Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from February, 2011

How Should the Public Find Out?

February 28, 2011 – All the talking heads to whom I normally look for information and inspiration are just kind of blathering away these days. The news on the climate change front is uniformly bad and getting worse; the news from the peak oil sector is nothing if not redundant. Everybody’s waiting for a shoe to drop, and until it does, there’s just not a whole lot to say. The major news right now – governments in the Middle East toppling, workers in the US finding their collective voice – is only tangentially the stuff that usually occupies me. I’d intended to bring my copy of The Joy of Cooking with me, so I could tell you why I think ALL transitioners need to make it their business to own a copy. That will need to wait until next week, however.
All the aforesaid being the case, I’m going to wander a little bit from my established path and talk about Julian Assange today. He’s been set up, and that deserves talking about. Our government seems never to take its eyes from the pat…

Various Aspects of Transition

February 21, 2011 – My wintertime project was to learn to knit socks, which I have – at long last – done.I am a purely visual thinker, and visualizing how to turn a heel or knit a gusset just wasn’t happening.After knitting and tearing out innumerable times, meeting with another knitter, and repeated visits to Youtube, I managed to stumble upon www.cometosilver.com.Her step-by-step pictures, accompanied by understandable instructions, have gotten me the rest of the way there.I now have one entire pair of handknit socks to my credit!This is by way of preparing for Transition, you understand.Socks are something we all take for granted until we no longer have them.Warm feet make a huge difference to me during the winter, and I already knew how to knit, so knitting socks was the obvious next step.Knitting will always require yarn, so preparing for a sockless future requires stashing yarn, as well as accumulating a complete arsenal of double-pointed needles.Like all knitters, I have drawer…

Someone's Knockin' at the Door

In an article I wrote for Transition Voice, I wrote about the possible effect of peak everything on climate change. That, I believe, is only half the cycle. As you may recall, I stated that the overall effect of peak non-renewables production might be positive, i.e., the increasing cost of recovering fossil fuels could well serve to make them scarcer, thereby mitigating the effects of climate change. Let me repeat: this could be an outcome of peak everything. There will likely be other, less welcome, changes as well.
In this article, I’d like to examine the other half of the cycle: the impact of climate change on peak non-renewables production. The world was only recently on the receiving end of a startling warning in this regard. The torrential rains which have destroyed lives and property in the province of Queensland, Australia, have also managed to temporarily close the region’s coal mines (http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/01/20/3117184.htm), with an economic impact likely …

Let's Be Friends

February 14, 2011 – I’m continually fascinated by the invisible barrier that has, seemingly, been erected between peak oil and climate change. Peak oilers give c.c. a barely discernible nod from time to time, but no more. They apparently pride themselves upon declining to “unnecessarily” (!) complicate matters by attempting to take all the known facts into consideration. This purity of intent apparently sets the facts they are willing to acknowledge on a VERY high plane, indeed. However, as uniquely suited as the human brain is to examining complicated issues in all their subtlety, and as simultaneously pressing as matters have become, the failure to take both crises into account amounts to moral culpability. Of course humans will allow bias to enter into their evaluation! While we wait for that attribute to correct itself, glaciers are melting, methane is entering the atmosphere, and the Amazon is dying. Time is of the essence, ladies and gentlemen! Marshall your spreadsheets…

Unintended Consequences?

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_Policy_Act_of_2005) was signed into law by George W. Bush that year – the year that ended with global peak oil having been realized, as luck would have it. What a coincidence. One of its primary stipulations was that greater quantities of biofuels be added to gasoline, thereby (so it was hoped) reducing American dependence upon foreign countries for oil. This line of reasoning was based largely upon Brazil’s success in utilizing ethanol derived from sugar cane (http://www.v-brazil.com/science/ethanol/bush-brazil.html). The Act incorporates policy determined by politicians, not scientists. Fast forward six years. Let’s see how things are going: “The Russian drought [of 2010] simply sparked this latest speculative bubble. Russia did lose 33 percent of its wheat harvest, but it had plenty of wheat stocks on hand to make up the difference. Instead of using those stocks, the Russian government was persuaded by multinational g…

Unwavering Perseverance

February 7, 2011 – Lest anyone think that last week’s wandering diatribe was this blogger’s way of saying “it’s time to give up,” it’s time, instead, to correct that misapprehension right away.Diatribe it may have been, truth it certainly was.But life on this beautiful planet is worth fighting for, so you will never read the words “give up” on this blog.Do all you can to mitigate global warming, starting with the immediate planting of as many trees as you can get your hands on.Burn as little in the way of fossil fuels, directly or indirectly, as you can.Demonstrate against the shipment of coal to China (yes, plans are underway in the state of Washington to do that very thing).And yes, prayer would be a good idea.We have the privilege of being G-d’s partners.Let’s start shouldering our part of the burden.
Have you seen the movie The Miracle Worker?Annie Sullivan is hired by Helen Keller’s desperate family, and tasked with finding a way to communicate with their deaf, dumb, and blind dau…

All Over But the Crying

February 2, 2011 – Cyclone Yasi is raking the northeastern coast of Australia with wind gusts of 183 miles per hour. Rainfall accompanying this storm is predicted to amount to 28 inches. A blizzard stretching from New Mexico to New England is wending its way toward the Northeast, after dumping in excess of two feet of snow in some locations, an inch of ice in others. Meteorologists are warily eyeing a gathering storm in the southwestern United States which may well deliver a second body blow to the middle of the country next week.
Elsewhere, Europe has endured blizzards of its own this winter. Twenty-eight thousand people in England have died so far because of hypothermia – my guess is they were members of the underclass who couldn’t afford heat. Temperatures in the Arctic have been on the plus side of average by 40 degrees Fahrenheit, thereby pushing cold temperatures further south for a second time, last year having been the first. Flooding is rampant in Australia, Sri Lanka, Colombi…