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.