The Post Carbon Institute has a snazzy new video that provides “A Brief History of Fossil Fuels.” It fulfills the title’s promise, giving a solid overview of our energy history and current predicament in under six minutes. (If you yourself are beyond Energy 101, this would be a good one to pass along to family and friends.)

It’s done in that trendy style of fluid hand drawings on a white board. (What makes that so appealing? The desire to see a literal human touch on the digital screen?)

The conclusion: “Our best goal is resilience: The ability to absorb shocks and keep going.” I’ve long argued that our best goal is laser-guided hovercars (no friction, therefore optimum fuel efficiency), but resiliency’s a pretty good goal too. What the filmmakers mean is that we’re already locked into a post-carbon future because we’re running out of fossil fuels. The question is how comfortable or miserable we are as we make that transition.

My only real quibble: The video ends with a call to “understand the issues and pitch in. It’s all hands on deck.” But pitch in with what? Giving the public this sort of foundational knowledge is useful, but it would be helpful to give them some concrete steps to take — build a neighborhood solar co-op, get a Complete Streets plan passed in their town, reform the Senate filibuster, for example. All before lunch, if possible.

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