Fixing Peak Oil Is Easy

June 26, 2008 at 9:01 am 10 comments

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!

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10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. sower of seeds  |  June 26, 2008 at 9:27 am

    We are cannibalizing our own future by speculating on necessities through our pension fund managers for money now. Greed will sell its own blood and the blood of its children in a lust of profit. Who is our master? Wall Street killed the land of the free with help from Visa-toting big haired mall milfs.

    You are a free thinker and in that, we bestow you with our hope. Never stop writing – even if they come to drag us away.

    “I have seen the future of America, and it is hemp.” – Thomas Jefferson. Unfortunately the textile producers didn’t see it that way. Profits, you know.

    kind regards,
    a brother

    Reply
  • 2. thedr9wningman  |  June 26, 2008 at 10:07 am

    It’s not as easy as you think. Much of what you’re talking about here is a paradigm shift. Granted, I think that it would be a positive one, but that’s not the point. My opinion doesn’t matter. What matters is what is in place.

    “Why should we have to end our story just because oil is running out? We don’t need oil to survive.”
    Actually, at this point, most of the world does. We’ve been essentially EATING oil in the form of fertilisers for a long time. Every since the Industrial Revolution we’ve been building a bridge to nowhere made out of oil. Oil is required to keep the rickety structure up, and at this point, the majority of our planet’s population lives on this bridge. There are few who live on the solid ground; that solid ground is our planet’s carrying capacity. In order to repair the global Sellwood Bridge, we need some time to develop my vision and yours: working with nature instead of against her. But that require time, and that time is currently bought with inexpensive work in the form of energy (instead of human/slave labour).

    “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.”
    The irony is that most of these people in these companies are the ones that tout the ‘free market’. The free market is never free as long as currencies can be manipulated (the Yuan is worth a lot more than it is priced at, that’s why they have US bonds and currency in reserve) and as long as subsidies exist. But those mechanisms are in place to protect PEOPLE. People are more important than an economy–people RUN economies. You can’t have an economy without people, and people are social, cultural creatures. Sometimes, those cultural practices and traditions are more important than what makes sense economically (see Japan’s view on rice).

    “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”
    Not true. We can be serious about fixing our problems and have government policy fly in the face of our seriousness. The corn subsidies and the monopsony on buying is the reason that corn is produced the way it is.

    We agree on much, I’m just trying to make sure that you’re not misguided. Change is slow on a policy level. Change is quick locally. We will make local change happen. But it will get lots of resistance by the ‘free market’ cheerleaders (who benefit from subsidies).

    Reply
  • 3. peakoilboy  |  June 26, 2008 at 10:14 am

    Yes, each of these are valid points.

    I wouldn’t put it in terms of “No, it isn’t” – rather, “I see your point, and to add to it”…

    While we have immense change that is forcing itself upon us, I expect that the power brokers of the world must realize they have to let up on some pressure to be so greedy or the social revolution will not be an outcome that they can self-formulate.

    The good in humans always end up winning, even if lots of people end up dying along the way. It’s the reduction of death and suffering that we seek to help facilitate.

    Reply
  • 4. sower of seeds  |  June 26, 2008 at 10:32 am

    What you speak of written on a spreadsheet titled the Rise of Disaster Capitalism and bears some truth yet i do not believe that it is all a great conspiracy. Rather, a crime of opportunity and a learned strategy motivated by greed and lust for power.

    We may be living in a time of uncharted outcomes due to mass
    indulgence. The corporations (and the people that comprise them) are learning just as we are. For example in sport, if I can keep the opponent always defensive, reacting and without plan or offensive, then I bring the game to them and increase my potential of winning. Corporations, governments and social leaders are learning that to employ constant stress, price fluctuation, disrupted supply and a perception of uneasiness, the people, like the loser in a soccer match is put off his game and is constantly reacting to my rules of engagement. The only way to win of course, is not to play at all. Once I enter the arena, I must play by the poli-corporate agenda.

    In marketing there is a subtle strategy employed by the media.
    Contraversy and conspiracy do sell some newspapers, yes, but that is not why the headlines constantly scream out bad news: 20 dead in shooting, Pollution causing cancer, Government corruption, Mob killings, Gang killings, Rising food costs, Rising gas costs, etc., etc. The headlines keep the reader on edge, and that is exactly what the advertiser wants. After we have been depressed, shocked and revolted by the headline, we then turn to the slick, friendly message
    to buy a nice, happy product to make ourselves feel better.
    Its a game.

    Not a great plot or design, but rather a chipping away, an erosion that lets waters flow easier to the lowest point. Trends of convenience, societal winds, sways and tendencies. All these plots combining in a perfect storm to obscure, cloud and misdirect ambitions from things noble to pursuits perverse and wasted.

    Do some capitalize and reap benefit and opportunity, yes. But they are driven by their lust and equally as blind. Where truth lives has been hidden, shadowed and obscured by sale signs, flashy ads, neon provocateurs. Glitter steals away the attention of simple truths and pleasure. In the fog of compliance the delusions are made to shine as if crystal clear in a range of factory colours, surround sound, product features and benefits. We can turn away from the poor, the
    human and environmental tragedy and ease our nagging guilt with a new big screen TV or a fancy car or a visit to Home Depot.

    As we spoke on the street at coffee, there are two ways I can make you my slave: 1. To deceive you outright, that you comply to my plans, my game, without question – blissfully naive and clouded in compliance. Or, 2. To leave you fully aware of my schemes, that you are overcome with anger and bitterness. Take up your protest signs or hammer your plowshares into swords – I do not care for I am a master of the game.

    The ones I would fear, those who live free of my plots and games are those who see my deception, reject it and know that my materialistic politico world is but a facade, a lie, and worth nothing. These folk know that the magic lives within and they heed the gifts life has given them. They see through my illusion. They are truly free and live with peace in their hearts.

    I do not believe that life offers us just two choices, what is right
    and what is wrong, but rather three. What is right, what is wrong, and what is the path I choose. If we limit ourselves to only two choices, then we run the risk of being wrong, and in our lust to have the truth end up embittered and enslaved by our own anger. Lofty ideals and zeal to expose corruption and sin can cloud and misguide oneself, forsaking simple actions through love.. In the hearts of the people, and in the hearts of the sinner lies truth. We need not convince them, only remind them. Through our own actions, they will see that truth is a simple gift and shared by all. The sparrow feeding its chick, the crocus spreading its blossom in the April sunshine, the patient cobbler who crafts one pair of shoes at a time.

    These gifts are for all. The crow knows, the wind knows, the spirit knows, and with simple deeds we may remind others. There is a time coming for those who opt not to play the game of lust and greed, debt and ownership, and prefer not the addictions of oil, steel and stereo. To instead walk happily in good, handmade shoes.

    with regards

    Reply
  • 5. peakoilboy  |  June 26, 2008 at 10:37 am

    But I like my running shoes.

    Reply
  • 6. sower of seeds  |  June 26, 2008 at 11:25 am

    Do you know what one of the most sought after apprentices is?
    A cobbler. No one knows how to fix shoes anymore. I just posted a little verse you might get a kick out of, under materialism tag.

    Reply
  • 7. Evan  |  June 26, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    I think peakoilboy’s thrust is correct: What is upon us is a reality. It can be a crisis, a welcome opportunity, or a combination. It is as yet undetermined.

    The solutions are radical, but they are there. Our society does not seem interested in radical changes for the greatest good for all. But we simply must make them or face the worst of the possible scenarios.

    Eventually there will be no choices in the matter of resource use and lifeways, but the “welcome opportunity” version of the story requires, as I think Peakoilboy suggests, an intense societal waking up and call to arms now, before life becomes a chaotic, last-man-standing Bladerunner situation.

    There is no doubt that we are moving somewhere new, and ultimately probably somewhere more authentic and human. The question is, how is the transition from here to there going to look? How much suffering will there be?

    Reply
  • 8. Mark S  |  June 29, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    The current drama is called “Disaster Porn” (or Pr0n). If it bleeds it leads as the Meanstream Media says.

    And sorghum isn’t better than corn. On certain marginal properties it is (yield per acre under marginal conditions, fermentables conversion), but I’d like to see the capital efficiency of a plant that only runs for 2-3 months out of the year.

    The sweet sorghum ethanol company Renergie that has been in the news lately is just gaming the system for some taxpayer swag.

    Reply
  • 9. Mark S  |  July 1, 2008 at 3:59 am

    Jesus I’m a conversation stopper aint I?

    Reply
  • 10. peakoilboy  |  July 1, 2008 at 5:17 am

    Nah.

    Everything is happening, yet nothing is happening. I’m thinking of just sitting in a cave somewhere and seeing how long I can eat grass.

    Reply

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