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Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak oil?

General discussions of the systemic, societal and civilisational effects of depletion.

Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak oil?

Unread postby garyp » Thu 15 Jun 2006, 04:48:27

Much capital is made here of the inability/unwillingness of politicians to accept and prepare for peak oil. Some even go so far as to say that they are intentionally lying about it whilst preparing to save their own skins. However stepping back and looking at things dispassionately, the oil doomers, die-off fans and greenies have to take a share of the blame for the situation we face.

If you look at the range of global threats we face today with a significant probability of occurrence:
    - Climate change
    - Peak oil
    - Bird Flu + Other pandemics
    - Demographic Timebomb
    - Water depletion
    - West > East superpower transition
    - Global Recession
    - CFC/Ozone Hole
    - Nuclear/biological war
    - MegaTsunami
you can see that many are not addressed seriously by the political establishment. Of those that have been, three common factors can be seen:
    1) the threat is accepted by experts as very certain
    2) achievable solutions routes have been outlined
    3) those routes are acceptable to the general population
Taking CFCs as an example, the threat was understood, the phasing out of CFCs for replacements was painful, but achievable, and since there was no significant impact on the stand of living of the population, it was acceptable to them. Contrast that with climate change - the experts agree, but 'solutions' proposed either fail to be significant enough to have much effect (Kyoto), or are impossible to implement in today's society. Needless to say, significant change is also unacceptable to the broad swathe of the general public, particularly in car dependent cultures.

To the politician viewing such a list of 'disasters', each threat needs to get in line behind the many smaller threats that cause concern every day. In general a terrorist bomb has a greater mindshare in the general publics' views than climate change. Someone who comes up to the politician saying that this is a significant threat will get heard; but when they start to state that massive change of society is required all they are in fact saying to the politician is that the threat exists, and they don't know how to deal with it. Threats stated without credible routes to solution actually decrease the notice and action that will be taken. Why worry about something you can do nothing about?

Peak oil is falling into the same trap.

Many quite rightly say that the threat is real, and that given human nature (eg lying) it's probably much closer than thought. However by not presenting it in a way that has a credible solution that fulfils all of the above three points, those same people make it less likely that action can and will be taken.

To remove doubt:
    - die off
    - artificial population reduction
    - sustainable living = arable existance
    - contraction & convergence
    - significant carbon taxing of individuals (probably)
are all non solutions that basically just state 'we don't have a clue' - certainly to a politician's ears.

The question I pose to people here is: how can you present both the problem, and a solution that meets the three points - even if it's not a total solution? What is needed is an encapsulated combination that makes a viable whole and that then can be taken up and implemented by the politicians.

    - Alternative fuels get a bad press here, but they do meet the above requirements.
    - "Reducing our dependency on those nasty arabs" may not be a pretty message, but it is acceptable and allows movement in the right direction.
    - More nuclear power to produce a better environment is similarly acceptable, if after a moment of confusing paradox.

Can anyone come up here with similar problem<>solution sets in peak oil that could create positive movement?
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Re: Do you have an 'Acceptable' Problem ?

Unread postby Doly » Thu 15 Jun 2006, 05:26:03

garyp wrote:Can anyone come up here with similar problem<>solution sets in peak oil that could create positive movement?


There are lots of things in that category. In fact, just about anything that is proposed to deal with global warming also helps deal with peak oil. Of course, things centered in reducing the usage of cars and oil are best.
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Re: Do you have an 'Acceptable' Problem ?

Unread postby IslandCrow » Thu 15 Jun 2006, 05:41:21

Good points. I have long felt that one needed to hold things in tension between the long-term goal and the next step along the route to that goal.

One problem that many here face is that the route seems so long and the changes seem to be so big (structural changes to our whole lifestyle) that any small change sees like sticking a band-aid ('plaster' in my native language :roll: ) on a patient that is bleeding to death. We give up, saying it will only make the die-off worse when it comes.

I suppose good politics is to have a big dream/vision, but be able to take people there step by step. Too often we see defeat if someone is not able to make the whole journey in one jump!!!

Two possible 'small steps':

One political move that we should support (it is a hot topic in the EU now) is to make airlines pay for polluting the environment, or at least pay similar taxes that trains/buses have to pay on their fuel. As they say that airtravel is price sensitive then getting airline to pay the same sort of taxes as trains and buses would help a little with powering down.

On a more local level, the refuse ('garbage') company where I live charges less if you have a compost heap - this saves me €31 a year
- this is not a lot of money, but it shows that things can be done to support a more sustainable life-style, that is beneficial both to the company and to the consumer. I would have had a compost heap anyway regardless of any savings, as I want to have as good a ground as I can for growing things.
We should teach our children the 4-Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rejoice.
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Re: Do you have an 'Acceptable' Problem ?

Unread postby garyp » Thu 15 Jun 2006, 09:11:34

IslandCrow wrote:Two possible 'small steps':

One political move that we should support (it is a hot topic in the EU now) is to make airlines pay for polluting the environment, or at least pay similar taxes that trains/buses have to pay on their fuel. As they say that airtravel is price sensitive then getting airline to pay the same sort of taxes as trains and buses would help a little with powering down.

On a more local level, the refuse ('garbage') company where I live charges less if you have a compost heap - this saves me €31 a year
- this is not a lot of money, but it shows that things can be done to support a more sustainable life-style, that is beneficial both to the company and to the consumer. I would have had a compost heap anyway regardless of any savings, as I want to have as good a ground as I can for growing things.


Only thing I would say are that both of them are taxes, and thus can be questionable from the perspective of requirement 3, will the public accept it?

For the first, maybe a more carrot shaped approach would be support/tax incentives for great holiday locations close to home? Often is easier and cheaper to go somewhere where they take holidaying seriously, and attempt to make your time away really count. Too often in this country the costs and the facilities are not appealing. That's generally a chicken and egg situation where no investment is made because nobody will holiday here, because the facilities and setup have had so little investment.

For the second, there is no point in a compost heap if there is nothing to do with what comes out of it. Where I live you can get a, plastic, compost bin for a low cost - but much more could be done to support people in growing their own - particularly if you can give it an 'organic' spin. You can imagine the tagline "I know where it came from". Remember, most people think carrots come from the supermarket in plastic bags.
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Re: Do you have an 'Acceptable' Problem ?

Unread postby Ludi » Thu 15 Jun 2006, 10:02:52

Plenty of solutions have been presented, solutions which are not only acceptable but beautiful. To spare having to rewrite books and websites which already exist, please see my various links below for solutions which address the major problems we currently face as a civilization.
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Re: Do you have an 'Acceptable' Problem ?

Unread postby Ibon » Thu 15 Jun 2006, 10:39:17

I remember when I lived in Switzerland in the 80's there was a folks referendum on increasing the gasoline tax considerably in order to help finance mass transit. The citizens voted in favour of the initiative willingly. Another example which I'm sorry I can't locate as a link was a public opinion survey of europeans where the results where clear that the majority of europeans valued sustainability as a a goal and cornerstone of what they consider quality of life. Now these two examples go a long way to explain why european laws and insfrastructure investments toward clean renewable energy and maintaining a well functioning mass transit are so far ahead of the US. The ability to make painful choices to have a positive effect on global warming and peak oil has to do with the values and education of the citizenry as much as the politicians. See the last part of this thread where we touched on this topic yeterday. http://www.peakoil.com/fortopic21121-60.html
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Re: Do you have an 'Acceptable' Problem ?

Unread postby smiley » Thu 15 Jun 2006, 18:40:31

The ability to make painful choices to have a positive effect on global warming and peak oil has to do with the values and education of the citizenry as much as the politicians.


It is definately true that the average European has a higher level of environmental awareness. But to blame that on our 'superior' values would be giving us too much credit IMO. I have another theory and I would be interested in other's opinions on it.

Western Europe has a pretty high concentration of people and industry. The effects of the human actions are therefore much more pronounced. We already had our share of ecological disasters dating back to the start of the industrial age. Therefore it is much easier to accept that our actions influence nature and visa versa.

I remember when I went to the Schwartzwald (black forest) in Germany in the 80's. What was supposed to be a quiet retreat to nature ended up being a nightmare. Half the forest was destroyed by acid rain. That for me was a defining moment. To read about these things in National Geographic is one thing, to see it happening on your doorstep is another.

What that looks like.

You probably cannot find a single person in Europe that will tell you that acid rain is not real, and that the measures taken since the 80's weren't justified.

I think in that respect Katerina has been the first real wake up call for the US whereas we already had ours. And I suppose that when really confronted with the problems all people including the Americans will accept unpopular measures like taxes.
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Re: Do you have an 'Acceptable' Problem ?

Unread postby Ibon » Thu 15 Jun 2006, 20:04:58

smiley wrote:
I think in that respect Katrina has been the first real wake up call for the US whereas we already had ours. And I suppose that when really confronted with the problems all people including the Americans will accept unpopular measures like taxes.


I actually agree with you and have said it many times that our greatest ally going forward in transforming our culture toward sustainability will be the natural consequences coming our way. Your example of acid rain in Europe as a catalyst toward change is good within the European context. But that very example illustrates what I am saying about education.

The 70's oil crisis, the environmental affects of DDT in the 60's, or North America's own crisis with acid rain in the late 70's and 80's were the first wake up calls for Americans. Look at the intelligent laws we enacted at that time like the endangered species act or the subsidies to develop renewable energy. In 1980 the United States was the global leader in technologies like wind, solar and in the subsidies where in place for industrial expansion. The U.S. was the leading export nation of renewable energy technology at that time. In the Adirondack Mountains of Northeastern U.S. there were lakes so acid from acid rain that the fish populations plummated to near zero. The U.S. acted by closing down dozens of coal burning electrical generating plants and replacing them with natural gas. The U.S. initiated emmission standards on vehicles along with catalytic converters to reduce them. That along with fuel efficiency standards. These were all American innovations. The U.S. was without a doubt a pioneer in environmental laws, technologies and ethics.

What happened? Where are we today? How did the political winds change so dramatically? How did the electorate sit back and allow this to happen. I'll give you a clue. In 2005 there were many Americans who responded to Katrina as the prophecy of the Christian rapture being fulfilled! Do you think this might be related to the level of education of the average American? I do.

And today Europe is the leading exporter of renewable energy technology and far ahead of the US in it's implimentation. As you said acid rain in Europe in the 80's without a doubt served as a catalyst to reinforce clean energy alternatives. But you guys didn't see needles dropping from the trees as an act of God punishing you for disobeying his commandments, did you?

Or how do you explain Americans accepting as normative the inhuman landscapes formed by suburbia or the quality of their fast foods? These are cultural values. We have dumbed down to a level of complacency where we don't analyze or question the status quo. We have become a fearful complacent electorate. What will change this? Exactly what you hinted at. But it's got to carry a far more potent punch than acid rain. Natural consequences and economic disruptions will be our greatest allies for change going forward. But for the US they will have to come as a series of blows to knock us off our arrogance and ignorance. The danger of course is that each blow from natural consequences also reinforces stupid beliefs like Christian prophecy being fulfilled. There is alot of shit that still needs to be played out here before we climb out of our ignorance and I'm not sure if future events will spark enlightenment or reinforce stupidity. The optimist in me really really really wants to believe the former.
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Re: Do you have an 'Acceptable' Problem ?

Unread postby MonteQuest » Thu 15 Jun 2006, 22:44:05

garyp wrote:Much capital is made here of the inability/unwillingness of politicians to accept and prepare for peak oil.


Not by me. They are doing the only thing that is achievable and will fill the gap. Resource wars for more fossil fuels.

Biofuels bullshit as pablum for the masses while they try to get the ME under control.

I take it that you haven't read much that the neocons have written over the last few years? Start with Paul Wolfowitz. Also the PNAC.

Our foreign policy is nothing but about oil security.

They have run the numbers and know that conservation and alternative energies will implode us, not save us.

Resource wars disguised as the "War on Terror" is what the people bought and that's what you get.

"War that will not end in our lifetime."
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Re: Do you have an 'Acceptable' Problem ?

Unread postby MonteQuest » Thu 15 Jun 2006, 23:16:57

garyp wrote: However by not presenting it in a way that has a credible solution that fulfils all of the above three points, those same people make it less likely that action can and will be taken.

To remove doubt:
- die off
- artificial population reduction
- sustainable living = arable existance
- contraction & convergence
- significant carbon taxing of individuals (probably)[/list]are all non solutions that basically just state 'we don't have a clue' - certainly to a politician's ears. The question I pose to people here is: how can you present both the problem, and a solution that meets the three points - even if it's not a total solution? What is needed is an encapsulated combination that makes a viable whole and that then can be taken up and implemented by the politicians.


Hogwash! There is no possible solution, techno or otherwise that is viable that does not address population reduction and sustainable living.


Alternative fuels get a bad press here, but they do meet the above requirements.


Hogwash! Name one renewable energy cited in the govt's Hirsch report that is a wedge for mitigation to fill the oil gap? Name one that can be scaled up.

"Reducing our dependency on those nasty arabs" may not be a pretty message, but it is acceptable and allows movement in the right direction.


Hogwash! Only 17% of our oil comes from the ME. We are more dependent upon Canada and Mexico, our #1 and #2 suppliers.

- More nuclear power to produce a better environment is similarly acceptable, if after a moment of confusing paradox.


Nuclear power was still born in this country. There is huge nimby-ism against it. California has a moratorium until they solve the waste issue problem. Even if you could get the construction time down to 5 years from 10, you would still have as much as 25 years of wait time (by some estimates) to see any net energy production. Meanwhile, they are new energy consumers.

Can anyone come up here with similar problem<>solution sets in peak oil that could create positive movement?


There are none. That is why we are in Iraq and Afghanistan and facing down Iran.

If you believe China and India won't grow at 10% and 8% respectively, and that peak oil is decades away, then yes, there are some solutions, but none that will create a positive movement beyond those who are enlightened to the Big Picture.

Powerdown

Restricted per capita energy use.

Population reduction.

Move to develop sustainable energy sources dictated by supply and not demand.

Otherwise, the only solutions I have seen at hand so far is to cope and adapt to the coming changes.
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Re: Do you have an 'Acceptable' Problem ?

Unread postby garyp » Fri 16 Jun 2006, 04:31:31

MonteQuest wrote:Hogwash! There is no possible solution, techno or otherwise that is viable that does not address population reduction and sustainable living.

<snip>

If you believe China and India won't grow at 10% and 8% respectively, and that peak oil is decades away, then yes, there are some solutions, but none that will create a positive movement beyond those who are enlightened to the Big Picture.

Powerdown
Restricted per capita energy use.
Population reduction.
Move to develop sustainable energy sources dictated by supply and not demand.

Otherwise, the only solutions I have seen at hand so far is to cope and adapt to the coming changes.

So what you are saying is that you recognise peak oil is a problem, you understand it and have understood it for many years, but you don't have a real solution? Your approach is to hold up your hands in surrender, then rush the lifeboats?

How is that any better than today's politicians?

Put away your cynicism for a moment and even as just a thought experiment try to come up with a policy that would help, and that would be accepted - one that could work. We know how far people are prepared to go in each step, we know they are not going to jump for powerdown and population reduction so you need to be smarter in suggesting policies that would work.

The alternative is complicity in the deaths of millions of your neighbours and the end of western civilisation. Are you comfortable with that? Maybe that's an unfair question, but at its heart peak oil isn't a question of if petroleum supply will decrease - its what your reaction to turmoil and threat will be, fix or flee?
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Re: Do you have an 'Acceptable' Problem ?

Unread postby seldom_seen » Fri 16 Jun 2006, 06:48:49

garyp wrote:To the politician viewing such a list of 'disasters', each threat needs to get in line behind the many smaller threats that cause concern every day.

Your post is based on the following assumptions:

That the government is rational.
That the government is looking out for your best interest.
That the government will play a key role in mitigating peak oil.

All of which are false.

The very existence of large institutions like the federtal government are threatened by peak oil. The massive federal government juggernaut was built on the back of cheap oil. It will go down kicking and screaming, and hopefully not taking all of us with it.

If you are concerned about peak oil. Start by taking your own action for yourself, your family, your neighborhood, your community.
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Re: Do you have an 'Acceptable' Problem ?

Unread postby untothislast » Fri 16 Jun 2006, 07:25:29

The greater problem, is that the global quest of empty-headed materialism, has left us without any sense of value for anything not directly rooted in our present needs. We want it all, and we want it now. 'Let someone else sort it out' . . . 'What's it got to do with me?' . . . ' Anyway, I haven't got the time.' Politicians recognise and exploit the zeitgeist - it's the ace up their sleeves.

There is no longer any sense of personal responsibility, or respect for concepts of legacy. Even tomorrow may as well not exist for some people. Against this background, the culture of selfish apathy reigns supreme. Whatever mitigating solutions might be put on the table by politicians or others, the crucial majority are never going to listen, or get involved. End of story.
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Re: Do you have an 'Acceptable' Problem ?

Unread postby Ibon » Fri 16 Jun 2006, 09:45:37

garyp wrote:Put away your cynicism for a moment and even as just a thought experiment try to come up with a policy that would help, and that would be accepted - one that could work. We know how far people are prepared to go in each step, we know they are not going to jump for powerdown and population reduction so you need to be smarter in suggesting policies that would work.

The alternative is complicity in the deaths of millions of your neighbours and the end of western civilisation. Are you comfortable with that? Maybe that's an unfair question, but at its heart peak oil isn't a question of if petroleum supply will decrease - its what your reaction to turmoil and threat will be, fix or flee?


Maybe some psychologist can come up with some explanation as to why we project a father figure on to our government and hold this faith that there is a fundamental goodness at work. The masses support their government blindly holding on to this belief that their government, underneath all their mistakes and incompentency, is still somehow wholesome and providing just like your dad did when you where a child. In a climate of fear this makes you have faith in your government even when the truth of their lies, manipulations and greed are slapping you in the face. This "faith" in government is what the elite exploit and it explains why Americans swallow hook line and sinker the message. Now mix in that brew religion and the father figure of a God watching over you if you hand over your faith to him and rest in his assurances that he will smite evil. The words to the song....God bless America, land that I love.... To brake out of this hypnosis, to free yourself of this ignorance, is to kill the father. To see the truth of the lies and manipulations is to kill the father. This is simply too painful a concept for the vast majority of Americans to ponder and explains why Americans so blindly follow their government, deny the truth, and sleepwalk into their precarious unsustainable future. The elite have learned to manipulate this very very well.

You can call me cynical but to not recognize and have the courage to confront what ails us as a nation is only a form of self delusion.

Do not trust your government. It does not have your interests at heart. It has already switched over to a self serving survival strategy since the elite are intelligent enough to recognize that the over arching structures that hold up our society and culture will not be able to provide for all and will start to crumble. Don't waste any more time having faith in solutions coming from them. Start to think local and align yourself from a revolution that will start from the grass roots. Wait patiently for natural consequences to invigorate this grass roots struggle. Only from the bottom will change occur, from the local level, from those that have discarded this ignorant belief in some invisible man in the sky or some visible men in Washington saving them.
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Re: Do you have an 'Acceptable' Problem ?

Unread postby MonteQuest » Fri 16 Jun 2006, 09:48:48

garyp wrote:So what you are saying is that you recognise peak oil is a problem, you understand it and have understood it for many years, but you don't have a real solution? Your approach is to hold up your hands in surrender, then rush the lifeboats?

How is that any better than today's politicians?


It is hubris to believe that all problems have solutions. The politicians have not thrownup their hands in surrender, they have just chosen the best path for energy acquisition (in their mindset) that maintains the status quo, works, and can be sold to the people under the guise of the War on Terror.

"The American way of life is not negotiable."

I gave you my real solution of powerdown to a sustainable level. Under the current world paradigm, there is no policy that would be accepted and that would work.

Peak oil is merely a milestone, a symptom of a greater disease. There is no techno-fix or band aid for this.

Put away your cynicism for a moment and even as just a thought experiment try to come up with a policy that would help, and that would be accepted - one that could work. We know how far people are prepared to go in each step, we know they are not going to jump for powerdown and population reduction so you need to be smarter in suggesting policies that would work.


Well, since both a powerdown and a population reduction are both part and parcel to any solution, leaving them out of the equation is rarely foolish, wouldn't you say?

Any proposal that ignores action on these two fronts merely kicks the can down the road and makes the correction that much worse later on.

The alternative is complicity in the deaths of millions of your neighbours and the end of western civilisation. Are you comfortable with that? Maybe that's an unfair question, but at its heart peak oil isn't a question of if petroleum supply will decrease - its what your reaction to turmoil and threat will be, fix or flee?


Crash and die-off is the natural consequence of overshoot, peak oil or not, that will happen.

Fix or flee? After 35 years on the front lines of these issues, one can hardly say I have cut and run from the problem, or thrown up my hands in surrender. Just because I have accepted that there are no techno or quick fixes to this issue does not entail that I have just become some cynic bitching on the sidelines.

We can't fix it, we can't flee it, but we can cope and adapt to the changes.
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Re: Do you have an 'Acceptable' Problem ?

Unread postby Ludi » Fri 16 Jun 2006, 10:25:52

garyp, why do you consider the powerdown solution "surrender"? Powerdown as described by Monte and some of the rest of us addresses all the major problems we face, an integrated solution. Why is this seen by you as "surrender"? Do you consider addressing reality to be surrendering?

Just real darn curious.
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Re: Do you have an 'Acceptable' Problem ?

Unread postby Concerned » Fri 16 Jun 2006, 11:14:28

MonteQuest wrote:Fix or flee? After 35 years on the front lines of these issues, one can hardly say I have cut and run from the problem, or thrown up my hands in surrender. Just because I have accepted that there are no techno or quick fixes to this issue does not entail that I have just become some cynic bitching on the sidelines.


Appreciate your comments Monte.

Regards surrender? If you had done such would you continue to invest time and effort on a forum discussing the issues related to hydrocarbon depletion.

I think real surrender is to not think about the broader big picture issues, become complacent and adopt a business as usual approach.

As you pointed out there are solutions but nobody likes them as it changes our whole greed is good paradigm.
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Re: Do you have an 'Acceptable' Problem ?

Unread postby Ibon » Fri 16 Jun 2006, 12:22:14

Concerned wrote:I think real surrender is to not think about the broader big picture issues, become complacent and adopt a business as usual approach.


I quite agree. It is so much easier to surrender into this complacent belief in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. It takes a courage to break down the archetypal pillars of what we think of our culture; that our government is out for our good, that we are entitled to and see as normative this unsustainable consumptive life we live, to believe not only in the invisible man but that our nation is his chosen one, that unbridled capitalism and the free market will solve our energy problems, that technology will once again pull through to allow us to continue this non-negotiable way of life.

If you don't feel a sense of outrage for each day wasted in not confronting and solving our energy problems than you don't yet fully understand the emergency and how very precarious our situation is.

But Monte is right about our government knowing exactly what's going on. Their solution is flawed because they still believe in most of those pillars mentioned above. And many probably believe that by dominating the remaining oil in the ME they are somehow serving the best interests of everyday Americans.

I don't trust any politician who doesn't have the courage to speak plain and openly about the emergency that confronts us.

I was listening the Hillary Clinton's support of the occupation in Iraq yesterday. This sounds like Bush Lite. Total bunch of bullshit. Even worse in fact. The neocons were so transparent that they were at least almost honest about their intentions.
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Re: Do you have an 'Acceptable' Problem ?

Unread postby pstarr » Fri 16 Jun 2006, 13:10:14

garyp wrote:Can anyone come up here with similar problem<>solution sets in peak oil that could create positive movement?

problem: we are running out of stuff
solution: we have to stop using stuff

does that work? oh. Okay I know. it's too 'simplisitic.' okay. I'll rephrase it.

problem: we are running out of reasons why running out of stuff is okay.
solution: we need more distractions

how's that? too what? unproductive? okay let's try this.

problem: we are running out of a postive attitude
solution: we need more distractions

yeah. we need more distractions.
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Re: Do you have an 'Acceptable' Problem ?

Unread postby garyp » Sat 17 Jun 2006, 03:31:52

Ludi wrote:garyp, why do you consider the powerdown solution "surrender"? Powerdown as described by Monte and some of the rest of us addresses all the major problems we face, an integrated solution. Why is this seen by you as "surrender"? Do you consider addressing reality to be surrendering?

Just real darn curious.

Simple really, and I don't think I'm getting the point across so I'll have one last try - taking it step by step.

1) There is only so much the general population will take in terms of an 'acceptable' solution to an 'acceptable' problem. Trying to insist on more is counterproductive.

2) The actions of one or two individuals, laudable though they maybe, will have no significant effect on large scale problems. To significantly divert that course takes widescale action, and that means either government or big business - in practical terms.

3) Like it or not, we are all in this together. There are too many of us, too interconnected, for the idea of going off to your retreat in the country to be a tractable solution. One of the few viable survival models is to go around stealing supplies from such people. Its not possible to run away.

4) A large percentage of people here will continue to suggest 'solutions' such as powerdown, voluntary population reduction, sustainable farming/return to the land which have no chance of meeting point 1 - at least until the point when everyone is desperate and its all too late anyway. Its like saying you will fix your debt problems by winning the lottery - you know its not going to happen and it can even make things worse.

5) The 'surrender' I talked of was the surrender to the problem. Holding up your hands and saying it's all too difficult, you can't find a solution. The reality is that this option means you expect your neighbours, and in the end yourself, to die in the upheaval you foresee as the systems of civilisation break down.

6) I happen to think that neither is it acceptable to think like that, nor is it required. Just look at the frankly insane behaviours the public can take on if the solution is fitted to the reality, rather than the other way round.

The question is can you make the leap from saying "this is the only way" as you try to force a square peg into a round hole - towards finding those real world solution elements that help the situation, and can/will be implemented? That's addressing reality.


As others have pointed out, chief problems are population levels; oil used in transportation; oil used in food production; lack of self sufficiency in the population and consequent level of resource usage. Each of these COULD be addressed, but it requires imagination to shape a solution that could work.

To take the first as an example, population in the first world is driven by three things: expectation, tax breaks and at the heart the need for new workers to fund the retirement of the old. The 'demographics timebomb' at the beginning referred to that, and its a major reason why immigration continues to be supported by the politicians.

As a matter of practical reality, supporting voluntary euthanasia would help not only to give the elderly dignity in death, it would also help to remove the root drivers for the support childbearing in the form of tax breaks. It would be widely supported, with polls already showing overwhelming support for a change to the existing laws. Make that change, together with a reduction in the tax breaks and population would likely take an immediate move southwards.

That's what I mean by looking for solutions that can work and can be accepted. I've no doubt that other better ones exist, that's off the top of the head.

It requires a step outside the comfort zone of the doomers though.
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