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PeakOil is You

Have Even A Partial Solution?

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

Re: Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak o

Unread postby CARVER » Wed 28 Jun 2006, 21:07:03

This is not about whether people should try to become fully self sufficient (when it comes to their survival). If we all would become self sufficient, then we can't possibly achieve what we can when we specialize and depend upon one another (which could improve your chances of survival, unless you can't rely on those others).

However, when energy availability becomes the limiting factor, then you probably don't want to waste it on something you can do more energy efficient, like local food production. I think we have been mostly busy saving time, but that focus could shift towards saving energy (resources). Of course we would like it much better if we would not have any limiting factors, but that just isn't the case. So you could save the energy otherwise used to transport food to you, so that the energy is available to drive you to the hospital when needed. You make a choice, since you can't do both. Growing your food locally probably is less work than running a local hospital. We are not going to do everything locally and on a small scale, but if it means doing it locally or not doing it (or something else) at all, we will probably do it locally.
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Re: Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak o

Unread postby TonyPrep » Wed 28 Jun 2006, 21:41:12

MonteQuest wrote:Take tires for instance. How are you going to recycle the bits of tire that are worn off as you go down the road? No matter what we do, there will always be a diminishing amount of available usable material as well as energy.

Google "Cradle to Cradle" and you find some unique ideas along these lines though. We need to design things to be reused not thrown away.
Good point, Monte. But I would go further and say that we should aim to reuse as little as possible by making use of what we acquire for as long as possible. Ideally, reuse locally (preferably at household level). It takes energy to re-cycle and reuse.

I can't help thinking, though, that making anything is unsustainable, if it continues indefinitely. Ultimately, we need to only consume resources at their renewal rates, or lower. For most resources, that means not using them at all. Of course, some resources are vast, and so any use may effectively be no use. Is this possible? Can humans control their population and consumption to make sustainability achievable? I doubt it.

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Re: Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak o

Unread postby MonteQuest » Thu 29 Jun 2006, 00:35:09

TonyPrep wrote: Good point, Monte. But I would go further and say that we should aim to reuse as little as possible by making use of what we acquire for as long as possible. Ideally, reuse locally (preferably at household level). It takes energy to re-cycle and reuse.


Oh, I agree. This is what my quantity to quality is all about. Make things to last almost forever. In reality, an old 286 computer is more comnputing capacity than most people will ever need, just slow.

We need to give up speed and time for quality in a powerdowned world.

As to recycling, I say ban most stuff that needs to be constantly recycled, like plastic bottles and throw-away glass constainers. Sell in bulk and make the purchaser provide his own resusable container, grocery bag, drink cup, etc.

#1 priority?

Put the garbage collectors and landfills out of business completely.

Here's the link to Cradle to Cradle:

http://www.mcdonough.com/cradle_to_cradle.htm
A Saudi saying, "My father rode a camel. I drive a car. My son flies a jet-plane. His son will ride a camel."
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Re: Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak o

Unread postby Wildwell » Thu 29 Jun 2006, 01:50:54

Ludi wrote:See, there's the problem, calling something "bollocks" when you know so very little about it.

And claiming permaculture and related technologies can't help people in cities and towns. If you'd read "Solviva" you'd see most of the technology is geared toward town and even city life.

I'm really sorry, Wildwell, that you're not more interested. So little interested that you're not even willing to look beyond your preconceptions to see that most of what I'm promoting is very much applicable to towns and small cities. As I recall you live in a village or small city. Yet you have apparently utterly convinced yourself that none of this can help you or apparently anyone you know. Have you looked at the Dervaes Institute website? (pathtofreedom) None of this is about living in the country or having much land at all. Growbiointensive is about growing your food on the smallest amount of land possible. All of this is about what people can do on their own to help themselves and their communities.

This is why I am so nearly completely hopeless about our situation. That people are so uninterested in solutions they would rather just leap to conclusions based on - what? Nothing. Based on nothing, an impression they got somewhere that something is "bollocks."

Gridlock, I have no problem with a combined top-down, bottom-up approach. I think that would be best. But I only promote what I can do myself, and as I mentioned I have no power in government. I don't have any issue with Wildwell's approach except the fact that he is grotesquely ignorant and apparently intends to remain that way.

I'm afraid I don't personally have the strength to carry on this fight. If people can't look at beautiful websites, or read books, or really, do anything but leap to vastly ignorant conclusions, there's nothing I can do to fix the situation. Trying to convince people of things is not what I'm good at.


I'll ask the other way about, what's wrong with my solution?
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Re: Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak o

Unread postby Wildwell » Thu 29 Jun 2006, 01:54:22

TonyPrep wrote:
Wildwell wrote:So I see no other choice that the government(s) must educate the population and put in certain checks and balances as well as plan adequately for PO and long term sustainability.
Wildwell, you might see no other choice but do you think it likely? If you don't think it likely (and remember that PO may already be upon us), then what do you plan to do, to increase your chances or survival/comfort?

I don't think it likely, even in a small country like New Zealand. The leaders of almost all of the main parties agree that peak oil is here or very close and yet the two biggest parties (including the governing party) welcome huge planned extra spending on roads. What on earth are they thinking? Certainly not long term.

It's no good harking back to the 1950s, saying we did OK then, because we have a very different society now, much more global, much bigger and with aspirations that are almost expected, rather than hoped for. The 1950s wasn't fossil fuel free but that is what we have to aim for, for sustainability. Of course, sustainability may not be desireable for some people.

Tony


The answer is they will change thier mind through political pressure (IE use your votes) and support lobby groups and boycott certain goods. As Ludi admitted she had 5 cars once, I think I'm a lot further along that most would care to admit. I can't do anything to increase my chances of survival as I don't have $1 million for the property I need in Ludi's solution other than what I'm doing. Remember I don't have any land.
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Re: Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak o

Unread postby Wildwell » Thu 29 Jun 2006, 01:57:48

Ludi wrote:I agree, Tonyprep. If we have no other choice than to rely on the government then we are truly doomed.

We are doomed.


Use your vote, start writing to newspapers/Magazines, join groups, spend wisely.
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Re: Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak o

Unread postby TonyPrep » Thu 29 Jun 2006, 03:44:47

Wildwell wrote:The answer is they will change thier mind through political pressure (IE use your votes)
If most people wanted change, they would vote for change. Admittedly, most people don't really understand what is happening. But almost all the people I've talked to about this either violently disagree with PO and what it could mean or accept it and then forget it. My vote will have no effect. There was one party, a minor party, that stood primarily on the peak oil issue. It got about 0.001% of the vote. As both main parties want growth, I don't expect to see political pressure but there will be natural pressure from fuel shortages and a collapsing economy.

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Re: Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak o

Unread postby Gridlock » Thu 29 Jun 2006, 03:49:16

"Make things to last almost forever. In reality, an old 286 computer is more comnputing capacity than most people will ever need, just slow."

Eek, a 286 that’s gonna be tough. Not that I disagree, though maybe we could build computers so that hardware upgrades are a lot easier without buying a whole new machine.

"I don't think it likely, even in a small country like New Zealand. The leaders of almost all of the main parties agree that peak oil is here or very close and yet the two biggest parties (including the governing party) welcome huge planned extra spending on roads. What on earth are they thinking? Certainly not long term."

My view is there is not much they can do at the present as any implementation of the changes we really need would be the fast-track out of office. I have seen evidence of them preparing for PO (carbon quotas for example here). When PO begins to hit people I think will be screaming for the changes. I guess the question is then whether we’ve lost the time-frame needed to transition but I think there is a lot that can be done to maximise that window of opportunity. There are many politicians who have recognised this problem, I’m sure many more will follow particularly if as Wildwell suggests use your vote, start writing to newspapers/Magazines, join groups, spend wisely.
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Re: Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak o

Unread postby Cabrone » Thu 29 Jun 2006, 04:36:08

TonyPrep wrote:
I can't help thinking, though, that making anything is unsustainable, if it continues indefinitely. Ultimately, we need to only consume resources at their renewal rates, or lower.


Exactly. Jonathon Porrit in his book 'Capitalism As If The World Matters' describes what we are currently doing as raising entropy on our planet faster than the planet through it's solar powered natural systems can lower it. In general terms we are disordering our planet faster than it can re-order itself.

Elephant grass sounds like a miracle grass and maybe it can help ease the transition to a lower power society. But miracles don't happen, so I'm not optimistic that the grass can do everything you claim. Even if it could, it could not hope to more than put a very thin plaster over the huge hole that the decline of fossil fuels will open.


I took Elephant grass as just one example of what is going on out there (why not grow it along main roads, around airfields, on derelict land etc?). Please don't forget that we also have solar, wind, tidal, geothermal, hydro-electric and nuclear plus whatever hydrocarbon reserves are left. That is more than enough to power our society if we have the will to harness it. Also, don't forget that we have massive potential to cut our energy usage through microgeneration of household energy using olar+wind+CHPs+heat pumps, decent insulation+decent architecture, passive solar ventilation, thermal diodes, more fuel efficient cars, biofuels, capacitor racks under cars\buses, freight via canals\waterways\helium filled airships, cycling, working from home etc etc etc.

I would like to see every government set themselves a target of 100% recycling. My local council recycles everything apart from plastic wrapping and my small bin takes 2-3 months to fill up (with plastic wrappers). Force the corporations that sell us all this stuff to reduce their packaging or make it so that you could throw it on your back garden and it would degrade into the soil within a few months. Bio degradable plastic can be made from corn oil so why aren't we using it? Also force them to manufacture goods that are far more biodegradable, if the incentives are there they will vastly improve their products.

I would also like to see road tax applied to all cars that are less efficient than 50mpg. If your car is 50mpg or above you pay nothing but for every mpg below this figure the owner pays £100 in car tax. A 15 mpg gas guzzler would then come with an annual charge of (50-15)*£100 = £3500. If you want to guzzle the gas then fine, but you are going to pay for it. All the cash raised goes into grants for solar panels and wind turbines on roofs. Just watch the number of grossly inefficient vehicles fall to the floor with a policy like this.

I would like to see a carbon tax on all goods and services. The CO2 rating of any good would be calculated and an appropriate tax is levied. By doing this you build in the environmental cost that at the moment is being totally ignored. We are so ignorant about the incredible services that our environment provides us for free! Imagine if the environment was a PLC how much do you think it would charge us for our life support systems (decent air, clean water, energy and food)? It's time it was given a value.

The tools are out there to clean up our act and live better lives, what we need is some creative thinking and most importantly the will to get there.
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Re: Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak o

Unread postby TonyPrep » Thu 29 Jun 2006, 05:35:41

Cabrone wrote:I took Elephant grass as just one example of what is going on out there (why not grow it along main roads, around airfields, on derelict land etc?). Please don't forget that we also have solar, wind, tidal, geothermal, hydro-electric and nuclear plus whatever hydrocarbon reserves are left. That is more than enough to power our society if we have the will to harness it.
No it's not. What you might mean is "for a while". As the non-renewables, like fossil fuels and uranium, wind down and hydro maxes out, we'll have less than plenty, even if we could bring all those renewables up to speed as quickly as you'd like. Only solar and wind, and possibly micro-hydro, have the potential to power a downsized society. Renewables account for a very low percentage of the world's energy supply; take out hydro and it's almost immeasurable (hence the high reported percentage increases in those forms of energy). Quite a few books have been written on alternatives and it doesn't look promising, in terms of meeting current energy needs, never mind projected future energy needs. And don't forget that we'll need more land to grow food, not fuel, as the energy inputs decrease.
Cabrone wrote:Also, don't forget that we have massive potential to cut our energy usage
Massive potential, however, doesn't translate to actual. As the energy supply decreases, the possibility of using some of that dwindling energy to fuel the building of alternatives and conservation diminishes.
Cabrone wrote:I would also like to see road tax applied to all cars that are less efficient than 50mpg.
The problem with this is that it is unfair and impractical. It will hit the less well off more, since they won't be able to afford to buy these new highly efficient vehicles, especially if no-one can afford to buy their older less efficient cars. Building more cars is not the answer. Some calculations of mine suggest that stopping the building of cars and just driving more carefully, plus keeping your car in good condition, would be as efficient as trying to get more efficient cars built and encouraging people to buy them. But driving cars still uses fuel, just as building cars does. If there is any saved fuel, this plan would only be of use if the saved fuel goes to building alternatives; just putting money into alternatives is useless without the fuel to build the alternatives.
Cabrone wrote:I would like to see a carbon tax on all goods and services.
This I agree with.

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Re: Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak o

Unread postby Cabrone » Thu 29 Jun 2006, 08:00:07

Although I think we both believe that society is going to take some pain in the near term I think we are going to have to agree to disagree on the longer term outcome. By the way you should be OK in NZ, you have brilliant geothermal, wind and wave power all around you!

Just thought I'd stick another link to a really interesting project that is happening down in Australia, it's a solar tower and it works simply by heating air at ground level and drawing it up a 1km tower, driving turbines in the process. The people at enviromission say that they could power 200,000 homes using this plant. Really interesting and fundamentally simple idea which suits a place like Australia.

http://www.enviromission.com.au/project/technology.htm
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Re: Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak o

Unread postby Gridlock » Thu 29 Jun 2006, 12:32:37

Cabrone, that’s about the best solutions I’ve seen.

Perhaps it is easy to concentrate more on ideology than solutions themselves. Personally, I think if/when the interests of Government are wrestled from the vice grip of corporations, and people begin to wake up to the reality of an energy crisis, they can begin getting pretty radical instead of tinkering round the edges. I’m not advocating a centrally planned economy, just a lot more control measures that ensure we are producing the things that are going to sustain us in the long-term, clean energy producing sources rather than unnecessary, wasteful energy consuming crap. So we start tapping into wave, wind, nuclear, solar, re-wilding large parts of the earth, seeking to control population size by incentives, and promoting local farming and perma-culture. Whilst limiting the production/utilisation of SUVs, out-door patio heaters, short-haul flights, Sunday drives, food flown in from across the other side of the world when the country is already producing it etc. etc. If world oil production does follow an approximate bell curve, then we’ll still be producing as much oil in 20 years as we were in the 70s/80s, but it will be prohibitively expensive for many more people, probably triggering a recession/depression at some point with the current imbalance in world economy, at which point it’s probably an idea to scrap the current economic system for something else.
In the further distance, breeder reactors and even fusion are possibilities, though by this point we’ll have learnt not to get too giddy and go mental (maybe).
I see no reason for Government to interfere in our private lives or confiscate property, only in the way our economies are run. The only big dangers are resource war but we’ve seen how that turned out, and global warming, where we don’t have a clear idea how it will pan out, but we’ll be forced to deal with it indirectly through the energy crisis. That’s just my optimistic prediction that doesn’t factor in we’re all gonna die. Just be quite a bit poorer.
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Re: Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak o

Unread postby Ludi » Thu 29 Jun 2006, 15:17:17

Wildwell wrote:
Ludi wrote:blah blah blah


I'll ask the other way about, what's wrong with my solution?


Nothing except it requires I not do anything myself (I guess....?) but rather depend on the government to "fix it." Which they aren't doing, not in the least. So your solution leaves me feeling utterly helpless.

Other than that, I don't have a problem with what you see as a solution.
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Re: Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak o

Unread postby Ludi » Thu 29 Jun 2006, 15:22:10

Wildwell wrote: I can't do anything to increase my chances of survival as I don't have $1 million for the property I need in Ludi's solution other than what I'm doing. Remember I don't have any land.


Ok enough with this BS, Wildwell. YOU don't need land! I'm sick and tired of this crap from you and I'm very angry you are misrepresenting my solutions. You clearly have not read the websites or the books, which talk about people, families, neighborhoods and communities WORKING TOGETHER to implement these solutions. YOU do not need $1 million. NO ONE needs that!

Read the **^&$# websites and books and stop being such a moron. I'm sick of it.

Putting you on "ignore" now Wildwell, for my blood pressure's sake.
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Re: Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak o

Unread postby Wildwell » Thu 29 Jun 2006, 16:21:19

Ludi wrote:
Wildwell wrote: I can't do anything to increase my chances of survival as I don't have $1 million for the property I need in Ludi's solution other than what I'm doing. Remember I don't have any land.


Ok enough with this BS, Wildwell. YOU don't need land! I'm sick and tired of this crap from you and I'm very angry you are misrepresenting my solutions. You clearly have not read the websites or the books, which talk about people, families, neighborhoods and communities WORKING TOGETHER to implement these solutions. YOU do not need $1 million. NO ONE needs that!

Read the %$#* websites and books and stop being such a moron. I'm sick of it.

Putting you on "ignore" now Wildwell, for my blood pressure's sake.


Thanks for the persuasive argument, as soon as I put up a few ‘problems’ to some of these solutions you start calling people names and hit ignore. Well done.
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Re: Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak o

Unread postby Wildwell » Thu 29 Jun 2006, 18:31:01

TonyPrep wrote:It's no good harking back to the 1950s, saying we did OK then, because we have a very different society now, much more global, much bigger and with aspirations that are almost expected, rather than hoped for. The 1950s wasn't fossil fuel free but that is what we have to aim for, for sustainability. Of course, sustainability may not be desireable for some people.

Tony


Well you certainly wouldn't have a global society with permaculture, so what's the problem? I don't think permaculture is sustainable, for a start a poor harvest would (and certainly did in the past) mean widespread famine, looting, die off and even regional war. The name is an oxymoron.

I don't actually think some people know what 'sustainable' means, it doesn't mean 'forever'. An awful lot of things can be ‘sustainable’; you don't need to return to a arts, crafts, fruit and veg culture.

If community solutions work for some people, that’s just fine, but they won't work for the majority who do rely on modern conveniences, ability to service their debt, not having to grow their own food and the organisation and law enforcement in a modern, sophisticated society. I also strongly disagree that we have to rely on Government; the individual can do a lot just through purchasing habits. Business can provide an awful lot of solutions, but I suspect that may be distasteful to some of the left leaning people here who always since the chartists did have a luddite mentality. I mean there’s defiantly this desire for some here to return to the middle ages, because it sounds like jolly good fun. It won’t happen, people will seek solutions to the problems as they’ve always done and they won’t be living on homesteads and growing a bit of veg on the sly, at least for the majority. But if works for you, go for it.
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Re: Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak o

Unread postby Wildwell » Thu 29 Jun 2006, 19:02:16

I did read the sites, not in a huge detail but I did read them.

http://www.pathtofreedom.com/urbanhomes ... ance.shtml

Talks about 1/5th of an acre. Well, a home with that sort of land near me costs about $1 million, especially with all the solar panels etc. It's not a solution because it's not true self-sufficiency. They still have cars, solar panels, and fridges, flushing loos, light bulbs - all industrial products. The so-called self-sufficient skills include Website and Graphic Design, Self Publishing for Books and Materials, Photography. I mean come on . This all assumes you also own your home outright, which few people do. In the real world most of us have to train to be bus drivers, computer programmers, sales managers and plumbers to get a roof over our heads and pay for things. If I thought i could get by growing a bit of veg and doing a few handycrafts and paying the mortgage I would.

An admirable effort I'm sure, but did anyone bother telling them they could reduce oil consumption considerably just be getting rid of the car, they didn't have to give up everything else. Oh look, it's an SUV, now there's a surpirse.
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Re: Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak o

Unread postby TonyPrep » Thu 29 Jun 2006, 19:48:48

Gridlock wrote:If world oil production does follow an approximate bell curve, then we’ll still be producing as much oil in 20 years as we were in the 70s/80s
But with a lot more people, of course, and much grander lifestyles, with aspirations that we seem to expect as a right. We passed peak on individual energy consumption (per person) quite some time ago (I think it was at least 10 years ago, but I may be wrong). This indicates that we are already more efficient than we were, since the economy has grown, but it will get harder and harder to keep economies growing and affluence increasing, as energy decreases.

Don't hold your breath for fusion. If it's not ready soon, we may not have the energy to develop it to a stage where it is ready. And the test station is not due for another decade.

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Re: Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak o

Unread postby TonyPrep » Thu 29 Jun 2006, 20:04:08

Wildwell wrote:[Well you certainly wouldn't have a global society with permaculture, so what's the problem?
The problem is that we'll be forced back into a more localised society. You seem to think that the end result of the change we'll go through implies that there will be no significant pain in getting there. Thre may be nothing wrong with localisation, but there is a problem in getting there from here. In the 1950s, we were closer to that.
I don't actually think some people know what 'sustainable' means, it doesn't mean 'forever'.
Actually, it does, unless you qualify it by a time period. Sustainable over the next few years is useless if it can't be sustained thereafter. If we can sustain our society for another hundred years or so, there might be a case for not worrying about after that, but when our society looks like being unsustainable within our lifetimes, then unsustainable is a very big deal.
If community solutions work for some people, that’s just fine, but they won't work for the majority who do rely on modern conveniences, ability to service their debt, not having to grow their own food and the organisation and law enforcement in a modern, sophisticated society.
As you imply, many people will not be able to cope with the changes being forced on them.
I mean there’s defiantly this desire for some here to return to the middle ages, because it sounds like jolly good fun.
I haven't seen much of that here. Perhaps you have misundertood what those people are aiming for.
It won’t happen, people will seek solutions to the problems as they’ve always done.
And you are assuming that there are solutions that give those people who would be unable to cope a continuation of business as usual. That's a big assumption, but you're entitled to believe in it.

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Re: Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak o

Unread postby TonyPrep » Thu 29 Jun 2006, 20:12:16

Wildwell wrote:Talks about 1/5th of an acre. Well, a home with that sort of land near me costs about $1 million
Why does it have to be near to where you live now? I get the impression (from this and the rest of your post), that the only reason you rail aginst these possible approaches is that you desperately want your current lifestyle to continue and desperately want to believe that your can constantly increase your standard of living. Just because you and others can't envision a world that doesn't meet your specification doesn't mean that there must be a solution that will meet your criteria. You seem to believe passionately that there is.

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