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Swiss TV journalist Basil Gelpke

Basil Gelpke is a Swiss television journalist who wanted to uncover the story behind peak oil, only to find that the situation is more precarious than even a jaded European news reporter could imagine.

A Crude Awakening

Interview with Swiss television journalist Basil Gelpke on his new 90-minute documentary on peak oil.

By Bill Moore

If you think energy-conscious Europe is more aware of Peak Oil than North America, think again, says Swiss television journalist Basil Gelpke, currently in the United States debuting his new documentary "A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash" at various film festivals. EV World caught up with him by telephone in Newport, Rhode Island. He had only a few minutes to talk before driving up to Boston and eventually catching a flight back to Switzerland.

"A Crude Awakening looks into the question at how much fossil fuels we still have on this planet," he said, explaining that it looks primarily at oil and gas reserves.

Gelpke, who was worked for a decade in television news, said that he's covered a lot of stories and seen a lot of things and he isn't easily impressed...

"But when I came across the story of peak oil, I got really worried. I couldn't believe it at first, but then I started doing some research and I feel this is the most important story that I've come across in my lifetime as a television journalist, which is really my background."

While Gelpke said he is a firm believer in the power of the market, it doesn't explain everything for him.

"This is not an issue of whether market forces are at play or not. This is more a geological issue," he said, pausing to clear his voice. "There is no doubt oil and gas are finite resources. There's a given amount of it on the planet and we can use it up, and that's what we're doing. It's not like wheat. We're not growing it every year."

He pointed out that we have already reached a peak in oil discovery and that it is inevitable we will reach a peak in oil and gas production, just as we have most other commodities. There is only so much of any resource available on the planet and that while he'd like to believe the resource optimists, reason says we will someday exhaust our supply of fossil fuels.

Gelpke believes the world needs a "wake up call" on this issue, one that he hopes "A Crude Awakening" will help provide. The film will be debuted in other film festivals around the United States with the goal being wider cinema distribution, which he admits is a tough, competitive field. Interestingly, one reviewer said of the film, "This is the best independent horror move this year. Oil Crash packs an emotional and informative punch that may just be the most important film of the decade."

You can learn more about the film at www.oilcrashmovie.com or at A Crude Awakening.org. The entire 15 minute interview is available in audio using either of the two MP3 players at the right or by downloading the MP3 file to your computer hard drive for playback on your favorite MP3 device. The file will also be available through Apple's iTunes podcast service.

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