Posts filed under ‘Nuclear War’
Sometimes, you have to move beyond the blog – so I went and laid out some thoughts in front of an audience.
Eventually, there are going to be very big explosions in a city near you.
So party while you can, and be a good human. That means trying to help other communities so they don’t blow you up, and vice-versa.
This means all kids on earth need to get along or we will certainly witness one of mother nature’s big bangs.
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.
By Randy White
Editor, Lawns to Gardens
Oil prices made their biggest single-day surge on Friday, soaring $11 to $138.54 on the New York Mercantile Exchange, an 8 percent increase. That followed a $5.50 increase the day before, taking oil futures more than 13 percent higher in just two days. While demand has gone up, supply has not been able to add any more oil to the market. Analysts have also cited the decline of the U.S. dollar, fears about the long-term supply of oil, and aggressive speculation as factors in rising prices.
Energy Secretary Sam Bodman said “We’re in a difficult position where we have a lid on production and we have increasing demand in the world,” he told a small group of reporters.
So yesterday, we saw the price of oil go up, up, up and the stock market fall down, down, down. That, my friends, is market pressure growing too great in the bottle, and the sound of a very dangerous cork popping. At this criss-crossing of peak oil, we mow begin the Zero-Sum game as we pass into the forever downward sloping slide of oil depletion. There just isn’t enough oil in the world for everyone to keep living as they do, and now a lot more people are poised to perish because our present governments and markets failed us. Now we are in for some hairy times as government and religious idiots start lobbing missiles at each other all over the world.
Smarter people need to take the weapons out of the hands of hateful people right now. We can have peace and safety while those of us who prefer to avoid conflict and global suicide work out our problems (Even though Russia does have some cool looking airplanes. It reminds me of GI Joe!)
We don’t have to kill one another – but it seems there are people in our global community that choose to. And I can’t stop that from happening, all I can do is try to help people that want to help out their fellow humans.
As for all you macho military warmongers still bent on waving around your weapons, this one’s for you:
Also, I can’t wait too see Bill Maher’s new movie, Religulous.
We let’s agree we can all work together and fix this place.
And lastly, for people in shock wondering about what is going on right now and what to do about it, here is a helpful video:
Don’t be a afraid of your freedom, and buy this book!
For any late comers to the game!
And just one more reminder…
Oh, the excitement!
For more fun, head over to You Tube Theater!
I was thinking about Thanksgiving this year, and how much it relates to our global situation in relation to Peak Oil.
The Pilgrims were a group of dissidents who came to America from England to escape religious persecution. They were at odds with the Church of England, and in the early 1600s anyone who disagreed with the church was hunted down and thrown in jail.
These folks braved treacherous ocean storms, disease, and even death to finally land on the shores of America, all in order to escape from a previous world (that’s the friendly Yankee story of our colonization, anyway). They may have dressed like wussies, but man, that kind of dedication to fixing their situation took more intestinal fortitude than our current leaders are showing.
Like it or not, the population of the world is the new Pilgrim, faced with crossing the turbulent waters of energy depletion and overpopulation. Our boat is a global Mayflower, yet enough people on board haven’t yet seemed to agree which course we should be on. Our present religious persecution comes not from a single church, but in the form of extremist religions dedicated to finishing stories they believe have a very unhappy ending.
This Thanksgiving, I am 31 years old. I understand that the US economy is doomed as long as it is pegged to a dollar dependent on oil. We just don’t have the stuff to drill anymore, and we can’t get enough of it from our many dealers around the world anymore. They just don’t want our money.
“You very bad customer!”, they are saying. After our escapades to secure oil, other countries are making moves to shut us off.
Folks, if you think things are bad right now, wait until countries stop sending us oil. If the economy collapses completely, we will need to act like orderly pilgrims indeed. The cool part is that we have plenty of houses, plenty of food, and we can make enough fuel from Alcohol to get by.
Of course, everyone would need to downsize their luxury Western lifestyle, and that will take some real adjusting. As long as money exists, there will be class disparity and seemingly “unfair” distribution of things. That means there will be fighting, unless we all agree to work together and figure things out for a while.
That’s why I am so Thankful to have food, family, and friends to celebrate with tomorrow. Because experts don’t know how much longer the ship can hold together on the course the world is presently charting. Unless country leaders can come together and put together a global action plan to curb population without resorting to murder, we may not get to see many more Thanksgivings.
So when you are digging into your Turkey or Tofurkey, take time to not only think of yourself, but of the young faces sitting around the table. You have the chance to help them have a better future by changing your behaviors today.
The Portland Peak Oil Task Force has written the best Peak Oil emergency plan available. It can be tweaked to fit your local needs, just change out the variables. Most of the work has already been done, and I invite you to pass this plan along to your local government and businesses.
BONUS: Check out this Population / CO2 / Species clock!
Are you an American?
Do you know what our country’s focus is?
Do we have one?
Seriously, what is the focus of our great country? Do you think it’s great anymore? What are we, who are we, and what are we doing? I feel somewhere along the way, America became uncoupled and we can’t seem to admit mistakes and keep making more of them.
Come on everyone, we know war is shit. We also know many people in America have been conditioned to a “Me-Against-You” mentality. Of course, when other countries are uniting to fight the United States, we have a national security concern. And instead of fixing our problems at home using renewable energy, we seem to hold a world view that “survival of the fittest” means killing the competitor. It doesn’t. It means that you share and cooperate. That’s how economies survive.
The privatization of water, oil, land, food, shelter – all of our life necessities for modern living, has made prisoners of everyone already. Yes, your rights to freedom have been revoked, welcome to hell. If you don’t have money, you are not allowed to live. That’s the planet you live on.
After all, there is no more promise of a future. At any moment, some assholes in control could get together and decide to loose some nukes, leading to a chain reaction and a breakdown of all societal systems and ecological life support.
Yeah, that is pretty crappy, and one reason that Albert Einstein regretted helping in the development of the atomic bomb. He said “World War Three will be fought with nuclear weapons, and World War Four will be fought with sticks and stones.”
So what can we do about it as average citizens? Not much, other than behavior modification. We absolutely must change our consumption habits, killer addiction to the Federal Reserve’s economic model, and plan for doing more with much, much less. Peak Oil is here now, and according to the way domestic and international breakdowns are occurring, the earth seems to have reached it’s limit of how many humans it can carry living the way we do.
Uh oh! Momma earth done got mad and now we’z in some troubles! As we have been saying, tough times are here and it will only get worse from here in terms of gas prices, food prices, and the shrinking value of your purchasing power. It’s when nice people trying to make a living and survive start to get desperate.
And when one class of people gets desperate, it usually attacks the class above it. Purse snatching and robbery will take place before mobs are at the gates of the rich. So while the wealthiest folks will probably be the last to go, if we do not FOCUS and STABILIZE our society, we could reach a tipping point when we can’t return to normal civil cohesion. That means Escape From New York lifestyles, not Monday Night Football.
Instead of giving up trying to fix this place, I would rather get to know my neighbors, carpool, do cooperative dinners, share duties like neighborhood watches, and help live in a safe community. That means establishing a bond of TRUST among people who don’t even know one another.
Sure, there are exceptions and some neighborhoods are quite involved with activities and socials. I’m talking about the average American neighborhood. Here’s a little test for you:
1) How many neighbors do you know up to three houses down on all sides of your home?
2) How many neighbors can you count on if you need help with something?
That’s my new focus. I’m not going to run for city council here in Portland. That’s too limiting. I want to help people across the world, and am going to build a company that helps neighbors rely on one another. Maybe when we know how to coordinate a little better, we can start fixing things at a bigger level.
And then, it just becomes acceptance to the idea or tool. Here is something interesting from another Peak Oil writer named Sharon Astyk:
How do we differentiate between ideas that immediately get dismissed and those that percolate a while, perhaps leading to further change? How do we help people get familiar with any change that seems to go against cultural pressures, from putting a garden on their front lawn to composting their own wastes?
My own experience is that the following five things all help a lot. I think one of the most important things that bloggers and other environmental activists can do is to simply present new stuff in an accessible way, that helps get people past those first hurdles of resistance.
1. Expose people to the new idea, repeatedly if necessary. They say that to get a toddler to try a new food, you may have to offer it to her as many as 20 times. Grownups, I think, are often even more conservative than toddlers – the first time we confront an idea, we might not even notice it. The second time we might instinctively reject it. It might take three or four or twenty times for an idea even to translate all the way into awareness of it.
Think about peak oil – the idea that we’ll eventually run out of fossil fuels itself is often hard for people to grasp, which is weird, because of course, we all should know that. In order to get to the idea that we’re at or near an oil peak right now, we have to get people to grasp a whole host of subtler ideas, including the fact that oil is a finite resource for which there’s no obvious replacement. Intellectually, most of us know that. In practice, millions of people, maybe billions, have never gotten their heads around that factoid enough to be able to translate information about peak oil into knowledge. The more times they hear this information, and the more sources they hear it from, the more that “click” moment is likely to happen, allowing them to take the next intellectual step. So it is important to reiterate information all the time – yes, it can be boring for those in the know, but it is absolutely essential.
2. Let people know that other people who they know, like and respect are doing this. Let’s be honest, we’re all vulnerable to peer pressure, at least a little. When I run into a new idea, I usually categorize it by the context I find it in – that is, if it comes along with a lot of other things I find crazy or wrong, I might not do the hard work of sorting out the one gem in there. And if I’m forced to think “Oh, well Annie does that, and she’s not too weird…” I can associate it with “normal” people.
I’m not sure that this is one that I do especially well – I doubt many people think “Oh, Sharon’s so normal…” ;-), but I do think that one of the most helpful things I can do is point out “I bake my own bread for a family of six. I am a normal slob of a person, not some superwoman, but I can do it.” Other people may then begin to think “we normal slobs can begin to bake our own breads…”
2. Respond to the appeal to “irrelevant authorities” – that is, people like to think that new ideas come with authorization. If you can show someone an article in the paper, or print out a list from the internet that mentions your new idea, you’ve automatically transferred it from teh category of “weird thoughts in my head” to “thoughts worthy of being written down.” Now we all know that just because things are written does not make them truth, but still, there’s something to words on a page or a screen that makes the idea accessible.
I’ve come to realize one of my own primary roles in the world is to take the heat from other people’s spouses off of them. That is, I can’t count the times that someone has told me “I got my wife to do X, and said to blame it all on you because you said so.” And I think that’s great (I just wish it worked on my husband, who has a much more jaundiced view of “Sharon said” than many people’s spouses apparently do ;-)). I’m fully prepared to blamed by people I’ve never met and often never will meet for driving them crazy. The simple fact is that my authority is totally irrelevant – but I won’t tell if you don’t.
3. Provide accessible way into the idea. Getting a garden on a front lawn might be scary – what if then neighbors object? What if the town gives us trouble? What if it gets messy, and I don’t have time to maintain it and I ruin all the property values around me? What if the neighbor’s kids ruin it? But half the time we don’t even know why we find an idea scary or overwhelming – we can’t articulate what it is that seems wrong to us, so we just say “no way.” The more access we give people to new ideas, the more likely they are to adopt them – for example, offering ways to try it out without too much commitment, say, suggesting we replace foundation plantings with blueberries or that we start with one bed and interplant with flowers. The more of us who can tell our own personal stories about how we got here – or even how we’re working on getting there the more times we may touch off one of those “Oh, I thought…” moments where we suddenly realize what the problem is.
4. Find the pleasure. This does not mean endless, mindless cheerleading about how everything will always be wonderful, but I do find, for example, that locating pleasures can help you jump over some of the necessary intellectual steps. I know lots of people who will not (yet) grow food to save themselves from the ravages of climate change – they simply aren’t there yet, and they would have to take too many intellectual steps to get there. That may happen over time, but because I want them to grow food more than I want them to agree with me, I can circumvent the whole discussion by observing that I grow food because the food is better than any you can possibly buy, no matter how rich you are. Or that my food budget is manageable because I grow food.
It doesn’t have to go systematically – you don’t have to accept peak oil, for example, to see the value of local food and energy systems that provide better, healthier food. Think of it as an intellectual checkers game – figure out where you want to go, and see how many “steps” you can jump right over to get there.
5. Encourage people to try things. I’m a reader, one of those people who, confronting a new idea, gets as many books as possible together. And that’s great, those books can save you a lot of time and energy. But they also can bog you down into not trying things. I know I’m perfectly capable of getting caught up in research and getting distracted from the larger question. Reminding ourselves that there’s no substitute for direct experience is important – go on, try the cloth toilet paper, try making bread – the worst that happens is that you won’t like it. Internet challenges and other “do it with me” projects here are enormously valuable – trying something new is intimidating, trying something new with other people to ask for advice, and other people brave enough to admit their errors is different.
Getting past our fear of failure is the other thing that we need to work on. Even when there are no stakes at all, people hate to make mistakes or be wrong. I think one of the most important things we can do is admit our mistakes, laugh at them, and encourage other people to try and fail sometimes. Because the reality is that the stakes are small in many cases – if you’ve never built anything before, and you get out there with a hammer and nails, the worst thing you’ll do is get a sore finger and have your chicken tractor fall apart. Life goes on. There are some things you shouldn’t try without knowing what you are doing – pressure canning, using a chainsaw, anything that can kill you. But for the most part, you have to make some mistakes to get good at something, you have to take some risks and try something before you can do it – and the more we can help people feel comfortable with making mistakes, the more competent people there will be out there.