Posted by steve on February 28, 2005
I?ve collected a list of reasons why the trend towards globality will reverse shortly, and the importance of regionality will increase
1) Fuel costs and consequently transport costs will rise. We will travel less.
2) As our immune systems weaken (average weakening currently at least 30% from the 50s according to natural doctors) and diseases like SARS become widespread travel will be curtailed.
3) We will need to stop sending animals across borders as the dangers of pandemic diseases increases.
4) We need to develop regionally-suited varieties of crops to stem the trend towards narrowing the global diversity of foods. As artificial fertilizer costs rise (due to oil and gas shortages) and pesticides are banned these hardier strains will be needed more.
5) We will need to stop transporting foods long distances as fuel costs rise.
6) Branding: a region is a most powerful brand. People will come to realise this as we develop towards the experience economy. Take an example ketchup from Heinz or ketchup from the tomato-growing heart of Italy?
Posted by steve on February 22, 2005
I have heard people asking to be shown the way forward towards sustainability, not forced to by instability resulting from oil reserve depletion, but by taking charge to manage the transition.
- How can we make local communities self-sufficient?
- How can we make knowledge open source?
- How can we ensure scientists cooperate with farmers so we can learn to produce food locally (no transport) without artificial fertilizer (no fossil fuel needed there either)?
Maybe part of the solution is to be seen in Cuba. Oil supplies dwindled in the 90s many experienced incredible hardship and suffering as a result. Today food is up to 90% of pre-oil bust and life expectancy is longer than USA.
Download the Powerpoint!
Posted by steve on February 10, 2005
Oil awareness meetings are being held all over the world. Last I looked there were meetings in 210 locations. Click on the link to find a meeting (or a meeting on another subject) near you.
Get out there!
Meetup.com is truly a revolution in using the web to develop personal contacts around topics of mutual interest. Support it!
Posted by steve on
Simmons and Company International is an independant investment bank working throughout the whole spectrum of the energy industry.
Mathew R Simmons recently presented his outlook for the industry in 2005.
2005 will be a lot rougher than 2004. The world needs a B and C plan in case the A plan (carry on as if oil will never peak) starts to show flaws.
Recommended reading, comprehensive set of facts and figures.
Posted by steve on
The Swedish Government, alarmed by deteriorating health of the population, called on The Swedish National Food Administration and the Swedish National Institute of Public Health to draft an action plan for better health. The plan was released on 9/2 and is available in English summary on the link below.
The findings in summary:
- Swedes are increasingly overweight. Over half of the men and a third of the women are overweight or obese and 15?20 per cent of children are overweight.
- Eighty per cent eat too much fat and half eat too much sugar..
- Around half of all adults exercise less than the recommended amount and 14 per cent of the population are more or less sedentary in their spare time.
- Only 26 out of a total of 290 municipalities had an action plan for physical activity and only 13 had one for healthy dietary habits.
Society needs to consciously create an environment that promotes and facilitates everyday physical activity in all population groups.
The report’s 79 specific recommendations cover
- Redesigning the local environment to encourage activity
- Changes in education to spread more knowledge about activity and nutrition habits
- Requiring the medical and health services to place more emphasis on nutrition and activity
- Increasing training in nutrition and physical activity
- Development of the health promoting workplace including certification
- Food sector changes including labeling and supply management
- More involvement from sports associations
The attidude “we must get people to move about more” will be soon outdated as supplies of oil dwindle and tranport costs rise. We would rather see a collaboration across departments to address “planning to reduce mechanised transport and make better use of walking” which is a far more sustainable approach – and more natural. See for example the report on RADIALITY – city planning so everyone walks everywhere. http://avbp.net/Radiality_report2.pdf
Posted by steve on February 8, 2005
BP profits are up. In fact BP is making $ 1.8 million Dollars an hour.
Fine for them, but commentators say they are pumping out more than they are finding, at a replenishment rate over 80%.
Richard Heinberg says “Surely a civilization whose entire basis rests upon the extraction and use – and thus the depletion – of a few non-renewable resources is the most vulnerable sort of civilization that has ever existed.”
AVBP comments how long can our economic system hold out as sources of energy deplete?
Posted by steve on
One interesting thing to note about civilizations is that they have a nasty habit of collapsing. Many of them have come to their ends for similar reasons, and often the process of collapse has begun within only years of their reaching their maxima of geographical extent, military power, and accumulated wealth.
Clive Ponting, in his marvelous book A Green History of the World, offers a familiar explanation: ancient societies typically drew down their resource base and destroyed their habitat. They cut too many trees, exhausted their topsoil, emptied their wells.
Anyone interesting in learning more about this phenomenon, in order to get involved with the the coming economic and climatic challenges, could well take a look at Easter Island. http://www.eco-action.org/dt/eisland.html.
Civilisations follow the same pattern as animals when they crash. Take a look at what happened when a herd of reindeer were put on an island…
Posted by steve on February 7, 2005
Late last year, Dale Allen Pfeiffer started looking into how natural gas shortages would affect fertilizer production costs. The article “EATING OIL” unravels the myriad of ways we now rely on fossil fuel to get food onto our table-
Alarming for anyone pursuing sustainability – as oil and gas are being used up at a rate where none will be left in 15 year’s time.
That spells starvation for any society sticking to fuel-based agriculture and food supply.
Think I am being overly alarmist? Check out his article at: http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/100303_eating_oil.html
Posted by steve on February 3, 2005
Matt Savinar (see earlier post about Oil running out)is interviewed on the American Antigravity site. Hear Matt speak about how he, with his lawyer’s zest for digging for facts, evidence and statements, pieced together his view of where the world is headed.
Posted by steve on February 2, 2005
In his excellent analysis of the probable effects of coming oil shortages, Matt Savinar puts his finger on something that goes counter to what a lot of sustainability- promoters advocate: increasing efficiency will run counter to promoting sustainability.
As we have to reduce energy consumption by 80% we should work to create more efficient use of energy, right?
Wrong according to Savinar as he refers to Jevon’s observations, widely known as the Jevon’s paradox.
Looking at the use of coal in early industrial England, Jevons observes in his book from 1865, The Coal Question, that consumption of coal soared after James Watt introduced a more efficient steam engine.
Not a logical paradox, of course, but still called a paradox as it runs contrary to the comon intuition that that improved efficiency will mean people use less of a resource.
OUR COMMENT: This makes our model, which restricts the use of fossil fuels to fulfilling steps one and two of the Maslow hierarchy, look even more important! For our take on it look into the top ten points (below).