Archive for July, 2008
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:
I first read about Floyd Butterfield in David Blume’s book “Alcohol Can Be A Gas“. Knowing the history of Alcohol in America will leave you feeling pretty duped by the oil companies. You can be sure that the alcohol fuel and permaculture revolution is well under way in America – the rest of Americans are just now starting to play catch up to reality.
In the first video, you get a quick introduction to Floyd.
The following video introduces their home-alcohol fuel still called the Efuel-100. While it is impressive, it has drawbacks in it’s feedstock and output limitations. Wait until you see the amazing still that Still Energy Solutions are about to introduce to the market. It’s time to make a lot of money while helping save the planet. Let new, earth-positive markets flourish!
And if my usually-correct hunch is right, I think this company’s stock is going to skyrocket in the next year.
We are attempting to make contact so Corey Delaney can coordinate the Bright Neighbor launch party, only with more “Community Spirit” in mind.
Just kidding. But we are excited about our upcoming launch! Get ready for Communities That Thrive.
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.
Alan Watts had to write an entire series of books about this subject to say the same thing.
A US Senator has outed the Grocery Manufacturers Association’s well planned and executed smear campaign against ethanol.
Senator Chuck Grassley says “Ethanol and alternative fuels are being made the scapegoat for a whole variety of problems. Never before have the virtuous benefits of ethanol and renewable fuels been so questioned and criticized. The problem is, none of these criticisms are based on sound science, economics or even common sense.”
Senator Grassley has unveiled the the dirty, nitty-gritty details of the Grocery Manufacturers Associations’ smear campaign:
“Some of my colleagues here in the Senate have also gotten involved in this misinformation campaign. It seems there is a “group-think” mentality when it comes to scapegoating ethanol for everything from high gas prices, global food shortages, global warming and deforestation. But, as was recently reported, this anti-ethanol campaign is not a coincidence. It turns out that a $300,000, six-month retainer of a beltway public relations firm is behind the smear campaign, hired by the Grocery Manufacturers Association.”
Oil is at $145 today. Last Independence Day weekend, drivers were paying just $2.95 a gallon for gas, about $1.15 less than today. Oil prices are up more than 50 percent since the start of the year. Prices rose by a similar amount in 2007 — but it took almost the entire year for them to make that trip.
Just this week alone, the price on a barrel of oil jumped 3.6 percent. So please keep in mind right now oil barons are laughing and spending your money on $80 million dollar paintings. Wake the hell up, folks!.
I happen to be involved with some folks brewing their own car fuel, and it’s actually pretty easy once you get the still up and running. Try sticking your nose into a vat of fermenting yeast sometime. POW!
I never thought I would see the day. Things must be getting REALLY bad when CNN calls for peace.
I love their “Don’t do it!” Message. It’s the obligatory message the corporate media must follow.