Dr. Mandy Meikle (BSc, PhD) is a research campaigner, focusing on the energy crises (climate change and other associated pollution, as well as resource depletion and falling flow rates), the need for energy demand reduction and the problems with unconventional fossil fuels. Yes, folks, peak oil is not over – this is it. This article gives a good introduction to energy density and what it means to replace oil (a liquid fuel) with various alternative ways to generate electricity. And don’t forget that it’s not the size of the energy resource that matters, but the flow rate of that energy to market.

Mandy has an academic background in microbiology and is experienced in research, writing and editing. Mandy edited the Reforesting Scotland Journal, from 2002 until 2008 and returned in October 2012.  Mandy was also part of a research team working on a climate justice project at Glasgow Caledonian University from 2012 to 2016.

Mandy Meikle was one of the first people in Scotland to start publicising the concept of ‘peak oil’ and net energy returns, and since 2004 she has given over 50 well-received talks and workshops to local Green Party groups, NGOs and community groups, including Scientists for Global Responsibility, Transition Black Isle and the wonderful Isle of Eigg group. Mandy explains the links between climate change and peak oil – why the two must be tackled together and why we have to reduce our energy demand. Mandy has worked with a number of other groups, including Depletion Scotland and Transition Scotland and is trying really hard to does not have what it takes to write a short book entitled ‘Net energy in a nutshell’ – so if you think you can do it, you have my blessing!

Meikle, M., Wilson, J., and Jafry, T. (2016). Climate justice: between Mammon and Mother Earth. International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management, Vol. 8 Issue: 4, pp.488-504, doi: 10.1108/IJCCSM-06-2015-0089.
Meikle, M. (2016). Promoting Sustainable Consumption: View from the Ground. In Sustainable Consumption: Design, Innovation and Practice, Genus, Audley (Ed.), Pages 135-142.

Contact Mandy by emailing mandy[at]reforestingscotland[dot] org (remove spaces and [brackets], of course). See ‘Mandy’s talks’ page.


7 Responses to About

  1. Amyan Macfadyen says:

    You are certainly someone after my own heart, Mandy. My background was originially Zoology and most of my publications on the role of organisms (especially invertebrates) in soil and freshwater, but having main interests in the field and outside the laboratory, you could classify me as an ecologist. I was a Prof of “Biology” at Coleraine University for much of my life and now live near family in Sheffield where I garden (including in the Botanical Gardens) and belong to groups like FOE, Greenpeace and Sheffield Against Climate Change. I was a signatory to letters to the Times about climate change at the time of “The Blueprint for Survival” (1960s) so you can see I am no spring chicken. But I take measures to reduce my “carbon footprint” as much as possible (currently about 2 tonnes CO2 P.A.)

    • mandy meikle says:

      Thanks Amyan. It’s great that you referred to reducing your carbon footprint because for most individuals, doing that is synonymous with reducing energy demand (e.g. driving less, insulating your house, growing some food and so on). It’d be good to know how you did this. I hope this blog will be informative and inspiring, not just me whinging on about the state of the planet! We’ve been burning wood for over 2 years now. We live in a miners’ row with a stove for heating water and radiators. I worked out that we used almost 3 tonnes of coal a year. Yikes! So I found a local tree surgeon & a furniture maker to buy wood from. However, I now know just how much wood 2 people need to heat a small house and wonder how on Earth the whole village could do this (49 houses). This is exactly the problem we have as a society – what might work on a small, local scale cannot be scaled up to replace the fossil-fuel energy currently used by a wasteful society.

  2. Tim Morgan says:

    Hi Mandy

    Picked up your comment on my ‘In Business’ appearance, for which many thanks. You have a great website and I read your piece about Derrick Jensen with considerable interest.

    Tim Morgan

  3. mandy meikle says:

    Hi Tim – I sent a link to the program to a bunch of lists I’m on. (For anyone who missed it, it’s still available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00zt3py and Tim comments on ‘the end of growth’ about 25mins in).

    Thanks for comments on Derrick Jensen post – I think it’s important to be discussing the end of such embedded ideas as growth economics (there goes Portugal!) and of civilisation, but they are not popular topics! Are you aware of The Dark Mountain Project (http://uncivilisation.ning.com/)? And New Economics Foundation have some good stuff on growth (e.g. http://www.neweconomics.org/publications/growth-isnt-possible and for those adversed to reading, try http://www.impossiblehamster.org/)

    Let me know when your book (Life after growth) comes out. Will there be a chapter on ‘net energy’?

    all the best

  4. Tim Morgan says:

    Hi Mandy

    Life After Growth (provisional title) should be later this year, we’re still in the planning stages. I’ve been contacted by the NEF after my recent contribution to the Long Finance conference in London. There will be at least one chapter on net energy/EROEI!

    At my company’s website (www.tullettprebon.com) you can access long reports (“Strategy Insights”) and shorter ones (“Strategy Notes”) by following the Strategy Insights tab on the home page. The best short Note is called “Money IS Energy”, and there are two longer Insights reports, “Dangerous Exponentials” and “End Game”. All are available as free downloads, as our policy is to put our research in the public domain. (If you would like hard copies, I’ll give you the email address for our press office).

    I have been pleasantly surprised about the degree of interest from financial market professionals – this is ceasing to be seen as esoteric and is moving mainstream.

    The emphasis that I put on EROEI (rather than Peak Oil) is because (i) there is a lot more than half of all recoverable oil left (but it’s the low EROEI stuff), and (ii) because investors and the media are sceptical about Peak Oil, so I try to emphasise quality (EROEI) and deliverability (output as % reserves) rather than volumetric reserves.

    Derrick J’s summary is the most depressing thing I’ve read in a long time! I try to be more optimistic, looking at quality of life rather than quantity of possessions, but the tricky bit will be feeding everyone with a declining overall EROEI!



  5. Good day Mandy,

    I read on another site that you believe that “humanity’s future lies not in technology but psychology”. Couldn’t agree more, but there’s not a lot about that on this site. When confronted by (mostly men) who are technology devotees, I reply that well, that’s all well and good but technology is about 10 percent of our problem. The rest is in our heads, in deep culture change, in behaviour change, in overcoming denial etc etc. But it’s hard work. The wole of society seems to think that our problem is that we just chose the wrong technology (fossil fuels) and all we need to do is switch technology.

    Anyway… I would like to see more on these thems. Thank you.

    Chris Harries (Tasmania)

    • mandy meikle says:

      Hi Chris – great to hear from someone so far away and a good prompt for a future post. As you’ll no doubt have noticed, I’m a bit random with blogging. It’s not that I don’t have opinions on everything (!) but I find it hard to put them into words.

      As for the psychology of denial, it’s everywhere. Not just the personal delusions which might keep one going (you know, ‘things will get better’ – yeah, maybe they will, maybe they won’t) but a cultural denial about our relationship to the world around us. Dorothy Rowe’s ‘Why we lie’ is an interesting read (lecture online http://fora.tv/2011/03/29/Dorothy_Rowe_Why_We_Lie)

      I’ve spent many years working in the environmental movement and only recently realised that until we seriously address resource consumption (I hesitate to use the word ‘sustainability’ as it’s been so horribly watered down of late), nothing will change. But that means questioning not just capitalism, but civilisation itself. One thing’s for sure, we are not in this mess through lack of information. It’s a lack of belief that we are destroying the ecosystems that sustain us – or possibly a lack of belief that it matters!

      No time just now but feel free to remind me to write more on this & here’s something I just found on why it’s easier to visualise catastrophe than transformation – http://turbulence.org.uk/turbulence-4/present-tense-future-conditional/



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s