers, brown rice and green salad. Sound wholesome and healthy? No, Savinar reminds me, it’s brought here courtesy of cheap energy.

“It’s fossil fuels — petroleum, coal, natural gas — that have been converted into food,” he says. Then, there’s the wooden table he’s eating it on, which was built god-knows-where and likely shipped here inexpensively courtesy of fossil fuels. Then, there’s the financial system underpinning the bank loan that the owner of this restaurant likely got to open the joint, which is predicated on the idea that the economy will grow in the future, not shrink precipitously when oil prices spike. Then there’s the asphalt on the four-lane of traffic outside, and the cars, trucks and, oh yes, SUVs zipping along on top of its smooth surface, as well as the concrete of the sidewalk bordering the mall across the street, where Ann Taylor and Talbots sell clothes surely imported from halfway around the world.

But Savinar isn’t rollerblading while the oil burns. From his modest apartment, about 60 miles north of San Francisco, he parses the latest energy news and fulminates on his Web site, Life After the Oil Crash. “Dear Reader,” he welcomes visitors to his site, “Civilization as we know it is coming to an end soon. This is not the wacky proclamation of a doomsday cult, apocalypse bible prophecy sect, or conspiracy theory society. Rather, it is the scientific conclusion of the best paid, most widely-respected geologists, physicists and investment bankers in the world. These are rational, professional, conservative individuals who are absolutely terrified by a phenomenon known as global ‘Peak Oil.’”

Far from being ignored or dismissed as the hyperbolic rantings of an underemployed twentysomething California attorney, his Web site (which has about 6,000 visitors a day, and which sells books, DVDs and soon solar-powered ovens) has been quoted in the U.S. House of Representatives by members of the Congressional Peak Oil Caucus, like Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett from Maryland. He’s been name-checked in Fortune magazine in a recent profile of one of Bush’s billionaire buddies, who claims to have read Savinar’s site every day since last September, and is keeping $500 million of his fortune in cash just in case Savinar and other peak oil doomsayers, like James Howard Kunstler, are right. Full article

Matt Savinar featured in UK Guardian review of Crude Awakening Documentary

Article excerpt:

A Crude Awakening is an impressive documentary in its own right and has achieved a great deal already without a big name on the poster. It has been screened at numerous festivals, was seen on general release in Canada and Switzerland and is scheduled to be shown on television in several countries, including America.

Reactions to the film have been overwhelmingly positive. David Herron at 7gen, describes it as: “a visually stunning, boldly prophetic testament which provokes not just thought but action.” The Guardian’s Mark Oliver says it is “one of the most frightening films you are ever likely to see.”

Despite there being an alarming lack of awareness about peak oil, there are an increasing number of people from varying sides of the political spectrum who are not only aware of the problem at hand, but prepared to speak openly about it. One surprise of A Crude Awakening is the amount of conservative voices gladly stepping forward to share their views on the debate. These range from a Republican congressman, an energy advisor to George Bush and a former Iraqi oil minister. The only eco-warrior is the hugely entertaining, Matthew Savinar, founder of the website LifeAfterTheOilCrash.net

Link to full article here.

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