Saturday, June 2, 2007

This is Brazil signing off...

My apologies for not writing anything new sooner. As you know from my last entry my wife is pregnant and thus this week she’s commandeered an army of builders and painters to come into the house and change the spare room into a nursery. There’s no shortage of people who can do the job thanks to the almost daily boats of immigrants arriving here in Rio. Mostly Brazilians who have been sent home but there are an increasingly large number of Europeans and Americans eager to escape their own countries. The irony isn’t lost on anybody and the papers are even calling for stricter immigration controls!

Well anyway the house is a mess with banging’s, drillings and sawings going on all through the day. My wife however is all a glow but she’s a little dictator in these matters making sure everything is perfect for our future son or daughter. Me, I’ve just agreed with everything she said and handed her my credit card. She seems to know what she’s doing and she’s taking great pleasure in doing it. And showing off to all her friends. She’s already kick started a photo album with the first ultrasound images!

So the house is full with the sounds of construction and the clucking of hens. On the business side of things alls well. Orders have reached a steady plateau and everybody is being kept busy. The only worrying thing is that the government has passed a law that invades our privacy. Strictly speaking it only applies to those in the petro-chemicals industry at the moment, namely the government are checking to make sure no one is giving away Brazil's top technological secrets on bio fuels, though im sure they will exercise it on other areas soon enough. Thus it means that this will be the last blog I will be publishing as it is getting too risky to carry on and I now have a fully fledged family to take care off.

The little world news that is still filtering through is that of greater crisis in the USA and Europe with more riots for food and the governments steady loss of control. Though a lot of this is rumour and hear say. The one thing I have noticed is that it seems that consumer goods are starting to climb alarmingly in price. This was rammed home to me when I saw my wife’s receipt for a baby monitor, nearly 200 Reais (which is a lot these days since inflation has been reigned in)!! It amuses me that since plastic is becoming a luxury it is advertised as such on the products. In this case our monitor boasted ‘A tough rugged plastic casing using the latest polymerisation techniques to ensured unbeatable durability during your babies early years!’. We truly live in a world gone mad.

Well I must say that even though this hasn’t been the most eventful of my entries its has been probably the most enjoyable to write. And now I think I will go back to my wife and dream of our childs future. If it’s a boy will he be the next Ronaldinho? If it’s a girl, what will her first boyfriend be like! Good luck to everyone out there in the world, stay safe and I wish you all the best. Tchau! - David_Mattock

Friday, June 1, 2007

fond and sad goodbye

From: intwoworlds
Sent: Friday, June 01, 2007 8:23 PM
Subject: fond and sad goodbye

Dear everyone;

This experience has been just incredible for me. I've learned so much and started to think about even small things in my daily life in new ways. Sometimes as I travel through suburbs or the downtown, I see the coming ghost towns. When I see the homeless, the exhausted, the hungry, the sick, I see many, many of us in the near future.

Lately I'm thinking when I retire, I should look for the edge of a small town to the north of here, where there's more rain, a town on a bus line or maybe a railroad.. I really never considered that before. I hope I have time. I would hope to do that before things get too bad, and hope for time and money to re-fit it with solar collection, windmill or turbine, composting toilet, and a well-planned garden. Even to the north of here, if I can't sink a well, I'd want to be able to collect and store rainwater. We may live without food for weeks; without water,only a few days. I should probably seek to gather people to live there with me; in times to come; we'll all need others to share the work and to brainstorm the problems.

There were stories I wanted to send in and didn't have time to write, like the rebirth of the latino corridor and how much they helped the rest of us, the adopt-an-elder (and save precious knowledge) program, the recall and replacement of easily half the elected politicians, how nice it would be to have a milk-goat in the back garden, and giant shifts in California agriculture and irrigation practices.

I want so much to hear about how people in the cold-weather regions will survive the looming winter and what new plans people have to make the following year better. I'd like to explore the possibility of more shipping by sail and barge.

Sometimes I've wondered if my imagined scenarios of deathly water shortage, famines, and epidemics of formerly preventable diseases (that most of us have never seen, and many don't know are even around anymore) were way too dark. I no longer think so. Most population centers are entirely beyond any possible carrying capacity of the land that's close enough to feed them. Stuff that keeps us healthy (clean drinking water, mosquito control, sewer treatment, vaccinations, good nutrition) will almost certainly decline, break down or become very hard to obtain. Those things are much more important to the overall health of populations than medicines, medical devices and most medical specialists.

I can't imagine not having a terrible population crash, unless the downward curve is much more gentle and gradual than seems possible. I guess the future may lie in a few cities (small by 2000 standards) centers of trade, artisans, small manufacture, and hopefully, education - located at crossroads of the remaining transport and trade routes. Most of the population in would likely be out in the farming areas surrounding scattered towns - mostly small towns. . That could bring an improvement in quality of life for the surviving population, but generations of gruesome stuff may go on before that time is reached.

Your stories and suggestions give me hope, that good ideas are emerging, that people are reaching out to help each other through these times, that necessary skills and knowledge are being saved and treasured for times when we will need them desperately. You show me that many really great people are out there, when governments large and medium are inept or collapsing, you'll lead the way through.

I send you my deep admiration, and fond wishes for success and happiness.
p.s. I know it's too late to post this, but I wanted you guys that made this all possible to know how much it meant and will continue to mean to me. [not too late yet! -GT]

RE: World Without Oil - Last Day

Sight gauge man
Sent: Friday, June 01, 2007 2:49 PM
Subject: RE: World Without Oil - Last Day


I have added WWO to my favorites and I have been following peak oil for about two years now on the many peak oil web sites.

WWO has aimed its focus on the people out there which will report the ride as it happens which I think is great. I read a saying that we are all on a ship and we are burning the life boats.

This could be the horrible truth. I have tried e mailing a local radio presenter who seemed to have an interest in energy and I never even had a reply after giving informative web sites about the world oil situation. Are people just burring their heads in the sand and why does the general public not seem to be aware of any problem?

Any clues?

Well I shall be looking out for stories in my area for WWO.


Sight gauge man.

Paying for oil addiction in the Great North Woods, northern NH

Sent: Friday, June 01, 2007 3:34 AM
Subject:Paying for oil addiction in the Great North Woods, northern NH

Who Pays for Oil Addiction? View from Grand Bois du Nord - GBN, USA

Ezekiel 18:1 "The parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge."

In other words, our kids, grand kids, and those after them pay for our addiction.

"Grand Bois du Nord" -abbreviated GBN in this story-- is a mythical rural town in northern NH. (In fact, there are signs in northern NH with the sign, "Entering the Grand Bois du Nord" - entering the Great North Woods.)

GBN Today

Actually GBN today isn't a whole lot different from GBN yesterday, a year ago, or several decades ago. The pace is slow; people generally are at the bottom of the economic ladder yet manage to scratch out a living. GBN residents' houses are modest, and built on lots of land, and have shallow or artesian wells for water. Distance between houses makes good neighbors. Distance also provides a place to hunt (in season and out of season), and large lots mean a good supply of trees for cutting and heating your homes. Everyone has a garden. Nobody has cable, broadband or even cell phone signals in much of GBN. Many residents do have satellite television, but that is often their only concession to modern-day luxuries. Everyone has to leave GBN to go shopping, even for basic foodstuffs. Living sustainably? These folks hang onto life from day to day, week to week, and that is the way they sustain their lives. Here is Dan, describing how $6 oil affects him.

"Prices like this hurt, but we manage. Isn't like we'll go out to the movie theatre less. They shut that down year's ago anyway. We'll just have to drive to Walmart once a month instead of every week, and buy our groceries there and in Shaw's next door. I'm guessing that I'd better stock up on some things though like shotgun shells in case there's a run on them. You never know."

GBN, 2027

I decided to make one last trip from DC to GBN, for one last visit the place of my childhood and see Dan and his family again. Getting to GBN from Washington was not easy. The trains still run from Union Station to Boston, provided you can afford the $1000 round-trip ticket. Getting from Boston to GBN was the hard part. I couldn't reserve a ticket on the new hybrid bus in North Station - it's first come first serve-so I stood in line and waited my turn. Luckily I caught the evening bus, along with about 20 other people. Buses are smaller these days and more efficient, , but because they're smaller and are really the main intercity transportation, they are always jam packed. And nobody has to enforce a 55 mile per hour speed limit. They drive at 40 mph max to save fuel.

I made it to GBN late in the evening, and made it to Dan's about 4 hours later after walking from the drop-off down a very dark country road for several miles. It was peacefully dark and quiet. Although it was mid-May, it was much warmer than I remembered GBN even in the summer nights of my youth. My main worry, besides whether I could walk the whole way with my suitcase, was whether I'd run into a bear. The Milky Way shone brightly just as I remembered it, but I didn't remember the haze. Yes, it was probably caused by global warming, with invasive trees and plant growing fast and what I was seeing was pollen.

When I got to Dan's house it was probably 2 in the morning. I was tired and thirsty, and the house was dark, but then it seemed like all GBN was dark and Dan's house never had street lights even before the oil shock. After a few knocks on the front door, I heard Dan call from inside. I told him "Yes, it's Bob." Dan opened the door and let me in.

First thing I wanted was a glass of water and Dan and his wife Mary gave me one and turned on the LCD lantern so we could see each other and talk. "Don't know what we'd do without these things," Dan said. "At least we have plenty of sunshine in GBN, and that means we can recharge the lantern and run the artesian well pump every day, except when it is really overcast. And with global warming, we don't need to chop as much wood to heat the house in winter. You'd never believe how late in the season I was picking tomatoes last year: It must been October, and we watched the last green tomato turn green just before Thanksgiving."

Dan and the folks of GBN were managing surprisingly well, living off the land more than they used to, but there was plenty of land, they never had much anyway, and their sustainable ways sustained them. Dan joked about how much work it was to do the little things. "You know, we're all getting older, but you wouldn't believe how much work it is to work the compost tumbler and keep up with the worm bed. We don't have many table scraps for the tumbler anymore, but the garden weeds grow like crazy since the weather warmed up. And the worms grow like crazy. You can't buy fertilizer anymore, but the worm castings make up for that just fine."

I must have fallen asleep as I heard Dan and Mary chatter just like old times, and next thing I knew it was noon. They nudged me and offered me a bowl of strawberries with milk fresh from their cow. It was really nice to be back in GBN. I wonder if I'll ever go back to Washington.

World Without Oil - Last Day

Sent: Friday, June 01, 2007 3:31 AM
Subject: World Without Oil - Last Day

Oh NO! I'm getting to like this.

Guess I'll have to keep up my blog by myself (and I'll bet others will do the same).

Please keep in touch.




Thursday, May 31, 2007

World Oil Supply and Demand Projections

This chart shows the projected world demand for oil and a projected supply shortfall. The oil crisis of 2007 was just the beginning of this scenario, where oil supply first began to undershoot demand by about 5%. From Gail The Actuary's analysis of the potential of corn-based ethanol to address the supply shortfall.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Who Pays for Oil Addiction? View from Sub Urbium, USA

From: Green Hornet
Sent: Wednesday, May 30, 2007 6:50 PM
Subject: Who Pays for Oil Addiction? View from Sub Urbium, USA

Ezekiel 18:1 "The parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge."

In other words, our kids, grand kids, and those after them pay for our addiction.

Sub Urbium today

And here's the view from the prototypical suburb, Sub Urbium.

Hey, what's this $6/gallon crap? You know how much I had to spend for a fill-up today? $120. My Chevy Avalanche will burn that up in just a few days with my 70 mile round trip daily commute and errands, especially now that it's hot and I have to run the AC and always get stuck in traffic 5 miles out of Boston.

And don't forget: I have to heat my 4200 square foot home with oil 8 months of the year, and I have to keep it cool for most of the other 4 months. This is getting ridiculous. At the rate things are going, I may have to forget about towing my camper to the mountains for vacation in July. How's a person supposed to live these days?

Those $%$##@ oil companies really have us over a barrel. I think I'll ask my congressman to vote for that bill outlawing "unconscionable price increases."

Sub Urbium 2027

Damn, it was 20 years ago when I complained about the price of living and the price of gas. Who was to know that things were going to get worse? Ten bucks a gallon for gasoline if you can get it at all. The cost of living was so high even 20 years ago that I couldn't just walk away from my Chevy Avalanche lease. Then when the lease expired, well I'd invested so much in it already I couldn't turn down the low price they offered me to buy it outright. Then gasoline prices kept climbing, and can you believe nobody wanted to buy it from me? So I kept it - I figured gas prices would come down eventually, and I really needed the power and safety of that truck. And today, there it sits, rusty around the fenders, but it still runs. Meantime I had to get one of those stupid plug-in hybrids for my commute, but the thing only goes 40 miles between charges, and I have to pay $10 a day to recharge it at work. You'd think they'd do something about these things, to help out those of us who are still trying to do good for the environment.

On top of it all, I've just gotten over another bad case of pneumonia. Can't keep the house warm and pay for food too. And you'd think somebody would like to buy it - 5 bedrooms, 4 baths, 2 acres, plenty of trees, not far from the Interstate. I'm finally paying off my mortgage and the house isn't worth any more than I paid for it over 20 years ago. Some of my neighbors are just walking away from theirs - maybe after the "fire" they thought it was best to just take the insurance money and leave.

I'm beginning to worry though. I'm not getting any younger, and it is really getting hard to keep this place in shape. Also, it's still 10 miles to the nearest grocery store. That's too far to walk, and you can't carry much on a bicycle -not that you can be sure what you'll find at the SuperMart when you get there. Lucky I've still got cable and my broadband connection. Maybe I'll just cocoon for a while.

Light Rail Vehicle 2

Sent: Wednesday, May 30, 2007 6:35 AM
Subject: Light Rail Vehicle 2

From Netizen kevikens: this is also another kind of light rail vehicle that is running on a line in New Jersey. It just opened two years ago and has been a great success drawing thousands of motorists out of their cars. It was built on an existing freight line so it did not require a new right of way to be built.

Light Rail Vehicle 1

Sent: Wednesday, May 30, 2007 6:30 AM
Light Rail Vehicle 1

From Netizen kevikens: this is the kind of light rail vehicle that thr Urban Transportation League recommends that cities adopt, electrically powered non polluting and oil free.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Who Pays for Oil Addictin? View from Washington DC

(dispatch from the Green Hornet)
Sent: Tuesday, May 29, 2007 6:09 PM
Subject: Who Pays for Oil Addictin? View from Washington DC

Ezekiel 18:1 "The parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge."

We could discuss this question for years, by which time we'd know the answer.

We could analyze this question from a million different perspectives, such as - where we live: rural, suburban, city; transportation: commuters, travelers, commerce. And by the time we were done analyzing, it wouldn't matter.

And of course there are the very different perspectives today and 20 years from now.

So in the interests of time and space, here is the first of three stories, based on where we live, today and 20 years hence. The locations are Washington DC, Sub Urbium (anybody's suburb), and Great North Woods (a rural NH area). I have some experience with each. First, the Washington DC story today and 2027.

Washington DC, today

DC is the Prius center of the US, or at least that is true of the affluent quadrants in the city. There are so many, and they come in so few colors, I've bought a vanity license plate so I can figure out which is mine. And most of avoid driving in the city anyway; we take public transportation - and that is true of all quadrants in the city. Still, the price of over $6/gallon is making everybody nervous, and you can only manage a couple of shopping bags on the bus or metro. And metro prices have been raised to cover the cost of running the system, so once again it is the poor who are affected most, but not as much as you might think. Oh yes, to save costs the system is also running fewer trains and buses so the system is jam-packed. And they've raised the thermostats in the cooling season and lowered them in the heating season. In fact, it isn't uncommon to ride in buses with no AC and the windows are sealed shut. So in summer we've taken off the ties and everybody wears short sleeves, sweating like pigs on the very warm days. We complain, but we complain together. And when we are squeezed together in a hot metro train, we watch our wallets. Riding in such close quarters has become a pickpocket's paradise.

I've started gardening in earnest, and nobody laughs at my $64 tomatoes now. At least I have tomatoes, corn, and fruit, even if only a little of each. My grandsons think it is interesting to harvest food from dirt. They especially like digging up potatoes.

I've also started using a compost tumbler and I feed the partially composted materials to my worms, in my little 3-tier worm farm. The grandkids think the worms are gross but fun. They see me transfer the finished compost and worms to the garden and guess that it is OK, since the garden is growing nicely. Besides, they know worms grow in the ground anyway. I look at worms and see free organic fertilizer.

Washington DC, 2027

I don't have many more years to live, but I am still living where I was 20 years ago, and my garden is still intact. To expand my harvest and develop items and services to trade with my neighbors, I've quadrupled my composting and have a mini-worm farm in my basement. Still, all these things get to be lots of work, and at 80 I find I can't lift and move as much as I used to. I've also found out which items I can grow best on my little plot, and I have set up informal networks to trade worms and compost, berries, etc. with those who have goods or services to offer me. I was surprised how long it took to learn urban gardening and how much time it takes to do it successfully. Many neighbors never learned at all. Roaming bands of hoodlums have eliminated the problem we used to have with deer and other scavengers (by eating them), and now these bands menace the neighborhoods looking for meals to steal.

I'm also surprised how solar power and solar water heating both became so popular in the neighborhood. Many of those grand slate roofs have been torn down and replaced with shiny solar panels. Solar power generation turned out to be the best bet for rooftop use, so most people simply have had passive heating tanks in their backyards. Global climate changes mean that hot water is essentially free 9 months of the year. And nobody complains about the aesthetic of silicon on the roofs or tanks in the backyards. The city's commercial buildings all sport silicon and hot water tanks on their roofs. This doesn't make us self-sufficient by a long shot, but DC's "net power" usage is only about 25% of what we consume, and we aim to be totally self-sufficient in another 10 years.

My grand kids are now in their early twenties. Two of them have set up a business installing and repairing solar energy and heating systems. One lives with me and after hours helps tend the garden and helps guard the house. They all thought of civil service jobs, and may still apply, but the federal government's de facto power has dropped as its ability to influence events has waned. Young people are less interested in civil service employment and are more interested in practical work with down-to-earth results.

It's hard to remember the good old days of $10/gallon gasoline. At least you could buy it if you could afford it; now supplies are spotty at best. The metro system, like the Energizer Bunny, keeps on moving but it is increasingly moving in slow-motion. The bunny is getting very old, and metro officials never did (and maybe never could) invest in the amount of maintenance needed for the thousands of buses and metro cars.

If you don't take public transportation, you ride a bike or walk. Luckily most people don't have to walk far to get to a store. Unfortunately you never know what you will find for sale in the store, since deliveries are sporadic and the prices are astronomical. Converting most of our corn to ethanol keeps the system going, more or less, but makes the price and availability of groceries a carefully considered luxury for most people. Forget frozen foods - the energy to transport and store frozen goods eliminated them long ago. Now you buy the staples: flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and eggs. As with residents of Cuba during the long US embargo, people now are thinner - they exercise more and eat less.

When you buy your groceries and walk home, you'd better do it during daylight hours and bring your cell phone in case you need to call for help. You won't get any help from 911, but at least you can call your network of neighbors along the way to help you if trouble strikes.

High School classes from Netizen Kevikens

Sent: Tuesday, May 29, 2007 10:48 AM
To: "" <>
Subject: High School classes from Netizen Kevikens

This past week my paper asked me to do a story on the local public high schools and see what they were doing with their students about the looming oil crisis. I chose a suburban high school in New Jersey as I thought it might be indicative of what other schools might be doing. After going to this school I hope it is not. Apparently there was some interest on the part of several teachers to use the World Without Oil website and game to get the students involved in how to prepare for the coming fuel shortages . Several teachers used the lesson plans from the website and the students were just getting into the activities when the school district literally pulled the plug and closed the server to that website. It seems the school district did not want the students blogging on the net. When I questioned the school administration about this since the program came from PBS I was told it did not matter who produced it or what the content matter was, no interactive websites would be allowed. The school's "net nanny" killed it. Somewhat surprised by this intransigence I contacted the county superintendant of schools who informed me that this applied to all the schools in the county and probably the whole state as well. Time on this assignment does not permit this reporter to contact other regions of the US, let alone other countries, to see if this is also the case but how sad it is that a school system would not have the common sense to understand that in the present energy crisis students should be permitted to contact and communicate with others ideas and proposals for solutions to the problems. Considering just how much energy the schools themselves use this is neither wise or just. They too are part of the problem. They need to be part of the solution.

Monday, May 28, 2007

ManicHalo's Blogspot- It's ON.

Sent: Monday, May 28, 2007 2:24 PM
Subject: ManicHalo's Blogspot- It's ON.

Life Change, nothing. Yesterday changes EVERYTHING.
It's ON, for Kerry.
You can read what happened at:
This will not stand.

To Kerry's wife Alicia: I will put this right. The dirtbag will pay, and so will the company. My word to you, Alicia. Kerry did his job, and I have the real tape isolated. Don't believe what they tell you. Listen:

"...Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity..."

W.B. Yeats, The 2nd Coming

I have the conviction, and I have the intensity. You've got the best of the worst behind you, babe. Hang in for Kerry.


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Life Change

Sent: Sunday, May 27, 2007 2:19 AM
Subject: Life Change

Crud. Just like a lot of other things, I saw this coming. Decided to change my life last year so that we could continue to afford our fabulous standard of living before it hit us too hard. I'm manic depressive, an artist. My mania fueled my obsessions, made a lot of money that way. I was a shining example of the Paper Street Soap Company, selling people's fat asses back to them. I'd sell the townies a handful of the numerous "weeds" we grow here for a ridiculous price. I convinced them they were getting something rare and wonderful, and they were so happy to fork up the cash.

We bought this place 15 years ago, out in the country, no one bothers us. Problem was, I had to travel to sell this fabulous homegrown crud, was gone a lot. My husband is schizophrenic, but super-intelligent, the kind of person that is too busy building a solar incinerator to remember that trash doesn't go in the microwave. Doesn't do so well when he's alone. Daughter in college, living on campus. I needed to be home more, needed to quit spending so much time and money traveling to sell my stuff. So.

They were building a BP station on the highway, 3 miles from home. I thought, "Cool, I'll get me a job there and be management in less than a year, save some gas, stay home, take care of business, wait until the wind changes, maybe it easy for a while." Right.
Our daughter graduated college, headed to Chicago, got a sweet job. I'm in management, like I predicted. I owe a bit of money, helping her pay for her last semesters. Husband had a freak-out fit, went into the hospital, dog got sick, expensive treatment - love her, so I'll pay. Dad in the nursing home, dying. I got sudden onset of rheumatoid arthritis, can hardly walk, much less do the crazy stuff I used to do to make a living. Have to pay for meds. Not like we get insurance or anything.

I hate the job, can't afford to quit now. Still manic-depressive, still an artist, but no time, no outlet, my body turned on me. I'm only 42.
I'm a slave to freakin BP. Gas spiked another 31 cents one day last week. People hate us, but they keep sucking up the fuel. I hate people who can't say no. We get threats. They scream at us. They drive off with the gas, they think we owe them, some of them think it's fun, a game. The big guys think that should come out of our paychecks. Sometimes I feel like we should have a body guard when we go to work. Sometimes I think of sabotage, but what happens when I bite the hand that feeds me? Sometimes I think of suicide, but who will feed the ones I leave? Who will put fuel into Zabu, my intergalactic Jeep with 270k miles on it? Guess I'm stuck here.

I have bad knees, a foul disposition, and a medicated smile. Didn't see that coming. I'm good at planning. I'm giving serious thought to some serious shit. I feel like that chick at the end of that Terminator movie, watching the storm clouds with her dog. I won't sit idle.


Saturday, May 26, 2007

Good news/bad news

Sent: Saturday, May 26, 2007 1:01 PM
Subject: Good news/bad news

I've been working on local projects for the past few weeks as we have inventoried what we have available in our local region and how we can most efficiently utilize all of our skills. At least locally, we are fairly sustainable in the absence of affordable fuels. We have a range of fruit and the area of harvestable grain looks sufficient, although it also has to feed the livestock that pull our wagons and the chickens and pigs that provide our meat, etc. We have a nearby small river that we can use to power a mill for making flour if we can get the materials to build it, and my son's development of a small engine powered by scrap wood can produce a small amount of energy, enough for essential energy-efficient lights for an individual home, but if everybody does this, a sustainable wood supply will be challenged. Heating may be a big problem this winter, because we don't have enough local forest to sustainably produce firewood for our community. If we can find the materials to make panels, we can use solar power to heat water in our roof panels and store that heat for house-warming purposes, but the problem is finding the supplies now that the regional transportation network is barely working. Some essentials we can't produce locally, like salt and sugar, or sufficient cloth, so we'll have to establish some kind of regional wagon trade to obtain these goods. Manufacturing centers with hydro-power are in good shape, but transport is a major concern. We can get some energy assistance from wind, but it's not too reliable here. Clearly, a smaller population would reduce demand, but this takes time if we want to do this humanely.
One possible bright side to all of this, as it affects us in the big picture, is that the absence of serious fuel may prevent outside invaders from reaching our North American sanctuary in sufficient numbers to cause any problems. It has to be much worse in Eurasia where there are likely to be serious conflicts as some large countries work to assure themselves of sufficient resources for their people. Land armies can still move on foot, but getting across oceans is a significant barrier.
It looks like we are going to make it, at least locally.

Trilobyte - Green Roofs Sprout Up All Over

Sent: Saturday, May 26, 2007 11:00 AM
Subject: - Green Roofs Sprout Up All Over

intwoworlds thought you would be interested in this story:
NPR : Green Roofs Sprout Up All Over

*Listen to this story*
Please click on the headline to the story using a RealAudio or WindowsMedia player.

BBC Springwatch: Concrete gardens

Sent: Saturday, May 26, 2007 10:11 AM
Subject: BBC E-mail: BBC Springwatch: Concrete gardens

intwoworlds saw this story on the BBC News website and thought you should see it.

** Message **
This sounds like a useful idea; I heard that Chicago has been doing something on big office buildings too

** BBC Springwatch: Concrete gardens **
As part of his BBC Springwatch series on changing habitats in the UK, Nick Higham reports on attempts to bring wildlife back into urban areas.

bike tires

Sent: Saturday, May 26, 2007 9:59 AM
Subject: bike tires

I need to replace one of my bike tires and can't afford a new one. Over the summer and fall they got harder and harder to find, and gradually more expensive. I wish I'd seen this coming and gotten a couple of spares when I could.

I guess it figures, they can be made out of two kinds of rubber, both of which are impacted by the current situation. The first is traditional latex rubber which comes from South America and Southeast Asia. As we all know the shipping costs are now prohibitive. The second kind is butyl rubber; I guess that's some kind of petroleum product, because it was developed by the company that eventually became Exxon. I see all these abandoned cars everywhere I go and keep wondering if there's any way to melt the melt down or re-work the rubber in their tires to make bike tires. Does anybody know?

By the way, I've been wanting to send you some news about the re-birth of the Latino corridor, but don't have time right now; I have to go out and try to find a tire.

Tell your story

Sent: Saturday, May 26, 2007 7:28 AM
Subject: Tell your story

Americans have always had fuel prices that were below the world market. But even then, in the 70's when the first oil crunch came, it took us all by surprise. We had alternate days that we could fill up, and those who recently purchased the larger automobiles were beginning to have second thoughts. European and Japanese cars were there for us.

I was a student and my VW Beetle served me well. I really didn't have that far to travel and by the time I had graduated, all was back to normal.

In the early 90's, my wife and I moved to Switzerland. At that time, the cost per liter of fuel was about the cost of one gallon in America. I calculated the cost was about $3.60 per gallon, about what it is in parts of America today. In the mid-90's, I had work in France. Paris was over $6.00 per gallon and the price outside of the Paris was about $4 to $5 per gallon.

I have always been thankful for not having the same expense in America. However, Europe and most other countries have developed their mass transit system that is safe, convenient, runs precisely on schedule, and accommodating. America is the least prepared to implement an efficient mass transit system, and maybe the inexpensive fuels have been partly to blame.

Today, I telecommute as much as possible, and drive a hybrid. I am looking forward to a fuel cell technology that will greatly improve our environment, pocketbook, and reduce our overall dependence on global oil.

Best regards,


Friday, May 25, 2007

The great American road trip part 2

Sent: Friday, May 25, 2007 10:53 AM
Subject: The great American road trip part 2

On the 213 bus to Highland Park now. Guess what they are STILL building condos here. Count em - three projects? The North Shore area is SHANGRI-LA. Seriously. All the McMansions, townhomes and the other reminders of the late great housing bubble. All the gorgeous looking stores. The century old train stations that look intact. The Murkan flags waving for the Memorial Day holiday. The greenery. Anyway gasoline prices are this week (drum roll) between $3.71 and $3.79. The average is $3.75. That is up 16 cents from last week. Netizen Wolfy

Every revolution could have been - indeed almost certainly was - described as "unrealistic" just a few years before it happened.
- George Monbiot


The Great American Road Trip

Sent: Friday, May 25, 2007 8:22 AM
Subject: The Great American Road Trip

I sense the so called Great American Road Trip is becoming an endangered species. But not this year. Nope. 6 out of 10 drivers polled said they didnt care how costly gas was they were taking advantage of a long weekend. Sigh. That speaks volumes. Today is Getaway Day as they typically say. Ugh. The bus may be more empty than usual. Maybe. I havent indulged in this great American ritual in (gasp) a good 35 years. Then gas was cheap at (gasp again) 25 cents a gallon. And cars got tops 10 miles a gallon. Did anyone care? Nope. Netizen Wolfy

Every revolution could have been-indeed almost certainly was-described as "unrealistic" just a few years before it happened.
- George Monbiot


World Without Oil 2

Sent: Friday, May 25, 2007 6:30 AM
Subject: World Without Oil 2

It is a historic day around here. In the emergency town meeting, the mayor got 75% votes necessary to began what is known as “executive control” of the town. With this newly formed power, he’s allowed to cut through all the checks and balances and has the ability to pass direct law with out any referendums. This “privilege” is only going to last for 6 months or as long as the “emergency dictates”. This new overwhelming power scares the hell out of me and unfortunately I was part of the 23% of the people who voted against this. This is the first step down a slippery slop which leads to a dictator. We’re not even allowed to appeal this decision because the state appeals court is so backed up that they won’t be able to even look at the case until some time next year.

On the brighter side, the community is starting to bond together. People seem to be happy around here for the first time since I can remember. Everyone I’ve talked to say they feel say they are pleased with the changes. My parents even said they were considering moving back. Our community has been setting and accomplishing many goals. One such goal is to keep public use of gas down. Our gasoline usage is the lowest in the state in proportion to our population, which is a major accomplishment. My friend and I were joking the other day about how they should open a moped shop around here because it seems almost vital now, and sure enough King/Johnson Discount Mopeds had its grand opening yesterday. The acts of extreme violence rarely occurring anymore or at least if they are occurring they are not getting as much media exposure as in the past.

The police have been doing local raids on buildings and house they suspect are housing “terrorist organizations” aimed at extending the anarchy and chaos in our town. Some raids have included an old warehouse down by the pier, the basement of our college, and even a church. These reports about the raids were leaked to the press sometime last week and seem to be all they are talking about now. I was appalled at these reports but the media acts as though they were necessary; I guess it’s just business as usual for the media. A couple of key local activists against the mayor’s “executive control clause” where arrested and brought into custody in these raids. One of them was our local pastor. I’ve known the pastor my whole life and never in a million years would I suspect him to be a terrorist. I still can’t believe these accusations, to be true. Despite my uproar, most people in town think that I’m exaggerating and that I just too caught up in conspiracy theories.

The mayor is wasting no time in putting some of his new policies into action. Besides enlisting a larger police force to enforce earlier curfew (9:30 P.M.), the mayor has also put up check points on the entrances/exits of our town. The mayor explained that this is to monitor the traffic in and out of town to look for unusual suspects whom might mean harm to our community. Also, the government is now in complete control of the local farms. There isn’t very much variety around here but at least there are no food scares any more. The government stepped in and told the farmers exactly what to grow and not grow. They are now directly in charge of paying the farmers as well. The mayor set up an artificial price on the agricultural products making importing externally grown foods nearly impossible or at least not cost effective to do. I guess some of the big wigs in the capitol are taking notice to our fine little community because our governor and senators are make a special visit some time this week. I guess they are going to propose some of the mayor’s ideas in Washington to help out the nation. I can’t help but feel a little nervous on the amount of power the mayor around here has been getting and the fact he has no problem using it. I have this bad feeling that we as citizens have given up too much in order for safety. Is safety worth freedom?


Gas is expensive?

Sent: Friday, May 25, 2007 5:44 AM
Subject: Gas is expensive?

I am an American living in France. I just did some quick math, and it seems to me that the problem in America is not high gas prices. Here in France I paid the equivalent of $6.40 per gallon the last time I filled my Ford Fiesta (note the size of the car). Yes, that's more than it used to cost me - but we have alternatives here: reliable, frequent public transportation, both in the city and between cities, employer subsidies for people who use them, and of course denser cities in the first place (so you can walk places).
Maybe the real problem is fuel efficiency, urban design and the belief in one's constitutional right to drive cars?
Good luck with your project. -Fr Am


Thursday, May 24, 2007

employment and income opportunities in a world without oil

Sent: Thursday, May 24, 2007 8:43 PM
Subject:employment and income opportunities in a world without oil

The 'disposable goods' economy has ended, and so there will be lots of demand for those with skills in repair, alteration and conversion of existing goods.
much springs to mind:

shoe repair, huarache-making, umbrella repair, bicycle repair and conversions, clothing repair and alterations, quilt-making, furniture repair.

dis-assembly of small machines (eg:power mowers) and appliances (eg:clothes dryers) as well as big stuff (especially all those abandoned cars) for scrap metal, small motors, machine parts, lubricant, belts and hoses,batteries and whatever else might be usable.

conversion of useful small machines to treadle and peddle power.

Also, production and installation of things to make people less dependent on oil and the large-system services that are breaking down such as :

windmills and wind turbines, solar systems, rainwater collection and storage systems, composting toilets, chimneys, root cellars, tankless waterheaters, wood and coal stoves with cooking surfaces, residential or neighborhood sized mills for grinding grain, small water-powered mills and turbines for places with year round streams and rivers,- small stuff too, like candles.

there will be increased need for certain skills such as:

veterinarian, cheesemaker, potter, horticulturist,-and beekeeper, I hope

we've seen an increased need for workers in public transport like bus drivers, and a few new jobs like subway pushers.

of course anyone who can also teach the newly needed skills will be immensely valuable to whole communities.

I hope all you other guys out there will post your suggestions, so that our unemployed friends and neighbors can move into new lives, and stay out of the camps.

Weird Fight - Story by street_dave

Sent: Thursday, May 24, 2007 8:23 PM
Subject: Weird Fight - Story by street_dave

Hi, I'm street_dave

This is my story for today....

Today on the news, some guy got killed, I don't know, you can YouTube if you want to. I'm writing this from Calgary. I'm scared. I'm not sure if you have heard what it's like up here... it's not like everyone in the oil industry here thinks that the shortage is a bad idea. If you were lucky enough to work for some of the more upwardly-mobile oil companies when it started, suddenly you can afford a huge house in like the most expensive housing market in all of Canada. I heard a statistic that Husky Oil is going to be a better investment than Google soon.

But if you don't work in the patch, then things are incredibly hard. Anyone who matters is richer than heck, so anyone who is normal, like my sister (who is a librarian) or my kid brother (who is a field guide for the National Park) suddenly can't afford anything. Rent went up for my brother by over 250%. His savings are gone, I think he's gonna have to live with me on the street next month.

And Calgary is a city based on Cars and cheap gas. The transit system is basically shut down, cause mostly the people who can't afford cars don't have much of a voice. It's not like everywhere else, cause even though Gas is so expensive, it's not like the people who get all the profits can't afford to fill the tank, so no one cares... the Mayor was on TV last Monday, and he said something like "This way, Buses and the C-Train won't impede the flow of traffic."

Anyways, the guy who got killed (sorry for ranting!) was some oil engineer guy who went into this Trucker bar... you can imagine the conversation that went on there. But I'm writing about it because I was outside the bar when it happened and I heard from other folks what they were yelling about... who the huck kills someone over the price of oil? I mean, that's whet they were arguing about. It sounds so weird and cheesy that if it didn't happen for real I wouldn't believe it.

Well, that's about it. Just a thought or two from Calgary

Transportation Conference from Netizen kevikens

From: kevikens
Sent: Thursday, May 24, 2007 12:46 PM
To: "" <>
Subject: Transportation Conference from Netizen kevikens

This week my paper had me covering the UTL, the Urban Transportation League which has been meeting this week in Boston. They chose one of the buildings of Boston University on Commonwealth Ave. which is served by the "T's" Green Line light rail so that way the attendees can use public transit when coming and going. Two years ago when the UTL last met the topic of the conversation and workshops was the desirability of using public transit. This year the only topic was the NECESSITY of public transit and not for the lofty goal of reducing air pollution but the essential goal of moving people who can no longer afford to drive a car and at the rate the price of petroleum based fuels is rising that soon is going to be all of us. Two years ago the UTl spoke of using all forms of public transit but this year the emphasis is on electrically powered light rail, or trolleys, as they used to be called. Apparently the costs of petroleum fuels has risen to the point where transit agencies can no longer afford to operate diesel powered buses and every city is clamoring for the light rail systems which generally use electricity as the power source. What this writer found fascinating is that apparently some sixty or so years ago virtually major city had just such a network of light rail lines but in the 1950's most cities tore out the rails and replaced them with buses which burned diesel fuel. A few places like Boston, Newark, Philadelphia and San francisco kept at least some of these lines and are they glad they did as the ever increasing costs, and increasing scarcity, of petroleum make these lines the only ones cost effective to operate. Every speaker at the UTL conference stated that the only way to assure that people can travel in, and to and from, our cities is to rebuild those electric trolley lines and quickly. Unfortunately several delegates told this reporter that this is going to be very difficult to do. There are no factories in the US that can build these cars. The last company to build these vehicles, Boeing Vertol ceased production over twenty years ago. They are made now only in Asia and Europe and countries there are also screaming for vehicles for their own transportation needs. It would take years to retool some of out plants to build them. But what this reporter found very, very disturbing, and this was told to me in confidence and is not for attribution, is that there is actually an active effort by interests in this country to prevent any new electrically powerd light rail lines from being built. It seems that in some cities where this light rail technology has been ressurected recently- Baltimore, San Jose, Los Angeles to name a few- they have become so effective at pulling cars and busses off the road that two vested interests, the auto industry and Big Oil are doing everything thay can to derail these proposed projects, from lobbying Congress to actually placing obstacles in the way of building any new lines. One UTL officer quietly told me that a representative of Big Oil actually told him, "every time you try to build a line we will find a tree frog or snail darter or spotted owl on the proposed right of way. We can tie you people up in the courts for decades to come".I don't know if this is true. In this present emergency I cannot image that any American industry would actually try to oppose a technology, electrically power light rail lines, that can save so much energy. I do know that the Urban Transportation League intends to try to get transportation agencies to expand existing light rail or rebuild the abandoned ones but unless the public strongly pressures local, state and federal government to subsidize this infrastructure I do not know if it can be done.

Sustainable living in DC, page 2

From: GreenHornet
Sent: Thursday, May 24, 2007 2:45 AM
Subject: Sustainable living in DC, page 2

As though we didn't have enough to worry about with the stresses of oil depletion, it seems like crises are brewing and converging from all sides. Now it's the bees. Where are they anyway? Peach blossoms dropped off my two dwarf trees as usual, but no peaches began forming. Then I remembered: I haven't seen a single honeybee so far this year. Yeah, I read on the Drudge Report that somebody else noticed and blamed cell phone towers. There was a short piece in the Washington Post about that too. Then I noticed an article about missing bees in -of all places-this month's Smithsonian Magazine. That magazine article said that many things could be killing the bees, from cell phone towers to global climate change to pesticides. But another possibility the magazine cites is that the die-off is a "multiple stress disorder." I've heard that if the bees die off, many of major fruit and nut crops will too, and we'll be next.

Also, where are the backyard birds? I still have a few wrens, and the robins show up quickly when I empty the worm culture bin into my garden. But even the robins look a little frazzled, like they need some sleep. Is West Nile virus killing them off? Is something else stressing them?

And they say this hurricane season will be a doozy. Just what we need: The oil refinery and distribution system is fragile enough, and if we have another big one like Katrina, maybe we'll move from $6/gallon gas to spotty supplies at best.

At least some things in my garden don't need bees. In fact, I'm not sure what doesn't need bees since I've always taken them for granted. Now if only we can find a way to make a complete meal out of leaf lettuce. Until the summer comes, it gets really hot, and the lettuce is gone.

Our just-in-time grocery distribution system depends mainly on trucks whose transportation fuels, will also become unreliable. I can see it now, the fresh vegetable racks empty; quotas on fresh milk.

It feels like a multiple-stress disorder.

OliBased City

Sent: Wednesday, May 23, 2007 12:47 PM
Subject: OliBased City

Hello! Here is my something-like-story:

I live in Plock (Poland). Plock is located in central part of Poland. It's a not to big city - but very importand in Poland, for Polish economy and market. It's an OilBased City. It haven't got its own beds of petroleum, but it's got bigest in Poland rafinery. Majority of Plocks population is employed in this petrochemical workshop. A lot of other firms is only working for the biggest oil factory in all country. It is a City like lot other all over the world.

What will happened with those city when supplies of oil will stop?

What will do milions of people employd in OliBussiness?

Best regards



Sent: Wednesday, May 23, 2007 11:52 AM
Subject: contribution

23 May 2007

(This isn't actually a story about how my life changes in a future world. It is an expository description of my life now, but it would be equally true in the future scenario proposed by your web site.)

Expensive gasoline? Who cares. The last time I bought gas was in March and I still have half a tank. The last time I drove was mid April to pay my property taxes (I like to get a receipt in person) and do a few errands.

I ride my bike to work - a part time job. I walk to the grocery. I use the great privilege of property ownership to grow as much of my own food as possible - currently about half of my needs. A vegetarian diet is vital to the success of this lifestyle. It has taken me a decade to teach myself how to do this, such is the inane state of public education that these vital survival skills are rarely taught.

From a monetary perspective I live in "poverty", yet my life is far richer intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally than most people I meet.

My advice: spend a little more time off line; cancel your cell phone service; talk to the people nearby (love the one your with); learn to value a breath of fresh air more than the latest gadget; learn to savor the exuberance of a hard day's work whose reward is not a pay check, but a good workout without the health club fee, and the promise of provisions in the coming winter; and most important, learn to forgo all the unnecessary "needs" which strangle your life and keep you running like a pathetic rat.

- Cy Ocybin

P.S. obviously my email address is a pseudonym and a temporary account: I value my privacy. If you can not respect my anonymity for this one time flirt with fools, then the souls following your pied pipe will be deprived of the benefit of my experience - obviously that decision is your choice, as are the six degrees of consequences that flow therefrom.

The only real question is: do you really care about others with the hope of teaching them useful skills, or are you just another noisemaker looking for a way to profit from the hysteria of other people?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Story - epistle from a Quaker gathering

Sent: Wednesday, May 23, 2007 11:12 AM
Subject: Epistle from a Quaker gathering

Alarmed by the social unrest and political paralysis with which the people and the power elites have responded to the recent oil shocks, 2,410 members of the various branches of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) have met in a national Called Meeting for Worship with a concern for the current energy crisis. We joyfully testify that we were gathered into the unity of the Holy Spirit. We offer to our fellow citizens and, especially, to all religious people and spiritual seekers after peace and truth, this Epistle of Exercise as a testimony to the truth we were given and as an expression of our love and compassion for all of us in these hard times, and especially for all who have suffered, from violence, economic hardship and despair.

First, we confess that we have ourselves contributed to the current crisis with out own lifestyles and we confess our reluctance to make the sacrifices that seem now advisable, if not inevitable, now that we have seen the future firsthand. After deep searching, we have all pledged ourselves to change our lives as much as possible in the coming year and to work to bring our Quaker communities toward more faithful adherence to our ancient testimonies of simplicity and peace.

Second, we pray that, as the crisis deepens, we will all answer that of God in ourselves and in each other. We hope that you have experienced, as we have, a divine Light shining into eveyr human heart, to light a way toward right relations with each other and with our mother the Earth. We pray that all wills eek and find this Light and answer it with acts of generosity toward others and nonviolent mutual protection. We hope that all our brothers and sisters in faith in all religious traditions will search their hearts and their sacred scriptures and traditions for guidance toward peace, and for the wisdom and strength to change in ways that will relieve the economic and social burdens created by the current crisis, and for the inspiration and courage to build a sustainable alternative to the lifestyle which these events have revealed as economically dangerous and ethically wrong.

Third, we appeal to all those in political power to heed the warnings of the present danger and be faithful to your vows of public service. Restrain your natural impulses to enforce social order with the violence of the state. Protect the Constitution and the rights and liberties that it guarantees us all as citizens. Stand down an mobilization for war over oil. Act decisively to mitigate the hardships that the crisis has imposed on both business and the people. Do all that can be done to support research and economic reconstruction that leaves us less vulnerable to oil shocks in the future. Finally, for the first time, begin to draft a sane national energy policy.

More importantly, we appeal to those in economic power, to the leaders of corporations, to business associations and economic think tanks, to economic regulators and policy makers, to researchers and teachers in universities and business schools—please, for the love of God and in the interest of our common weal and wealth, re-examine your commitment to perpetual economic growth and seek new economic models that can be sustained through the coming century, through the coming constrictions of oil supply and into a world without oil. In you we must trust. You have betrayed our trust over and over again with your greed and your shortsightedness. But surely you now see the writing on the wall, which today, as it did in the day of Daniel the prophet, told the leaders of Babylon, “ “.

These are strong words, we know. But the crisis is severe. And you are our only hope. And the same Light shines into your hearts as into ours. The same Spirit of Love and Truth speaks to your consciences, reminding you that your own grandchildren and great-grandchildren must live in that world without oil. Will you leave them nothing? Will they curse you for your selfishness or give thanks for your brilliance, courage and lovingkindness?

Finally, we urge all of us to redefine the good life and the American dream. To rediscover the intangibles that make life whole and joyful. To have hope, to find courage, to let go. We are being forced to change. If we embrace the change, we can shape it—within limits.

It’s all about limits. As Quakers, we believe that everyone has a direct channel to the divine and that divine compassion and new revelation is allways flowing toward us along that channel, though different people experience this different ways. Let us open ourselves to new sources of creativity, inner strength, and positive collective action, and move with renewed confidence toward a world that is undiminished without oil.


Ongoing notes on peak oil prep

Sent: Wednesday, May 23, 2007 7:30 AM
Subject: Ongoing notes on peak oil prep

Today I went to the grocery store as I do every other Wednesday. As usual I used two cloth bags and was glad to get the bus home. Each time I buy bread I save the bags and turn them inside out. And I got tapioca pudding for the containers. Some containers from 20 years ago I still use. I mean the yellow ones which once had chicken livers in them. A 12 pack of small water bottles that I will reuse before throwing out. Hard to find the 8 ounce size now. But its easy to carry. Stocking up on pasta and refried beans each time I go there. Also butter on sale. No shortages spotted yet. I forget to see if WHOLE FOODS ever got the regular oats in stock. Milk is plentiful from what I see. Thats all for now.
-- Netizen Wolfy

Every revolution could have been - indeed almost certainly was - described as "unrealistic" just a few years before it happened.
-- George Monbiot


Chapter 2, page 1: Sustainable living in DC

Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2007 5:41 PM
Subject: Chapter 2, page 1: Sustainable living in DC

In her 17 May piece for MarketWatch, Carolyn Pritchard said:

"Tens of thousands of Mexicans took to the streets in January to protest tortilla prices as they soared to their highest levels in a decade as demand for corn... Such fervor is unlikely to sweep the streets of American cities anytime soon," Prichard also quoted Ken Cassman, a professor of agronomy and horticulture at the University of Nebraska. Cassman said: "We're probably going to be abruptly going into a period where supply is much more balanced with demand so that small perturbations can cause a significant impact on food supply."

Hold that thought.

In 1915, the US horse population (for travel and farming) peaked at 25 million horses. 20% of the land was used to feed horses (think ethanol for horses). The US population was 100 million. Roads were muddy and stunk, but we got around and generally we had full bellies. Now there are 300 million residents in the US, many fewer (and larger) farms. Forget about how we'll get around, how will we eat.

This chapter is about attempts in DC to live sustainably, particularly growing food as the perfect storm of climate change, ethanol production's impact on food supply, inflation, and other issues force people to think about food security.

The story begins---

I grew up on a farm, and there has always been a little bit of farmer in me no matter where I lived. Moving to DC, I picked a place where I could cut down a few trees (before the city laws forbade it), get some sun (not as much as I really need), and begin planting. I decided to try to try moving towards a path of sustainable gardening - composting, vermiculture, no pesticides, etc. This took me several years to perfect, so I know the other DC residents -if they have enough sunlight-will not catch onto this sustainable methodology in less time than I did.

And here we are. Our attempt to boost ethanol production is sending food prices through the roof. Shoplifting is up, not for jewelry or property, but for food. People are hungry and angry. Forget the street people shaking cups outside Starbucks, they're eyeing you and asking for a piece of fruit as you leave Safeway.

Compared to others, I have a nice supply of organically grown fruits, vegetables, and berries, but no where near enough for all our needs, and certainly not enough to last through the winter. My kids - formerly pretty picky eaters - now give me no grief about eating their vegetables. They're helping me cultivate and harvest. And believe it or not, the perennial thieves are still here and even in greater numbers, in DC no less: the deer, rabbits, raccoons, squirrels (rats) and birds. Nobody is thinking seriously of killing any of these critters to eat them, but I do remember the nice taste of venison back on the farm...

by Netizen Hero GreenHornet


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

hard times in S. D., almost no news from Mexico

From: intwoworlds
Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2007 6:34 AM
Subject: Fwd: hard times in S. D., almost no news from Mexico

I worry about my cousins in San Diego, and don't hear much very often. At least they are all still alive.The water problem is really really bad, and looks to get worse. Figures, I guess, big city in what's basically a near-desert, now suffering constant water interruptions from power outages and pump breakdowns. In the summer heat waves, homeless and poor folks were getting sick and even dying; first from heatstroke and dehydration, later from sickness caused by the free-lance tanker trucks selling water around town. Turns out it was non-potable irrigation water, and to make things worse, some of the tanker trucks had been carrying chemicals, and never got properly cleaned out.

Most people can't wash clothes but once a week, if that, and a shower is a luxury. Sponge baths are positively patriotic now, and the use of umbrellas while walking in the sun is the new fashion statement.

People are planning winter gardens and praying for winter rain, but right now everything is brown, dead and dusty, except for the occasional backyard lemon or avocado tree which gets lovingly tended. Fresh produce is pretty expensive, cause it mostly has to be brought in, (the big growers in the valley north and east still get all the water and deisel they need of course), so the diet is pretty starchy, but at least nobody has to worry about needing heat in the coming winter.
The big push has been to put in residential rainwater collection and storage systems and try to get priority freight approved to bring in composting toilets. Standard toilets and sewer systems use a LOT of water and San Diego just can't plan on being able do it that way anymore.I guess some of the local politicians and citizen's groups are trying to woo one of the composting toilet companies to put a manufacturing plant in one of the abandoned port facility warehouses, so there's a local supply without all the shipping. They already placed a huge order so they can put them in the green shelters.
Solar energy is such a natural there that there are already a number of outlets around and of course they're going like gangbusters now, and expanding. Pete had a friend in the business and was lucky enough to get a job with him when the real estate market tanked.

Except for during the heat waves and when the smoke was really bad from the wildfires, there's been a steady stream of low-skill latinos heading through to the border. The INS buses showed at the border every few hours day and night in July and August to drop off passengers to walk over the border too, but lately the exodus has slowed. Of course there's precious little food and water in Tijuana, but at least Mexico has a good network of long-haul bus lines, and rumor has it that Pemex (the Mexican national oil company) provided free diesel to all the routes taking folks south from the border town til two weeks ago and forced the companies to lower their fares accordingly on those lines.