Posts filed under ‘Energy Crash’

America, Prepare To Learn From The Hippies

Hippy geek techno culture

Hey America.

Capitalism as it was working ain’t working so good anymore. Our financial system is about to go through hell. A ‘Post-US Capitalism World’ is being planned, and Americans are the last to know. Russia and China are shaking hands on the new global financial order, and lots of others are in the club. We are hated around the world, folks – and we owe everyone money.

Russia China partnership

So right now, money is not as important as learning new skills, sharing what knowledge and things you have to help other people, and talking about how you feel. We have not been properly prepared by our government. Like bad parents, they have screwed up royally, and the kids are about to get stuck with the results. You are in for a traumatic shock. You will grieve. You will mourn. You will learn how awesome it is to be a techno-hippie.

Remain vigilant as we head into some cosmic storms. We were supposed to construct heaven and the architects had us build hell instead – OOPS! Americans are smart people, we just need to stick a lever in the ground and switch the direction of our ship. We have plenty of stuff to make new things out of and survive to have a happy populace, so all you rough and tough guys who own construction companies and big trucks don’t have any excuses to get violent.

Garbage mining

There are many, many cool things happening that will help people get through this mess just fine, and be happier for it when we get through the first few phases. So everyone needs to know things suck, and the future is going to be different than what you were told it was going to be. America’s future looks a lot more like the Oregon Country Fair than it does anything else.

Man make fire

So all of you Nascar lovers who are about to get the shock of your life as America falls in the world, it is not a sign of weakness to talk about your feelings. You and your buddies can talk about how fucked everything is over beer, but at least be open to what the hippies and geeks have to say. We do have answers and a clear path to get America through this so everyone can be happy, eat, and learn new skills. Think about it this way – you get to goof off like you are in school again. Yee haw!

New university

Because our universities have failed us, and America needs to go back to school and lean about making rain barrels, aquaculture, windmills, alcohol fuel, urban farming, passive solar – the whole works.

Rain barrel

In each of our local communities, we can all pitch in and help fix the ship, there are lots of ways we will pull through this. I am so excited to show people all the cool things in store for transitioning to a radically sustainable culture. It will be better than Willy Wonka’s Factory!

October 30, 2008 at 11:06 am Leave a comment

How Well Are You Surviving?

rich VS poor

So, how are you making it out there?

Still have your job? Still have food on the table?

I hope so. We have it pretty good here in America, even if we are homeless. We pretty much keep ourselves in line because we live in a “civil” place in the world. Maybe if gas prices keep going lower, everything will be okay again, right?

Wrong.

As oil and gas see-saw back and forth in price, do not be fooled. Excessive dependence upon a non-constant energy resource makes life precarious, especially when that resource runs out. And if you look at the historical record, gas prices always drop around election time. Duh.

Gas Price manipulation

But that isn’t what’s important. What is important is that you are doing well. It’s getting tougher out there, and we are in for some rough times ahead. But if you are fed, you are ok. Everyone crashes and burns at some point, just look at the Irish.

So if the shit hits the fan and the whole thing goes “KABLOOEY!”, we still have people that care. Instead of acting like idiots, there are lots of plans in place and people ready to help as a back-up in the event of a total system failure of America’s government and business infrastructure.

That’s because we are now entering the phase when America’s third backup takes over. And that means when business and government fail, you can count on the power of community to help save America.

We live in a country, where no matter what your politics or religion, there are people that care about other people, and they volunteer. They are community leaders and workers. They are nurses. Fire responders. Medical technicians. Social workers. HAM radio operators. Community farmers. There are too many to name here. These are the people who will still show up to help other people, even if the financial system crashes, we have hyper-inflation, and people’s money loses its value and meaning.

And that would give us enough time to stay calm, listen to the smarter leaders, and rebuild a new American economy. The main man with the plan is David Blume. David Blume is America’s new George Washington, only he doesn’t advocate killing. His book Alcohol Can Be A Gas is already creating big, positive waves throughout the country.

In Portland, members of government, the community, and business are using Bright Neighbor to solidify the social glue. We are growing a community that is working together self-organize, share resources and knowledge, and team up to do everything in Dave Blume’s book. Right now we have businesses starting up to build alcohol stills, broker deals between suppliers and new customers, and community members going in together to implement change at the local level.

We aren’t jumping ship, rather switching ships.

We are embarking on a journey with ecological business, and its new entrepreneurs are succeeding as they take care of the earth and her inhabitants. What we really need are for bankers to give loans to entrepreneurs that are willing to take risks as newby ecologically smart upstarts. The winners in America’s new economy are, for example, permaculture-based business entrepreneurs. Also, ecologically trained teachers can use Bright Neighbor to teach large classes of new business people. For real estate agents looking for a new career that pays well, “Alcohol Can Be A Gas” is the smartest book they can read on how to make money right now.

David Blume is empowering his readers in a wide variety of industries, including tech, automotive, urban farmers, restaurants, real estate, politicians, and bankers as they learn about new growth business opportunities.

I am now making a good living because of David Blume’s book, and if you want to know where the money is, it lies within those pages.

PS – Hey musicians! Learn how to share gear with one another – we need you to keep people’s spirits up! Hey painters – start painting some awesome murals on drab stuff! Hey poets! Get a real job!

Just kidding.

October 27, 2008 at 8:45 am Leave a comment

Living On Earth In 2008

We produce atoms and electrons

It is 2008, and things are just fine on planet earth. Right.

Here we are, a supposedly highly evolved animal, busy producing both electrons and atoms. And we are at an important stage of life’s evolution. It is a beautiful awakening, and I can now imagine what it feels like to be a butterfly cracking open the chrysalis to begin a new life.

We did it folks! We won! We beat ourselves…. we created an amazing round of cities, cultures, and connections. We found methods to light our own way like fireflies providing their own electricity. We have broken free from energy constraints, and have freed our minds from the clutches of fantasy.

A great understanding is sweeping the land, a new recognition of human problems as a whole, realizing that we can stop killing each other if we give everyone positive activities that help to feed and power ourselves. Imagine all the new lives we will each explore as we learn about the wonders of the planet’s truths and laws.

Yes, in 2008 – we can thank the gods of creativity for the i-Phone. We can thank Google for providing us logistical support. We can thank our organic farmers who stand at the ready to teach us how to live beautiful, healthy, nutritious lives. We can thank all the hippies who are more than happy to show everyone the way.

Evolution can be a violent process, and human violence can be behind us. We have gone through enough pain, shed enough blood, and destroyed enough families. War is obviously not the answer we seek.

Corporations are realizing they must now allow us to work with one another, rather than only for them. They realize that we are thinking more than ever, and we must be allowed more free time to volunteer for community projects, skills training classes, talk about our feelings, and for converting our homes to deal with the crash of excess.

Imagine if our homes became producers instead of consumers. If where we live helped produce oxygen, sequester carbon, produce more electricity than it used, contributed to fixing soil, and featured its own water harvest and cleansing system.

All of this is possible, if we aren’t too lazy and stupid. There are many lazy humans who given the opportunity, choose to suck off the life force of others instead of contributing to the effort of the whole. This is the great shake-down, and mother earth is in no mood for playing favorites.

And so, as the truth becomes evident that we must all contribute to our our own salvation through smarter food production, intelligent water usage, and weaning ourselves from relying on so many technologies. In the times head, we are bound to experience everything from immense spiritual awakening to the dark realities of nuclear explosions.

There is potential for unlimited love and unlimited hatred in this world. The way to begin to extinguish evil is to make sure people are fed. This must be the top policy of world and local government. And by feeding the world, we must abstain from meat as much as we can, to make room for more fruits, nuts, and vegetables.

There are enough cookbooks around the world and online recipe sites to help everyone make vegetarian dishes that send God into orgasm. There is enough land that everyone can take part in rebuilding our planet’s soils. There are enough vehicles for people to slow down and take the time to share rides. There is enough of everything, except trust and love.

So let 2008 be the year that humans begin to learn to share more than they ever have known before, and to be good people. Good means caring about more than just yourself and your family… it means caring about the whole.

I very much look forward to helping in the effort.

October 19, 2008 at 1:51 pm Leave a comment

Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?: Economic Collapse Edition

Economic collapse

Americans like games.

It’s the reason that even as the financial markets collapse around us in the Peak Oil Crash of 2008, football is still front and center in people’s faces. Whether it is at your local high school track or broadcast on national television, the illusion that all is well with the national psyche is still being upheld because of efforts to preserve the status quo by the power players in the world.

So they will make some more hocus-pocus deals to literally buy more time, when what we really need to address this economic meltdown is nothing less than immediate changes in school room curriculums. In order to survive a food system collapse, kids need to be taught about how to respect earth and how to grow food. This is a must shift in student learning – focusing the time students are gathered in school to learning about the soil-food-web ASAP.

But still we watch TV shows meant to numb us from the pain of reality. Meanwhile, we should be creating local community plans for conserving food stores while we shift to immediate learning, teamwork, and labor to rectify local living soil.

And it really comes down to – are you smarter than a 5th grader? Because kids are learning sponges – and they want a role in shaping society. They are eager beavers, ready to spend their high amounts of energy.

Let me repeat that – kids offer high amounts of energy.

So what if the grid goes down? We have technology and can locally build pedal-powered electricity generators from spare parts – the plans are on the Internet. Put high-energy kids on exercise bikes and presto – they stay healthy, have a fun activity to do with others, and generate much needed power. Each town just needs to organize its technician and core geek base to build solar and human powered communications terminals. Add in community wi-fi nodes and tada! We have free wireless Internet for the whole community.

We have everything we need to keep our shit together in America. But do we have the will to succeed? Do we have the smarts to let the geeks run the ship for a while? Because it’s the local organizers that are shaping up our communities, and they are the cosmic keepers of your local tribes.

And that means taking action to secure food for everyone – that way there is no real reason to fight one another. Sure, people are angry, and will become more upset as they learn the level of trauma being inflicted on us all at once. Talk about shock therapy. People are stunned they will soon not voluntarily reducing meat consumption. Americans are addicted to meat. It’s the taste of blood that we love to slap onto our grills. Neanderthals went extinct because they ate one another rather than enjoying the delicacies of nature. Go figure.

Now, I don’t know if it makes you smarter than a 5th grader, but here are what smart Americans are doing as part of their crash plan:

Cooperative efforts with friends and neighbors.
We are a bunch of spoiled brats in America. It’s high time we grow up as a country, and start to build real community where we live. Neanderthals got by with stone tools, we can get by just fine with i-pods, solar panels, and board games. Bright Neighbor is helping lead the way with this effort.

Friends are a consistent winning formula. Good times, laughs, spirits, food together, and board games. Even if by candle light with music playing via battery operated music players – your friends love you and cherish your company. Cherish theirs.

Cooperative dinners
Those who cook together, stay together. One of the earliest books I ever read was called “Stone Soup” where everyone pitches in and is fed. There is no reason to hoard food, we all have to eat and people will know you have a hold out. So get friendly now and start enjoying food, music, drinks and fun!

Cooperative gardening
Do you know how to do everything yourself, Mr. or Mrs. Farmer? I didn’t think so. You can tap into your local neighborhood know-how and meet neighbors with skills you only dreamed you could have. They can share that knowledge with you now. It’s fun to learn new things anyway. You will be amazed at the wonderful world of insects. Kids are fascinated by it!

Lending lists
We have plenty of stuff in America. We can easily share things with one another and help people who are down and out. Yeah, it sucks – we are all in this together though, and we have to help those contributing to the effort. Just keep track of who borrowed what.

Citizen Patrols
This is America. We are armed to the teeth, and the powers that be are afraid of Americans getting organized and working together. There is no need for violence, we just need to be sure that everyone is fed and clothed, and can work out the details from there. But not that there isn’t reason to be on guard in our communities, taking turns to watch the neighborhoods and work together to keep the community safe. That means collaborating schedules and having team meetings with your neighbors.

You decide your own local leadership. But the time for people to make a choice as to the type of person they are – do you give life or take it? There is no reason to mistreat one another right now. We all have a responsibility to at least TRY and save America by starting in our own communities first. Don’t just give up without trying. Everyone wants us to succeed… so what are you afraid of? What can you do to help the effort? Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

It’s time to realize that the economic and energy crash has caught most everyone by surprise, and sometimes surprises are a very scary thing. This is the greatest opportunity America has ever had to get its act together. It’s time to be a volunteer, be a nice person, and get organized with your neighbors. Like nude crowd surfing – it starts out as awkward, but you get used to it and it becomes fun.

Let’s start by making sure we are all fed and in communications with one another. Every smart 5th grader knows that.

October 13, 2008 at 12:17 pm 2 comments

The Geeks Were Right: Using The Internet And Social Innovation As Currency

How geeks get chicks

Crash! Bang! Boom!

Looks like the $700,000,000,000 wasn’t enough to alleviate world markets. As money goes “Poof”, it is high time we look at the way the Internet innovation is presently acting as its own currency and market. If you will remember in March 2008 when I wrote the Trends-to-watch article regarding peak oil, I predicted that we would see the Internet moving in and encroaching on the government’s territory.

The geeks of the world are becoming the new masters of the Universe, and the leaders of the world are miffed. They do NOT want to lose control of the masses – and we citizens can only ponder what military solutions they have in store for us as the value of American paper dollars become more and more meaningless.

The US Government is ready to deploy the US Army to fight back our own citizens, who are rightfully pissed off that their 401Ks have taken such a massive hit. But, there is risk in any investment, and it’s not like people haven’t been warned time and time again this crash was coming.

But let’s face it – we must like George Orwell’s 1984. Since its late arrival, we have grown accustomed to our “telescreens”, and we know the government has us bugged. But as long as there is food, electricity, the Internet, sex, drugs, and rock and roll, we apparently aren’t ready to fight for the Constitution.

So as the economy contracts and we start to experience fuel and electricity shortages, all sorts of funny human behaviors will start emerging. Who knows what our failed government has in store to control enraged the citizens of the US – only the biggest, most shadowy figures have the playbook.

What we do know, however, is that even as markets fail, Internet startups will continue to create and innovate. There are coffee shops loaded to the hilt with programmers and entrepreneurs teaming up in collaborations to unite local communities through social innovations.

The focus of the startups that matter are around real-world needs, including food, communications, community-building, hyper-localization and revenue sharing. Revenue doesn’t necessarily mean paper money, either. Collaborations are forming based on shared value(s), meaning whatever the participants decide is worth something is becoming its own currency. That means barter and trade – just like the old days.

As America collapses Enron style, we will probably begin to experience hyper-inflation. That means “consumers” will continue to experience a serious wake-up call into what we truly need versus what we think we need to be happy. But hey – Ramen Noodles have got a lot of people through tough times before.

In case you are a government employee reading this and need to do something to help your local municipality or emergency responders deal with this crash, here are some of the nifty things that Bright Neighbor offers communities:

- Fast and easy searching for all things local
- Discover and meet people around you based on location and interests
- Safe & Secure – only your real community members allowed
- Food Growing / Garden system automation
- Swap & Share allows the community to lend, barter, trade and sell
- Add and discover community events, hyper-local news, views, and reviews
- Transportation & Ride Sharing tools

Bright Neighbor offers a strong solution to help communities deal with the new depression. It’s going strong in Portland, and there are multiple new Bright Neighbor communities launching across the US.

As things get worse in the currency markets, we will be counting on the geeks to help the new farmers of the world.

BONUS! See how the Executives at AIG are spending the $85,000,000,000 of your tax dollars. And oh yeah – they want more.

October 6, 2008 at 8:12 am 1 comment

Hey America, We Never Really Needed Gasoline

Congrats America – you just bought yourselves a whole lot of bad debt! Yay for our collective wisdom, or lack of it. Wall Street and the big bankers of the world thank you very much.

Just a friendly reminder from your friend David Blume, the director of the International Institute for Ecological Agriculture who gave you the plan to avoid this mess in the first place:

We don’t need gasoline.
We never needed it.

Facts: Scientific and historical about gasoline and alcohol

1. The original automobiles ran on alcohol because when they were invented gasoline was not available.

2. John D. Rockefeller spent $4 million in early 1900 dollars (that we know of) to promote Prohibition, a ban on alcohol manufacturing in the US that started in 1919 just as the car industry was taking off.

3. When Prohibition was lifted in 1933, gasoline stations were ubiquitous and most engines ran on gasoline only.

4. Alcohol can be manufactured locally and on a community level from renewable plant material for $1 – $2 per gallon.

5. The growing of plant material for alcohol would have no effect on the price of food.

6. The growing of plants for fuel would more than neutralize the carbon created by burning alcohol for fuel.

7. In Brazil, over 50% of new cars sold can already run on 100% alcohol.

8. Producing alcohol from plant material is energy efficient and has a positive energy return (You get more energy out of alcohol than it takes to make it).

9. The oil companies aggressively promote garbage science to deceive the public into believing that alcohol fuels:
a) will cause starvation
b) are uneconomical
c) are net polluters.

10. Gasoline is a high toxic material.

11. It is entirely unneeded to fuel our cars.

12. Oil companies like Chevron have pressured PBS, commercial TV networks and other news media to keep this basic information from the public for decades – and the censorship continues to this day.

Remember this information when the gas shortages start, and pick up a copy of America’s playbook for digging out of this mess.

Our biggest challenge in the world right now is not our 401k’s… it is that there are nuclear armed countries whose people are starving, and they are descending into chaos. All the leaders of the world need to do is feed people and they can maintain order.

The highly armed nations of the world need to be fed, folks – because it sucks to die and countries that are armed with weapons of mass destruction will take others out with them as they go.

And to add to our own domestic national security problem here in the United States, Matt Simmons, one of the world’s foremost energy experts, says gasoline stocks are the lowest here since 1967 and refinery production is down following recent hurricanes. He warns that if there were a run on the “energy bank” by everyone topping off their gasoline tanks, the U.S. would be out of fuel in three days, and grocery shelves largely emptied in a week.

We do not have a very large alcohol fuel energy infrastructure in place yet, and there are bound to be emergency shortages of energy. You can live without electricity and gas, you would just have to get used to digging in the dirt. They survived collapse in Cuba, and we can do it here.

So let’s become less selfish REAL FAST. We can survive without money. But it will be easier as long as we have communities with local leadership, farming and people-organizing skills, electricity, the Internet, and barter systems. I think it would suck if the Internet went away.

Because if it did, I couldn’t watch this Stephen Colbert video.

October 3, 2008 at 12:09 pm Leave a comment

We Need Leaders That Still Enjoy Making Sweet Love

Bush not getting any Bush

Pardon me for saying so, but I don’t think President Bush and the first lady get it on much.

The president is out there touting that America’s economy is safe and strong. No it isn’t – don’t be an idiot. Even Wall Street bounce-backs do not mean the economy is safe.

We have had enough lies from our leaders. Are they honest enough to have the tough “world family” conversation we really need to have, from the US, to Iran to Russia – to the local community at the street level? It’s time to grow up, shake off the violence, and learn to work together as a global community. But without leaders that still enjoy life and all the wonderful beauty of existing on planet earth, we will remain in a state of violence and planetary imbalance.

And part of that enjoyment is getting it on. You know, firing up all the cylinders in your netherbits, tickling your pleasure zone, getting all hot and bothered.

Now, I would have to guess that French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is so happy of a guy he got drunk at the G8 summit, enjoys spending time with his hot wife.

French President's wife

Also, take a look at Putin’s new babe.

Putin wife

These are happy men. They don’t want to blow up the world – they just want to party and throw each other around a Judo mat.

By the way, in no way am I insinuating that leaders should be men. I think it’s high time we have many, many more women leading the way. But no matter male or female, you had better have a positive vision of how to ensure continuity of local communities, meaning having serious leadership abilities but also a real love of living.

And part of that means shedding the Puritan mask that we so badly try to wear in this country. Politicians and group leaders are caught in sex scandals every day. My hypothesis is that we are facing inner-turmoil inside ourselves, ashamed that we dig hot sex even though our religions tell us we should shun it. We are so angry and ready for violence because of sexual frustration that we refuse to free ourselves from the grips of oil companies.

So I wonder…. are our own leaders too sexually frustrated to handle the converging crisis of climate change and peak oil?

Laura Bush

All I can say is that I hope the president and his wife are happy people. And the next president as well, for that matter.

We have a lot of problems, and if people would get laid more, we would be a lot happier of a planet. Maybe then we could start addressing our real, deep problems and work together as local communities to fix each place on earth, starting where we each live. In order to have resilient communities that thrive, we must each start in our homes.

In America, we can’t can’t help what someone in China is doing, but we can grow a garden at home here in the US. We can ride share with our friends and neighbors. We can swap and share with them, legally make our own auto fuel, lend out tools, books, labor and anything to help one another out. We can even create community classes and learn together.

We can set up solar powered Internet servers that are off-grid, so that we can connect using Bright Neighbor and wi/fi systems via public Internet kiosks. This way, no matter if the electricity grid goes down, friends, families, businesses, and the government can still easily communicate with one another and self-organize.

Here in Portland, people are connecting via Bright Neighbor and working together to build a resilient community across all 95 Portland neighborhoods. We have plenty of stuff among all of us, we just need to move it around better. So now you can find who around you has a ladder, saw, drill, food – you name it. It will be more fun than camping!

It’s possible to fix this place without worrying whether Wall street survives or not. They key is to take action in each of our communities so we can remain resilient across the United States and the world, for that matter.

Here is our Federal government’s strategic plan for keeping you secure. They get an “E” for “Effort”, but I say just make sure that your local leaders still like to dance, love, and most of all… get it on. Ready everyone? Here we go…

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!

September 18, 2008 at 11:13 am 3 comments

The Three “L”s of Peak Oil

Living With Less

The energy crisis is hastening its speed in whipping America into shape. Regardless of who or what is to blame for our present energy and economic woes, the media is now being forced to report on the repercussions of bad government decisions and rampant consumerism. And from the looks of things, Americans had better quickly embrace the three “L”s of peak oil: Learning To Live With Less.

This doesn’t necessary mean less of ‘things’. It could mean less quality of produce as we learn about waste and food storage from our gardening experiences. It can mean less car transportation. Less, less, less.

At the same time, however, it means more. More riding your bike, walking, and carpooling. More meeting your neighbors. More time in the garden and not in front of the TV or computer. But to get back to my point, let’s connect a few recent dots:

Vulnerable populations are being squeezed out of existence. My neighbor receives food from “Loaves & Fishes” and she reports over 300 elderly in the area rely on them – but their volunteers have had to stop due to fuel prices.

Homeowners experiencing foreclosure are gutting their own houses to sell everything from copper pipes to whatever they can salvage.

Fuel theft is now a booming business. NOTE* If you are buying gasoline from the Black Market, you are only encouraging thieves to steal more gas from other drivers and you are hurting yourself and others.

Oh, and watch out for foofie going missing as well.

As we predicted in our groundbreaking report: “Descending Peak Oil: Navigating The Transition From Oil and Natural Gas”, America is witnessing behaviors that define peak oil’s arrival. In terms of the social fabric and economic victims, here is what we wrote would happen:

Vulnerable and marginalized populations will grow and will be the first and hardest hit by peak oil. The impacts of increasing oil and natural gas costs are felt first and deepest among vulnerable and marginalized populations. Rising oil and natural gas prices increase the cost of transportation, housing, food, and other goods and services. The sharp rise in gasoline prices in 2005 provided direct evidence of the effects of increasing fuel costs as people shifted their budgets from food to fuel.

As a consequence of this, demands on food banks increased dramatically. In addition, the disabled, elderly, and people with the least economic resources are more likely to depend on public transportation. Increasing fuel costs and decreased social program funding may price even public transportation out of reach, or decrease special public transportation options. This can dramatically impact mobility and may lead to loss of jobs for some and further isolation for others.

Vulnerable and marginalized populations are already among the most at-risk members of society. They are least likely to have information or understanding about peak oil or to see it as a pressing issue. This population has the fewest resources to meet increased costs stemming from peak oil. Their housing and vehicles are often the least efficient, and they have little control over housing improvements or access to programs that would help.

In addition, these populations are the least likely to have the resources needed to protect their rights. Many are already vulnerable to being displaced by growth and development. Lack of integration or isolation of people and populations within Portland places them on the outside of both communication and information networks, as well as having fewer resources to adapt to changing circumstances. These are groups who are also frequently not represented in policy and planning discussions.”

So obviously we have a lot of work to do. I have a feeling we will be hearing stories out of Texas soon as gas thieves get blown away by gun owners with RVs. That means, unless we want to disintegrate into social chaos, Americans are going to have to embrace the three “L”s: Learning To Live With Less.

Now is the time to find the hero within each of ourselves and get to work to fix this place, but in the meantime – we must learn how to be more humble. It sucks “losing” things like loved friends and family – and lifestyles as people have known them have been a comfortable “friend”. Our ability to live as wastefully as we have in America, however, is changing whether we want it to or not.

The best prescription I can think of at the moment is to busy yourself over the next few weeks reading three books guaranteed to arm you with the knowledge you need from this point forward:

Food Not Lawns

Alcohol Can Be A Gas

So Easy To Preserve

July 28, 2008 at 11:15 am Leave a comment

When Governments Fail, Markets Evolve

Peak Oil evolution

Our world governments have failed humanity. Every nation in the world has to do more to avert the darker impacts of the energy crash, and it will be a “Bottoms-up” people’s revolution that kicks business and government into high gear ( I love reading the work of famous dead economists).

As markets are slow-crashing around us, we are seeing America enter into the “Behavior Modification” era of peak oil. We are witnessing people’s consumption habits change, which is reflected in a consumption based currency with values mostly pegged on a framework of continuous growth. Since our economy is contracting, even if the government prints more money into existence, our present value system attached to energy is declining in worth. That means consumption power is grinding to a halt as financial difficulties multiply for Americans and people around the world.

America has been a main prop for globalization. As we restructure our country, the entire global banking system will need to restructure itself, which could mean the breakup of nation states into smaller, more viable and resilient communities. The future is a mashup of everyone’s execution of their visions. How well communities thrive or how bad they fall apart depends on the vision, skills, and ability of the people within that community to cooperatively work together for the greater good. The idea of community is to live a happy life, not just ‘survive’.

This is why I am convinced America will pull through this leadership and economic debacle. Maybe not all of America, but at least those communities with enough people able to tolerate one another trying to learn and adjust to a less energy-intensive lifestyle. For, as capitalism reinvents itself through collapse, the public will learn that markets and leadership fail in order to evolve better solutions.

There will always be markets. Even if everything collapsed and we were pummeled into global human cannibalism, you would still see markets around for trading (trade you two arms for a leg?)

I happen to follow the Social Networking economy very closely. Once ridiculed for predicting the current depression the advertising and media industry are reeling from, now I am sought out as a consultant for how these businesses can thrive in a post-peak oil economy.

Here is the big secret: My company Bright Neighbor has developed a technology (Launching in three weeks!) that will outperform Google, MySpace, Facebook, Meetup, Craigslist, and Evite. The secret is in our company values, our interface, and functionality.

My opinion is that MySpace and Facebook are just toys. As my friend Mark puts it, “They are the modern day inside of a school locker”. They of course, have the ability to change their interface and functions on the fly and present changes instantly to a vast universe of present users. This makes them formidable foes.

As humanity (and especially Americans) come to terms with our global fight-for-oil predicament, it is more modern, innovative local solutions such as Bright Neighbor that will lead the way for better local living. The larger technology companies will either swallow technology-driven, for-profit activist companies whole or assimilate their competitive advantages.

Either way, the market will win where governments have failed – which means we have a real possibility of a peaceful energy transition to much more earth-aligned living styles.

July 21, 2008 at 12:16 pm 2 comments

Fixing Peak Oil Is Easy

That’s right, I said it. Peak Oil is a straw man argument.

If you want to understand what I mean, watch this alternate ending to “The Lord Of The Rings”. You will quickly understand.

See what I mean?

What it sums up is that fixing Peak Oil all comes down to the community’s decision to follow a smarter plan, act accordingly, and share collective resources and talents with one another. That is how you win.

Think about it this way. The “Lord of The Rings” movie everyone has collectively seen presents a story the way it was written. Everyone leaves the theatre thinking that was the way the story had to be. But Ho Ho! If J.R. Tolkien had written “The Fellowship Of The Ring” to actually follow the course in the alternate ending, people would have had a much shorter movie and still had a happy ending.

And this is our society’s problem. We love thrillers. The story of “Peak Oil” is currently being presented as a potentially cataclysmic global energy problem. It is not. Peak Oil is a communications problem among a spoiled, techno-zombie culture. We have communicated with one another for so long about the story ending, we can’t decide what our global population’s story of continuity should be.

In America, the lagging economy is driving a dramatic move back to basics and a reversal of decades-long trends of convenience. Roughly half of all consumers with incomes less than $55,000 per year say they have trouble affording the groceries they need, while nearly a quarter of those earning between $55,000 and $99,000 also say so. Among those with incomes over $100,000, 16% report having trouble. 42% of consumers say they have given up favorite food brands because of rising prices and economic concerns. Source: IRI Economic Trend Database/AttitudeLink, May 2008

Also, large numbers of Americans face the prospect of energy shutoffs during the coming months because of rising energy prices and stagnant wages.

And so communities around the world are going to have to grapple with dwindling resources at the community level. You will not get help from the folks at the top. Anyone over 30 knows that money drives politics, and money is presently tied up in oil. This will remain true until communities free themselves from the global money system and start basing values on things that matter, such as services you provide that benefit the entire community and that do not cause harm to the environment or other people.

I would argue that hemp does not cause harm to people. It is a renewable energy resource and medicine. It’s human laws and lawns getting in the way of nature that are stopping us from having enough food and fuel for everyone.

Because cars are cool. I like walking, but I still want to drive, damnit! And right now, I am making my own fuel – which can run in any car with a combustible engine. The oil companies took over the fuel market a long time ago, and they are defending their money with as much vigor as they can.

So until local communities start firing up moonshine and having their local farmers plant sorghum as a better feedstock alternative than corn, we aren’t really serious about fixing our problems. Until we each begin to learn about the soil food web, we aren’t serious about fixing the problem. Until we each accept one another’s faiths, and work together to improve earth’s life support systems, we are not serious about fixing the problem. If we aren’t willing to help more than just ourselves, our family, and our friends, we aren’t serious about fixing the problem.

It’s going to take collective action from each of us, as well as the truth to emerge about certain solutions that have been suppressed, to implement desperately needed changes. Changes that allow us to continue to live happy lives, eat better, and travel from one place to another. Changes that are possible, given that we take away so much power from corporations and weapons companies that run the world.

Unless communities immediately create renewable local food and water systems, it means even more war and death. Until a majority of us are ready to act on the advice of innovators with proof that we don’t have to be less than human to one another and that there is plenty of land to grow enough food to feed the entire planet, we will just keep on reading headlines about bombs dropping.

If you are ready to listen to a leader that offers real ways our children of tomorrow can be proud of the actions we take today, my company has created a proven path of how we can get there. It’s a positive, loving, and life-affirming alternate ending to the Story of Peak Oil, and I am launching it in Portland.

BONUS VIDEO!

June 26, 2008 at 9:01 am 10 comments

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