Man is 'Killing the Planet'

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by duendy, Mar 30, 2005.

  1. Edufer Tired warrior Registered Senior Member

    Golgo 13,<b> The Prophet of Doom</b>. You should buy a soap box, go to Hyde Park with a big sign: <b>REPENT! THE END IS NEAR!</b> and sing your litany there. You might ask other Prophets of Doom as Paul Ehrlich or Lester Brown to join you. None of them have ever been close to their prophecies.

    From the first moment you started to post, I got the strange idea that you were working in the cabinet of some politician, probably Senator McCain, or Lieberman. Finally I see you work in Rep. Roscoe Bartlett’s team. Those flashy graphs were all too familiar. And Rep. Bartlett has a tremendous background, I will admit, but although he shows himself as a <b>non politician</b>, I still have a weird feeling. <b>Once you enter the pig pen, you get mud up your ears.</b> I have seen it among many old friends of mine that went into politics (the pig pen) pretending to stay pure and uncorrupted, were elected senators or even ministers, and finally they got mud all over them (one notorious case is former Argentinean Minister of Economy Cavallo, who is no longer among my friends).

    This thread has gone from the initial topic “Man killing the Planet” to “Man is Drinking Oil”, with <b>no proposal whatsoever from your part, or any solution to the problem</b> (besides an oil prohibition era). According to one of your statements:

    It seems that the only way out for supporting what Earth “carrying capacity” allows, is practicing what Thomas Malthus said: “For making room for a new person on Earth someone has to die…” (not the same words, but the exact meaning, you recognize the phrase…). Then following your logic of <b>“ we can go back to the old methods as well, and a population comparable to what was the case back then”</b> Earth population should not exceed 1,5 billion. I wonder what you plan to do with the remaining (or excess --<b>disposable</b>?) 5 billions. How are you going to make them disappear and leave room for the fortunate (fortunate?) future inhabitants of Earth.

    Gas chambers? Zyklon-B is not an effective gas. Commander Cousteau once advised the use of Atomic bombs to get rid of excess population. Don't pay attention to him, he was a nut. British ecologists really tried to lower India’s birth rates by offering an organic vegetarian hamburger and 5 free tickets to a soccer stadium to all men who accepted vasectomy. (Reuter-Latin, 25-11-75, told about British activists Brett Pollard and Anne McLean, leaders of the “Green World Revolution” working in Kerala, Radrashamon, and Rushucul, India). Then there have been programs of forced sterilization on Hindu women. I have about 2500 newspaper clips of this kind, about sheer stupidity from green activism, including terrorism.

    I know you haven’t promoted violence –yet. But how can we be sure that your kind of people won’t do it when they installed a 1984 style Big Brother World Government. Isn't Globalization going towards that end? World governance? Central planning? When Kerensky started in April 1917, no one thought his pure sentiments were going to be overtaken by Lenin and Stalin in October. Even Germany's Reich Chancellor Hindenburg supported Adolf Hitler’s advent to power. Then, you now.

    How will you enforce the killings? Who will determine who’s going to kick the bucket and who’s getting the lucky ticket? Who will be the Judges? Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth?, Perhaps Al Gore (don’t think so, you’re Rep).

    So, what’s your solution to the presumed future depletion of oil? What’s your bright program? How are you going to save us all?
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  3. Golgo 13 The Professional Registered Senior Member

    I already know about breeder reactors. The problem with them as a solution to oil is that 1) they only provide electricity, and 2) they aren't being built. We're focusing on more U-235 reactors.A single conventional reactor takes between 3 and 5 billion dollars and a decade to build. Breeder reactors cost even more.

    Breeder reactors can also run on the Plutonium byproduct of U-235 reactors. But supply issues aside, a large scale switch over to nuclear power is not really an option for an economy that requires as much energy as ours does. It would take 10,000 of the largest nuclear power plants to produce the energy we get from fossil fuels. At 3 to 5 billion per plant, it's not very long before we're talking about "real money". Especially considering that the $3 - 5 billion doesn't even include the cost of decommissioning old reactors, converting the nuclear generated energy into a fuel source appropriate for cars, boats, trucks, airplanes, and the not-so-minor problem of handling nuclear waste.

    Assuming we find solutions to the host of issues regarding the cost and safety of nuclear power, we are still left with the most vexing question of them all: where are we going to get the massive amounts of oil necessary to build hundreds, if not thousands, of these reactors? Especially since they take 10 or so years to build and we won't get motivated to build them on such a massive scale until after oil supplies have reached a point of permanent scarcity. We're not even making breeders right now and that's what we need. France is already 90% nuclear so we could get plenty of their plutonium byproduct to run the breeders with.

    And even if we somehow did manage to get all those reactors built amidst the most massive energy crisis the world havs ever seen of increasing severity and severe economic dislocations, we still have the not-exactly-cheap task of retrofitting a significant portion of the following to run on nuclear-derived electricity:

    - 700,000,000 petroleum distillate fueled vehicles on the roads.

    - Millions of jet-fuel powered airplanes crossing the skies

    - Millions of oil-powered boats circumnavigating the world's oceans and seas.

    Assuming that all this can be done, huge projects like that take a lot of time, resources, and investment. None of which we're currently seeing on that kind of level.

    The oil economy wasn't built overnight, and it won't be replace overnight either. Like Matthew Simmons said, we have to wake up and get started now. We have to get world governments to acknowledge the issue and bipartisan support to do what needs to be done. Even if we started tomorrow it would still be a late start and we would be at a handicap. The longer we wait, the worse off the situation is going to be.

    This is why I am trying to raise awareness. People need to pressure the politicians in office to get an energy plan going that actually addresses these problems, and not the typical "do-nothing" energy policies we've been seeing lately.

    We don't have to do anything but sit back and watch resource depletion take lives as it has done so many instances in the past.

    The population problem fixes itself and we don't have to do anything, but be prepared for what nature chooses when we refuse to address the problem.

    I'm very anti big government FYI. and I'm not a particular type of person because there isn't any 1 group I fit in with. I agree with environmentalists/socialists/capitalists/republicans/libertarians/democrats/technocrats on some issues and disagree on others.

    When Globalization dies then we go back to local economies and everything takes place on the local level for the most part.

    Well in the context of capitalism, those that no longer have jobs because the economy is in the tank and can't afford high costs for basic necessities die first. As they die of starvation because they cannot afford food, a certain level of "demand destruction" is achieved until the population levels off to sustainable numbers so there's less demand and the price of goods comes back down.

    So thats how it would happen in theory. But in practice it would be much different. Nobody is going to lie down and starve to death because they grasp the economic principles of demand destruction and know that they can no longer be supported. When civilizations boil down to that, it becomes competition for resources and social darwinism is back in full effect. Basically a Mad-Max scenario with fewer vehicles.

    Well I didn't want to say this because I'll come off as all "extremist" and shit from people so used to the way things are running now, but since you asked I guess I might as well say it. I was going to try to put it in much lighter terms since people seem to be much more receptive to the idea when I heavily sugar-coat it, but oh well, here it is.

    My solution is to educate individuals and try to get them to prepare on the micro level. Basically, you don't wait for the market or the government to save your ass, you take responsibility into your own hands. This means securing your own food instead of depending on transnational agribusiness corporations that only operate in the context of cheap oil in a world that no longer has it to provide you with food. Securing your own water, learning how to hunt, things like that. Basically you learn how to provide for yourself instead of being entirely dependent on an oil based economy that isn't going to be there to provide what you need for you.

    There will still be energy in the post-petroleum world, but we won't be living anywhere close to like we are today

    I'm being part of the solution on a scale I know is guaranteed to work. The micro level. In either accord, reguardless of the outcome, I'll have a contingency whichever way it goes.

    The way I'm approaching will seem much less radical when some of the predictable consequences of hydrocarbon depletion start being fulfilled. Having emergency supplies (which one should have in case any sort of disaster struck) may see a bit "out there" to people that don't live in the hurricane belt, are used to cheap energy conditions, and are completely caught in the concensus trance of "everything's ok and everything's going to be OK and continue just like it is forever", but when oil is trading at $80 a barrel and rising it starts seeming like a prudent plan.

    My purpose here is to warn you guys about very tough times ahead. Oil production absolutely will peak in the coming years, and unless you are very elderly or otherwise die before 2010, you will have to deal with the consequences along with everyone else.

    So the real question you have to ask yourself is "How bad do I want to be screwed when the shit hits the fan?".

    I never had a father growing up, but I did have a stepdad for a few years during my childhood. I don't remember much of what happened back then, but I will always remember this one gem of wisdom he bestowed upon me:

    "I'd rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it".

    So with that in mind, if you have some emergency rations in your basement and you never need them, then consider yourself fortunate. One of the best lives one could have is one in which they never have to call upon the need of such disaster provisions.

    But as we all know, we live in a less-than-ideal world, and when the time comes to put that prudent planning to use, you will be thankful that you followed the precautionary principle.

    You should follow the precautionary principle in everything you do. To err is human. If you are a human, you will make mistakes in life, no doubt, but if one is to err, tis' better to err on the side of caution and be wrong then to be optimistic and be wrong. To err on the side of caution means you are covered, while the inverse is true on the side of optimism.

    So I say buld up a years worth of nonperishable foodstuffs and water for you and every member of your household. Just go out and do it, you will thank yourself later. And as things get worse, which you will see, you'll probably take it upon yourself to make plans that expand from that.

    Even if you don't make any kind of physical plans, which most of you probably won't since it's generally in the nature of people to procrastinate and most cannot grasp the reasoning behind the precautionary principle, then at least remember when you see massive layoffs, fuel ration lines, supply lines struggling, price hikes on all goods, $4 a gallon gas, and economic downturn, that it will get worse and you have been warned.

    And keep in mind I'm far from the only one that has gone through the stages of denial to acceptance about the facts pertaining to this issue. There's a whole community of such people. The evidence won me over in the end. If the case wasn't so strong then I might have been able to delude myself into rationalizing a way in which the oil crisis wouldn't happen, but I'm a slave to logic/reason/facts, the scientific method, critical thinking and things of that nature, so reality got me in the end as it has a tendency of doing.

    At the very least you need to prepare mentally to handle this. Because if you don't it will come as a rude awakening.

    In previous years where I tried to inform people about the coming crisis they mostly wrote me off and ignored the science, but since then Peak Oil has been defending itself rather well with the price of oil and GM laying off 25 thousand workers. Our economy is already sucking more with every passing year and that's outside the context of it's lifeblood being constricted. When it happens, we're really see some fireworks. Another oil-rich Eurasian country "liberated" and things of that nature. So get ready.

    - Golgo
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2005
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  5. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

    And where do we put it? Do you know, do you have even the foggiest idea of how much physical space would be required to store that much food and water and medicines? Give that a little thought, okay? Then come back and tell us again about what we should do.

    Baron Max
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  7. Golgo 13 The Professional Registered Senior Member

    A year's worth or more would be ideal, but it all depends on circumstance.

    Here's a good guide on the subject. Keep in mind it's in the context of temporary dislocations/disruptions. When the trucking lines dry up and the Wal-Marts shut down, they don't open again. Like I said before this is a really big, complex, messy situation. Ultimately you're going to need to form a small group that has a common goal. Forming such a group might be a litle tough now, but as the telltale events start unfolding and the "canaries in the coalmine" like the aviation industries and such start going belly-up, it will become much more easier to show why it is necessary to take action.

    But yeah, check out that site. The opening 2 sentences there are highly accurate:

    "If you've given any thought to survival, you know the big three -- food, water and shelter -- are the foundation of any long-term survival plan. If you prepare to provide these three items for yourself and loved ones, you're farther ahead than probably 90 percent of the public."

    For long-term sustainability, you'll need to have access to a decent plot of land to grow foodstuffs on and set up cisterns for water. Not exactly an easy thing for an individual to do, but much easier to accomplish as a group project. The more rural the area is the better.

    If you actually do decide to go whole hog, it probably isn't going to be an easy change. The people in the Planning for the Future forum can help you though.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2005
  8. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

    Golgo 13, you didn't answer the question much space would be required to store a years supply of food and water for, say, a family of three?

    Please try to answer the question. A typical, large pantry in the average home will be able to store enough for about a week maximum. ...and you're suggesting enough for an entire year PLUS water and medicines!


    Baron Max
  9. wesmorris Nerd Overlord - we(s):1 of N Valued Senior Member

    I think the more important question is:

    How ya gonna KEEP it all?

    I don't see it happening. Thieves get pretty tenacious when they're starving.
  10. Golgo 13 The Professional Registered Senior Member

    That's what keeping a low profile and the guns are for. Of course the further out you can get an establisment from the populated areas, the less of a problem you'll have with competition.

    And like I said Baron, it depends on circumstance. Largely on what you're eating and how much space you have. You don't get a year's worth of food if you don't have enough space to store it, of course. Although one could make space. Use a garage, build a shed in the backyard, use the attic/basement, fill a room in an apartment, under the bed, in the closet, on top of the fridge, take out your couch and make a bootleg one out of stacked MRE cases, build shelving along the upper walls, rig heavy-duty utility hooks into the cieling studs and strap cases of food to them, etc. If you needed to store food and you took it as a potential life or death situation, I'm confident that you could get creative enough to figure out how to make some extra room. You settle for smaller quantities if space is really restricted. If you're in a small area then you would get the most benefit from buying high-density low space food items, like dehydrated/vacuumed foods that take up as little space as possible.

    If you want to figure out how much space you need then you have to figure out how much space a month's worth of supply takes up. Figure out the volume and multiply it by 12. I don't know how much you eat, what kinds of medications you are on, how much medicine you use in a week, things like that so I couldn't tell you but it wouldn't be too hard to figure out. If you can figure how much you need minimum for a day then you can derive the rest from there.

    It also depends on what kind of activity you'll be doing. In a dormant state I can survive on 1 decent sized meal a day and a glass of water for quite some time. Maybe even less than that. But if you're in a crisis situation, you need to assume that you'll be using resources at least at a normal rate. It's always better to overcompensate with things like this whenever possible, which the article in my last post discussed.

    You'll notice that several people at the Peak Oil forums are grabbing up rural arable land and working on it. Basically, when preparing for disaster, there are 2 ways you can go. The survivalist route, or the sustainer route. The survivalist route is much easier since all you need is a well prepared bug-out bag/survival kit and some knowledge about survival, but your quality of life is going to be pretty shitty. It can ultimately boil down to doing things like eating insects and things of that nature. Not exactly an appealing situation, but it beats starving to death. The sustainer route is like, buying several acres of farmland, growing food, keeping small livestock, learning natural methods, basically setting up a little agrarian establishment. That requires a bit of investment and is best done as a joint project.In either scenario, I don't think loners are going to make it too long, You have to sleep sometime and you need people to watch your back or to help you if you fall and break your ankle, that kind of stuff.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2005
  11. Edufer Tired warrior Registered Senior Member

    This is not a valid argument. We have been through this when talking about the Mayans (natural events not related to resource depletion) and Eastern Island example, the only example, but inscribed with an extremely small area, isolated in the ocean, with no technological advances of any kind to avoid the disaster.

    I like that. I have been trying to do that for a long time now. Started with my kids. Then, once retired, got together with other fellow thinkers and founded a Foundation for a Scientific Ecology. We set up a <a href=><b>website</b></a> (one of the most successful in Spanish language on the ecology issue - the <a href=><b>English version</b></a> you already know) and had some success toward making children in schools, youngsters in high schools and college students see the “environmental” problem from a scientific side, not from the emotional side. Ignorance goes hand to hand with fear. I don’t have to elaborate on that, it is basic psychology. Fear renders a person harmless and without reactions. It makes the brain to stop functioning. The roar of the lion when jumping on its victim's back is based in that principle. To terrorize the victim and paralyze it for the precious second the lion needs to sink his fangs on the neck.

    The same applies to people: a mugger points a knife at your throat (it happened to me in New York, 1973), and asks for the money. A normal, not trained person will freeze in terror, and 99% of the time will hand out the wallet. A trained “karate kid” will break the muggers elbow in a fraction of a second. I did that. I happened to be a self defense expert (I had commando training in Argentina’s and Brazilian armies) that didn’t get scared. Just evaluated the situation (they were two junkies needing money for dope), I measured the distance, and the guy with the knife got a broken elbow; the next half a second later the other guy got a broken knee with a side kick. Knowledge –and training- saved me. Knowledge, training, and experience will keep mankind going for it.

    I guess you are talking about the cereal cartel Archer-Midland, Dreyfus, Bunge Born, Cargill, etc. You are right on that. But their context for making business is not cheap oil. The fact is they set the grain prices in Chicago and work elbow to elbow with the banking system – the Rothschilds, Lazards, Barings, Morgans, Erlanger, Warburgs, Seligmans, Mirabaud, etc, who are the real owners of this world. The main problem I see with you is that you are leaving out of your analysis very important variables and constants of the World Equation, and are obsessively focusing on Oil Depletion. A broader look would tell you a different story.

    See what I mean? You see oil everywhere. It will end up drowning you.

    I already do what you propose: I live in open country in an “estancia” (a ranch – 2600 hectares, 10 miles from Cordoba city). The whole family lives there (most of my grandfather descendants), we have our own water well (120 meters drilling –excellent, abundant water), grow most of our vegetables and grains, we breed cattle, pigs, chickens, goats, rabbits; we have cows and get our own milk, butter, cream, cheese, etc.

    But we do that because that way there are many people working on the ranch (lots of jobs, many families living thanks to that), and because it is fun and instructive for the kids. But making numbers we know that it would be cheaper and easier for us get the stuff in the supermarket than producing all this in small scale. Dairies get a profit because they operate a market scale, not familiar scale. If we tried to produce at market scale, however, that would be another source of trouble, and an entirely new business that would take valuable time from us. Valuable time for me (and us) is <b>leisure time</b>. We are not greedy, we are happy with what we have, happy to enjoy life in a moderate way. We don’t need fancy cars or SUVs, private planes, or expensive furniture and luxurious house. We have grown up on that. We were born in a palace (<a href=><b>see here</b></a>) but don’t’ care about keeping up with the Joneses. Most of all, we pride ourselves of being “free thinkers”. We believe that the richest man is the one who needs the less. If you can control your desires, then you are rich. And we believe (contrary to Malthus) that you should help the needed.

    Europe has that price (and higher). No big deal. It is not the final price what is important. It is the relation between the price and the purchasing power of the people what counts. We have in Argentina a $2.00 pesos/liter ($0.60 US dollars, making a final price of $2,40 a gallon), but the purchasing power is here one of the lowest in the world. The minimum wage has been raised last wee to $500 pesos = US$ 166.00, but a normal clerk salary is $800.00 (US$ 266.00). It looks outrageous, isn’t it? And the IMF still wants its pound of flesh. But we manage to keep going. We have food, although a bad distribution, there is hungry in many parts of the north of the country (the jungle and forest, populated by Indian that cannot live in harmony with nature – because they lack the technological means to survive, while the government is corrupt and incompetent). How much would have the gasoline price to go up in the USA for reaching the same relationship “gas price/purchasing power” we have?

    Indeed, And to correct his mistakes is also a human trait. And that’s what mankind has been doing for ages.

    Not true. When you err on the cautious side sometimes you are covered, but sometimes you have taken too many precautions, that "missed the train"; missed the opportunity for lots of things. Being excessively cautious may be harnful for your health. How many people have died because they were scared stiff and opted for the precaution side? You see that constantly on building fires. Firemen do not apply the Principle as you suggest, and thank to that they save many lives. Had we applied the precautionary Principle from the beginning, mankind would still be hanging from tree branches afraid of getting down to walk and get near the river. Greens would like that!

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    That’s absolutely true. But for the opposite reasons you promote the Principle. I wrote an essay on the <a href=>Precautionary Principle</a>, that you can read in our web. The abstract would say (if there was one):
    <dir>“The <b>strict application</b> of this same Principle <b>makes it unacceptable.</b> It is too dangerous for mankind's survival, and there is no need for the logical or scientific proof for taking a preventive action. Thus, I propose a <b>World Campaign</b> for discussing the Precautionary Principle in all Congress in the world <b>and be prohibited as a base for legislation and regulations of any kind.</b> ”
  12. Edufer Tired warrior Registered Senior Member

    Or the money to buy it! Most people in the world (I would say, 65%) don’t have enough money to reach the end of the month, so most people must give up medicines, or medical treatment. Your paln is just for affluent people. US citizens -and some Canadians. Not most Europeans or Africans, or Asians, or Southamericans.

    Then, how many freezers would you need for keeping food from rotting? Or you plan to live on Astronauts packed food? Yeech! Keeping rats and mice out (not mentioning cockroaches) are another problem. You’d need not a cellar but a sealed bunker. What about the Eagle’s Nest in Berchtesgaden? Another problem: How much pot would you store? Present laws allow amounts for personal consumption, but a year’s stock would be considered trafficking stock.

    You see? When you start to boil down all the details, your proposal looks somewhat crazy (or naïve?)
  13. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

    Yeah, but don't they all? ...sorta' like get-rich-quick schemes, huh?

    We're way, way past surviving on our own in the wilds, wearing skins and using flint tools! In fact, how many people can actually dress an animal skin to make it wearable? How many of y'all can grow anything in a garden? Let's face it, we're now at the mercy of the governments and there's really very little we can do about it.

    Can y'all picture the people of, say, New York City trudging across the country seeking food and shelter and drinkable water in order to survive? ...LOL!!!

    Baron Max
  14. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

    Hey, I just thought of something else ....where are these survivors gonna' put their trash and garbage? Oooooh, and where are they gonna' shit and piss? ..gonna' get awfully smelly, ain't it? ...unless you bury all the sewage. But then it'll get into your drinking water, won't it? What then?

    Baron Max
  15. Edufer Tired warrior Registered Senior Member

    I guess the best way out of all our sorrows and horrible years ahead is to go the way Rev. Jones did: Let's go to Guyana and commit mass suicide. Don't forget to take aunt Daisy and Granny along. Surely they wouldn't like to miss the fun!
  16. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

    No, I don't think it's necessary to go the suicide route. But just "go" ...just keep living and let things happen and adapt just like humans have been doing for millions of years. It ain't no different to the Ice Ages ...when it started to get cold, they either put on more clothes or they moved to warmer climates. No big deal.

    Ancient man didn't have the Internet on which to complain, bitch, moan, whine and cry. They just DID something about their problems .......and we can do the same. Unless, of course, you'd rather cry and whine and complain??

    Baron Max
  17. Golgo 13 The Professional Registered Senior Member

    This is an energy/resource issue. The thing about technology is that it is neither. It uses both energy and resources. All the cheap and abundant fuels of this planet, with the exception of radioactive isotopes, are fossil fuels. Ancient geological artifacts which run our way of life. And all are energy-dense solid material.

    If the indistrialized world were to have an energy crisis, it would need something on a scope and magnitude that would allow them to do without it. In this example, oil. Without oil, and without something to replace it's many critical material uses and transport fuel (which we currently do not have nor are investing any extensive amounts of money for R&D into developing) the industrial society and suburban sprawl simply will not and cannot work in their current contextx, simple as that.

    Let's take a minor example.

    A little history teaches us that the market for natural rubber collapsed from the moment on rubber could be synthetisized from oil. We must ask what will happen when peak oil arrives.

    Today, synthetic rubbers make up roughly 70% of the entire elastomer industry, natural rubbers covering the rest. The total world consumption for all rubbers is roughly 20 million metric tons. With the booming economic growth in China, we will see a steep increase of world consumption over the coming years (all Chinese people want a car, to put it in strong terms). An increase of 30% by the year 2010, and a 60% increase in world consumption by 2020 is realistic.

    Now, knowing that it takes approximately 5 kilos of crude oil to create one kilo of elastomer, let's look at the projected numbers:

    -In 2010 world consumption of synthetic rubber will be roughly 18 million tonnes, requiring 90 million tons of crude oil per year (540 million barrels)

    -In 2020 world consumption of synthetic rubber will be roughly 24 million tonnes, requiring 120 million tons of crude a year (720 million barrels!)

    The price of synthetic rubber will skyrocket. And rubber is a basic commodity, for which there are few alternatives.

    Only a dramatic increase in natural rubber production may cover the gap.

    In short, the only option seems to be the creation of gigantic natural rubber plantations. But this is a nightmare scenario, since it's an agricultural production method requiring years of investment prior to production (it takes 4 to 6 years before newly planted rubber trees can be tapped), and which is highly risky (dependent on climate, and susceptible to disease). Moreover, rubber harvesting is labor intensive (not yet automated) and thus in the end, rubber may become a very expensive commodity, no matter how you look at it.

    During the cold war, the US once had such a thing as the "strategic rubber reserve". This was some massive amount of rubber that the government had bought up and stowed away in a cavern in Kansas in the event of a supply cutoff from Indochina. They did away with the program in the late '70's, and sold off all of the rubber (which was still useable), but it is possible to store this stuff for several years if you had to, and showed that the planners had the foresight to plan for this type of shortage, which evidently we do not any longer.

    We're talking about O rings, seals for jars, tires, shoes, and much more.

    O rings are used on a lot of machines that need lubrication, even if they don't burn fuel. For instance, treadle sewing machines have an o-ring part.

    And keep in mind that this is a very very minor example. A big example is the petrochemicals that enable our food production to feed us and make enough extra food to export to China and the fuel to ship it there and within our own country.

    Everything is going to go to hell in a handbasket in industrial society as we hit critical levels of depletion.

    I'm looking at it from a practical side. Everything in modern society grinds to a halt without a constant supply of cheap and abundant oil. It is the precondition for all other resources. There is not a single product you can get that wan't disributed with, produced from, or otherwise enabled by oil. We've become irrevocably dependent on a single finite resource that has a sharp depletion curve and it's pretty disgusting.

    This is a result of what happens when people think themselves somehow above nature, apart from it, or as something that must be defeated. If we designed infrastriucture to "go with the grain" instead of against it, we wouldn't be having these problems. Things like local food production, walkable communities, multi-use centers, mass transit and such are sustainable. As opposed to everyone driving around in individual automobiles that have horrible mileage and burn up precious fuel like there's no tomorrow.

    One of the biggest mistakes society ever made was trusting people to self-moderate, because it simply doesn't happen. On Easter Island, whoever was counting the trees was either incompetent or lying to them. Now we face a similar situation with OPEC nations spurious upward reserves that are political and only exist on paper since they aren't related to any actual geological finds and were done back in the 70's and 80's to increase market share because OPEC made new laws saying a country could increase it's oil production commensurate with it's stated reserves.

    See, that is the type of logical evaluation like I would do. Most people would just freak, go wobbly in the knees, and get victimized. The vast majority of people have no knowledge, training, or experience with emergency situations. They are just used to the easy motoring economy and everything being prepared already for them for easy purchase. They live in this little bubble of cheap oil enabled high-standard living industrian society, and everything they know is useless outsode that context. The United States is little more than car dependency, so as the crisis deepens in the coming years, the situation will be made manifest.

    I'm looking at the distribution network. Here in the U.S. it's all individual trucks that ship our food throughout the system and get it down to the local foodstore level. The food is grown at point E, gets harvested and transported to point D for processing, gets processed and goes to point C for packaging and distribution, goes to the distribution warehouse point B and finally gets trucked out to the local grocery store near where you live, point A. This only works in teh context of cheap oil to bring your food from the farm in Texas to the corner store in ovepopulated New York ans well as all other products as well.

    We've got 700 million automobiles that all run on the same stuff. We could be utilizing railways and expanding those since they are much more economical and less resource intensive, but it isn't happening. We have a railroad system the Bulgarians would eb ashamed of. All the things that we need in order to mitigate the problem and pave the way for a post-petroleum society aren't being done. Conservation is a forbidden word in politics. The closest thing they can say to conservation is efficiency, but due to Jevons Paradox, efficiency just breeds additional consumption. So we not only don't have any supply-side solutions, we are unwilling to implement the few options we do have available to us. It should be obvious where this will ultimately lead.

    I just call it like I see it, and in an oil-addicted and dependent society, it isn't hard to see where oil was the precondition for everything that goes on. ignoring the vast implications isn't going to make those inconvenient facts disappear, so I say it's best to confromt them.

    From the sound of it, you are exceptionally well off to weather such an event since you already have access to what billions of other people are going to be trying to develop when it becomes apparent that they can't continue to have food migrated to them from thousands of miles away.

    After Peak Oil hits and we go down the curve a bit, I expect to never eat much less see another banana as long as I live.

    This is a philosophy that I have come to realize recently. Yes, we should help those whenever we can. I'm actually a pretty generous person. But I can only help those when I have the resources available to do so. If I had, say, a bunker for instance with enough food to last 40 people a year, and a small town of 200,000 showed up at my front door for assistance, the problem there would be obvious.

    Since you are already in an ideal setting for this very type of problem, I would suggest that you start canning food and accumulating as much spare provisions as you reasonably can, because you, your loved ones, friends, and anyone else you take in will be needing them in the future. The thing about oil depletion is the less dependent your society is to the resource, the better off you are.

    Yeah, because of their fuel tax and oil network. They designed their oil pipelines under the unrealistic assumption that they would never have to import more than they produced. However they have good mass transit capabilities which we have a gross lack of here in the U.S.. The people are also conditioned to cheap energy. They don't realize that the cost was too low and that it has to go up, nor will they understand it. This is going to cause things like strikes, protests, demonstrations, and other forms of civil unrest.

    And it doesn't stop at $4 a gallon. that was a conservative example. at like $10 a gallon, the food pretty much stops. The government would have to subsidize the trucking industry just to keep food on the shelves. Add that to the fact people would be panicking at the same time, trying to hoarde, grabbing up everything they could.

    The purchasing power of most the people in the U.S. (i.e. the low income earners) totally sucks. Minimum wage has been stagnant here since 1997 and the cost of living has done nothing but gone up. So what has been our solution to it? Big tax cuts for the top 1% of income earners that need it the least. Our economy is already hurting outside the context of Peak Oil and when it hits, it's going to be more than enough to send this boat over the edge.

    The U.S. would devolve to total chaos before we ever got that bad. The people just wouldn't have it. You have to understand this is from a Nintendo culture raised on technology, with technology and knows nothing but technology and much higher living standards even among many of the poor than compared with countries like your own. A nation spoiled, basically. When the idea sets in that their way of life is going to come to an end, it's going to be a complete shitstorm. My worst fear isn't the effect resource depletion itself will have, which will be very drastic by itself, but how the people will react to it.

    Of course the precautionary principle must be used within reason. Life is a risk, after all. We all have to take risks, but I'm the calculated risk type. I know some people that are just like "Ooh there's a risk! I'd better go take it!" and end up losing everything.

    Everything I do is a cost/benefit analysis that usually errs on the side of caution. There are some exceptions where the potential payoff is great enough and the potential consequence is manageable enough to warrant taking the risk.

    What a coincidence. I'll have to check that out.

    Of course. You can't be 100% conservative or precautionary, but I just like to set my mind in such a fashon where it makes the best decision possible when presented with a choice. Like if I'm in Vegas and I can go double or nothing betting black on the Roulette wheel, but it's my rent money, I take the precautuionary principle and keep a roof over my head.

    Instead of wasting a valuable resource like humanure when you/your community has to be self-sustaining, you use it to fertilize your crops.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2005

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