Thursday, May 31, 2007
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
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.
Sent: Wednesday, May 30, 2007 6:35 AM
Subject: Light Rail Vehicle 2
Sent: Wednesday, May 30, 2007 6:30 AM
Subject: Light Rail Vehicle 1
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
(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.
To: "email@example.com" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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
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
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
Sent: Saturday, May 26, 2007 1:01 PM
Subject: Good news/bad news
Sent: Saturday, May 26, 2007 11:00 AM
Subject: NPR.org - 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.
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.
Sent: Saturday, May 26, 2007 9:59 AM
Subject: bike tires
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.
Friday, May 25, 2007
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
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
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?
Sent: Friday, May 25, 2007 5:44 AM
Subject: Gas is expensive?
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Sent: Thursday, May 24, 2007 8:43 PM
Subject:employment and income opportunities in a world without oil
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
Sent: Thursday, May 24, 2007 12:46 PM
To: "email@example.com" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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.
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.
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?
Sent: Wednesday, May 23, 2007 11:52 AM
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
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.
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
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
Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2007 6:34 AM
Subject: Fwd: hard times in S. D., almost no news from Mexico
Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2007 4:30 AM
Subject: World With Out Oil Story
I can't even believe how lucky I've been through out this whole thing. A friend of mine lost everything: his home, his business, even his family. My friend wasn't the only one to lose everything. I don't know how accurate this is but I heard nearly a third of the town lost their job and, or moved away. As unemployment soared people began to become desperate. Many, like my immediate family, left the city and moved to more rural areas. My family explained to me that they just couldn't handle the "new stresses" of the city. Many people in their desperation directed their efforts toward more violent ambitions. Throughout the city there have been reports of random acts of violence, theft, and vandalism.
The government has been doing its best to combat and suppress some of these crimes. I am a little uneasy with some of the new laws that have been getting passed but my worries have been vetoed by the other citizen's votes. The city has been under martial law with a strict 10:00 P.M. curfew. Also it seems as though warrants are a thing of the past around here. Guns are now illegal to possess in this area, and all of the previously registered firearms were rounded up some time ago. The police raided my neighbor's home and found and illegal shotgun on his premises. I haven't heard from him for months. With the new extreme crimes occurring daily, I don't blame the police for their new policies. I do, however, feel as though I am sacrificing most of my civil liberties for security. Despite the government's attempts, I still don't really feel completely safe. I mean all these new regulations haven't really slowed down the random acts of violence and vandalism. The criminals have been making improvised bombs and weapons to use against the newly unarmed people. I actually heard a squad car was bombed the other day, and the criminal had the guts to attempt to steal the officer's firearm from the burning wreck. The government has been enforcing a strict rationing on all of the gas. They seem to be hording it for police and local military vehicles. Another problem is the food scares we have. The local government has been working on that problem; unfortunately sometime all we get is the local corn or the "veggie of the day." I've heard 5 servings a day but this is ridicules. I guess it's better than starving. One can't but feel sorry for the local farmers. I've been told by many people that the police will just take their crops with little or no compensation.
I will admit though this new world isn't all bad though. The voter turnout last month was the highest it's ever been for a local election (nearly 80 %.) The politicians are finally talking about the real issues that concern us and working through party lines to fix the community's problems. We have now doubled the amount of public transit vehicles. I was forced to sell my car and ride the public bus. Unfortunately, I had to leave an hour and a half early just to make it on time to for work. Now with this new transportation it only takes 35 minutes. I've also noticed there is a lot less over weight people around too; I think this is attributed to all the walking and biking that is required to survive. Even though there are a lot negative aspects to our community I think we are making a difference and moving forward towards a common goal.
Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2007 3:00 AM
Subject: Green Hornet - Chapter 1, page 3: Riding the DC Metro
Public Transit in DC seems to have traded places with the Hummers and monster trucks. Riding the bus and metro has gone from something only students, nannies, retired and low-skilled help rode in northern DC to wildly popular. Even with a recent doubling of fares -- $2.50 for a bus ride to the metro, $.75 to transfer from the subway to a bus - it is still an incredible bargain. It also beats the alternative of waiting in gas lines or paying $7/gallon for gasoline, even if there are noticeably fewer commuters on the road. The only problem with metro is that its entire infrastructure has rotted from within; in the past, maintenance money was skimped on everything from the bus line and metro cars to the escalators and elevators. Moreover, to save operating costs, buses do not run the air conditioner yet many have windows that you cannot open. Metro stations --some over a hundred feet underground-have become oppressively hot, and human smells made them a difficult place to be in.
Mix heat with bad smells and you get nausea. In fact, it isn't uncommon for someone to pass out or become ill, right there in the station or in the train itself. And usually when that happens there is a chain-reaction of sympathy sickness, and that prompts the trains to stop running until someone from Homeland Security can verify that those ill aren't carrying a contagious disease.
The best strategy is really to stick with above-ground transportation, large buses whose windows you can open, or to travel early in the morning before the crowds commute or leave a little after peak in the evening. That is also a good strategy to avoid what we all fear are the inevitable suicide bombers. They probably wouldn't bother with a single bus, and for some reason they like peak-hours to do their killing.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Subject: new blog entry from David_Mattock
Brazil awoke today to more extraordinary scenes. As I looked across the Rio bay this morning from my apartment I saw what the entire city is now gathering on the beaches to gawp at. It boarders on the unbelievable. Today 3 cruise liners rolled into the bay carrying thousands of refugees, not all Brazilians either.
We had heard some pieces on the news about how other countries have been rounding up their immigrant population and shipping them off back to their respective countries. These three ships have supposedly come from Europe. We don't know which. What we do know is that crews of the ships after docking quickly flew out of the country on one of the few remaining airlines, all paid for by their respective countries, leaving us to sort out this mess.
The conditions on the ships border on the inhumane. The press and people are outraged, since the majority of our people where brought here in similar conditions as slaves. The refugees who are Brazilians are being sent back to their respective families or put up in temporary housing. The others, nearly all of them Latin Americans, though it seems that there are a few Africans and Arabians thrown into the mix, will be slowly sent back home. However those that aren't Latin Americans aren't so keen to go back to their home countries anyway and given Brazils more than welcoming nature towards immigrants I suppose space will be found for them.
Its not lost on us than in the last few weeks the number of people who are flying into the country applying for permanent visa have shot up. The irony is that these are the rich and the powerful of their own countries now fleeing for better times in our little backwater country, ha!
The amusing aspect is that our immigration control, in this area, has become the tightest most difficult to get through. Namely its costing them thousands of reais to get through. I'm told the lawyers are earning huge amounts. The big news took place when a couple of Hollywood stars tried to move in and where denied visas. An appeal later and a lot of publicity (some negative) meant that our countries foreign minister, in a pr coup for the current administration publicly stated that they would be able to stay.
It seems that everybody now wants to come live in fair Brazil, for years people have been trying to escape to seek a better life, now it's the reverse. It's quite an odd feeling to realize you know live in one of the worlds most powerful nations..
On the fuel front everything proceeding as normal, no hiccups or anything of note really. Where just making the stuff as fast as we can. The price has inched its way up slightly but the government is making sure we hold back enough to keep our country running. It helps that some orders we cancelled after the ships to take away the petrol didn't turn up.
In other news the Volkswagen Brazil division claim that they will have a viable bio fuel plane engine in a few months and brazil airlines will get a discount of some kind in order for them to get back up and running as fast as possible. This is namely for the benefit of the budge airlines, a whole bunch of them that have gone bust. Only TAM is doing regular service but that is at a much reduced number of flights per day and they are exclusively for the rich. Needless to say the orders have been flying in. Oh and happiest of news my wife's pregnant, so tonight we are going to celebrate in style!
Subject: story from Guy Smiley
The long tragic winter conceives a face of mangled hate, where there is life there is blood; and with all that remains, the contentious gather in place. At the bar, folding the newspaper in half, sitting alone with my thoughts, I'm interrupted, "One of the cousins?" His smile is sharp as stitch. The last time I said any kind words to this jackass was day I left for college, it has been ten years since.
"Thirty-Three confirm deaths.", he recites. "You were saying something about the end of the world?"
"No, this wasn't what I was talking about.", I say with a short breath.
"Fish..Right.something about.." He nods, "You never make any sense with your talk."
"You never listened with what I had to say.you did all the talking!", I turn away.
"Well..you never told me to shut the hell up. When are you going to get some balls?!", he laughs. It was that stupid laugh. I'm bigger than him now. All it takes is one shot to his kidneys, and all that satirical strife will have been vanquished. I'm a humanitarian, I say to myself. I forgive and I let things mend.
"Look, I'm going to need you to do a couple of favors.", He sits comfortably and puts his hand on my shoulder. I shrug and turn to look at him with a cold stare. "Remember that story I told?", he says. "The soap story.I remember telling that story to your girlfriend in high school", he extends his hand. "Come on. We were little kids bathing together.I would drop a piece of soap off into the water. It was a game; who would find the soap first?", he says smiling. "The look on your girlfriend's face, hilarious!" Opening his mouth wide, "We all had a good time.She thought it was cute!"
This made me uncomfortable. I was not having a good time. "Yeah.I bet you told that story in prison!", I snap. I wanted to cut him down, but I was cutting into a cadaver that bled dry.
He stands up. Folding his arms across his chest. "Whatever.I was just asking for a favor." He picks up the bag he had set on the floor, "I'm going out."
Girard was a neighborhood of rust and roaches. Across the vacant lot you can diet on a bucket of chicken. Within a few yards, St. Helens Clinic. Steps away, the Vincetti Funeral home. A casket assembly line; dine, illness, and death. We are both standing at the corner of 3rd and Fairmont. It was 3.30 a gallon of gas at the Citgo station. I wonder what the price was in Virginia. A patrol car pulls forward and stops. He hangs from the car window. The radio blares, "Two males. Sunoco Robbery. Identified leaving premises on bikes. Five minute dispatch from scene." The officer holds the radio, his eyes were staring down a barrel of a gun. Looking straight at me, I could feel the cool spring air evaporating the sweat from my palms.
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Subject: response to gerben Wulf from Netizen kevikens
Subject: needed, someone clever