Archive for December, 2006
I was reading the Bhagavad-Gita last night, and I’ll just that say it is definitive wisdom that makes so many things right in the world. May each of us hastily experience a sense of others and self realization before we destroy ourselves and the beautiful earth we inhabit.
So while the media lick the blood from the bones of Saddam Hussein, reap all the flavor they can for their programming stew of flesh and sensationalism of violence – peace be with you, whoever you are. And to all the leaders and people with their fingers on triggers of death, I wish you to know love and be loved before you add more to our own human folly of accelerated destruction.
I will always believe there is the possibility of saving ourselves, but not without something humbling enough people to reach a critical mass for needed lifestyle changes. Perhaps we can start with reflecting on human’s weird lust for violence and death. We really do get off on it somehow… saying we are protecting ourselves by doing harm to others. Man, that is just im’t survive as global policy. Not with so many people on earth.
I have a feeling a lot of Americans feel sorry for themselves because they are medicated and sedated with TV programming that promotes such horrible shit. Yet because it’s easier to let someone else think for us, we continuously eat that shit up and lie to ourselves that we are happy… and that if we just buy that next thing, that will make us happy. That’s the lie that keeps our economy chugging, and we seem to have overextended our credit limits. We have lost our sense of self preservation, and whether it comes in the form of the Stay Puft Marshmellow Man or some other shape, we are about to pay, bigtime.
What I have learned over the past several years is that until you suffer great losses, it is hard to know what it suffering even means. And yes, there are many many more that know unbearable suffering already, so much more than any of us can even fathom. And I’m sure right now you already suffer from something or many things, but you don’t EVEN know how crazy shit is going to get.
With so few people in the world controlling so much wealth and power, all the while continuing their power of creating destructiveness, they continue to lead us to our our demise by keeping our attention on cheap entertainment rather than preparing us for the crash. Until we can each look deep inside and realize each our own consumptive lifestyles (food, fuel, and just about all the things we buy) are driving the violence in the world, we will surely only continue to experience more death and destruction. It’s just a fact that violence is the trade off we make from now on if we even attempt to maintain such consumptive lifestyles.
We must localize NOW, creating local seed banks, water storage, whole grain storage, many bulk foods. Try carpooling. Or biking. Or walking.
We need to keep extra inventory of food, water, and basic need items on hand for the city. Things that can be wearhoused for distribution, so that we have at least a starting point for helping people when the first crash hits. And the second, if there is one. If we want to maintain lifestyles that still have meaning, we must stop buying so many things and actively remember to do our best to buy local produce/products.
If we see oil shoot up in price due to some crazy shit that happens somewhere in the world, it will personally effect you, and it will HURT BAD. It will hurt everyone you know. Imagine if you had to pay $10 per gallon of gas starting in a couple days. Imagine eeryone rushes the grocery stores and clears out all the food, and no trucks can affors to fuel their trucks for delivering future supplies. Imagine that your power went out, and all you had was candles and flashlights, some blankets. And don’t forget that your refrigerator needs power to run, and food doesn’t take long to spoil.
WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
That’s why it is imperative right now that you get to know your neighbors and build networks of trust if we want to continue beyond simple survival that reduces us to the behavior of rabid animals rather than achieving our highest potential – that of self actualization.
I’m not trying to be preachy, just calling it the way I see it. Unless we find ways to cut back how much stuff we rely on like power, fuel, transportation, etc., when these systems break soon, we will experience mass chaos. It’s just no longer an option to ignore it, the problem is very real, and we are all part of it.
We must change more and more towards accepting peace through overcoming selfishness. If we don’t want to self destruct, we must support our local food growers and small businesses, and create local systems for bartering goods and services. The US Dollar is under attack by the limits of capitalism and earth is past her capacity to support the need for her life support systems such as air, water, soil, and energy.
Yep, this is doom and gloom unless we change, which also includes calling for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. Things are not peachy in the world, folks. Everyone is in a fight over the remaining oil, natural gas, water, and political power. Every government is arming itself to the teeth for the showdowns.
Did you know that just a single Russian SATAN missile (yep, that’s what it’s called) can destroy hundreds of miles of life? If you live in a big city, you are a target, and the only good part is that you will probably be vaporized before you feel any pain.
If you live outside the blast zone, you will probably be subject to all the big chunks of debris in the fallout. Hooray for death! Hooray for destroying the planet due to our inability to sit down and resolve our differences and selfishness!
And it all starts with you. And me. There are tons of places on the web to help you learn how to make the right consumer decisions and learn to reduce your personal impact and prepare for a future you didn’t ask for. You can start with simple things, like wearing a sweater instead of cranking your heater. Grow your own food at home by converting your lawn into a food garden.
You, me, and everyone else need to start doing this before we all suffer beyond what is needed to suffer. We are just about out of time.
So the news is real. Kuwait has peaked in oil production.
It was an incredible revelation last week that the second largest oil field in the world is exhausted and past its peak output. Yet that is what the Kuwait Oil Company revealed about its Burgan field. The peak output of the Burgan oil field will now be around 1.7 million barrels per day, and not the two million barrels per day forecast for the rest of the field’s 30 to 40 years of life, said Chairman Farouk Al-Zanki.
Then start thinking how, without much money, you can eat and feed your family. It starts with getting to know your neighbors and learning to trust one another. Also, this book is full of the advice you need to make it in our energy challenged times. Without holding together local social cohesion, life will be proving immesnely challenging in the months and years ahead.
So I was Toobin today, and the thought about how all the pathetic attempts to solve the problems in the Middle East can be viewed from above, kind of like watching the unfolding of the Pangea Dinosaur Conspiracy.
I figure globalization – combined with population growth, have set massive amounts of humans adrift, and the turmoil and energy fight around the world is because we are finally fighting one another over the remaining oxygen in the fish bowl. While there’s nothing new about the idea that our culture crash is well under way, by now I can only conclude that all the combined individual egos of the world are at fault here. No global leadership, just an energy-hungry hydra with multiple heads.
Americans, Iraqis, Iranians, Russians, Chinese – every people of every country is in this mess together. If you breed, you contribute to the population, which contributes to the need for food, water, shelter, clothing, transportation, and all the other energy requirements for life. Whether you have your own reality show because you are wealthy enough for your sex tape to matter, or on the other end of the spectrum, we are all little piglets sucking at the teat of the Mother Earth.
Sure, we could actually have real dialogue, and the planet’s people could simply choose to outlaw Incandescent light bulbs and trade out religious convictions for human spirituality, and we might be able to sit down at the table and talk about our problems. But come on, who REALLY wants to solve the problems of the world? *THEY* are the ones who are wrong, aren’t they? It’s *THEM*… *THEY* are the ones to blame, don’t you and your own special reality agree?
You know, here in America, the debate about the rights of humans VS modern day security will rage on, but when the first nuke goes off, I don’t think it will take very long at all for the second one, and for the whole damn world to light up like a christmas tree. I just can’t stand everyone’s ignorance anymore. There’s just no excuse. If you can’t answer some world affair questions by now, just shut the hell up, and go back to your drugs.
I sure wish they would let youth have a seat at the table. Those of us on the cusp of between liberalism and conservativism aren’t pie in the sky dreamers, we have real ideas. We need to replace every leader of the world who isn’t willing to ask their populace to power down. Someone has to teach people the lessons of energy conservation, religious tolerance, and self-control, or we’re all gonna die in a nice crispy fashion.
Heading into 2007, and regarding whether I am more or less optimistic over this past year over the local and global response to peak oil, my response is what President Bush just said in his recent speech… “We are not winning, but we are not losing”.
I am less optimistic for 2007 due to the fact that Americans are still in the dark about HOW to change our consumptive habits, or that they even need to sacrifice at all, starting right now. There is too-low attendance at Power Down meetings across the country. The president just used his media bullhorn to direct Americans to go out shopping, and that will make everything A-OK. Yet he says we need to get off of oil?
Like a drug addict depending on a dealer they don’t know is running out of dope, Americans are about to get slammed by our dealers saying “Sorry, that high you depend on is gonna cost you five times as much tomorrow, and by the way, it’s only going to get more expensive from here on out”. Uh… say what?
But I am no angel. I am still addicted to oil, limited in what a single family can do to ween off the drug. I don’t take the bus yet. I carpool with my wife, but haven’t asked my neighbors to consider pooling our trips to the farmers market. I am a walking mouthpiece that talks a big game, but am not living a true power down lifestyle currently seen as a cultural outsider by the majority of Americans.
So I am a hippocrite when I say unless we get off oil and make changes RIGHT NOW, the economic convulsions we’re going to have in America will make a heroin addict’s withdrawl look like a baby taking a soothing nap. Shame on me for not giving up everything, but I have a wife that keeps me grounded in worldy affairs, and I enjoy having a loving relationship.
BUT… (Here’s the optimism) we do have time to change! I believe in Americans. I believe Americans want change. They know something stinks. I believe Americans can and will discover that community building gives more meaning to life than ’shopping’. Meeting and end enjoying locals has been an amazing bright light, even if it is by singing karaoke on Saturday nights at the local Pub. People bond over music and beer.
I also believe when the first oil shocks hit, people will REALLY wake up. Right now they are lying in bed, and they keep hitting the snooze button every time their little alarm goes off, not wanting to believe it’s time to get up and go to work.
Well, there’s a bunch of burly construction crew guys about to knock a hole in their wall and force them out of bed.
So why do I say we are still winning, and why am I optimistic?
I love the power of American ingenuity and I know our history. I look to our roots for coming up with amazing ideas. We are the entrepreneurial leaders of the world. There are a lot of smart farm boys and girls out there.
It’s just that so many Americans have become so materialistic, fat, and lazy, they have let their guard down. Well, we are about to get our economic butts kicked. So unless we put down the Playstations, Doritos, and cut our Internet porn surfing time in half, we are in deep, deep trouble.
People need to, starting today, write and call their congressional reps and demand energy alternatives come to the forefront as our nation’s top priority, seconded by local food security. We’re talking about a bigger project than putting a man on the moon here.
The problem is… what can congess do? The answer is not to replace oil, rather to find a way to level off, and then reduce current levels of growth. Since I believe the present congress is more reactive than proactive, it’s going to take political balls the size of Mars to tell the truth to America. They are going to be very angry addicts, and no one wants to hear the bad news.
It will mean many businesses will have to close shop before it’s too late, but the great news is they can start NEW businesses RIGHT NOW and seek opportunities in our new low energy future. Why, they can discover the joys of creative bicycle design, peddle powered cars, urban farming, home retrofitting…. etc. Entrepreneurs like Bo from the Blossoming Lotus get it. Auto dealers that can’t read the tea leaves don’t.
I firmly believe it will all come down to food security, a place to keep out of the elements, local living, and accepting that the only true meaning of sustainability – is balance. Yin and Yang. Working together. Accepting people that are different from you.
So as we head into more warfare for 2007, let’s all try and remember we all want to live. As more and more people come together through globalization and cultures clash, we are realizing the poison point that yeast goes through when it turns into alcohol and they all start to die off.
So long as we can maintain our sanity, meaning of life, and learn to share this beautiful planet among all the people on it, we stand a great chance for realizing humanity’s potential. Is love REALLY that hard for people to give themselves, and to others? Without people moving beyond their egos, and convictions of greed and hate, there’s a global towel waiting to be thrown in.
But I believe in loving to the end, so I’ll just say whoever you are, I love you no matter how much you disagree with me because I called you fat and lazy. We all have inner research to do.
Do you smell something? Smells like… cheese? Or maybe it smells like a metaphor. This post is about a book out there called “Who Moved My Cheese”, that has apparently helped (and is still helping) many Americans swallow simple conceptual pills to help to deal with changes in their work and life.
One thing I keep trying to get across in my communications is that the massive societal challenges we are facing right now are equivalent the biggest friggen block of cheese on earth, and it’s quickly turning into that nasty leftover charred stuff stuck to the bottom of the pizza pan. You know what I mean… the hard cheese that is stuck like a barnacle to the pan you have to sit there and *scrape* *scrape* *scrape* at to clean it off.
Well, that’s the cheese we’re talking about here. And in our present world, that nasty burnt barnacle cheese is made from a whole lotta ingredients, including:
– Oil supply not able to meet oil demand
– War over remaining oil
– Soil destruction caused by monocrop farming
– Earth’s thermostat cranking up
– Water shortages
– (and ton of other assorted things, such as nuclear missiles on hair-trigger alert, etc.)
You know, this is all that really LIGHT cheese that’s nice and good for us, according to the political packaging it comes in. And forces greater than you and me aren’t just MOVING your cheese… they are hiding it from you. But it’s starting to stink, isn’t it? You may not be able to see all the cheese, but the stench of rotting limburger is starting to permeate in many Americans’ nostrils. For different people, it may be in the form of:
– The men behind the curtain (or confessional) no longer able to hide their sordid ‘above the law’ lifestyles
– The US Dollar losing its value as other countries begin trading oil in multiple different currencies
– Prices for everything from gas to food climbing up, up, up
– Guiness World Record breaking years for Pink slips
– Stress building, people losing tempers easily, causing conflict
– Anger building as you realize our leaders aren’t making decisions with your well being in mind
These are symptoms to the overall problem that everything we rely on for modern society in America is tied to money, and money is tied to oil. Without access to or control of cheap oil, our American Dream is quickly turning into a shocking blunt force trauma to people’s egos, dreams, and world view.
But I write this blog because I believe in you, and we have reason to hope for a very cool future if you make the right choices. A fun, exciting future based on realizing that really, there is no cheese (Think of the Matrix… “There is no spoon”). There is only your PERCEPTION of Cheese.
Oh sure, when all of the effects of modern living gone haywire effect you personally, you’re going to be pissed off. You won’t feel ready. You’ll deny it’s really happening. You’ll feel duped, swindled, and blindsided. You’ll want to blame someone else. You’ll swear a lot, and kick into self-preservation mode. Then you’ll get depressed, which will turn to anger.
At some point, you may return to denial and try to figure out if there are ways you can continue living the way you once did. Really, there is no set formula, the revolving door of emotions is different for everyone. The most important part is how fast you make the critical realization that we are all in this together. You can’t survive forever on canned beans, some bottled water and a few extra rolls of toilet paper. Sorry, it’s just not gonna happen.
Some of you might think I’m beating a gloom and doom drum. I tend to think I’m playing it with a 5/4 jazz beat we can all dance to. But yes, the drum is very real, and you may very well be faced with a lot more pain and suffering unless we all act together starting RIGHT NOW to plan for modern life without oil.
There will be an article coming out in about a week, following up on my Peak Oil story from February 2006. I would love to hear from you on this… because there is also a city-comissioned Peak Oil report due out soon with valid suggestions and recommendations for positive change that promises a managable and potentially joyous future, but it certainly depends on everyone’s participation.
The first step is to get to know your neighbors. You’ll need to know them sooner than you think, because soon we are all going to be scraping at that barnacle like cheese. Just remember it helps to whistle while you work.
Have you ever dreamed of launching your product or service with the help of a $100 million smackeroos backing you, and not have to pay back a dime of it? Yeah, me too. Only it actually worked for my Social networking website for carpooling, Carpool Crew.
Here’s the short and sweet of it. As a student of “OhShit!onomics”, I realized that the dwindling days of cheap oil will lead to lots of pain and frustration for people dependent on their cars for life as they know it. All the bitching and moaning in the world won’t ease their financial pain once gas prices kick it up to painful levels, so my friend Dann and I created Carpool Crew to help people meet local folks that are open to carpooling.
Sure, any behemoth can come kick our butts, but it’s the idea of fostering carpooling that I’m interested in. Anyway, the good folks over at Cisco are interested in touting the fact that they are the reason you get to surf for (insert your fetish here) and download music from the web. They are the faceless juggernaut that make the hardware and software that is the Web 2.0.
So let me get to the good stuff. If you happen to be a do gooder, you might be able to pull off what I did, which is walk right up and knock on a mega corporation’s door and ask them to hook me up for being a mr. nice guy. And wouldn’t you know it? they did! As part of their massive branding campaign, they added me to their Human Network website, which is communicating the fantastic uses of technology to bring humanity closer together. Awwwwwwwwww… Neo would be proud.
So if you have a product or service that’s useful to society, makes Cisco look like the Internet Gods they know they are, and are willing to go knock on their door (or send an e-mail at least), you too might be able to suck at the teat of someone else’s ad campaign.
When it comes to trying to educate and prepare Americans for the imminent collapse of society as we know it, the task is certainly not going to be accomplished with a “Peak Oil” brochure.
Americans are exposed to over $75 Billion a year in advertising. We are pummeled with a daily barrage of messages promoting consumption through direct mail, E-mail messages, print advertisements, billboards, radio commercials, television commercials, telemarketing, banner ads, you name it. The list of advertising methods is nearing infinity.
But because our earth has set her limitations, we are pretty much the end of our ability to continue living in a fantasy world that runs on wishful thinking. The question now is, “how painful will our death of excess be”? And how can we make people pay attention to a message they don’t want to hear, believe, or act on?
It should be evident by now that the mainstream media are in no hurry to break the bad news to the masses. According to them, sports scores and celebrity outfit changes are much more important for Americans to know.
Which is why it is up to culture jammers like Weird Al to create entertainment that informs, convinces, and get’s people to act. Yep, you heard me right. Weird Al. I’m convinced he has deciphered the exact formula needed to succeed in communicating the dangers of Peak Oil. Let’s take a look at a Weird Al video and then we’ll break it down.
Al’s formula is simple: He remixes popular music culture with his own witty lyrics and visuals. By emulating the real music video (in this instance, Gangsta’s Paradise by Coolio), he reaches into the brain of youth culture that understands the parady relationship. And this is how Weird Al can save the world.
For instance, imagine if Weird Al could made videos targeting a variety of cultures, using the genre of music loved by each: country, rock, hip hop, adult contemporary, etc. Each genre has its “Hits” that fans know and understand, so if Weird Al chose to mock “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks, just about every country fan would be able to identify with it.
In each video, he would need to use humor to communicate the following:
– Our complete dependence on oil for society to function
– That time is drawing to a close
– We need to make changes right now if we are to survive peacefully
– Learn the joy of living locally
– Life is fun and beautiful even with hardship
If I had a million bucks, I would certainly hire Weird Al to help craft these messages. If there is anyone who can pull it off, it’s him. With the power of YouTube and other video distribution sites on the Internet, the message could get out using viral “pass to a friend” techniques – but it will have to be funny for that to happen.
Anyone care to lend me a million bucks?