Posts filed under ‘Profits’
Hey America, if you are paying attention, you can make a lot of money right now!
President Obama just told us his shopping list for his three year plan (funny, it takes three years for fruit trees to produce). Obama is about to get a check for $825,000,000,000 dollars and he wants to buy all sorts of cool new things for America, such as:
10,000 school renovations – Great for all the folks who can help kids learn about chickens and growing vegetables and neat stuff like that
Improved local community communications networks – Hey, I sell those things!
75% of Federal building to be more energy efficient – You mean like ride sharing? Light bulbs? Turning computers off?
2.5 Million weatherized homes – Wow, whoever makes bricks and insulation from waste plastic bags & stuff will make a killing!
Double America’s renewable energy – Woo hoo! I sell hooch making machines! I’m gonna be rich!
Anyway, I am writing about this because the secret is, and always will be, to be a master of markets for things people really need. That means neighborhood collectives can team up and go legally harvest firewood and split it up among the community, where people volunteer their labor in exchange for good and services they need.
Money, as we know it, is just a means of representing value. What has real value to you? Probably the same things that have value to everyone else: Food, shelter, transportation, water, electricity, friends, resilient neighborhoods and communities, skills and stuff the community can use.
That’s the power behind Bright Neighbor. We offer a machine that helps fix community economies and ecology. Think about it this way…
Chickens are egg machines.
Gardens are fruit and vegetable machines.
Trees are fruit and nut machines.
Worms and mushrooms are soil fixing machines.
Bright Neighbor is a communications system, a carbon reduction machine, a money saving machine, and a community repair machine all-in-one. We have implemented it in governments, businesses, faith communities, private corporations, and with individual community organizers who want to fix their community. Our customer base now ranges in all of these markets, and if President Obama wants to buy any of these things, Bright Neighbor is one of America’s post-petroleum startups now open for business.
Three cheers for the Three Year Plan! I hope you make oodles of money.
– Randy White
PS: If you are interested in setting up a Bright Neighbor community communications system, please fill out this form.
Have you noticed how even homeless people have cell phones?
The peak oil community, for the longest time, has been freaked out about running out of resources. There have been all sorts of efforts to help people prepare for a society fighting over the remaining resources. The problem with our society and economic system, however, is the opposite of the normal peak oil argument – we actually have too much stuff, not the other way around. Granted – there are people that go without things like ipods – but they make due.
In general, we have created an over abundance of cars, toasters, programmers, and advertising sales people. The problem isn’t ‘stuff’ depletion as much as money depletion. We have plenty of stuff. Which is why with food available, people aren’t trying to learn how to garden – they are just trying to land another job to pay their bills.
The fight is really between human laws and mother nature’s laws. We are at the peak of everything, but the cash is scarce – having been sucked into corporate officers’ pockets. Right now, CEOs and lawyers are still fat and happy, while your average worker is getting laid off due to their redundancy. The system hasn’t collapsed – it has retracted. Without any money in savings, the ability for people to live at the same level of comfort is what is threatened, not the monetary construct. We haven’t created a new economic system to replace the old one, so suffering is occurring as the old system ceases like an engine without oil.
If we all defaulted on our debts to banks – could the banks kick everyone out of their homes at once? We aren’t there yet, we are still in the peak oil ‘collections period’.
This means while jobs and money become more scarce, we are back to people trying to sell off their goods and services to make ends meet – creating a surplus of Nintendo Wii consoles on Craigslist. All the people with money have to do is wait longer, and the prices will come down even further. Yes, the general population has been fattened for the slaughter, and the feasting has begun.
So, what to do?
Well, I created a sharing system for friends and neighbors (or anyone in a geographic region or community for that matter) to share resources. If groups of people would inventory their stuff, they could share things. But sharing stuff only helps save money – it doesn’t generate it, unless you rent out your stuff when you let someone borrow it.
For instance – many people have tools. The stores have plenty of tools, too. So when someone needs a drill, they can either borrow one or they can buy one. But lots of people already have drills – and the folks at the drill factory are being laid off as the realization that we have materialized enough stuff for everyone kicks into our consciousness.
And when there is no more market demand for cars, toasters, or whatever has been produced enough – people get laid off. Those workers still need to make payments for bills and debts, however. So they ask for assistance from the government – racking up more claims and causing a drain on government resources.
How long can the government hand out food stamps and heating assistance before it is overwhelmed and more people are taking than adding to it? We are seeing it happen in front of our eyes.
So as this recession continues, it is the quest for continued sources of money – not the quest for ‘stuff’ that is the way the average person is experiencing peak oil. I think we will continue to see more people living together rather than having their own private nests.
At least we have lots of Nintendos to play.
by David Blume, Author
The purpose of the Renewable Fuels Standard is to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, reverse the effects of greenhouse gas emissions, and eventually end the toxic releases from petroleum, coal, and other fossil fuels. The idea is to replace these fuels with clean alternatives like ethanol, which, unlike fossil fuels, are based on captured solar energy that is constantly renewed.
When the alcohol industry agreed to sacrifice the Clean Air Act’s oxygenate standard in exchange for its proposed Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), I was staunchly opposed. Advocates of the RFS said it was a more honest, direct way for us to work toward making our fuel renewable and American, and to wean ourselves from the toxic waste of the petroleum industry (otherwise known as gasoline).
Make no mistake about it: historically, gasoline has ALWAYS been a substance into which oil refineries dispose of whatever waste remains after making valuable products. Just as in the cattle industry, where half of the steer sells as US $15/lb. steaks and the other half ends up as cheap hamburger, in the petroleum business, half of a barrel of oil becomes gasoline. Quite frankly, no one wants to dispose of the 21 gallons of poisonous leftovers at the bottom of each barrel (just how much carcinogenic benzene, toluene, or xylene does anyone really need?)
The Clean Air Act’s oxygenate standard made sure that many of the toxic components in vehicle exhaust would be thermally decomposed (read: burned) to carbon dioxide, rather than remaining as Kevorkian carbon monoxide and a witch’s brew of volatile organics. Destroying these toxins in vehicle exhaust relies on the presence of plenty of oxygen to do the job, and alcohol is about 30% oxygen. Since the act was a regulation that had to do with our health, no discretion existed for waiving oxygenate. That standard was all that stood between Big Oil’s profits and hundreds of thousands of deaths each year from respiratory and cancer illnesses. It also was permanent-it had no expiration date.
But in a poor bargain, we traded a standard based on citizens’ health for one based on economic and environmental values, i.e., the Renewable Fuels Standard. The oil companies insisted that we couldn’t have both, but if we would let go of the oxygenate standard, they would not stand in the way too much on the RFS. Of course, they lied and then only permitted an RFS level that we were already meeting prior to passage of the legislation, so that the regulation had no teeth to increase our use of renewables (very clever of those oil companies).
Well, we did manage, over much opposition by Big Oil, to increase the RFS modestly above the existing level, and investment into the Midwest to make alcohol took off. Big Oil mistakenly thought it could keep the alcohol genie in the bottle…but much to its dismay, the genie escaped and started building distilleries in 2005-6.
Now at the time the bargain was made to trade in the oxygenate standard, I complained to everyone in congress and in the alcohol industry that the RFS would be very easy to waive. It was easy to predict all sorts of conditions where governors or the executive branch could say something like, “These environmental regulations are all well and good, but if they get in the way of economic interests, we just won’t be able to afford to do the right thing.”
“No, no,” the RFS advocates retorted, “we will make sure that a ‘no backsliding’ provision is written into the new legislation.” Well gee, that tidbit didn’t quite survive into the final draft. Now some oil-saturated governors are trying to use their statutory power to get the EPA to waive the standard, so oil companies won’t be forced to use farmer’s fuels.
Instead of cleaning up our air, dealing with Peak Oil, reducing dependence on foreign oil, and reversing global warming, we are doing exactly what I feared. We are talking about simply setting aside the RFS for reasons that ignore health, ignore national security, ignore our dependence, ignore our war to control Mideast oil, and ignore planetary climate stability in favor of simple short-term economic gains. The proposal is even more disingenuous, since the alleged economic gains are not even real. For instance, there is no shortage of corn, no matter what you read in the press. We just had the best crop in 33 years, and we are still trying to find silo space to store the huge surplus. We have increased the amount of animal feed we send around the world to record levels, which is a direct result of our increased alcohol fuel production. We use only cornstarch for alcohol, and all the non-starch parts of the corn become high-quality animal feed. More corn production for alcohol means more animal feed, which means more food. It’s simple.
Now that the data is coming in, we are seeing that in addition to the utterly nonexistent corn shortage, grain price increases have no basis in ethanol or the RFS whatsoever. In fact, the price increases result almost exclusively from the rising price of oil and greater demand for meat in China and other developing countries. If it were not for alcohol fuel, the price of gasoline would be even higher than it is today, and the net effect on a citizen’s pocketbook would be many times the alleged effect of ethanol on food prices.
This attack on the RFS has been planned since the day it was first passed. Because as we run out of oil, the fossil fuel industry plans to replace petroleum with more tar sands, oil shale, and coal to liquids. As the EPA, you are well aware that these fuels will increase greenhouse gas emissions scores to thousands of times the emissions from petroleum. They will also increase the pollution of our air with countless tons of metals and volatile gases, pollute what water is left after we drain the aquifers to make synfuels, and irradiate/poison the planet with radioactive particles and mercury from coal.
But for these environmentally foul fuels to be economically viable, the price of a barrel of oil needs to climb to about $150. Biofuels, on the other hand, can be produced realistically, ecologically, and sustainably for less than $70 a barrel, without any breakthroughs in technology. If biofuels, and in particular ethanol, increase in volume, the economic viability of all the alternatives that Big Oil wants to develop are in jeopardy. And that’s a good thing, since as the EPA, you know for certain that development of these fossil alternatives to petroleum are unbelievably incompatible with continuation of life on Earth as we know it.
No, the RFS is not a discretionary guideline to be set aside, as powerful economic interests and their tamed politicians dictate. The RFS is a health standard meant to protect all living things from the total degradation of our planet. You in the EPA are charged with the responsibility to act as a bulwark against corporate environmental irresponsibility, and doing the right thing requires more than standing firm on the RFS. Far from being waived, the standard needs to be increased annually, bear no expiration date, and remain in force until every single Btu of energy this country uses is renewable. Ultimately, that means an end to fossil fuels and an economic and energy system based on the sun.
A call to action:
The window to submit comment on this critical EPA waiver is closing June 23rd, submit written comments today, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2008-0380, by one of the following methods: One the web at http://www.regulations.gov, follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments, by E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or by fax: (202) 566-1741.
Learn more about David Blume’s Fight to Save The Renewable Fuels Standard.
David Blume is author of Alcohol Can Be A Gas and Executive Director of the International Institute for Ecological Agriculture.
The launch of Grand Theft Auto 4 just made over $500 million is sales. So what does that mean for us as a country? It means that our youth are so wrapped up in virtual violence and non-reality, that as peak oil has begun to kick us in the teeth, millions of video game zombies are tuned out of our very real problems.
Last year, I wrote a satirical post (To All The Geeks, Gamers, and Non-Attention Payers) about kids having to get ready to eat one another as human society collapses. I’m no longer interested in using humor to break through.
What are we supposed to think when so many people are hot to press button combinations on a joystick to bitch slap hookers and shoot cops? Sure, it may all be in “Good Fun”, but the premise of such actions is much different than zapping asteroids or saving a princess.
If gamers today want to play a more “realistic game” they are getting one served up to them in the form of gas prices, food prices, layoffs, and war. And if they think they are immune to the effects, they might want to take their heads out of the X-Box for a few minutes and pay attention.
We are now in the most challenging time in our history as modern society begins to collapse. While we still have active social systems and a sense of order in America, the end of cheap oil and no fast alternatives means these video games could be training people for what is truly coming.
I hate to think that we could face such mayhem, where anyone and everyone could be a target of humans gone wild. Hell, people are already selling manhole covers for scrap metal. In times of desperation, if we do not keep our integrity and dignity as human beings, people who play these types of games might just snap and not be able to decipher between what is real and what is not.
When food and shelter become unaffordable or unavailable as they are elsewhere in the world, how will we maintain order? By telling people to stay home and play Grand Theft Auto? By locking everyone up in those minty-fresh FEMA camps?
Why not actively pursue that target market with enough time to waste on video games and recruit them to help the elderly with converting their lawns into food gardens or running errands? Or would they rather switch weapons with a quick flick of their thumb and simply shoot, beat, or flame throw them?
If the answer does not fall in the first category, we are in deep shit.
As the CEO of a technology company, Peak Oil analyst, and sustainability trend spotter, I want to point out some blazing examples of trends presenting themselves as we continue to try and overcome our sustainability / survival challenges.
TREND #1: EXPECT THE MEGA-PILLARS OF THE INTERNET TO TAKE OVER GOVERNMENT
It is only a matter of time before Internet software completely reprograms human behavior. The Mega-Pillars of the Internet, including Google, Microsoft, MySpace, Facebook, etc. will continue to duke it out with one another for primacy. In order to achieve this, they will continue to suck up the ideas of small start-ups that offer true innovation. There will also be sneak attacks and some of those small startups may even sweep the legs of the big pillars. I would tell you who they are but I want to make my money first.
This trend will continue as each mega-pillar also creates applications marketplaces by fostering open source programming environments for their users. Essentially, these behemoths no longer need to pay as many programmers, since they have users doing all the hard work for them. Applications that have real value filter their own way to the top, just like a good rock band. If enough people like you, you get famous.
Then, the big boys simply assimilate that cool new functionality into their mega-pillars that already have the eyes and ears of millions of registered users. This way, they can gain mass adoption in an instant, while fledgling startup companies either get acquired or go belly up after their ideas are stolen.
After a period, people will stop listening to government leaders and just start doing their own thing to survive. After all, they will have all the tools necessary to live sustainable lives at their fingertips. One example of this trend is how Google has assimilated the routes of government controlled transit.
So if you live in Portland like I do, you can now bypass the Tri-met website and simply use Google’s transit tool to plan your entire trip. As more of the Mega-Pillars begin to assimilate the functions of government, people will begin to rely on themselves and technology to self-sustain. Expect to see cool things such as people using their cell phones to see who in a particular neighborhood is selling or trading for eggs.
That means over time, government will become less necessary as sustainable systems better support themselves.
TREND #2: EDIBLE LANDSCAPING AND PERMACULTURE WILL BECOME A NEW ECONOMIC BOOM
We haven’t even buried the corpse of capitalism yet, but I will go out on a limb to say that as we find an equilibrium for allowing people to remain in their homes, we will need to use permaculture to hyper-relocalize our food systems and ecological foundations.
I see more and more policy planners paying attention to people that know a lot about the earth. As these gurus become consultants, we will see exciting designs as wealth meets sustainability. It will become much more than Hollywood trying to “Green” the Oscars. Landscapers that combine the law(n)s of nature with sheik design will be guaranteed a market. And worm poop is the new black gold.
The fun part will be seeing the labor market fight for jobs to help people do the conversion! How amazing will it be to see teams of neighbors working on permaculture projects together?
Need an example? Check out these two videos:
TREND #3: VIOLENCE WILL BE OVERCOME
Ok, so crime is on the rise as the economy crashes. Or if someone actually lets loose a nuke in a city somewhere, it will suck tremendously. Or, if climate change ramps up so fast we all perish, then poop-on-a-stick. But to say that we just sat back and watched it all go down without even *trying*?
No way. I believe in America’s pioneering spirit, and that we are beginning to witness a journey within ourselves that frees us from the bonds of violence, and allows us to find happiness in appropriate food, shelter, and transportation systems.
We can’t help it if the financial system crashes, but we can help what we do about it. While the economies of the world are set for implosion due to peak oil, we should be set for an explosion of freedoms. Freedom to get out in our yards to make our soil rich and full of nutrients that plants love. We can explore the amazing freedoms of beekeeping, local food processing, board games, bike riding – a whole lot of reasons to keep on living.
Just because we all have guns doesn’t mean we have to use them.
Right now, the media is busy blaming ethanol for high food prices. This has been proven false, and they are just trying to blame our current problems on a scapegoat.
Ethanol is not the culprit behind high food prices. and ethanol does not need fertilizer to be made. Ever heard of permaculture?
Propaganda, folks. Blaming high food prices on Ethanol is pure propaganda, and don’t you fall for it. They want to give you something to blame other than the oil barons. Watch David Blume debunk the propaganda you are being fed:
Learn more about David Blume here.
See why our military is sick of fighting for oil here.
Here is a Newsflash from Captain Obvious!
How are those Reagan-era economic policies working out for America? We could probably generate great revenues by taxing politicians’ prostitute activities, but since that will never happen, we are stuck with our economic meltdown. What’s so funny is how SMALL the government is making the text for their Mass Layoffs summary.
Gee, maybe if it’s small enough, no one will bother reading it!
Here are some highlights, including the 10 industries reporting the highest numbers of mass layoff claims:
1) Temporary help services
2) School and employee bus transportation
3) Automobile manufacturing
4) Professional employer organizations
5) Discount department stores
6) Light truck and utility vehicle manufacturing
7) Highway, street, and bridge construction
8) Motion picture and video production
9) Wood kitchen cabinet and countertop manufacturing
10) Farm labor contractors and crew leaders
It’s the Farm labor that throws me off kilter. Why are farm laborers being laid off? Don’t we have a food crisis? Are humans asking for too much with their already low wages for picking fruits and vegetables? What gives?
I can only wonder how long it will be until America’s laid off workforce are ready to take on some 1930’s Depression type jobs, desperate for anything that pays the bills.
I think we are getting there, especially since all the bottlenecks for more war have been removed.