Friday, June 12, 2009

The transition has begun in earnest.

Update: June 12, 2009;

The transition has begun in earnest. Of the big three auto builders in North America, Ford is standing tall with a world class hybrid model line-up. Many towns and cities throughout the world have established sustainability strategies in addition to existing recycling programs. Carbon trading, although controversial, is slowly growing. May you/we live in interesting times!

One brief article on electric cars:

MONTREAL - Hydro-Québec and Ford Motor Co. are collaborating on a program to test plug-in electric cars, the two companies said Tuesday.

The auto company, along with the Electric Power Research Institute, picked Hydro as one of nine utilities to join a North America-wide demonstration and research plan for plug-in electric vehicles.

The three-year test program on the Ford Escape is designed to develop and evaluate technical approaches for integrating plug-ins into the electric grid. Hydro-Québec is the only Canadian company participating in the project.

"We have to accelerate the replacement of oil by electricity for individual transportation and public transit. The transport sector accounts for 42 per cent of Québec’s greenhouse gas emissions. The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that could be achieved through the electrification of transport in Québec, where 98 per cent of the electricity is produced from renewable sources, would be considerable. Hydro-Québec will act as a leader in this area," said Thierry Vandal, Hydro president and CEO.

Refueling costs for an average vehicle driven 18,000 kilometres per year would be $244, compared with $1,383, the Electric Power Research Institute estimates. Based in several U.S. states, the non-profit institute conducts research and development into the use of electric energy.

(The direct link to this article is in the title above.)

Thursday, June 04, 2009

How Resilient Is Healthcare? Health After Oil blog

Imagine the American healthcare industry as the proverbial proud oak tree that refuses to bend during a windstorm. For decades the industry has been deft at fending off resolution of the Three Cs, cost, coverage and quality of care. Predictably, this political success has nurtured a lack of resilience, by which I mean the ability of an organization to absorb exogenous shocks or disturbances and return to its original state.

As with the financial sector and the automobile industry, healthcare will be humbled by the ongoing fiscal/economic crisis, which has hidden ecological roots and far-reaching social and political implications. My view is that in the context of this crisis the Three C’s will take on the aura of “toxic assets” and SUVs –once profitable now a millstone. This suggests three outcome scenarios: 1) a medical care system affordable only to the rich; 2) nationalized universal coverage in a system using less energy and other resources; 3) a collapse followed by reorganization at a lower level of complexity and resource consumption, probably accompanied by an integration with public health and alternative forms of medicine (Wikipedia[a] ND).

A warped recognition of the macro-economic predicament is betrayed in the industry’s recent proposal to “voluntarily” hold down cost escalation. Whatever motivation lies behind this offer is it not astounding that this is the response with unemployment spiraling upward; federal debt growing at an unprecedented pace, with a $2 trillion deficit in 2009 and one of every two dollars budgeted borrowed; world oil production at its peak, population growth, climate change, water scarcity and a host of environmental pressures; Social Security and Medicare in distress; income and sales tax revenues declining; most states and many cities this year dependent on bailouts from a debt-ridden federal government with California on the precipice of fiscal calamity; housing prices continuing to plummet; production capacity utilization at its lowest point in at least 42 years; double digit wealth destruction that is eviscerating retirement plans; commercial real estate set for major defaults; GDP shrinking at a rate of 6% a year; and on and on it goes.

more at link...

Monday, May 04, 2009

The Good Life video from

This video is actually a good depiction of my husband and me (I have the role of the guy and he the wife) only he hasn't arrived at the acceptance stage yet!)

Permaculture: Farms for a future

Monday, April 27, 2009

NPR: Power Hungry: Visualizing the Electric Grid

Full interactive U.S. map here.

How Corporations Stole Your Power, and What You Can Do

Click here for full article and video on Chelsea Green.

What does this have to do with peak oil, you say? Well, if we are to have stronger, more localized communities in order to become more sustainable and not rely on mass energy, corporations deemed as persons will not help the matter much.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Alternet: Oil Has Peaked: Now Begins the Transition

Full article here.

As The Oil Drum pointed out last week, oil has peaked. We have officially entered the post-oil age in which the transition to lower energy lives is inevitable. (No doubt, pundits and policy wonks will debate this ad nauseum for the far too long, and to them I say, "AAAAAAAAAAAARGH!")

This energy transition can happen gracefully with fore-thought and planning, or, if we continue to consume energy at our current rate, the transition will be brought about faster and meaner than home redecoration by Blackwater. Shaun Chamberlin, author of The Transition Timeline: For a Local, Resilient Future, explores the implication of peak oil.

The following is an excerpt from Transition Timeline:

A 2005 report commissioned by the US Department of Energy concluded that,

"the peaking of world oil production presents the US and the world with an unprecedented risk management problem,"

and that without timely mitigation the economic, social and political impacts will be

"abrupt, revolutionary and not temporary".

The reasons for this are detailed and complex, but ultimately it comes down to this – energy is the ability to do work of any kind, and oil is our most useful and most heavily used source of net energy. The implications of both increasing (and increasingly volatile) prices and actual oil supply shortages will be profound.

The sheer usefulness of oil can perhaps best be summed up with a stunning statistic. A 40-litre fill-up of petrol represents the energy equivalent of four years of manual labour by a person (as peak oil educator Richard Heinberg says, compare the effortlessness of driving fuelled by oil with the amount of muscle power it takes to push a car just to the side of the road). Yet in the UK we currently pay only around £45 for that amount of energy (and in the US they pay less than half that)—we would be hard-pressed to find someone willing to work for us for four years for that sum!

Each 42-gallon barrel of oil yields around 20 gallons of petrol. We have seen that the world currently produces around 87 million barrels a day, so roughly speaking this works out at the energy equivalent of over 240 billion person-days of work contained in the world's daily petrol supply (quite apart from the diesel, jet fuel, heating oil etc. that we also produce from that oil). Our current global petrol supply can do approximately 35 times as much physical work as every person on the planet put together.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Open Letter to President Obama. (Stay in touch and please bookmark!)

Mr. President,

I know it's been since May 2008 during your campaign that I met you in Northern Indiana and gave you Heinberg's book on oil depletion with my blog address written on the inside cover. I really hope you remembered or chose to take the book with you to the White House during your move. I also hope that with recent news that you can keep your Blackberry, that you can/would bookmark this blog with its valuable links to the best of the best voices of the peak oil and sustainable living subculture!

A lot has transpired since then and I'm almost sure you haven't had the time to read the book, although you appear to understand a little about our oil situation already. Likewise, I've been so busy with your campaign in 2008 that I haven't even had time to update this blog as much as I like nor to experiment with a lifestyle that's more sustainable. But first things first. I had to prioritize.

Well, now, the goal has been accomplished! Congratulations! There are a lot of things I'm happy with concerning what your presidency means, however, the most celebratory idea you've put forward in your campaign coincides greatly with one of the core solutions in living in a world with less cheap oil.

This mutual idea is community service. Although I have a hunch that you lean towards economic globalization and are (and will be) pressured by large corporations, your roots are firmly established in local community activism. Relocalization has become one of the principles for sustainability and survival in the peak oil crowd, and your encouragement for the people of our country to give service within their own communities is a welcoming message for us.

You have propelled me to choose a community-oriented service which will address both my concern for sustainability while simultaneously helping others in need. I will be volunteering at my local mission on a routine basis not only preparing items to help the poor and homeless but also will assist in their local garden for the homeless providing their own food. I can save and share my seeds and supplies. In other words, I'll help them give themselves skills to support themselves--a hand up, not just a hand out. That's all people really want.

So this is my hope. I thank you for inspiring me. May you allow God's will to work through you, that others may be drawn to Him through you and be so inspired to act and do for others, may He bless you and keep you and your family safe at all times.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

"Removable Insulation" Here and Now!

Three North American firms - no ads intended, but all sites listed below have an FAQ - providing installable, removable insulation panelling or similar usage with varying degrees of flexibility: (firm based in Alberta, Canada) (Texas, USA) (throughout Canada)

Renewables, Here and Now!

The article describes how to implement clean and renewable energy carrier technologies here and now, based on established methodologies in first world countries located in temperate climate zones.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Jim Rogers sees oil at US$200 as world is running out of reserves

INTERNATIONAL. Investor Jim Rogers is bullish on oil as crude prices collapsed to four-year lows and the world is running out of known oil reserves.

Rogers said he is the world's worst market timer and a horrible short-term trader, but a sharp sell-off in oil prices suggested a bottom.

Rogers, who remains bullish on commodities, estimated known world oil reserves at today's consumption rate are about 16 years, which indicates crude prices will again trend higher.

"Oil Reserves are dropping 7% a year and these drop in reserves will cause serious supply problems in the near future."

"We're going to see US$200 oil at some point, it may be by 2013. It's a sad fact but the world is running out of known oil. Oil will make a big comeback," he said"

More at Business Intelligence Mideast here.

Choosing What Our Cities Will Look Like in a World Without Oil

As we draw nearer to reaching the point of Peak Oil, it benefits us to imagine what our cities will look like in a world without oil. Does this conjure up images of cities turned into urban farms just to produce enough food for us all? Do we devote all our energy to growing, bartering and trading the food we grow? Or will the city become divided, with the wealthy moving to the center while higher costs of living force lower-income families to the outer-ring suburbs, where access to goods, services and transport will be limited?

If we start now, we can choose what we want our cities to look like in the future. We can make them the resilient, sustainable centers of culture, justice, art and creativity that we hope they will become.

Author and Professor Peter Newman is asking us to imagine and then get to work building these urban centers. His book and talk, both titled Resilient Cities: Responding to Peak Oil and Climate Change, ask audiences to honestly look at what will happen to our cities when we reach Peak Oil. During his 90 minute presentation last night at Seattle's City Hall, Newman explained to the full house how peak oil will soon change reality as we know it; and how if we choose to make it so, we can take this challenge as our opportunity to create a functional, just and sustainable world

More at World Changing here.

World unaware as oil dries up: Experts

For more than a century it has been cheaper than coffee and as constant as ocean waves.

Getting it is simple. You select the grade, insert the nozzle, squeeze the handle and gasoline comes out. There seems no end to it. Until now.

On top of the other problems plaguing the world, such as global warming and the current financial meltdown, there's a third pressing issue that threatens to bring the good life to an end: The world is fast running out of oil.

Given that crude oil makes up 36.4% of the world's energy consumption, the seriousness of shortages cannot be underplayed. Our reliance on oil is almost total. It fuels 100% of air and sea transport and most of our land transport.
Most petroleum sources are on the downward slide

Without oil there is no petrochemical industry. Agriculture, manufacturing, building materials, the clothes we wear, the food we eat and the medicines we take depend on oil.

Running out of oil is a question of when -- not if.

Normand Mousseau, a physics professor at Universite de Montreal who has written a book on the end of oil, says the beginning of the end struck last summer. "This is why the prices jumped to $147 a barrel," he said. "As soon as the economy comes back, they will be right back up."

More at the Vancuver Sun here.

Slight Majority Of U.S. Energy CFOs Disagree That World Has Reached Peak Oil

Approximately 48% of U.S. E&P chief financial officers believe that the world has reached its peak petroleum production rate or will reach it within the next few years, while another 52% disagree with that statement, according to a new survey by Chicago-based national professional services firm BDO Seidman LLP.

The BDO Seidman Natural Resources 2009 Outlook survey was conducted by Market Measurement Inc. in the fourth quarter and included input from 100 U.S. E&P CFOs.

The survey finds there are similarly differing opinions in predictions regarding when the world’s demand for petroleum will peak—31% believe it will be in less than 10 years, 43% believe it will be in 10 to 20 years, 14% believe it will be 20 to 30 years and 8% think it will reach peak more than 30 years from now.

BDO Seidman partner and national energy industry practice leader Charles Dewhurst says, “I think perspectives have likely shifted dramatically in recent months on whether the world is nearing a peak level of petroleum production. If you had gathered opinions only six months ago on this issue, most were worried that existing sources were drying up. Now, people are hedging their bets.”

More at Oil & Gas Investor here.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Square Foot Gardening Tips: January

Patti Moreno sent me an email to her new YouTube short with Mel Bartholomew (Square Foot Gardening) and asked me to spread it around!

I'm getting antsy for spring due to all of the new seed catalogs coming almost daily to me! I will also post a pic of the garden window I use every year for my seed starts in late winter!