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Sleepwalking into the Apocalypse: A conversation on Peak Oil

Recently, I've been discussing with friends the prospects for Life After Cheap Petroleum. It's surreal sometimes to see the way we all go about our lives as if there were no end to the Potemkin Village fossil fuel economy we've built ourselves. Sometimes, talking about the very real reality of resource depletion, you'd think you were talking about UFOs or something.

What follows is a series of private emails, as well as some closing thoughts of my own, prompted by this discussion, and some resources I've found that people may find timely.
Recently, I've been discussing with friends the prospects for Life After Cheap Petroleum. It's surreal sometimes to see the way we all go about our lives as if there were no end to the Potemkin Village fossil fuel economy we've built ourselves. Sometimes, talking about the very real reality of resource depletion, you'd think you were talking about UFOs or something.

What follows is a series of private emails, as well as some closing thoughts of my own, prompted by this discussion, and some resources I've found that people may find timely.
===========================================================
ME:

Hello folks,
I have something I want to get other people's advice and input on.

Recently, I spent some quality time with my Dad watching tv (it was playing in the background, as it always is at his place). This is about the only exposure to the blasted thing I ever have. But I found it even more alarming than usual. I probably consumed about 4 hours worth of the poison called CNN. But like they say, sometimes what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

Here's what especially caught my attention and alarmed me this time more than usual: Usually, TV's whole purpose is generally NOT to deliberately alarm people about anything but fake or marginal threats: "bearded evildoers in caves," "adolescent superpredators," "killer bees," etc. But I noticed something rather extraordinary about yesterday's broadcast: It was all about peak oil. No, they didn't actually use THOSE words. What they used were code words: "coming economic downturn due to oil price instabilities," "terrorist threats to energy production," all kinds of code words to get people to blame what they know is an imminent crisis of industrial civilization on a range of usual suspects. Anyone but the government and corporate elites.

The most extraordinary thing I watched was the spectacle of Frank Gaffney, ultraright Zionist and one-time anti-Communist propagandist, closely connected to all the neo-cons and other scum in Washington these days, talking about...you guessed it, Peak Oil. Once again, in code words. The expression he used was "the perfect storm." "A combination of economic, political, and strategic forces will converge" to "create major challenges to us and our standard of living soon." Guys like Gaffney don't usually like to spend their time getting people alarmed about the economy or resource depletion or anything else that might rouse them from consumer zombieland. So you have to ask "what gives?" when they start talking this way. Is it because they know the shit's about to hit the fan, and they're not gonna be able to distract people with dog-and-pony shows much longer, so they'd better get people ready for it by blaming the usual suspects in advance?

Of course, Gaffney trotted them all out: "terrorists" who could "sabotage oil supplies," "undemocratic governments" (sic!) who might be in leagues with them, etc, etc.

This whole convergence of circumstances makes me believe that we are truly faced with an economic apocalyptic situation in the next year, two years tops.

Which brings me to my next question. If this is true, and I think there's an awful lot of alarming evidence to support it, then what should WE be doing about it?
The problem as I see it is that everyone has their own pet interests. For some people, it's promoting alternative media. For others, it's animal rights. For yet others, it's saving ancient forests. But all of us are people living in this society. And if our whole society is facing economic convulsions that potentially make the Great Depression look like a tea party, then NONE of us are going to be able to avoid dealing with this issue. If this threat really is as imminent as I'm starting to think, we'd be a lot better off prioritizing thinking about and planning for this NOW rather than waiting until we're already deep in the grips of it day-to-day and have absolutely no choice.

The frustrating thing is that, as imminent as this reality seems to be becoming, I have yet to really see the convergence of likeminded groups and individuals really focusing on it. I'd like to see townhalls meetings where people participate and brainstorm about what to do about this thing. Never mind whether you're an "animal rights activist," "media activist," "anti-gmo activist," "labor activist," etc.

Any thoughts? Please???!

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RESPONDENT1

first, thanks for writing this. it's good to have these observations from the corporate media.

second, i'd love it if you posted this to indymedia. pretty much as-is would be fine! it's media criticism and it could start some cool discussions.

third, i understand what you mean when you talk about everyone being into their own issue, and things not being united. however, i would honestly place media activism outside that construct, or at least in its own category. as you experienced at your dad's (and as we've all experienced in our lives), the media is a propaganda tool of the elite that is used to manufacture consensus, create moods, etc., -- basically, to control people. the media, honestly, is the linchpin holding the whole corporate system of oppression together. it denies people the real information they need to make good decisions and prepare for the future. it isolates people from real community, which prevents them from learning from each other and organizing. it keeps people from understanding the wide range of issues facing us today (animal rights, forest destruction, labor, etc., etc., etc.).

to put it simply: corporate dominance cannot exist without corporate media. that's why media activism is so important. here i'm defining media activism as having two main goals: a) get the real information out, and b) empower
people to liberate themselves from corporate control and take their lives into their own hands. the first one, if accomplished on a wide scale, would bring a lot of issues to happy conclusions. if people actually understood what was going on, they would DEMAND that things change, and the power elite would only be able to stop them with guns. the second one -- becoming an empowered, free person -- would mean that even guns wouldn't work.

this is why i've concentrated on media activism for going on five years now. (as a scattered, indecisive, distractable gemini, this is an amazing amount of time to commit to one thing, chuckle.)

fourthly, besides all that, Yes there are practical things we can and should be doing to prepare for the dark days ahead. some ideas:

1) strip down. live a simple life. the shock of losing luxury won't be as great for you because you won't be giving up as much. you won't be aching with withdrawl or be as confused as most of everyone else.

2) develop a food supply that is as least dependant on oil as possible. that means growing your own food, preserving our own food, developing relationships with local farmers, creating food-based barter networks with neighbors, etc. connecting with those concepts and people is very easy in portland!

3) explore the creative/intuitive/spiritual side of life. connecting with the real reality of the world (the one buried under the concrete of our cities, the one living outside the box of media, the one whose cycles are majestic in their scope yet as simple as a plant reseeding itself) will help us to ground ourselves and not lose our cool when society dips into mass panic.

4) consider training in a form of self-defense such as a martial art.

5) build networks of trust with like-minded people. find folks who you believe won't bail or turn you in or flake out. talk with them about all these things now. identify the different abilities that everyone has. where are the strengths and weaknesses? what skills are missing that must be sought out in other people or learned by current members?

6) get a passport.

i spend a lot of time thinking about these things. i think this topic that you've brought up -- How Will We Survive? -- is the most important one of our time.

thanks for putting your thoughts out there


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RESPONDENT2

I've been having these same thoughts as well. One of the problems as I see it is that so many radicals have for so long had this sort of longing for some sort of apocalyptic event to take place. I don't mean this to say that radicals are particularly bloodthirsty, but that the thought of a huge shit-hitting-fan event that would 'change life as we know it' and 'level the playing field' is so appealing to people who see the need for social change that it constitutes a powerful, mythical dream, the kind of thing people feel weird about talking about on the one hand because of that whole 'jinxing it' thing, on the other hand because of their fear that their dreams will be the subject of ridicule from their peers, being seen as selfish, dellusional, or just plain crazy.

Another thing I'd like to add to that list of suggestions from RESPONDENT1 is to learn a few wilderness survival skills. Even after the 'crash' or 'EOTWAWKI ('end of the world as we know it'; an acronym used be a lot of survivalist sites I have visited recently), nobody need die of hunger in this fertile area. There are plenty of yummy bugs in the ground and edible plants growing all over the place year round. Check out this website:

 http://www.manataka.org/page160.html

Really, unless there is some sort of tremendously bad thing like a nuclear bomb or asteroid/comet-induced tsunami or Yellowstone eruption, survival needn't be a problem provided you learn the necessary information. Another cool (or not cool, depending on how you want to look at it) thing is that since most people are not cool with the idea of eating bugs and in fact have such a mental block in regards to entomophagy that it wouldn't even occur to them to do it in the midst of starvation, entomophages are not going to have a lot of competition for resources, nor are folks who eat wildcraft foods like dandelions etc, even if you started telling everyone you know about it right now. The not cool thing about it is that a lot of people are going to starve which is sad.

Another thing I've been thinking about is getting a rist-rocket sling shot or a pellet gun; even though I'm vegan now, I don't know how long that's going to last when I'm really really really hungry and along comes one of the squirrels, rabbits, or large birds that positively infest this region. Coyotes may end up with a little competition in the form of hungry me.

Good, clean water is going to be an issue; learn how to dig solar stills and use tarps and other non-permeable fabric to create water reserves from condensation. I may begin doing this myself early if they ever do get around to pumping flouride into our water.

 http://www.desertusa.com/mag98/dec/stories/water.html

I think you should definitely post your original msg to the site. We need to get discussions like this going now before the shit hits the fan and catches a lot of people off-guard.

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RESPONDENT3

I don't know what it is about Portland that predisposes its inhabitants to anticipate, with a sort of watching-a-horror-movie combo of paranoia and glee, an imminent and sudden apocalypse.

This must have been an entertaining place to live at the end of '99 and the beginning of 2000.

I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine in S.F. about something he'd read after the Y2K nonevent, detailing the histories and characteristics of apocalyptic cults through the ages. Since he'd read the thing and I hadn't, I can't really give you the jist of it, except the shred I remember that the predicted events are always expected to finally prove to a doubting world that the anticipating group had been right all along.

Peak Oil is not Y2K. You know that. Peak oil is gradually declining production and prices increasing to whatever it takes to distribute petroleum to the highest bidder as time goes along.

CNN is not worried about the end of life as we know it. CNN is worried about the end of life as THEY know it. People living closer together, traveling less, and insourcing all the productive activity that they've outsourced to Asia for 30 years is not the end of our world, but it's the end of their world. Some landowners will make out like bandits and some will be screwed. Too bad for them. So what.

Feeding an exponentially increasing population is obviously a disaster waiting to happen, but somehow I doubt it will be the ABRUPT disaster that survivalists and Portland Indymedioids somehow crave.

I don't have time to proofread this, but I'll send it anyway. I got stuff to do. Talk to you later. Keep on keeping on.

================================================================
MY RESPONSE

Here's the reason I'm not totally sanguine about the outcome of this problem:

Resource production and depletion can follow a fairly smooth, symmetric bell curve: at first a gradual, then an exponential rise in production, then a gradual levelling off, then a mirror image decline. That would be lucky, because it would give us the time to make the necessary adjustments. But what if the curve is frontloaded? -- as indeed there is inexorable pressure from political and corporate leaders to make it -- in order to stave off the inevitable crisis. Then, with much higher demand today for oil than there was in the buildup to the peak, and with resource depletion hitting us suddenly with a much more precipitous decline in availability than the growth that preceded it on the other side of the peak, there would be a recipe for severe crisis.

There are other factors that don't bode well for us, especially in this country. Not only are we much more profligate and inefficient in our use of energy, and more dependent on cheap petroleum than most countries. We also happen to have a political leadership that is allergic to the slightest hint of "government interference in the economy," any suggestion of public planning or investment is anathema to them. They'd rather use the warfare state simultaneously as a twisted form of Keynesian economics and as a way of securing oil supplies by force, than plan for a livable post-petroleum future, as we've graphically seen in Iraq. Their strategies have promoted the "front loading" I'm talking about and will make the crisis much worse when it finally becomes impossible to ignore.

Another problem is that people don't conceptualize exponential change very well. People are far too apt to dismiss as "Cassandra" theories repeated predictions that don't come true exactly on schedule. The Club of Rome learned this in the 70s. They were predicting major crises in resource availability for a wide range of resources. They looked at many different things: petroleum, ores, water, etc. They were off on their predictions about things like iron ore, and therefore got dismissed as woolly headed alarmists. But they should have just focused their attention on petroleum, because that is the real lynchpin of our economy. And if you look at their predictions on that score, they are looking more and more prescient.

Oil geologist MK Hubbert predicted back in the 1950s that peak oil production for the US would be reached in 1969. He was dismissed as a Cassandra. 1969 came and went without a peak. But by the mid 70s, it became clear that Hubbert was actually only a year off: The currently accepted date for peak US production is 1970. It's been going down ever since, and we've had to depend on foreign supplies for a larger and larger proportion of domestic consumption (currently something like 2/3). Hubbert's model for oil depletion became the accepted standard. But still the lesson hasn't been learned, and people pretend as if this is all some kind of science fiction or something.

Some people indulge in fantasies about "technology solving the problem" by making previously inaccessible supplies available. But this has never worked -- it has turned out to be a thermodynamic impossibility, because even with new technologies for reaching more and more inaccessible oil -- off the continental shelf, locked into tar sands, etc -- the energetic cost of that fuel per barrel of oil extracted has inexorably risen. The energetic cost of oil used to be something like 1:40 (ie, for every barrel of oil used in exploration and extraction, 40 barrels were produced). Now we're up to 1:4. It's been a monotonic increase and it will hit 1:1 while there's still lots of oil in the ground. Oil that might still be useful for petrochemicals, but will then be useless as a source of energy.

Also, the free market evangelists in this country never tire of encouraging complacency by confidently telling us that the magic "Invisible Hand" of the free market will frictionlessly shift demand and economic activity towards more efficient energy use, alternative technologies, and less fossil fuel dependence. They claim that "the market has always historically dealt efficiently with scarcities." They neglect to point out that the market also has a simple expedient for allocating scarce resources when depletion crises hit: People who don't have money to pay starve. This too has happened historically too many times to count.

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RESOURCES FOR FURTHER ACTION HERE AND AND ELSEWHERE

The end of the age of cheap petroleum will affect all of us, although no one can say for sure exactly what the outcome of it will be. Here are some predictions, and resources we can draw on to try to positively shape our collective future.

James Howard Kunstler has an article in a recent issue of Rolling
Stone that reflects in his usual insightful way on the future of the US and the world with the coming of oil depletion. See: The Long Emergency
( http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/032505I.shtml)

Kunstler predicts that the effects of oil depletion on our society will be highly disparate, sharpening the existing contradictions between different regions and segments of our society. The most drastic effects will be on the vast sprawl of suburbia that has grown up around our major cities in the latter half of the 20th century. Many suburban areas will become economic and social wastelands, unsupportable in an energy-scarce economy. There are also large regions of this country that currently support large populations dependent on long logistical tails that won't survive in the age of energy scarcity. The Southwestern United States comes to mind. How long will people want to stay in Arizona without air conditioning? How long will they survive without regular deliveries of distantly produced food supplies? Will they have enough energy to pump the water to support their current populations? Probably not.

Of course, there is liable to be a desperate scramble to new and alternative energy supplies. There is still a lot of coal in the ground, and we can count on "Bush country" to cry for mining every hill and dale to get at it if necessary to support the "AWOL" ("American Way of Life") which is "non-negotiable."

Some regions of the country are likely to be much more receptive to the kinds of solutions that RESPONDENT1 spoke of: conservation, an urban garden renaissance, localized economies built around renewable energy, etc. Here in the Pacific Northwest, a lot of activity is already happening around these themes.

It will become crucial for every one of us to reevaluate our own skills and potential contributions to this mix. In my own field of computers and technology, I offer some predictions:

Who knows how drastic this crisis will be? Will we even have enough electricity to power computers and telephones? My prediction is that, if we have any surplus energy supplies at all, we will find it much more useful to use them on low power devices for information and communications than on internal combustion engines.

Information and communications will still be valuable in an age of limited energy, but it will serve different priorities than it currently does. Currently, we have "management information systems" and "enterprise resource planning" that emphasize "speed, speed, speed." Companies like Walmart have developed "just-in-time" distribution chains that minimize apparent costs by relying on assumptions about limitless supplies of cheap petroleum. Walmart is only so cheap and profitable because it can shift most of its warehousing and distribution costs onto the buying public. They can save money on staff and warehouse space because they rely on consumers to buy massive quantities and stockpile them in their own cupboards. These customers have to drive miles out of the way to get to the nearest Walmart Supercenter, haul their booty home with them, and find a place to store it all in their own homes. And Walmart keeps the most minimal possible inventory on hand at all times, knowing that it can monitor inventory in real time and quickly resupply any item the moment it becomes out-of-stock. Only cheap fossil fuel transport allows them to do all this.

In the energy-limited future, instead of the buzzwords being "speed, speed, speed," they will once again be "location, location, location." Instead of "enterprise resource planning" relying on "just-in-time" distribution models, our economy will depend on geographic information systems (GIS) and new models for local exchange and resource sharing. Here in Portland, work has been done on "Green Mapping" (see  http://www.cityrepair.org), and people at City Repair are working on developing the concept of a "Village Information System." Imagine a database system that would let you search for the nearest location of particular resources in your community. This database could be accessible from a local wireless network, which could still function even if the worldwide internet were no longer accessible. It could even provide customized views based on your own physical location on the local network, telling you, say, the nearest source of firewood from the terminal where you executed your search.

SOME ONLINE RESOURCES

There was a national conference last year in Ohio on the subject of Life After Peak Oil Production. It looks like some interesting discussions came out of it. See:  http://www.communitysolution.org/pconf1.html

A good general discussion on the whole subject of Peak Oil and how it will affect us, especially in North America, can be found at:  http://www.peakoil.com/

Especially noteworthy about this site is that it has no very pronounced political orientation of its own. Rather, it consists of a large number of impressively lively forums for people from all walks to life to discuss the challenges presented by Peak Oil.

Locally, the work of City Repair ( http://www.cityrepair.org) is on the leading edge of developing models for sustainable cities for the post- cheap petroleum age.

giving it some thought 17.Apr.2005 20:35

the shepard

invest in sheep or goats and hemp.

I recommend sheep. Wool for chothes and something to hold on to to keep warm at night.

one thing to know is the amount of land that is needed to survive.

seriously, holy crap, lets get smart here 18.Apr.2005 01:12

ed

big ups to overdrawn for puting it into perspective. And thanks to gb for starting a discussion, however misled it started off as.

heres what i see: china running out of useable ground water for agriculture requiring foriegn grain , probably from the states to pay off our increasing debt to them. (increasing base price of grain crippling and making obsolete the feedlot industry mind you! yipee!) meanwhile, as overdrawn so accurately put, whats important to aknowledge is oil production will not be bigger each year as is necessary for the current economy, but instead less each year, destroying any petroleum fueled economy rooted in usuary (interest, or in liberal terms, perpetual growth).

however the lack of oil will destroy the industrial agriculture dependent on oil and gas for fertilizer, chemical additives, and tractor/transport fuel. thank goodness in a way because this will require a different sort of agriculture, in a similar way as the massive cut in machinery/agricultural chemicals/oil imports to Cuba in 89/90 after the collapse of the USSR. to combat pests and disease, as well as boost overall production, they adopted multicrop techniques, which also prohibits the use of mechanical cultivation in order to avoid destroying one crop while harvesting another. This will require a population distribution shift mirroring the one that accompanied the industrialization of agriculture 50-150 years ago. That is we will move far back toward 95% rural %5 urban (from the current opposite) in order to provide labor, likely the only available labor in a civilization with crippled food distribution infrastructure and a whitered industrial sector with its own crippled distribution network for raw materials/products. indeed the relative potential abundance of food on farms will draw people as well, and could potentially be a major form of compensation of labor in an collapsed economy (in which the dollar looks like the german mark in the 30s).

Indeed the 30s may be insightful: the New Deal was created to diffuse the growing power of socialism (under various names) rooted in widespread dissatisfaction with the baltantly unhelpful maintenance of capitalism (usuary) and traditional land ownership (that is, land ownership transcending how a tree owns the land it occupies and utilizes in concert with its various ecologies). So here we come to my grand predicitions:

a new dark ages complete with feudalism (where banks own most of the land through reposesion and enforce squating prohibitions with reliably fed and payed sheriffs)
avoiding this will depend on to what degree goundwork for an alternative has been layed. Especially important is to have strong tight social groups supporting each other able to effectively resist what ever physical forces are employed to facilitate the continuation of traditional land ownership and feudalism. This must focus around two things: food production because we cannot be self determined if we are not self fed - metabolic organism are ultimately contolled through their stomachs, and; information collection production and dissemination - thoughtful thinking organisms' actions are controlled by what information they have. the difference between propaganda and persuasion is one encourages deeper thought and the other the end of thought. Thus we must have persuasion campaigns rather than the propaganda campaigns we are used to. Finally of course be knowlegable (at the very least in communities) about alternative and appropriate technolgies like bicycles, solar ovens/stills/engines, etc.

though PEAK is probably within one or maybe two years, the actual end of everything working is likely to take a few years as the economy slowly dies of starvation. this gives us time to really grow our capabilities and infrastructures as increasing numbers of formerly oil dependent folk defect and empower the alternative. Even so, probably only a couple years after PEAK. start building as close into cities as possible now and the food distribution thing will move people back out to the country in time, but the determinant of whether they are (as serfs) moving deeper into wage slavery than now is whether they are moving out with resources and community support and infrastructure from previously developed farms and communities in and near urban areas. Indeed many indoctrinated rich will want to pay good money for high quality food for a long time before they will grow it themselves, and this money may be used to wrest portions of land from the traditional ownership cycle (such land emancipation will also bulwark, sustain, and help the non-elites in the face of emerging neofeudalism before and through large scale peasant squating).

Another important note is that we are watched, we (are) will be infiltrated, and energetically worked against by the forces that control society now and wish to control it into the future. This is no reason to seclude yourself since you restrict your own potential to create powerful changes by the time you have sufficiently secluded yourself to avoid infiltration or observation. Then again dont be stupid. We are approaching a critical shift in the status quo reality in which we dwell, and it is an opportunity in which ones actions effect the world more than usual. the forces of elite-control certainly know this and are preparing for it. their first tactic (and best hope) has been to facilitate the ignorance of the many non-elites as to the existence, importance, and nature of this event. our hope lies in the energy efficiencies inheirent in the different organization types the two sides must use. our hope lies in the truism of collaborative ecology expressed in every manifestation in the universe, indeed the elites are betrayed and weakened in their endeavor by the natural way manifested in their very bodies, cells, molecules and atoms. we must be prepared: that is, un damming the natural channels for all the energy about to be released by the evolving geo political shenanagins as they undergo massive reorganization. it will seem much like a flood in a twisting, vegetation choked river. we are not observers.

remember: stomachs and minds, are you free? are you propagandized? its only natural to be scared.
damn im long winded: check out this stuff for insight into what might happen:

*Any history of evolving Argentinian neoliberal resistance and government/economic shenanagins over the last 10 years
*the MST movement in Brazil over the last 20 years, particularly its successes recently and its political clout with Lula and the PST
*the book Sustainable Agriculture and Resistance: Transforming Food Production in Cuba by Funes Garca Bourque Perez Rosset
*sterling cycle engines, ignore the "solar isnt efficient" crap, think solar hot water, some interesting work with oil through black pained copper tube instead of water as a heat transfer, especially if it goes into a big storage tank that stays hot for 48hour, think about converting gasoline engines using coolant channels to heat one block and old catalytic converters for regenerators.
*ride a bike and learn how to maintain it
*try to reduce using drugs amap, the elites encourage you to use them as an act of resistance so youre an addict instead of a threat
*and of course GARDEN!!!! the more gardens the easier itll be on the beetles and coyotes

may we live to see peace, in action and love, dont forget to dance and keep yourself light, solidarity! i love you.

... 18.Apr.2005 15:41

this thing here

oil is dead.

petroleum based energy is dead.

internal combustion engines are dead.

repeat, oil is futureless, is dead.

YES, EXACTLY EVERYBODY, PLAN FOR THE FUTURE NOW AND MOVE ON!

so ANYWAY 18.Apr.2005 18:35

clamydia

What about the State? There will still be cops I'm sure, just as there were in the Depression. As a matter of fact, even though the economy of the country was crippled during the great depression, the State still functioned and maintained control, at least to the extent that they were able to avert disollution of the country such as what happened to the USSR. What's going to be different about this crash? How are we going to wrest control away from the land barons when we have no money to pay rent and thus no State-recognized legitimacy to exist in our homes, and the cops are evicting us with pepper-spray and tear-gas while the major print media publishes apologist op-eds affirming the rights of landowners and cops to State-sanctioned cruelty and murder?

Good site for info 18.Apr.2005 19:33

Corvallis


I got an idea 19.Apr.2005 00:09

T Hartill oc4sure@hotmail.com

How about we give the US government the finger.
Let's start making our own energy.
We have acres upon acres of land, that is ready for crops.
We can easily make our own Bio-diesel and use it for ourselves. We can still have a life somewhat resembles our current situation. (if that's good)
We can use our crops for diesel, either use it or sell it, until the real drama starts, then we can easily turn our land over for making food. We can use the Dams for electricity and the mighty Columbia for travel and for fishing.
Transportation would be greatly limited, but wouldn't be too much of a problem.
Is there a better place to live during period when energy and transportation is in short supply?
There might be alot oil inside the Earth, but when will it be too expensive to extract?
30 years?
20?
10? (hey! That's not to far away!)
Comments?

Conservation 19.Apr.2005 08:32

Corvallis

Using biodiesel now while it is plentiful and food isn't in the short supply that it will be when oil is not so plentiful would be a good transition. Walk and bike everywhere you are able. Buy less. Lose weight (I've lost 30# so far and have the same to go to be at my healthy weight). Turn any available land into food crops using sustainable practices to do so.
Learn about local medicinal herbs.
While you're at it, think about water. Water is another resource we might be struggling to find in quantity or quality.
Install water barrels at your downspouts. Learn how to use it in your home and garden.
Consider composting your household human waste if you can do so without it alerting/alarming your neighbors. (Read, The Humanure Book).
Also, electricity might not be as available down the pike since it relies on natural gas to operate.
See if your library has a copy of, Solar Projects for under $500. Collect the sun in ways that will offset heating bills and help your food grow. Build a solar oven.
Learn about alternative building materials (cob, straw bale). Efficient wood burning (rocket stoves).
Start finding ways to live off the grid before the grid goes down. Empower yourself so if the oil stops flowing or a natural disaster disrupts life as we know it, coping skills will already be in place.

Peak Oil 19.Apr.2005 12:11

lowfuel.org forum@lowfuel.org

If you put a frog into a pot of boiling water,it will leap out right away to escape the danger.
But, if you put a frog in a kettle that is filled with water that is cool and pleasant, and then you gradually heat the kettle until it starts boiling,
the frog will not become aware of the threat until it is too late.

www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net

www.peakoil.net

www.lowfuel.org


Time To Talk To Your Elders 19.Apr.2005 13:58

V!

There are still many people in their mid-80s who survived the depression and weren't wealthy. Talk to them. Find out what they went through and what they did to survive. My father was one of those people and I was raised with many of those skills and I'm very thankful for it. They can answer your questions about how to preserve food without a refridgerator, how to get the most from your backyard crops, and how to feel full when a blight strikes. For finding out about what happens politically during such a time, you can ask them and read lots of books about it. Then go visit your local poor farm(literally concentration camps set up for the poor). Many people were sentenced to live out the rest of their days in these concentration camps. Their crime? None. They were kicked off of their land for inability to pay the bank and therefore made homeless. According to the government, the homeless population was out of control so they forced people to these camps rather than have to deal with that. Plus they had found a way to make a profit off of them and keep them rulely at the same time. Women were seperated from men and children were adopted out never to see eachother again, no exceptions. Sure they could probably escape. But it was a cage without a wire. Where would you go if you could get passed the guards? Anyways, talk to the old folks who managed to escape internment and starvation while still in poverty. You'll learn a lot and give an older person company with a sense of purpose.

The many benefits of simple living 19.Apr.2005 21:03

Bear

Not only is simple living good for the planet, it's a good life.

Socialist said <<And, recommending a "simpler" standard of living plays right into the hands of elites who want to pauperize the population.>>

I respectfully disagree. Simple living and activism- including socialist activism- are not mutually exclusive or incompatible.

As for the elites wanting to "pauperize the population", they're not doing this by advocating simple living. Simple living goes against the interests of the elites. The elites want everyone to be out maxing out the credit cards, keeping up with the Joneses, going further and further into debt (the average personal debt NOT including house mortgages is something like $10,000 last I heard), buying gas-guzzling SUVs, hundred-dollar sweatshop-made tennis shoes, etc., etc. They know that the more economically desperate you are, the more control they have over you in the job market, and the less time and energy you'll have to contemplate the state of society or take any action to change things. They want us to be wage slaves living from paycheck to paycheck.

About ten years ago I got serious about simple living, and as a result, my house is paid for, I have no car payment and no debt, went into semi-retirement at 41, and can pretty much do as I please. It's not deprivation at all, unless not buying a lot of crap I don't need is some sort of deprivation.

Peak Oil News Blog 20.Apr.2005 12:15

MK

I have been collecting and posting peak oil news for over a year. It is at peakoil.blogspot.com.


Useful resources 20.Apr.2005 14:13

Scrub

If you're concerned about Peak Oil and want to meet other like-minded folks in the area to actively work to meet its challenges, check out the Oregon Oil Awareness group:  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/OregonOilAwareness/

The group has its main meetings the second Wednesday of each month:  http://oilawareness.meetup.com/19/

Unfortunetly..................I have some doubts its happening in our lives 14.Jun.2005 23:19

corina

Untill recently I would have begun to prepare for the same. Seeing us forced to talk to each other instead of watching TV, walk instead of buying expensive polluting machines, and most importantly seeing us stopped short of being allowed to extinct any more species would be the event of my lifetime (unfortunetly I dont think we individually would survive it living in cities) But there is a bit of disturbing news that makes me more hesitant. After reviewing several papers and having gained a better understanding of the climate destabilization we are undergoing, I've come to realize that our fast use of oil, though depleating current reserves, is fucking up the atmosphere at such a rate that soon enough of the ice over the antartic will have melted that we will be able to drill there for much more vast reserves. Sounds crazy.....but as an environmental physicist at Stanford put it "I don't beleive in God, but if you do, you sure have to agree that he has a sense in irony." We have fucked up the planet enough that we are changing the global climate at such high rates to make it possible for us to fuck it up exponentially in the future.
Here's to hoping we've run out of oil before enough ice has melted for us to collect mroe............

Another approach 17.Jul.2005 08:45

Emile

Hi All

I've had similar views to what is being posted here. Here's my response: I live in Africa, so the issues are different, although not vastly - but probably greater in number. I plan to unite a hundred people or so and buy a farm. There we will put up wooden houses - which are cheap and take a few weeks to erect - in a compund much like condominiums (the living area), surrounded by electric fences, guarded around the clock (that's Africa for you - although it helps to be prepared anywhere). This will be in the middle of a farm, fully functional - farmers living in. It'll be about an hour from Johannesburg and used mainly on weekends and school holidays by the residents. It'll be as self-sufficient as possible, attempting an off-the-grid electrical setup, borehole water, hydroponic tunnels for all-year round fresh fruit and veggies, traditional livestock, horses, etc. The idea is that it is a business - being a commercial farm, with critical mass to support it, a weekend getaway - clean healthy farm living, organic (a supplier of food to take home for the week), a great place to raise kids AND a retreat! It's a kind of security, just in case things do go pear-shaped - we will most certainly die in a big city if the transport sytems fail.

This way - I'm hedging my bets for the future, yes I will survive - as will my friends, don't care about the state of affairs or Rockefeller plans for humanity, there's nothing I can do about it, except escape if need be.

Good luck to the rest of you.

Book of Revelations, Apocolypse in the next few years? 09.Nov.2005 07:58

Fermin Quezada brutusmstr7@hotmail.com

REVELATION13.NET
End times at Hand?
There are some good and bad educated / uneducated topics / replies on this
site. Ill make this sweet 'n short; Could we possibly be in the End Times
Has it already begun? If so, how can we tell?...I can answer that one for
you, WE CANT. Or so we are led to beleive by the "Interpreters", who -- for
all we know -- is just a like-minded group of people with the same interests.

WHAT MIGHT be an interest to YOU, fellow earthlings, is this web site
containing some very educated facts/opinions, DETAILED descriptions of the
whole Topic of "WORLD GOVERNMENT(s), WORLD RELIGION(s), WORLD ECONOMY" and how
it all ties in with the End Times, Rapture, and Armegeddon.

www.REVELATION13.NET

Follow your intuition on this one!

PACO @ brutusmstr7@hotmail.com <<<------||||