Thursday, August 31, 2006
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Read more as heretic fig serves up an excellent helping of thoughtful commentary on our foolish attempt to impose our will upon the world. For thousands of years human beings lived in relative harmony with the environmnet around them. Now those of us in "developed" countries have discovered shortcuts around the cyclic processes that organized life before fossil fuels were exploited. When we began to view ourselves as apart from nature and then as the masters of nature we took a wrong turn that has led to the incredible wealth of a few and the extraordinary destruction of much of the rest of this planet's creatures and systems. Only now, as our mistaken direction is threatening our own human lives are we waking up to the potientially devestating effects of our actions. But now I'm bleeding over into my next post...
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
The following was previously published by me over at Groovy Green. Also, I've reworked my comprehensive composting guide and put it up over on the front page of GG for those of you who missed it here at powering down early this year. Check it out if you're interested in making soil. Now for the main feature...
when will the peak perk?
by aaron newton
Jeffery Brown throws out a challenge to the main stream media.
“Who among you is going to have the courage to step forward and “break” the story that the lifeblood of the world economy–net oil export capacity–is now declining?”
Mr. Brown says, “I estimate that oil exports from the top 10 net oil exporters are probably now falling at a double digit annual rate.”
He’s an independent petroleum geologist from Dallas by the way; not one of them economists that thinks you can put dollar bills in your gas tank and drive to work. I once told two smart friends of mine, an engineer and a medical student, that physics trumps economics and they said I didn’t understand how the world works. I don’t. But I do think that as oil is physically less available “laws” of economics are going to spin on their heads. Just a little prediction for you this afternoon. Here’s one more. It will be obvious that we’ve peaked in oil production by the end of 2006. It’ll take a few more years, two maybe, for the most optimistic of oil cheerleaders to admit so (read up on the history of the peak in production in the U.S. - 1971). Then, suddenly everyone will be saying, “Yeah, of course we’ve peaked. That’s what oil fields do- Duh!” But by then the scurry to find the next source of fuel for our mobile lifestyles and our transportation dependent economy will be on in full force. My favorite are the news headlines that read, “How Will We Fuel The Cars of Tomorrow?”, or, “Is Ethanol The Answer?” No ethanol isn’t the answer. It’s only suggested as a part of the solution because Iowa is the first stop on the road to the White House. It seems very few people are stopping to consider ways of living that require less driving. Supply-side solutions will not solve the problem of the declining rate of petroleum production. In fact I’ll predict that they will cause more damage in the form of pollution and green house gasses and postpone the day when demand-side solutions will be seriously considered. The rush to liquefy coal, harvest oil shale and tar sands, and build new-cue-lar facilities will all be a very real part of our energy descent. But unless we are visited by aliens from outer space (and some think we will be) our politicians will remain tethered to the very industries that rely on a fossil fuel based economy. They will do more of the same; fight in the Middle East for the largest remaining oil deposits, refuse to address the idea of a shift in our economic paradigm and a change in our lifestyle, and continue to subsidize foolish supply “solutions” that will dirty our air, pollute our water and offer only a false hope that we can continue on our merry way. I wish I were cheerier about it but I’m not.
How then should those of us concerned about our dependency on dirty fossil fuels respond? Recently a friend wrote to me in an email, “I am repeatedly finding that there are lots of folks who would like to talk about the “environmental” movement but don’t want to actually take an aggressive stance in this area.”
My response was that there are two problems that I face in trying to affect change in the area of environment and energy. The first problem is the need to recognize that nothing I do to shape the minds of other people will be as effective as what I do to shape my own mind. And the second problem is to understand that there are plenty of well-meaning people who will do little to change the state of our world because they don’t understand the first problem. Without meaning to, they are spinning their wheels and they’ll spin mine too if I let them.
There are other people out there doing it, making real change. They serve me as both a source of inspiration and information. In the absence of physical neighbors who understand our environmental pickle we must, at this point, begin to build the lighthouses that will serve to illuminate a darkening world. We must have the foresight and resolve to do that which is unconventional. Frontyard gardens might be a source of neighborhood gossip now but the knowledge gained in growing them will turn into a valuable skill for the future. We must be willing to step forward in a new direction long before there are others to lead or even hands to hold. This is what I’ve come to believe.
I learned about peak oil a little more than two years ago. What followed was a life-changing rollercoaster ride during which my world view was refocused. Since then I’ve walked a path that meant learning about some of the incredibly foolish actions we’ve taken as a species in the recent past. My first instinct was to shout out to others so that they too might learn of our follies and help me steer the ship away from the rocks. I learned no one likes to be shouted at. Next I knocked at the door of those traditionally associate with championing the environment. But a mixture of politics, bureaucracy and/or an attitude of self-congratulatory smugness seemed to render many of them too ineffectual for me. Lastly I recognized what I said before, that I must change myself and be ready to help those others that wake up.
So here I am. Laying trails of bread crumbs and working diligently to better my model before it is needed by my community. I feel a sense of urgency but I’m no longer in a hurry. That would only lead to mistakes (and I make enough already). What will come will come. Maybe someone will accept the challenge Mr. Brown gave at the beginning of this posting. Perhaps tomorrow will be the dawning of a new age of awareness as the population at large learns of our predicament from the main stream media. Or more likely there are a few years ahead of us with relative calm as the problems of energy and environment compound. Then one day average Joe, his government representative and the National Association for the Societies of Environmental Activist Coalitions Against Global Pollution Efforts (NASEACAGPE) will be ready to understand.
When will it be time for a real change? Will I be ready?
Sunday, August 20, 2006
He awaits his friend Marcus's response...
Update: a response!
Saturday, August 19, 2006
"As a new way of life grows out of increased awareness about the state of our environment and our energy problems, we must remember that great change can’t be made without mistakes. I’ve made many. I’ll make more. Come and watch so you can learn. Share with me so that I might avoid the mistakes you’ve made. Together we can recognize the need to continue to walk and remind ourselves that the path is worthwhile even if it’s flawed sometimes. We can’t take a pass on progress in search of perfection."
You can read the whole thing, including more about Keaton eating carrots by clicking here.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
RE: Surviving Katrina
I just wanted to follow up on the "Surviving Katrina" Special that premieres on the Discovery Channel, August 27 at 9PM ET/PT.
SURVIVING KATRINA covers the perfect storm of nature, science, politics and extreme human experience with a range of stories and interviews from all major aspects of the disaster, including
We have advance screeners available, please let me know if you'd be interested to write a review on your website and I can send you an advance screener of the special. [webaddress removed per her request but here's an image from website]
Also, visit our link below for access to our SURVIVING KATRINA assets page, where you will find a press release and images.
You are more than welcome to utilize any of the assets on the page, but please do not link directly to our server. Please keep me posted as assets go live on your site.
Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have. Thanks in advance for considering our request.
This post was designed to remind you that business is evolving and coming up with new ways to promote their products. Just so we all keep that in mind.
Will someone please watch this special and let me know what you think? Oh and I didn't make any money from this post; not one thin dime.
Monday, August 14, 2006
Graphs by NationMaster
Thursday, August 10, 2006
“forum for discussing solutions for an organized planning and transition to post-Peak Oil life. This is a first stop for community organizers and those looking to become part of a community as oil-based life becomes increasingly difficult.”
He’s employing a systems engineering approach to plan for post petroleum life. I do recognize math as a language but using it to describe events or map plans of preparation can become static for me. I shy away from engineering and towards more organic types of training. In truth, even the organic world of plants and animals is made up of measurable data. And I could stand to pay more attention to the numbers if only as a way to track progress and facilitate efficiency so I’ll try and keep up. Design is after all the marriage of science and art in an effort to create. So take a look, offer your thoughts or at least check back from time to time and see what comes of it. The more ideas the better.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
If you're more interested in being hands-on productive and you'd like to save money and energy by insulating your hot water heater Click Here.
If you'd like to learn how to make fig jam (figs are in season- yum) then Check This Out.
If you want to read about the threat high gas prices pose to a suburban lifestyle Hit The Jump.
And if you have a hamster and a dead cell phone battery Try This One.
If you'd like to see a picture of Koda the dog, well, here you go.
I'm putting together several telephone interviews- trying something new. I'll let you know when they're done.
Monday, August 07, 2006
This from the New York Times Sunday edition,
"In a sudden blow to the nation's oil supply, half the production on Alaska's North Slope was being shut down Sunday after BP Exploration Alaska, Inc. discovered severe corrosion in a Prudhoe Bay oil transit line... That's close to 8 percent of
Some annalists are saying we can expect a $10 rise in the price of a barrel of oil. Others are saying the
The volatility of the peak of oil is here. If you don't think so watch what a little corrosion in a pipe in
Thursday, August 03, 2006
From a recent post,
"I understand how the wheels of the consumer capitalist machine revolve, but I’ve always raised a skeptical eyebrow towards green consumerism, which is quite different from consuming consciously. The latter places needs above wants. The former, however, objectifies the movement but sees no inherent value in something other than keeping in step with the zeitgeist, persisting in the same excessive spending patterns reflexively with neither analysis nor forethought."
I couldn't agree more.