Archive for June, 2007

Meeting Your Neighbors Is Easy

Block party

Something amazing happened last night.

First, I attended a massive feast of food prepared by the Blossoming Lotus, and it was one of the best meals of my life. All plant based food delivering eye-rolling toungue dances while completely filling the belly. Here is the menu of what was served:

• Ginger infused Carrot Lavender Soup
• Macadamia Nut Crusted Tempeh with Pesto Sauce and heavenly avacado beet salad
• Saffron Herb Basmati Rice Pilaf
• Chocolate Toasted Coconut No Bake Cookies

I will blog about plant based diets later. Right now I want to tell you about meeting neighbors.

As I headed home from the food event, I rolled into my neighborhood, which was partially closed. The neighbors from a couple blocks over had closed the street to throw themselves a “Get to know your neighbor” Block Party! I couldn’t resist crashing it.

Instead of beer and chips, I grabbed two trays of vegetable starts I had sprouted and headed over to the mini-crowd. Introducing myself as their semi-neighbor, I offered them a selection of vegetable starts to take home and plant, including Broccoli, Beans, Beats, Cauliflower, Zucchini, Spinach, Collard Greens, Carrots, Snow Peas, and Onions.

They immediately welcomed me to the party and thrust a beer in my hand! Not only did I meet over 15 neighbors, but I was able to talk about Peak Oil and the reason I’m gardening so much. I explained to everyone why I’m so avid about growing food at home, and they all agreed that we as neighbors need to start coming out of our “Boxes” more, and become more self sufficient.

The amazing part?

People are friendly once you get them out of their homes, away from their TVs, and talking amongst one another. One of them told me to come with him, and showed me his massive drip feed system for his tomatoes and lettuces, as well as pictures of the solar two-seat vehicle he built by hand (it’s in California at the moment).

So here’s to crashing neighborhood block parties. And if you’ve never been to one, I sure hope you’ll take the initiative to be the spark in your neighborhood and organize a block party with your neighbors. Give them your name, e-mail and phone – and be the coordinator!

Shut the street down, break out the grill, turn on the music and bring name tags! Here are great tips for how to organize a block party to meet neighbors. And make sure to make a neighborhood map so you can write down the names and contact info of new friends you just met.

When it comes down to it, the living strategy of local planning and relying on friends and neighbors will be a key to ensuring local livability.

June 22, 2007 at 4:10 pm 1 comment

Republicans Block Efforts To Stop America From Driving Off A Cliff

America Drives Off A Cliff

Well America, there you have it.

Even with the Democrats’ “Too Little, Too Late” efforts to pour money into renewable energy, Republicans have chosen to slice Lady Liberty’s throat. Note: Republicans said this energy bill ’tilted too far in favor of renewables and conservation at the expense of the oil companies’.

“When you put a tax on a business it gets passed on to consumers,” argued Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Arizona. “Instead of reducing gasoline prices, this bill is going to add to the cost of gasoline.”

You are on record with that one, buddy. I can only wonder what the collective gas mileage will be for Americans who eventually end up surrounding Washington with pitchforks and torches.

June 21, 2007 at 3:13 pm 3 comments

The Wisdom of Tyler Durden

“Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who’ve ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.”

“We’re consumers. We are by-products of a lifestyle obsession. Murder, crime, poverty, these things don’t concern me. What concerns me are celebrity magazines, television with 500 channels, some guy’s name on my underwear. Rogaine, Viagra, Olestra. Fuck Martha Stewart. Martha’s polishing the brass on the Titanic. It’s all going down, man. So fuck off with your sofa units and Strinne green stripe patterns.”

– Tyler Durden

June 14, 2007 at 3:45 pm 2 comments

America Is Full of Poo

Hey America, let’s put our poop to good use!

The EPA estimates that each year, one billion gallons of raw sewage are dumped into U.S. waters. That is 3000 gallons for each person in the United States. Composting toilets could conserve water and change this hazard into a valuable resource.

Just imagine all the freshwater we can save if we could get over the idea we all need a fancy porcelain crapper. Once we get over the “eewwwwwwwww” factor, we’ll see that there are ways to work with nature to make home made fertilizer. We can even go so far as two have a two-bucket poo-poo system:

Needed: Two buckets, a toilet seat, woodchips

1) Put toilet seat on bucket #1
2) Put woodchips in bucket # 2

Do your thing in bucket #1, and cover with woodchips. Wipe yer bum with strips of newspaper (much of what is reported is worthwhile of such use anyway, no?)

By the way… I am no angel. I’ve told my wife this is my next move and she promptly told me she will have no part of it. Methinks that transitioning to a culture that doesn’t trash the earth will take a lot more convincing, and bringing home a bouquet of flowers with a composting toilet isn’t something she’s quite ready to receive yet.

And that’s crappy.

Build Your Own Composting Toilet

June 13, 2007 at 9:15 am 4 comments

The Lawns to Gardens *Quick* Peak Oil Soft Landing Program

crash program

Ok everyone… call me an alarmist, but the cyclone that has slammed into the Middle East could be a catalyst of collapse. The experts are all on high alert, and oil shipment delays are now a reality. What this means is potential stock market crashes, money losing value, prices skyrocketing, fuel shortages – and general cessation of our supposed “well oiled machine”.

*UPDATE* – The cyclone is weakening, and it appears while there are delays, the oil infrastructure is intact. While some people may read this blog and dismiss any single incident that could cause sever disruptions to modern conveniences provided by energy, I say this:

The point is that we are at Peak Oil. Supply and demand are so tight right now that any disruptions to the flow of oil can cause any of the generally predicted Peak Oil “Oh Shit!” moments. While this weather incident may not cause the house of cards to come down, we cannot wait for that event to occur. Preparation is key, and there is no time to spare.

So what to do? Here’s a soft landing plan, as simple as can be:

1) Don’t freak out, we have plans to switch over from oil to something else… it will just take a while to adjust.
People have lived without fossil fuels for most of humanity’s existence. Get over yourself and realize you will have to work for your food from now on. It’s actually tons of fun! Get some supplies, but don’t cause chaos at the stores – there is plenty of time to remain orderly and calm. We have enough food and water in the city for everyone, and peanut butter lasts for a long time. If you try to hoard, you’ll only piss people off. But do buy lots of food plant seeds for you and your neighbors.

2) Stop and assess what land you’ve got access to.
Do you have a yard? Do you know someone with a yard? The number one thing to do is find a place to start turning into a food garden. Rip out what you need to to make room for food crops.

3) Go introduce yourself to your neighbors.
Once the word gets out that something is very wrong, people will be ready to hear from you. Bring something with you to present to them, like a couple packets of seeds… it makes a nice introductory gift. The best part? You can do it easily by taking two simple steps:

1) Register at Carpool Crew – it helps you find cool neighbors!
2) Create a social network for your neighborhood here is an example

4) Take time to think about the ways your life will be changing for the better.
I know this is traumatic for you, because I’ve experienced it first hand. I have been through this… and it’s shocking. I think when my brother Chris chose to end his own life, it shocked me into realizing how fragile we are, and how nothing is real except for you and your relationship with the earth.

5) Get ready to volunteer to help farmers make up for the shortfall of fuel
Youth Farmer Volunteers
We did it back in the day, and we’ll need to do it again. Volunteers can load up on school buses and head for the fields! It will be a lot like summer camp, and everyone should participate, rich or poor. (HINT: If it’s a have to do, then make it fun! Whistle while you work or rock out on an i-pod while sewing seeds).

Why all this huffing and puffing about a crash program?

Because money is not real. We as humans choose to assign value to it – but you can’t eat money.
Food, shelter, and water are real. And you require those to live.

So as the oil shocks begin to set in, realize there are people all over the world who have been preparing for this moment – the big crash. The best part is that it’s all a state of mind. The reason sports teams win is not just their athletic performace, but anyone who knows how to win understands it’s mostly in their ATTITUDE.

You can make this change. You must make this change.

It’s a different world now, and I will help everyone as much as I can. In the meantime, I’m going to eat some lunch provided by my own garden. And if this doesn’t turn out to be anything… we should still be preparing for when something does!

June 6, 2007 at 11:09 am 3 comments

Consumerism Is Dead – Long Live Self-Sufficiency!

Money is not real

This one is kind of a no brainer.

Money keeps people and institutions in power. When most money is based on oil and energy (as it is now), it has value that lets you buy things like food and private corporate jets. When oil runs out like it is doing right now, that money loses value, and that money becomes worthless.

I am surprised to see how many people understand this already. I went to a rock show the other night and this topic was buzzing off many people’s tongues, and I didn’t even instigate the conversation! So it seems to me what we are seeing right now is a wide recognition of money losing it’s grip on power, and money is *NOT* happy about it at all.

What all this essentially means is that the rulers of the world, in every country, are trying to figure out how to deal with us little people. After all, when money crashes, there will be a lot of angry, hungry people. Sure, they can kill us, but there are so many people on the planet who have tasted wealth, it will be a bloody mess.

That’s why in an “ownership” society, it comes down to what “stuff” people claim rights to. If the ultra-rich have 13 homes all over the world, I say let them keep them. If you have a house and owe a $200,000 mortgage, hey, you just scored a great house and get to keep it!

See what I mean? If everyone gets to keep what they have at the moment, then the fear of losing “stuff” will allow us to work out this energy crash thing without killing off so many people. After all, many people need a “mission” to give them purpose in life – and our collective mission would be to maintain the ability to feed, clothe, and transport ourselves. Let me assure you, there is LOTS of work to do to make that happen – it is a heroic mission that everyone can embark upon together. Consumerism is dead – long live self sufficiency!

But self sufficiency takes hard work. If the leaders of the world that are so fearful of us “little people” would realize that we are willing to still work, so long as we get time off to spend with family and such, then labor will continue.

I LOVE farming my little yard. I wish I could steal away from the chains at my desk to go work in the dirt. I would gladly hop on a bus with other laid off workers and ship out to a farm and help grow the food we need, since fertilizer and other oil-based inputs are going to run out and be too expensive for farmers to keep using.

I would like to think that the wealthy people of the world can still keep their “Stuff”, but that we would read stories about Paris Hilton working side by side with regular folk now and then. Or the CEO of Coca-Cola working two days a week on a farm… if they would just show some backbone the elite and the common folk could work it out.

But I’m just a dreamer. I highly doubt that families with blue blood and so many generations of wealthy living will go down without killing off us folks that don’t matter. We’re fungible, nothing more than fuel for corporate machinery. I guess I accept that and realize that I have no power.

That’s why I’ll just keep on farming my little plot of land and watch it all go down. Food grown at home tastes better anyway.

June 6, 2007 at 9:22 am 3 comments

Dear America,

Dear America

June 1, 2007 at 10:39 am Leave a comment


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