What’s a solar flare?

Aug. 16, 2011, Geek.com, by Jennifer Bergen
www.geek.com/articles/geek-cetera/whats-a-solar-flare-nasa-explains-20110816/

There has been a lot of talk about solar flares the past few weeks. For those of you who are not space nerds, the term solar flare may be unfamiliar to you. It sounds like a terrifying phenomenon that would send giant balls of fire hurling down to earth, but that’s not necessarily the case. NASA has created a handy video putting solar flares into terms anyone can understand and eliminating the paranoia that a ball of fire will rain down on Earth and end all life as we know it.

So, what the heck is a solar flare? NASA says that flares are basically explosions on the surface of the Sun that can last minutes to hours in length. Flares are the result of powerful magnetic fields in and around the sun reconnecting. For the most part, these connections usually happen around active regions where there’s a strong magnetic field. These regions are most often seen as sun spots. Every 11 years, the sun reaches its maximum activity and the solar flares become bigger and more common.

Flares are classified in a similar way to the Richter scale for earthquakes where each letter represents a ten-fold increase in energy output. The smallest flares are B-class, then C, then M, and the largest are classified as X-class. Each letter has a scale of one to nine, so an X9 is an extremely powerful flare, whereas a B1 is not much to write home about. Also an X-class flare is 10 times an M and 100 times a C. Since X9 is technically the largest classification, flares can go above an X9.

Just last week we saw an X6.9-class flare, but the most powerful flare ever to be recorded happened in 2003 and was so powerful that it overloaded the sensors that were measuring it, making it an out-of-category event that had never been seen or experienced before, an X45. The flare wasn’t directly pointed at Earth, but there were some pretty awesome Northern Lights seen a few days later.

A powerful solar flare, like the 2003 flare, can create long-lasting radiation storms. This can harm satellites and can also give anyone flying in a plane near the poles a small dose of radiation. X-flares can also cause worldwide blackouts and can create global transmission problems.

NASA and NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, monitor the Sun and can now see the Sun from every side and from many different wavelengths. This allows scientists to predict space weather events like flares and then warn governments and companies in advance if a solar flare’s radiation may be likely to affect the country.

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The Tragedy of the Commons

(News & Editorial/The Tragedy of the Commons)

What & who we are
(Excerpted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_sapiens)
“Humans are bipedal primates belonging to the species Homo sapiens (Latin: “wise man” or “knowing man”) in Hominidae, the great ape family. They are the only surviving members of the genus Homo. Humans have a highly developed brain, capable of abstract reasoning, language, introspection, and problem solving. This mental capability, combined with an erect body carriage that frees the arms for manipulating objects, has allowed humans to make far greater use of tools than any other species.

Like most higher primates, humans are social by nature. However, humans are uniquely adept at utilizing systems of communication for self-expression, the exchange of ideas, and organization.

Humans create complex social structures composed of many cooperating and competing groups, from families to nations.

Social interactions between humans have established an extremely wide variety of values, social norms, and rituals, which together form the basis of human society.
Humans have a marked appreciation for beauty and aesthetics which, combined with the human desire for self-expression, has led to cultural innovations such as art, literature and music.

Humans are noted for their desire to understand and influence their environment, seeking to explain and manipulate natural phenomena through science, philosophy, mythology and religion. This natural curiosity has led to the development of advanced tools and skills, which are passed down culturally; humans are the only species known to build fires, cook their food, clothe themselves, and use numerous other technologies…”

“In humans, behavioral innovations are usually passed down culturally from one generation to the next through social learning. For many, the existence of culture in humans is the key adaptation that sets us apart from animals.” However,

Humanity’s Archille’s Heel:
“The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.” – Dr. Albert Bartlett, physicist.
All species expand as much as resources allow and predators, parasites, and physical conditions permit. When a species is introduced into a new habitat with abundant resources that accumulated before its arrival, the population expands rapidly until all the resources are used up.”  – David Price, Energy and Human Evolution 

.The tragedy of the commons
Pasted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons
The tragedy of the commons is a dilemma arising from the situation in which multiple individuals, acting independently and rationally consulting their own self-interest, will ultimately deplete a shared limited resource, even when it is clear that it is not in anyone’s long-term interest for this to happen. This dilemma was first described, in modern times, in an influential article titled “The Tragedy of the Commons,” written by ecologist Garrett Hardin and first published in the journal Science in 1968.

Central to Hardin’s article is an example (See a similar cartoon below in this post. Mr Larry] of a hypothetical and simplified situation based on medieval land tenure in Europe, of herders sharing a common parcel of land, on which they are each entitled to let their cows graze. In Hardin’s example, it is in each herder’s interest to put the next (and succeeding) cows he acquires onto the land, even if the quality of the common is damaged for all as a result, through overgrazing. The herder receives all of the benefits from an additional cow, while the damage to the common is shared by the entire group. If all herders make this individually rational economic decision, the common will be depleted or even destroyed, to the detriment of all.

[The behavior of ‘Self interest vs. The Commons’ is a  common flaw in Man’s mental abilities and has been with us for thousands of years, if not since our dawn. You can see it today during the recent financial crisis where banks, whom during good times privatized their profits and in bad times spread their losses to the public.]

Thucydides (ca. 460 BC-ca. 395 BC) stated: “They devote a very small fraction of time to the consideration of any public object, most of it to the prosecution of their own objects. Meanwhile each fancies that no harm will come to his neglect, that it is the business of somebody else to look after this or that for him; and so, by the same notion being entertained by all separately, the common cause imperceptibly decays.”

Aristotle (384-322 BC) similarly argued against common goods of the polis (city-state)  of Athens: “That all persons call the same thing mine in the sense in which each does so may be a fine thing, but it is impracticable; or if the words are taken in the other sense, such a unity in no way conduces to harmony. And there is another objection to the proposal. For that which is common to the greatest number has the least care bestowed upon it. Every one thinks chiefly of his own, hardly at all of the common interest; and only when he is himself concerned as an individual. For besides other considerations, everybody is more inclined to neglect the duty which he expects another to fulfill; as in families many attendants are often less useful than a few.”

Psychologist Dennis Fox used a number, what is now termed “Dunbar’s number”, to take a new look at the tragedy of the commons. In a 1985 paper titled “Psychology, Ideology, Utopia, & the Commons”, he stated “Edney also argued that long-term solutions will require, among a number of other approaches, breaking down commons into smaller segments. He reviewed experimental data showing that cooperative behavior is indeed more common in smaller groups. After estimating that “the upper limit for a simple, self-contained, sustaining, well-functioning commons  may be as low as 150 people”.
[If Fox is right and Dunbar’s number for cooperative behavior in a Commons is around 150, then our global political subdivisions of nation, state and county, municipality, are wholly wrong for long term human sustainability. When was the last time you found any personal democratic power in a group of about 150, or of any larger size. Casting our votes on election day really has little to do, ever, about The Commons which we all inhabit. Mr. Larry]

Cartoon illustrating The Tragedy of the Commons
From http://www.garretthardinsociety.org/info/cartoon_commons1.html

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The Tragedy of the Commons, becomes a problem of Exponential Growth
<http://www.webpotential.com/ambiente/exponential_growth.htm&gt;

In America, growth is seen as American as the flag and apple pie. But there is trouble in paradise. The flag that flies for growth is a noose and the apple pie of expansion is laced with cyanide. But it’s not just America that has this unhealthy relationship with growth it’s the majority of the world and its economies. As our populations, economies, and resource use grow exponentially, so do our environmental problems and the potential for collapse of the earth’s ability to sustain human life. Growth as we know it cannot continue.

As the primary proponent of growth worldwide, business must adjust to the reality of the problems created by growth. Because our current systems of business rely upon continuous growth and development they can not survive in their current form. As Paul Hawken writes in, The Ecology of Commerce, “Just as internal contradictions brought down the Marxist and socialist economies, so do a different set of social and biological forces signal our own possible demise. Those forces can no longer be ignored or put aside”. The internal contradictions that Hawken is speaking of are creation of waste, unsustainable uses of resources, environmental degradation, a disparity of wealth, and a plethora of other unsustainable business practices.

The most important foundation of all of these problems is exponential growth in human population and resource use. Hawken states, “The problems to be faced are vast and complex, but come down to this: 5.5 billion people are breeding exponentially [the population is 7 billion now, the article pasted here was written a few years ago. Mr. Larry]. The process of fulfilling their wants and needs is stripping the earth of its biotic capacity to produce life; a climactic bust of consumption by a single species is overwhelming the skies, earth, waters, and fauna”. Hawken relates this to business practices by showing that business relies on and creates unsustainable growth. Hawken seeks to answer, as did the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) Task Force on Environment, “What kind of jobs will be possible in a world of depleted resources, poisoned water and foul air, a world where ozone depletion and greenhouse warming make it difficult even to survive.”.

What exactly is exponential growth, and is exponential growth in population and resource use really unsustainable? Much of the public and by many of our policy makers do not understand exponential growth. Unfortunately, this lack of understanding has not keep exponential population growth and resource use from becoming a problem.
.
The possible origin of chess shows a striking example of exponential growth.
Legend has it that chess was invented by a mathematician who asked a king for what seemed to the king like a small price for the game. He asked that the king pay him in wheat. He asked the king to place 1 piece of wheat on the first square of the board, two on the second and that he continue to double the grains of wheat for all the squares on the board. The king agreed to pay the price, but it’s quite impossible that he held up his end of the bargain.
The amount of wheat needed is enormous. With 64 squares on a chessboard, the king needed 263 grains of wheat to pay the mathematician. This is roughly 400 times the 1990 worldwide harvest of wheat, and could be more wheat than has been harvested in the history of humanity! This is exponential growth. The king was probably thinking of linear growth, where the number of grains would grow by one for each square, when he made the deal. Linear growth would give 2048 grains of wheat in total. Enough grain for a few meals perhaps, but nothing compared to the amount of wheat harvested in human history.

Many things other than that cunning mathematician’s grains of wheat grow exponentially. Human population, resource use, and the waste that accompany them are growing exponentially. While many types of resource use are growing at over 5% per year, the human population is growing at about 1.6%. 1.6% does not seem too like an unacceptable rate of growth to many. In economic terms 1.6% growth is downright horrendous. The Japanese declare their economy is in recession if it grows less than 3% per year.
Although 1.6% does not seem like much to some of the kings and economists of the world, applied to human population it can yield huge numbers. While it took 2 million years for us to reach a population of 1 billion, we will add another billion to the earth’s population in just the next 11 years. If we calculate 1.6% growth out another 600 years, we find that there would be one person for each square yard of the dry land surface of earth, and in 1800 years the mass of humans would exceed the mass of the earth. Clearly human population growth will stop. But it’s not just our population that is growing, it’s also our use of natural resources.

Most types of resource use are growing faster than population. Although many associate growth in resource use with population growth, growth in resource use can also be independent of population growth. Resource use can grow even without population growth, although the reverse is hard to imagine. An example of what exponential growth means in resources can be seen with US coal reserves.
.
Coal is the US’s most abundant fossil fuel.
In 1991 the US Department of Energy reported that at current rate of use US coal reserves could last almost 500 years. But the caveat here is current rate of use. Between 1971 and 1991 the use of coal grew 2.86%. With this rate of growth US coal could last about 94 years if we could use it all, but more likely 72 years of coal would be.
[That means we could be out of coal by 2063 (1971+72 years), just 30 years after the decline from current Peak Oil has greatly reduced gasoline consuming private automobiles. Mr. Larry. See also the 4dtraveler Post: (News& Editorial/ Exponential Growth)

The lack of understanding of how long coal could last, comes from people’s lack of knowledge of exponential growth. In 1978, Time Magazine reported that there is “enough coal to meet the country’s energy needs for centuries, no matter how much energy consumption may grow. This is clearly untrue. If we look just at the amount of electrical energy the country uses and its historical growth over the last 40 years, we see that coal could meet that need for just 36 years. Remember, coal is our most abundant fossil fuel. This utter lack of understanding of the results of exponential growth isn’t limited to Time — it’s pervasive in our government, media, and general public.

Coal is just one example of the larger issues surrounding resource use. No one knows if we’ll be able to discover enough resources to maintain our level of growth, or if the social, human, and environmental costs of using these resources will be too high to use them if they are found. If one understands the way exponential growth works it becomes clear, as it is to most that study the issue, that population and resource use growth cannot continue. The manner in which these will stop is unknown. We seem to have two basic choices: we can decide how to stop the growth of population and resources use, or we can let nature do it for us.

Petroleum is another example of the larger issues…
http://nymoral.blogspot.com/2009/12/greatest-shortcoming-of-human-race.html
In 1974, Dr Hubbert predicted that the peak of world oil would occur around 1995, so let’s see what’s happened. We have to go to the geology literature and ask the literature,
“What do you think is the total amount of oil we will ever find on this earth?”
The consensus figure in the literature is 2000 billion barrels. Now, that’s quite uncertain, plus or minus maybe 40 or 50%.
That would mean the peak is this year (2004). If I assume there is 50% more than the consensus figure, the peak moves back to 2019. If I assume there’s twice as much as the consensus figure, the peak moves back to 2030.

So no matter how you cut it, in your life expectancy, you are going to see the peak of world oil production. And you’ve got to ask yourself, what is life going to be like when we have a declining world production of petroleum, and we have a growing world population, and we have a growing world per capita demand for oil. Think about it.

[The problem of Mankind dealing with exponential growth leads back to the Tragedy of the Commons. In order to satisfy the needs and appetites of an exponentially growing population, exponential consumption is required, unless we each incrementally accept less and less.
We seek to satisfy our needs, and appetites individually, and on a family scale, meanwhile, considering any resultant problems as being the responsibility of The Commons.
Human beings will not search for, much less reach a consensus on how to equally share the responsibility of The Commons, in a multi-national environment; it’s our Human Nature to continue with new civilizations, with booms and busts.
Unfortunately, the petroleum, coal and commodity fed boom of the 20th Century will lead to a quite stellar bust in the 21st Century. Mr. Larry]

A few words of wisdom
•  “The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.” – Dr. Albert Bartlett, physicist.
•  Can you think of any problem in any area of human endeavor, on any scale, from microscopic to global, whose long-term solution is in any demonstrable way aided, assisted, or advanced by further increases in population, locally, nationally, or globally?” – Dr. Albert Bartlett, physicist.
•  Bartlett’s law will result in the exhaustion of petrochemical resources due to the exponential growth of the world population in line with the Malthusian Growth Model. – Dr. Albert Bartlett, physicist.
•  “The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to emotionally comprehend the exponential function.”- Edward Teller, American nuclear physicist, known as “the father of the hydrogen bomb.”
•  “Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist.” – Kenneth Boulding, economist, system scientist, educator, author, poet.
•  Thomas Jefferson, in a 1787 letter to Peter Carr, made a profound observation about human nature that only now is being verified by neuroscience and behavioral genetics studies. “Man is”, Jefferson wrote, “a social animal and is endowed with a sense of right and wrong. If one would State a moral case to a ploughman and a professor … the former would decide it well, and often better than the latter, because he has not been led astray by artificial rules.”

Haiti and the Dominican Republic – comparing potential futures

[Photograph below: The border between Haiti (left) and the Dominican Republic (right) on the Caribbean island, Hispaniola. Policies that  led to deforestation practices in Haiti vs. the Dominican Republic, show that decision making, can and does make a difference in the condition of The Commons.

Centuries of man-made deforestation have reduced forest cover to about 2%  in Haiti, and 21% in the Dominican Republic.
The Dominican Republic constructed, dams to generate hydroelectric power. They launched a crash program to spare forest from being  use for fuel, by instead importing propane and liquefied natural gas. Haiti’s poverty forced its people to remain dependent on forest-derived charcoal from fuel, thereby accelerating the destruction of its last remaining forests.
Dominicans like the Haitians, have experienced a great deal of corruption and instability, but since 1970 the country has maintained the transition of power through peaceful elections. The continuity of the Dominican government made possible a set of economic reforms in 1990 that led to a decade of steady growth.
In the Dominican Republic, average life expectancy is nearly 74 years, in Haiti, it’s 61 years. [Photograph at right, farm community in the Dominican Republic.]

Haiti provides a dim image of an overpopulated, degraded world, where material things are scarce, where The Commons were ignored until it was too late.

What has come to Haiti in the 200 years, since her colonial days, pre 1804?
The Haitian environment has become a severely degraded ecosystem; her wildlife habitats have been destroyed or seriously damaged, with 25 to 30 watersheds largely degraded or altered. Because most of the trees have being cut, there is increased soil erosion and flood damage from storms, crop losses are greater.

 The countryside is already barely able to provide minimal living standards for the people. Those who lose their entire crop often end up living in a shanty in Port-au-Prince.
About three in four Haitians (73%) say there have been times in the past year when they or their families have gone hungry. Globally, only Africans in Chad (76%), Malawi (76%), and Niger (74%) are as likely to say they experienced food deprivation.
A majority of Haitians (57%) say there have been times in the past year when they did not have enough money to provide adequate shelter for themselves.
In Haiti, chronic political instability and corruption have combined with poverty, illiteracy, and racial discrimination to pose insurmountable barriers to modernization.
Meanwhile, Haitians are far more likely than Dominicans to say they’ve been assaulted in the past year. A full 30% of Haitians say they have been assaulted or mugged in the past 12 months, nearly three times the percentage of Dominicans who say the same (11%). In fact, among residents of more than 100 countries surveyed worldwide, only Burundians in central Africa (33%) are more likely than Haitians to say they’ve been attacked in the past year. [Photograph at right, farming community in Haiti.]

 Much of the rest on the planet could experience conditions somewhat similar to Haiti – 100 years from 2012. Considering that  petroleum and coal resources will  have been fully exploited and reduced to exhaustion within about 50 years (but 50 before that hypothetical 100 years has passed). Considering that other easily mined natural resources that we use in our civilization, will have  similarly been mostly extracted, it simply defies explanation where the energy will come from. If we do manage to overcome the energy challenge with a technological tour de force, starting immediately, where will the mines and minerals,  revitalized carbon depleted farm soil, restocked global fisheries, below ground  recharged water aquifers, and new surface fresh water resources come from?

All these problems are of course ‘in the future’ meaning… it’s going to ultimately be someone else’s responsibility…  [smile to yourself and think,  The Commons]. From your family’s view, the reality of peak oil is arriving now, along with increasing costs from food, medical care, college expenses… add your observations to the list. However, as a society, we’re seeing a decay in public infrastructure; diminishing economic returns; a long term continuing increase in social subsidies, income disparity, sub inflationary wage increases; no interest gained from our savings; political unrest is spreading at home and abroad.
.
This then, is the coming of the Tragedy of the Commons.

Mr. Larry

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After peak oil

(Survival manual/2. Social issues/After peak oil)

Topics:
1.  Peak Oil facts
2. When the lights go out
3. Depletion of key resources
4. Peak oil info and strategies
5. Urban vs. Rural Sustainability
6. Cities, Peak Oil and Sustainability
7. Surviving Peak Oil, The Economic Meltdown and A Possible New Great Depression

Prologue
Oil is the fuel that enabled the growth of modern civilization, and all industrialized countries now rely on it to an extraordinary extent.
Oil provides 40 percent of all primary energy, and 90 percent of our transportation energy.
It is furthermore critical to industrial agriculture, the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, much of the clothing industry, and a vast array of others.
The physical and chemical versatility of oil, combined with its high energy density, are such that no other known energy source can serve as a full or even adequate substitute. In short, oil is the lifeblood of the industrial world.

Once peak oil hits, economic growth will  be gone. Our financial system needs growth to sustain it, so that loans can be paid back with interest. What has been economic growth may be replaced with economic  decline.

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1.  Peak Oil Facts & What They Mean to You


Pasted from <http://www.energytrove.com/peak-oil-facts.html>
The peak oil facts are undisputed despite the raging debate over when it will actually occur. This page summarizes peak oil theory, facts and what it all means to you…
•  Undisputed facts about peak oil
•  Peak oil: taking the facts one step further
•  Projections about peak oil’s timing
•  Boiling it all down & next steps

Undisputed Peak Oil Facts
There are widely opposing viewpoints about peak oil. When will it happen? How much oil is left? How will renewable energy reduce its demand? What will be the impact to the national and global economy?

Before you can consider these questions, their implications and what they mean to you, you must first establish a foundation of the undisputed peak oil facts accepted by all viewpoints…

Fact #1 of 11 Peak Oil Facts:
Oil is a nonrenewable resource, which means that it can’t be reproduced for use by humans (it is made over millions of years). In other words, once it’s gone, it’s gone.

Fact #2: Peak oil occurs and can be confirmed when the rate at which oil is taken from the ground worldwide hits its high point and starts to decline.

Fact #3: There are a finite number of oil reserves on the planet. Regardless of technological advancements that allow us to find and extract what’s there, eventually existing reserves will be depleted and there will be no more oil to find.

Fact  #4: All individual oil fields (and therefore all nations’ and the planet’s oil production) inevitably peak, decline and are depleted. For example, the United States reached peak oil production in the 1970’s which has been in decline ever since.

Fact #5: One or both of two things must occur after peak oil is reached and the decline in oil production continues:
•  The price of oil will go up
•  The demand for oil will go down

__Peak Oil Facts In Context: Canadian Tar Sands
Canada has about 178 billion barrels of proven oil reserves (2nd only to Saudi Arabia), over 95% of which are in the form of oil sand deposits. If it could be easily extracted, it would still only add about another 5- 1/2 years to the world’s oil supply at the current rate of consumption. However…
The amount of oil able to be extracted per day from tar sands: About 3.5 million barrels or roughly 4% of the world’s daily consumption

__Environmental impact of tar sand oil extraction:
•  By 2012, the Canadian tar sands operations are expected to  use as much gas as is needed to heat all of the homes in Canada.
•  Extracting oil from tar sands causes as much as 3 times the greenhouse gas pollution as a regular barrel of oil.
•  Canadian tar sands production methods do not comply with many U.S. environmental laws.
In either  case, all but the wealthiest individuals must reduce their dependence on oil as the price increases.

Fact  #6: Our current prevailing culture is utterly dependent on oil.Oil makes the modern world tick… not only does it fuel our cars, trucks, trains, boats and planes but it is used to produce the materials they are made up of.

It’s also extensively used during every step of the food process up to the point that the food enters your mouth… oil’s products are used to plant seeds, fertilize crops, kill bugs and weeds, harvest crops (which are also fed to the animals we eat) and to preserve, package, ship and refrigerate our food. Fully one-fifth of the United States’ oil consumption is used to produce and transport our food.

Oil is also used directly or indirectly to create the utensils, plates, pots, pans, counters, stoves, dinner tables and chairs that we use when cooking and eating…not to mention part of the electricity used to cook our food and to keep the lights on while we eat.
Rather use candles? Most are made of paraffin wax which is made from refined oil.
Countless oil-derived products are used in our everyday lives. See some common examples in the table above:

Fact  #7: Demand for oil is overtaking the speed at which we can produce it, regardless of peak oil’s timing, which will ultimately prevent oil prices from falling.
If demand continues on the same long-term trajectory — which appears to be the case outside of intermittent fluctuations caused by economic factors — there is no end in sight to rising oil prices.
The 2008 “Great Recession” caused a reduction in the demand of oil which caused its price to drop, but oil’s price must resume its increases for two main reasons:
1)  As illustrated in Fact #6 above and Fact #8 below, oil is used in too many aspects of our lives for us to reduce our consumption past a certain point and there is not enough energy available from alternative sources to make up for a significant shortfall.
2)  If oil’s demand drops for a long enough period of time, either production will slow down and bring prices back in line or production will continue at its current pace thus getting us closer to depleting the world’s oil (and therefore reducing oil’s supply which will eventually bringing its price back up). At best, reduction in the demand of oil would only serve to push back the timing of peak oil.
For a case in point about our world’s unquenchable and growing thirst for oil, consider that the United States and its 311 million citizens currently consume about 25% of the world’s oil and increase their demand every year.

__Chinese Oil Flow
China, the most populous country in the world with 1.3 billion citizens, currently consumes 9% of the world’s oil. It is increasing its oil consumption at a rate of 7.5% per year, 7 times faster than the U.S.
According to the International Energy Agency, by 2030 world energy demand will be 40% higher than it was in 2007: “Price volatility will continue, but the days of cheap energy are over.”

The United States Joint Forces Command concludes, “Assuming the most optimistic scenario for improved petroleum production through enhanced recovery means, the development of non-conventional oils (such as oil shales or tar sands) and new discoveries, petroleum production will be hard pressed to meet the expected future demand of 118 million barrels per day.”

__Peak Oil Facts In Context: New Oil Discoveries
The 10 largest oil discoveries from 2000 – 2010 combined (including Brazil’s 2010 discoveries) amount to about 48 billion barrels.
•  The world’s 2010 oil consumption per day was 87.4 million barrels
•  Number of days these combined discoveries will last at current rate of consumption: 549 (about 1.5 years)
In a typical economic scenario, when a  price point gets too high consumers simply shift their buying over to another good or service. But what happens when our infrastructure, products and services
don’t have a viable replacement?

Fact  #8: On the global scale, renewable energy sources and non-conventional oil will come nowhere close to offsetting our dependence on oil through 2030 and beyond.
According to United States Joint Forces Command, even taking into account all other available energy sources, oil will still need to satisfy the majority of our energy needs through 2030.
ExxonMobil, the largest oil company in the world, agrees: “80% of global energy needs through 2030 will continue to be met by oil, natural gas and coal.”

Fact #9: Everyone will eventually be forced to reduce their consumption of oil and its byproducts. Whether oil price increases make it unaffordable or government policy requires less consumption, as oil production continues to decline every single person will be affected at some point.

__Energy Per Barrel: Pros & Cons
One barrel of oil is equivalent to about 25,000 hours of human labor. Assuming weekends off, no vacation time and a 40 hour work week, that’s equivalent to over 12 years of work from one person.
That much work packed into one barrel of oil has enabled humans to accomplish amazing feats, ultimately allowing us to grow our global population 575% since 1857 when the first large oil refinery was built. That’s a growth of 5.8 billion people over the last 150 years compared to 1.2 billion over the previous 2,000. What happens as that amazing energy source starts to go away?

Fact  #10: Those people that have permanently adopted the use of less oil-dependent products, services, forms of energy and lifestyles will be less affected as the availability of oil declines and its price increases.

Fact  #11:  On the individual level, reducing dependence on oil is affordable and requires only minor changes to lifestyle. There are hundreds of ways to reduce your dependence on oil and the other finitely-available fossil fuels, many of which are either completely free or very affordable.
For example, replacing just one incandescent light bulb with an energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulb and always turning it off when it’s not in use can save up to $75 or more per year (this is after taking the higher cost of the fluorescent bulb into account). And that’s just the very tip of the energy-saving, oil-dependence-reducing iceberg.

More on what can be done on the individual level in a moment. First, let’s discuss how these peak oil facts will affect the oil-dependent…

Taking the Peak Oil Facts One Step Further & What it Means to You
As  illustrated above, oil is intimately connected to almost every aspect our culture. So what happens when the price of oil increases? History has shown the following three effects:

1)  Inflation goes up proportionately. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE), “inflation, measured by the rate of change in the consumer price index (CPI), tracks movements in the world oil price.”
What this means to you: A little inflation is a good thing. By encouraging people to outpace it, low inflation (as opposed to 0% inflation or deflation) leads to additional investing and borrowing thereby creating jobs, additional spending and an improved economy.
But rising inflation is bad for several reasons. In general, it means that the money you earn today (or saved in the past) will not buy you as much tomorrow… especially if your employer’s pay raises don’t keep up. For example, a 5% pay raise alongside 2% inflation means that you’ll be able to buy 3% more stuff with your money than you could previously. But that same 5% pay raise alongside 10% inflation has the opposite effect: a reduced standard of living.
It’s also bad news for retirement accounts since higher inflation makes it more difficult for your investments to outpace it, ultimately leaving you with a difficult decision: make riskier investments in an attempt to outpace higher inflation or remain in safer investments and watch your money lose value.
Higher inflation also leads to higher interest rates which makes borrowing money more expensive.

2)  The price of oil-dependent goods and services increases. Not surprisingly, when the cost of a good or service’s underlying expenses go up, the price of those goods and services must go up as well.
What this means to you: Every oil-dependent product or service that you currently use will go up in price. In general, the more oil that a product or service uses, the more dramatic its price increase will be.
For example, the price of corn keeps pace with the price of oil since so much oil is used in its production and because ethanol, an alternative energy source, is made from corn. Organic crops, on the other hand, use much less oil and are therefore less affected.

3)  Recession occurs. The DoE also points out that since the 1970s there have been “dramatic changes in GDP growth as the world oil price has undergone dramatic change.”11 More explicitly, as the price of oil and inflation (CPI’s rate of increase) go up, the economy goes down.
What this means to you: Recessions cause obvious hardships… unemployment rises, employer pay falls or remains stagnant, housing prices fall and inflation becomes more painful.

To recap what we’ve established so far…

1)  Oil will eventually run out. As it does, the price will continue to go up.
2) If demand outpaces supply before oil runs out, the price will go up in a similar fashion since oil is unique in its energy-producing capacity and because…
3) On a global scale, oil will be still be required to provide as much as 80% of our energy needs by 2030; there will not be enough power available from alternative sources to reduce our projected dependence on oil much below this.
4) On an individual scale, reducing oil dependence is relatively easy and affordable.
Before getting into ways to reduce our individual oil dependence, the next question should be obvious: when will peak oil – or the time when demand outstrips supply – occur? In other words, how much time do we have?

Boiling down the Peak Oil Facts & Next Steps
Oil is going away eventually for all of us – either because we’ll use it all up or because it will become too expensive as its demand outstrips its supply.

Rising oil prices will cause a severe and compounding downward spiral in a world that is dramatically underprepared with alternative energy sources; The inevitable oil-induced inflation increases, the higher cost of oil-dependent goods and services and an ongoing recession that is in lock-step with rising oil prices will eat away at more and more of our paychecks and savings.

When evaluating predictions from the US and international governments to the largest oil companies to organizations specifically focused on analyzing the data, it appears that if the scales have not tipped already, at the latest they will have by the time our babies are out of college.

This all may come as a shock. (Why hasn’t the media at-large assembled and communicated the research and opinions? Why isn’t the government acting more aggressively on the opinions of the organizations that they themselves have charged with compiling the research?)

Regardless of who’s right about the timing or how quickly the data will make its way into the minds of the masses, the peak oil facts should leave you asking three important questions first over all others:
1) When (not if) oil peaks or its demand outstrips its supply, how will the rising cost of oil affect you and your family?
2) What is the worst thing that can happen by beginning a transition to a less oil- and fossil-fuel-dependent lifestyle? (Here’s part of the answer: it will permanently reduce your expenses, freeing your money up for use elsewhere)
c) What can you do now to begin the transition?
Fortunately, the transition –- and where it leads — is neither all that bad nor expensive.
Pasted from <http://www.energytrove.com/peak-oil-facts.html>

First, about 2008-2010, global oil use per capita (purple bell curve on bottom) is seen just beginning to decline from its peak plateau. It’s use per capita declines at a rate of about 20% per decade so that in 50-60 years there is very little being used

Coal quickly peaks after oil and by 2025, it too is in decline.

The Human population has exploded as a result of the energy bonanza provided by petroleum and coal and their generation of electricity, resource extraction and transportation. The population numbers steeply declines when the free lunch diminishes.
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2.  When the Lights Go Out

When the Lights Go Out
10 January 2010, by Peter Goodchild
<http://www.culturechange.org/cms/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=590&Itemid=1>

When fossil fuels begin to vanish, the first sign of the times will not be made of cardboard and propped up in front of an empty gas pump. The sign will be the flickering bulb in the ceiling, because electricity is always the weakest link in the synergistic triad that includes fossil fuels and metals.

When the lights go out, so does everything else. The house or apartment will be largely non-functioning. Not only will there be darkness throughout the dwelling between sunset and sunrise, but all the sockets in the wall will be useless. The “four major appliances,” stove, refrigerator, washer, and drier, will be nothing more than large white objects taking up space, so there will be no means of cooking food or preserving it, and no means of doing laundry. There will be no heating or air-conditioning, because these are either controlled by electricity or entirely powered by it. For the same reason, there will be no plumbing, so clean water will not be coming into the house, and waste water will not be leaving it.

And that is only one’s own habitation. The entire country will be affected, the whole world will be affected. Computers will cease to operate, and computers have insinuated themselves into almost every device we use. There will be no long-distance communication: no telephones, no Internet, no transmission of data from anywhere to anywhere.

Money will largely cease to exist, because there will be no electronic means of sending or receiving it, and no way of balancing accounts. In fact money nowadays is not reckoned as coins or bills, but as data on a screen, and the data will no longer be there. All bank accounts will cease to exist.

Modern medicine will vanish. Doctors will have almost no means of taking care of their patients. Hospitals will be burdened with the sick and dying, and there will be no means of taking care of them. There will not even be a means of removing and burying the dead.

The police will be immobilized, because they will have no means of sending or receiving information. Since police forces anywhere have only enough personnel to deal with normal crises, it will not take long for officers to realize that they are powerless to do anything, but stay home and protect their own families.

For anyone, it will be impossible to jump into a car and get help, because cars require gasoline, and the gas pumps are run by electricity. In any case, the oil wells and the refineries will have ceased operation. The biggest “vicious circle” will have taken place: no electricity means no fossil fuels, and no fossil fuels means no electricity.

For a while, people will try to get by with emergency devices and equipment. Backup generators can save lives for a while, but those generators are not meant to be running for more than a few weeks, because they themselves require fuel. On a more primitive level there will be battery-powered devices, and even simple oil lamps and candles, but these will not last very long.

“When the lights go out” is mainly a synecdoche, of course, because the incandescent or fluorescent light bulbs in a house will not be the major concern: in the daylight hours, one does not need light bulbs. But the flickering of bulbs will nevertheless act as an early-warning system, the canary in the coal mine. During a severe storm, it is the flickering of light bulbs that indicates that it is time to get to whatever emergency supplies have been put aside: bottled water, canned food, and in winter warm clothing. The unsolved problem, however, may be that the concept of “emergency” is usually regarded in terms of a short period of time. There is always the spoken or silent refrain of “until the authorities arrive.” But those authorities will be waiting for other authorities to arrive, and so on ad absurdum.

On a more optimistic note, nevertheless, it must be said that there is a great deal that can be done. Of all the resources one can accumulate, the most important are those that are stored inside one’s own head: knowledge, skills, wisdom. “Knowledge” is perhaps not the right word, though, because to have read or heard a particular fact does not automatically grant the ability to deal with particular issues.

Even more important than mere “knowledge” is practice. For example, I used to read a great many books on vegetable gardening, but when I owned and ran a market garden for several years I was constantly mumbling, “Why isn’t this information in the books?” And there were several answers to that question. In the first place, the books were badly written. Secondly, it is not the overall principles that count, but the minutiae. Thirdly, those particulars often cannot be put into writing or even into speech: “I can’t explain it, I can only show you” is an expression I often heard. A good gardener knows a thousand tiny tricks that lead to success, and it is those particulars that matter, not the general statement that one does not sprinkle seed in a snowstorm.

The skills needed for country living are rarely the same as those needed in the city, although anyone who has built up experience in what the books call “home repair and improvement” will be ahead of those whose knowledge consists of more ethereal matters. Hunting and fishing are not taught in academia.

When I say, “When the lights go out, so does everything else,” I mean “everything in the city.” What matters is not to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Living in the city will certainly be a case of the wrong place at the wrong time. There will be no food and no water, and no mans of dealing with the victims of famine and disease. When there is an inkling that the light bulbs everywhere are about to fail, the answer is to be well outside the city limits. One should either be living in the country or at least have some property in the country and a well-tested means of getting there.

Even a plan of that sort, however, involves a few caveats. “Property” in the modern world is nothing more than a convenient legal fiction. If a gang of outlaws moves in next door, or even if there is a single oppressive neighbor to be dealt with, then the whole concept of “property” can vanish into thin air. I have known several cases in which people gave up house and land because they could not deal with troublemakers. What will it be like when the troublemakers are doing something more unpleasant than a little trespassing? So it is good to own property, but it is better to realize that ownership, in the modern sense of the word, might be nothing more than a scrap of paper.

Getting out of the city means knowing the roads ― not the main highways, but the back roads. In an emergency of any duration, the main roads become jammed, partly because of the volume of traffic but also because of accidents. In more severe situations, vehicles will even be abandoned, either because they are out of gas or because the passengers have discovered that it is quicker to walk. Knowing the back roads, and even knowing alternative routes among those back roads, means freedom of choice in one’s movements.

The last matter is that of community. As mentioned above, the concept of property can be illusive, but there is more to consider in the question of who lives in the general area. Neighbors who take pleasure in noisy dogs, loud radios, or heavy drinking can make proximity unpleasant nowadays, but such people may not prevail in the kind of “natural selection” that will take place, where common decency will be everyone’s concern. In any case, the greatest blessing of the post-petroleum age will be the demise of all-terrain vehicles, electronic amplifiers, and the other technological marvels with which people now ruin one another’s enjoyment of “cottage country.”

Even then, the trouble of having a neighbor may be less than the trouble of not having one. It has often been said, correctly, that in reality the loner will not survive. If such a person is the hero of a Hollywood movie, it is only for the sake of a story, for the vicarious excitement of defying the odds. No one can stay awake for a month, cradled in a corner with a gun. Without a family, a band, a tribe, there will be no means of distributing the tasks to be done.

It is not reasonable to expect a perfect neighborhood. Within the happiest band of jungle-dwellers there is gossip, discontent, jealousy, manipulation. Troubles and troublemakers can be dealt with in such a way that the community itself does not fall apart. In a primitive community, ostracism, for example, can be an effective means of resolving a problem. A community leader who lacks what we now call “managerial skills” can be replaced by one who does a better job. It is largely a myth to say that country people are nicer than city people; in any setting, neighbors are merely human, with common desires and antipathies and fears. What is important is not to wish for angelic neighbors but to have enough daily contact with them to anticipate how they will respond in a difficult situation.

When the lights go out, so does everything else, but that is not entirely true for those who are far from the city. Living out in the country when the lights go out means getting a better look at the stars.
<http://www.culturechange.org/cms/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=590&Itemid=1>
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3.  Depletion of Key Resources
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Depletion of Key Resources: Facts at Your Fingertips
27 January 2010, by Peter Goodchild
<http://www.culturechange.org/cms/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=597&Itemid=1&gt;

The author presents a definitive essay. Learn why,
•  “Those who expect to get by with ‘victory gardens’ are unaware of the arithmetic involved.”
•  “There are already too many people to be supported by non-mechanized agriculture.”
•  “To meet the world’s present energy needs by using solar power, then, we would need… a machine the size of France. The production and maintenance of this array would require vast quantities of hydrocarbons, metals, and other materials — a self-defeating process. Solar power will therefore do little to solve the world’s energy problems.”
•  “In a milieu of social chaos, what are the chances that the oil industry will be using extremely advanced technology to extract the last drops of oil? “

 Modern industrial society is based on a triad of hydrocarbons, metals, and electricity.
The three are intricately connected; each is accessible only if the other two are present. Electricity, for example, can be generated on a global scale only with hydrocarbons. The same dependence on hydrocarbons is true of metals; in fact the better types of ore are now becoming depleted, while those that remain can be processed only with modern machinery and require more hydrocarbons for smelting. In turn, without metals and electricity there would be no means of extracting and processing hydrocarbons. Of the three members of the triad, electricity is the most fragile, and its failure serves as an early warning of trouble with the other two.

Often the interactions of this triad are hiding in plain sight. Global production of steel, for example, requires 420 million tons of coke (from coal) annually, as well as other hydrocarbons adding up to an equivalent of another 100 million tons. To maintain industrial society, the production of steel cannot be curtailed: there are no “green” materials for the construction of skyscrapers, large bridges, automobiles, machinery, or tools. But the interconnections among fossil fuels, metals, and electricity are innumerable.

As each of the three members of the triad threatens to break down, we are looking at a society that is far more primitive than the one to which we have been accustomed.

The ascent and descent of oil production are those of the famous promontory known as Hubbert’s curve. The back side of the mountain probably does not greatly resemble the front. It is likely that the descent will be rather steep, again because of synergistic factors. As oil declines, more energy and money must be devoted to getting the less-accessible and lower-quality oil out of the ground. In turn, as more energy and money are devoted to oil production, the production of metals and electricity becomes more difficult. One problem feeds on another. The issue can also be described in terms of sheer money: when oil production costs about 4.5 percent of the economy, the latter begins a downward spiral.

There is a final piece of ill luck that occurs after the peak. When individual countries such as the USA begin to run out of domestic oil, depletion can be mitigated by the importation of oil from other countries, so the descent is not as troublesome as it might have been. When the entire planet begins to run out of oil, however, there will be nowhere to turn in order to make up the difference. We cannot get oil from outer space.

Global Energy per Capita
Global consumption of energy for the year 2005 was about 500 exajoules (EJ), most of which was supplied by fossil fuels. This annual consumption of energy can also be expressed in terms of billion barrels of oil equivalent. What is more important in terms of the effects on daily human life, though, is not consumption in an absolute sense, but consumption per capita, which reached what Richard C. Duncan calls a “rough plateau” in 1979.

Use of electricity worldwide rose by 70 percent from 1990 to 2008 [1]. This means an increase per capita of 41 percent. Since global energy per capita is not increasing significantly, there may come a point at which there is insufficient energy to prevent widespread brownouts and rolling blackouts [6, 7].

Fossil Fuels
The entire world’s economy is based on oil and other fossil fuels. These provide fuel, lubricants, asphalt, paint, plastics, fertilizer, and many other products. In 1850, before commercial production began, there were about 2 trillion barrels of oil in the ground. By about the year 2010, half of that oil had been
consumed, so about 1 trillion barrels remain. At the moment about 30 billion barrels of oil are consumed annually, and that is probably close to the maximum that will ever be possible. By the year 2030, some analysts say, oil production will be down to about half of that amount. [Editor’s note: we must consider the factor of oil-industry inflexibility to contract and to maintain extraction if collapse has already hit the economy.]

A vast amount of debate has gone on about “peak oil,” the date at which the world’s annual oil production will reach (or did reach) its maximum and will begin (or did begin) to decline. The exact numbers are unobtainable, mainly because oil-producing countries give rather inexact figures on their remaining supplies. The situation can perhaps be summarized by saying that many studies have been done, and that the consensus is that the peak is somewhere between the years 2000 and 2020. Within that period, a middle date seems rather more likely. Among the many who have contributed to that debate are Kenneth S. Deffeyes, Colin J. Campbell, Jean Laherrère, Dale Allen Pfeiffer, and Matthew R. Simmons, and the Association for the Study of Peak Oil has done its own appraisals.

The quest for the date of peak oil is somewhat of a red herring. In terms of daily life, what is more important is not peak oil in the absolute sense, but peak oil per capita. The date of the latter was 1979, when there were 5.5 barrels of oil per person annually, as opposed to 4.5 in 2007. This per-capita date of 1979 for oil consumption is the same as that noted above for per-capita consumption of energy in general.

Coal and natural gas are also disappearing. Coal will be available for a while after oil is gone, although previous reports of its abundance in the US were highly exaggerated. Coal is highly polluting and cannot be used as a fuel for most forms of transportation. Natural gas is not easily transported, and it is not suitable for most equipment.

Solar Power
The world’s deserts have an area of 36 million km2, and the solar energy they receive annually is 300,000 EJ, which at a typical 11-percent electrical-conversion rate would result in 33,000 EJ.

(EJ=exajoule;  1 EJ = 1018 joules.
Electrically, one joule is the work required to produce one watt of electric power for one second. Mechanically , one joule is the energy expended in applying a force of one newton through a distance of one meter.  [The United  States uses  roughly 94 exojoules per year, so 1 exojoule is about 1% of the US energy needs.]

As noted above, annual global energy consumption in 2005 was approximately 500 EJ. To meet the world’s present energy needs by using solar power, then, we would need  an array (or an equivalent number of smaller ones) with a size of 500/33,000 x 36 million km2, which is about 550,000 km2 — a machine the size of France. The production and maintenance of this array would require vast quantities of hydrocarbons, metals, and other materials — a self-defeating process. Solar power will therefore do little to solve the world’s energy problems.

Minerals Other than Petroleum
Depletion of other minerals on a global scale is somewhat difficult to determine, partly because recycling complicates the issues, partly because trade goes on in all directions, and partly because one material can sometimes be replaced by another. Figures from the US Geological Survey indicate that within the US most types of minerals and other nonrenewable resources are well past their peak dates of production. Besides oil, these include bauxite (peaking in 1943), copper (1998), iron ore (1951),
magnesium (1966), phosphate rock (1980), potash (1967), rare earth metals (1984), tin (1945), titanium (1964), and zinc (1969). The depletion of these resources continues swiftly in spite of recycling.

In the past it was iron ores such as natural hematite (Fe2O3) that were being mined. For thousands of years, also, tools were produced by melting down bog iron, mainly goethite, FeO(OH), in clay cylinders only a meter or so in height. Modern mining must rely more heavily on taconite, a flint-like ore containing less than 30 percent magnetite and hematite.

Iron ore of the sort that can be processed with primitive equipment is becoming scarce, in other words, and only the less-tractable forms such as taconite will be available when the oil-powered machinery has disappeared — a chicken-and-egg problem. To put it more bluntly: with the types of iron ore used in the past, a fair proportion of the human race would have been able to survive; in the post-industrial world, with only taconite, it will not.

Grain
Annual world production of grain per capita peaked in 1984 at 342 kg. For years production has not met demand, so carryover stocks must fill the gap, now leaving less than 2 months’ supply as a buffer.
Rising temperatures and falling water tables are causing havoc in grain harvests everywhere, but the biggest dent is caused by the bio-fuel industry, which is growing at over 20 percent per year. In 2007, 88 million tons of US corn, a quarter of the entire US harvest, was turned into automotive fuel.

Water
The production rate of fresh water is declining everywhere. According to the UN’s Global Environment Outlook 4, “by 2025, about 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world population could be under conditions of water stress ― the threshold for meeting the water requirements for agriculture, industry, domestic purposes, energy and the environment. . . .”

Arable Land
[While reading this section, remember that 1 acre is about the area as a football field and that 2.5 acres is the area of 1 hectare]
With “low technology,” i.e. technology that does not use fossil fuels, crop yields diminish considerably. The production of so-called field or grain corn (maize) without irrigation or mechanized agriculture is only about 2,000 kilograms per hectare (10,000 m2), about a third of the yield that a farmer would get with modern machinery and chemical fertilizer.

Yields for corn provide a handy baseline for other studies of population and food supply. More specifically, corn is one of the most useful grains for supporting human life; the native people of the Americas lived on it for thousands of years. Corn is high-yielding and needs little in the way of equipment, and the more ancient varieties are largely trouble-free in terms of diseases, pests, and soil depletion.

[A hard-working (i.e. farming) adult burns about 2 million kilocalories (“calories”) per year. The food energy from a2.5 acres of corn is about 7 million kilocalories. Under primitive conditions, then, 2.5 acres of corn would support only 3 or 4 people. [2.5 acre or about an area about 208 ft x 520 ft – lfp]

Even those figures are rather idealistic. We are assuming that people will follow a largely vegetarian diet; if not, they will need even more land. We also need to allow for fallow land, cover crops, and green manure, for inevitable inequities in distribution, and for other uses of the land. On a global scale a far more realistic ratio would be 2 people to each 2.5 acres of arable land. [Or about 1 person/1.25 acre just for food]

The average American house lot is about 900 square yards, i.e. less than a tenth of a hectare, including the land the house is sitting on. Those who expect to get by with “victory gardens” are unaware of the arithmetic involved.

In the entire world there are 15,749,300 square yards of arable land. This is 11 percent of the world’s total land area. The present world population is about 6,900,000,000. Dividing the figure for population by that for arable land, we see that there are 438 people per km2 of arable land. On a smaller scale that means about 4 people per hectare. Less than a third of the world’s 200-odd countries are actually within that ratio.
In other words, there are already too many people to be supported by non-mechanized agriculture. [Currently, with fossil fuels, fertilizer and mechanized farming, there are globally, 4 people receiving food from each hectare arable land. Without fossil fuel inputs, ie no gas/oil, no fertilizer, and without modern farm mechanization, global arable land will only support 2 people/hectare – lfp]

The UK, for example, has a population-to-arable ratio of slightly more than 10 people per hectare (2.5 acres or 2.5 football fields]. What exactly is going to happen to the 8 people who will not fit onto the hectare? But many countries have far worse ratios.

Population
The world’s population grew from about 1.6 billion in 1900, to about 2.5 in 1950, to about 6.1 billion in 2000 and in  Nov 2011 has become 7 billion. It has often been said that without fossil fuels the population must drop to about 2 or 3 billion. The above figures on arable land indicate that in terms of agriculture alone we would be able to accommodate only about half the present number of people.

Another calculation about future population can be made by looking more closely at Hubbert’s curve. The rapid increase in population over the last hundred years is not merely coincident with the rapid increase in oil production. It is the latter that has actually allowed the former: that is to say, oil has been the main source of energy within industrial society. It is only with abundant oil that a large population is possible. It was industrialization, improved agriculture, improved medicine, the expansion of humanity into the Americas, and so on, that first created the modern rise in population, but it was oil in particular that made it possible for human population to grow as fast as it has been doing. It is not only fossil fuels that form a bell curve: there is also a bell curve for human population.

Of course, this calculation of population on the basis of oil is largely the converse of the calculation on the basis of arable land, since in industrial society the amount of farm production is mainly a reflection of the amount of available oil.

If we look further into the future, we see an even smaller number for human population, still using previous ratios of oil to population as the basis for our figures. But the world a hundred years from now might not be a mirror image of the world of a hundred years in the past. The general depletion of resources could cause such damage to the structure of society that government, education, and intricate division of labor no longer exist. In a milieu of social chaos, what are the chances that the oil industry will be using extremely advanced technology to extract the last drops of oil? Even then we have not factored in war, epidemics, and other aspects of social breakdown. The figure of 1 to 3 billion may be wildly optimistic.

Looking Forward
A great deal of silliness goes on in the name of preparing for the future. Global collapse should not been seen in terms of middle-class country elegance. At present there are no “transition towns” that acquire food, clothing, or shelter without large quantities of fossil fuels somewhere in the background. The post-oil world will be much grimmer than most people imagine, and that is partly because they are not looking at the big picture. Hydrocarbons are the entire substructure of modern society. The usual concept of “transition towns” evades the sheer enormity of the problems.

Whatever a “transition” polity might be, it most certainly will not be a city or town. Those who are living at the end of all the bell curves will prosper only if they are far from anything resembling an urban or suburban area. It has always been possible for small rural communities to live close to the land, somewhat avoiding the use of fossil fuels, metals, and electricity, but modern large centers of population are founded on the premise of an abundance of all three. Urban areas, in fact, will be experiencing the worst of each form of depletion described above.

In view of the general unpopularity of family-planning policies, it can only be said euphemistically that nature will decide the outcome. Even if his words owe as much to observation of the stages of collapse as to divine inspiration, it is St. John’s ‘Four Horsemen’ of war, famine, plague, and death who will characterize the future of the industrial world. Nor can we expect people to be overly concerned about good manners: although there are too many variables for civil strife to be entirely predictable, if we look at accounts of large-scale disasters of the past, ranging from the financial to the meteorological, we can see that there is a point at which the looting and lynching begin. The survivors of industrial society will have to distance themselves from the carnage.

The need for a successful community to be far removed from urban areas is also a matter of access to the natural resources that will remain. With primitive technology, it takes a great deal of land to support human life. What may look like a long stretch of empty wilderness is certainly not empty to the people who are out there picking blueberries or catching fish. That emptiness is not a prerogative or luxury of the summer vacationer. It is an essential ratio of the human world to the non-human.
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4.  Peak Oil Info and Strategies
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Peak Oil Info and Strategies
<http://www.oildecline.com/page2.htm
The world is not running out of oil itself, but rather its ability to produce high-quality cheap and economically extractable oil on demand. After more than fifty years of research and analysis on the subject by the most widely respected & rational scientists, it is now clear that the rate at which world oil producers can extract oil is reaching the maximum level possible. This is what is meant by Peak Oil. With great effort and expenditure, the current level of oil production can possibly be maintained for a few more years, but beyond that oil production must begin a permanent & irreversible decline. The Stone Age did not end because of the lack of stones, and the Oil Age won’t end because of lack of oil. The issue is lack of further growth, followed by gradual, then steep decline. Dr King Hubbert correctly predicted peaking of USA oil production in the 1970’s on this basis.

We have taken our lifestyles and the cheap & abundant supply of oil all for granted. We expect the pumps will run to supply us with fuel to drive our SUV’s to run around town, work and school and we cannot accept an alternate future. But when oil becomes more scarce, it is very likely that these pumps will be the first to run dry, because they are at the end of the supply chain. But implications will be much worse than that.

It is not a question if but when the world economy will be confronted with a major shock that will stunt economic growth, increase inflation, and potentially destabilize the Middle East. It will make the Great Second Depression look like a dress rehearsal and may change the world as we know it today.

It is a coming crisis that few understand, but with far reaching implications. Nations will fight over the remaining oil. Without hydrocarbons, this planet can only produce enough food to sustain a population of 2.5 billion. The current world population is in excess of 7 billion and growing (UN projection: 7.3 billion by 2050). In the US, without industrial agriculture, it is estimated that only 2/3’s of the current population can be fed (D. Preiffer). Fossil fuels effectively temporarily raised the carrying capacity of the earth.
__A.  Peak Oil Imminent
While there is no agreement yet on the exact date that world oil production will peak, the degree of consensus among them is quite remarkable. Out of 21 studies, the statistical mean date is 2013 (excluding some of the biased oil company estimates), suggesting that the world may be facing shortfalls much sooner than expected.
Recently, CNN and Britain’s Independent also point out the reality of Peak Oil, acknowledging that world oil and gas reserves are as much as 80% less than predicted.

__B. The fallacy of Alternatives
The public, business leaders and politicians are all under the false assumption that oil depletion is a straightforward engineering problem of exactly the kind that technology and human ingenuity have so successfully solved before. Technology itself has become a kind of supernatural force, although in reality it is just the hardware and programming for running that fuel, and governed by the basic laws of physics and thermodynamics. Much of our existing technology simply won’t work without an abundant underlying fossil fuel base. In addition, physicist Jonathan Huebner has concluded in The History of Science and Technology that the rate of innovation in the US peaked in 1873, and the current rate of innovation is about the same as it was in 1600.
According to Huebner, by 2024 it will have slumped to the same level as it was in the Dark Ages. Hence, without sufficient innovation and a comfortable surplus of fossil fuels, we may simply lack the tools to move forward.

With this energy base dwindling, there is simply not enough time to replace a fluid so cheap, abundant and versatile. It is rich in energy, easy to use, store, and transport. Nothing has the bang for the buck of oil, and nothing can replace it in time – either separately or in combination. Wind, waves and other renewables are all pretty marginal and also take a lot of energy to construct and require a petroleum platform to work off.
•  Natural gas is a diminishing resource as well and cannot satisfy the growing demand for energy. US Gas supplies were so low in 2003 after a harsh winter that to preserve life and property supplies were close to being cut off to manufacturers, electric plants and lastly homes.
•  Ethanol has a net energy value of zero (not accounting for soil and water damage and other costs due to unsustainable agricultural practices) – it is subsidized as a boon to agribusiness and would have a negligible effect (Prindle, ACEEE).
•  Solar energy produces marginal net energy, but are still decades away at best from being a viable substitute given the recent rate of progress in efficiency and costs (averaging about five percent a year) and is nowhere ready to meet the world’s energy needs. More importantly, solar photovoltaic cells (PVC) are built from hydrocarbon feed stocks and therefore require excess resources. It is estimated that a global solar energy system would take a century to build and would consume a major portion of world iron production (Foreign Affairs, Rhodes).
•  The widespread belief that hydrogen is going to save the day is a good example of how delusional people have become. Hydrogen fuel cells are not an energy source at all, but are more properly termed a form of energy storage. Free hydrogen does not exist on this planet. It requires more energy to break a hydrogen bond than will ever be garnered from that free hydrogen. The current source of hydrogen is natural gas – that is, a hydrocarbon. In the envisioned system of solar PVC & hydrogen fuel cells, every major component of the system, from the PVC to the fuel cells themselves will require hydrocarbon energy and feedstocks. The oil age will never be replaced by a hydrogen fuel-cell economy.
•  Coal is abundant, but its net energy profile is poor compared to oil and its conversion process to synthetic fuels is very inefficient. Coal would have to be mined at much higher rates to replace declining oil field. In addition, coal production is extremely harmful to the environment. One large coal burning electric plant releases enough radioactive material in a year to build two atomic bombs, apart from emitting more greenhouse gases than any other fuels.  Coal is implicated in mercury pollution that causes 60.000 cases of brain damage in newborn children every year in the USA. Resorting to coal would be a very big step backwards and what we may face then may be more like the Dim Ages. More importantly,  coal is distributed very unevenly with the top three countries (China, USA, USSR) possessing almost 70% of total. Much of the current oil and gas supply is in low-population countries, such as Saudi Arabia, that cannot possibly use all of the production for themselves. They are hence quite willing, indeed eager, to sell it to other countries. When oil and gas are gone, and only coal remains, and the few (large-population) countries that possess it need all of it for their own populations, it will be
interesting to see how much is offered for sale to other countries.
•  Obtaining usable oil from tar sands requires huge amounts of energy, as it has to be mined and washed with super hot water. From an energy balance, it takes the equivalence of two barrels of oil to produce three, which is still positive but poor in terms of energy economics. In the early days of conventional oil, this ratio used to be one to thirty.
•  Nuclear power plants are simply too expensive and take ten years to build, relying on a fossil fuel platform for all stages of construction, maintenance, and extracting & processing nuclear fuels. Additionally, uranium is also a rare and finite source with its own production peak. Since 2006, the uranium price has already more than doubled.
•  Nuclear fusion is the kind of energy that the world needs. However, mastering it has been 25 years away for the past 50 years, and still is…

Fossil fuels allowed us to operate highly complex systems at gigantic scales. Renewables are simply incompatible in this context and the new fuels and technologies required would simply take a lot more time to develop than available and require access to abundant supplies of cheap fossil fuels, putting the industrial adventure out of business.

In a recent interview with The Times, Shell CEO Jeroen van der Veer calls for a “reality check” and warns that the world’s energy crisis cannot be solved by renewables. “Contrary to public perceptions, renewable energy is not the silver bullet that will soon solve all our problems. Just when energy demand is surging, many of the world’s conventional oilfields are going into decline. The world is blinding itself to the reality of its energy problems, ignoring the scale of growth in demand from developing countries and
placing too much faith in renewable sources of power”, according to van der Veer.

Nobody knows exactly what will happen. We have never seen a situation like this where the excesses have been so extreme. It is difficult to see how it will resolve itself. What is terrifying is that when you get excesses this bad you get results you can’t expect.

Highlights of what to expect:
<http://www.oildecline.com/page3.htm>
•  Oil extraction from wells will be physically unable to meet global demand
•  Alternative energy sources will fall far short of compensating for expected shortages of oil. There is simply not enough time to convert over to them and all require an underlying fossil fuel platform.
•  Disruptions to transportation and the economy are expected as the global decline of petroleum begins.
•  Gradual, permanent cut-off of fuel for transport and for industrial machinery. Global trade will greatly
decline.
•  Food shortages; agrobusinesses would not be able to operate without the supporting fossil fuels
•  Resource scarcity; most products depend on fossil fuels
•  Reduction of virtually all business and government activity and very serious unemployment
•  Social unrest
•  Resource wars

Dr. Smalley, in the February 2005 issue of Discover magazine gave the following prognosis as a result of the energy shortage brought on by peak oil and the fact that the world cannot produce oil as fast as the world’s growing economies demand it: “There will be inflation as billions of people compete for insufficient resources. There will be famine. There will be terrorism and war.”

__C.  Rising Oil Prices
The inexorable tightening of supply is destabilizing oil markets, which now exhibit extreme price responses to the smallest of disturbances. Higher oil prices are hurting economies by increasing the cost of consumer goods while simultaneously reducing disposable income. Sharply rising oil prices have always preceded economic recession and plummeting stocks.

Analysts predict that market-based panic will drive prices skyward. And as supplies can no longer slack daily world demand, the market will become paralyzed at prices too high for the wheels of economy and even daily living in ‘advanced’ societies”. No region in the world would be able to rely on distant energy supplies and they would have to fall back on their own resources.

One economic aspect of oil is that its demand is very price inelastic in the short term, meaning that it would require a large price increase to cause a significant reduction in demand. Prices at the pumps in the USA have almost doubled in recent times, yet gas-guzzling Hummers and other SUV’s are still purchased like there is no tomorrow. Industry experts say massive effects on behavior will only happen if supplies are disrupted or prices hit $5-a-gallon.

Another complication is that in the more developed countries the services industry has replaced much of their traditional oil dependent industries. This is why I don’t believe that the oil prices will stop at $100 a barrel, like some financial experts predict. In the short term, they would probably have to increase in excess of 300% or so to have the desired effect. This uptrend would then eventually be (temporarily) interrupted by slowing economic growth and from efforts of conservation.

Inflation
Rising energy prices would spur overall price increases, causing inflation. Energy costs will then become an increasingly bigger part of the economy, and the same % increase in oil prices that once had a negligible economic effect will suddenly be significant. At the same time, higher prices will cause a fall in demand and a stagnating economy. This is called ‘stagflation’ and is exactly what happened during the 1973 oil crisis.

Debt in many countries like the USA and the United Kingdom are at record levels, and strong economic growth then becomes essential. Falling home prices would threaten the foundations of those economies. Therefore, efforts to curb inflation by raising interest rates would hit house prices, which in a leveraged economy would cause a devastating downward spiral, pulling down businesses, consumers and banks. Policymakers will therefore be powerless to fight inflation that will then soon become widespread. Prices of food and manufactured goods will shoot up.

Depression
The world will first enter a recession followed by a very deep Depression that may well be greater than the 1930’s Great Depression. Stock markets may plunge, businesses will go bankrupt and huge job losses will follow. Eventually, economic growth will cease or continue only in a few places at the expense of other places. The economic stress among almost all nations, advanced and developing, rich and poor will be considerable and is certain to lead to increasingly desperate competition for diminishing supplies of oil. The world will become a larger place again with less and less globalism.

Resource Wars
Many countries have become heavily reliant on Middle Eastern oil, and the geopolitical stakes of conflicts in this region have risen to all-time highs.

Indeed, the worst case scenarios are terrifying: genocide on a scale never before seen, as control of the remaining oil divides along racial, ethnic and national boundaries. Even the best-case scenarios, all of which require unprecedented levels of international cooperation, political courage and public participation, offer grim life-and-death choices. (Richard Heinberg)

So far, only the United States have ventured into the Middle East. But what is to stop China from continuing into Iran, Iraq and even Saudi Arabia as China will be energy starved in the foreseeable future. A military contest over oil could eventually spread war from the Middle East to Southeast Asia, and it could leave the oil production infrastructure of many countries severely damaged in the process. Such a conflict may be the Third World War.

Some Latin American countries may find themselves combatants in their own oil wars. Australia and New Zealand may fall victim to desperate Chinese adventuring or to anarchy emanating from Southeast Asia.

Social Chaos & Dark Ages
The European fuel protests of 2000 were an excellent example of what will happen when we are deprived of our the fuel powering our artificial lives. The implications of just this minor shortage
caused by blockades of fuel depots was tremendous. Naturally, there were huge lines at petrol stations to refuel, but there was also panic buying at the shops. Some ran out of bread and milk. Postal collections were suspended on Sundays to conserve fuel. Farm animals were threatened with starvation because
the feed was unable to be delivered. Schools closed down and hospitals cancelled all but emergency operations. And all this from two and a half weeks. Similar events happened in the USA during the 1973 Oil Embargo.

The impending fuel crisis will be permanent though and the trucks will no longer pull into the Wal-Marts or supermarkets. The freighters bringing cheap and disposable household products from China will have no fuel. There will be fuel in many places, but hoarding and uncertainty will trigger outages, violence, and chaos. For only a short time will the police and military be able to maintain order, if at all.”

When worldwide oil production starts to decline considerably, countries will be competing aggressively for fossil fuels as  difficulties will start with even keeping electricity plants running.

The blackouts that hit the eastern USA and Canada in August 2003, and the lesser failure that hit London’s Underground system shortly afterwards shows the how totally dependent we are on electricity power and the dramatic effects that its absence causes.

Reduced food supplies will also comprise immune systems and set up refugee camps will lead to diseases. New strains of the age-old human enemies such as tuberculosis, malaria, cholera and others will be on hand while vaccines will be ineffective and out of reach.

Food
It may come as a surprise to many that the world’s industrial food supply system is one of the biggest consumers of fossil fuels. Vast amounts of oil and gas are used as raw materials and energy in the manufacture of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides and as cheap and readily available energy at all stages of food production. Fossil fuels are also essential in the construction and the repair of equipment and infrastructure needed to facilitate this industry, including farm machinery, processing facilities, storage, ships, trucks and roads. Just consider that currently agriculture accounts for 17% of the US annual energy budget.

Industrial, ‘green revolution’-style agriculture is particularly energy intensive. Every calorie of food produced today requires between 10-16 calories of hydrocarbon energy (from planting, irrigation, feeding and harvesting, through to processing, distribution and packaging). This style of agriculture increased world grain production by 250%, and was almost entirely attributable to fossil fuel input.

Food  production will become a problem of extreme urgency
Modern agriculture is merely a way of converting petroleum into food. Without energy, food supplies decrease and the current world population of 7 billion has no hope whatsoever of sustaining itself at current levels.

It has been estimated that, without hydrocarbons to provide energy, fertilizers and pesticides, agriculture could not support a population greater than two billion. This reduction would take us back to pre-20th century levels but the disruption to society and its infrastructure would probably mean a reversion to pre-industrial revolution.

The example of North Korea shows us what happens to agriculture when oil products are removed. After the Korean war, it had developed a modern farming system depending on machinery and oil-based fertilizers. After the Soviet Union fell, Communist aid to the country stopped and they were unable to purchase oil and supplies. Without oil, farm machinery was sitting idle and large proportions of the people had to return to the agriculture. Unfortunately the soil had been drained of nutrients over the
years and, without fertilizers, it was unable to produce the same output as before. Crop yields fell by 60% over the period 1989-1998. US congressmen and others who have visited North Korea tell stories of people eating grass and bark. Other reports talk of soldiers who are nothing more than skin and bones.
Throughout the country, there is starvation to rival the worst found in Africa.
 Chronic malnutrition has reached the point where many of the effects are irreversible. Unless it can get access to oil and fertilizers again, the population will decline until it reaches a sustainable level and civilization will be faced with the delicate task of determining who survives. The history of North-Korea (DPRK) demonstrates how an energy crisis in an industrialized nation can lead to complete systemic breakdown.

Mitigation Strategies?
Peak Oil represents a unique challenge and unlike 1973, peaking won’t be brief but permanent. The inescapable conclusion is that the scale and complexity of the problems that must be resolved to avert a permanent crisis are enormous and almost inconceivable. More than a decade will be required, under the most favorable circumstances, for the collective contributions of substitutes to produce meaningful results. Understanding Net Energy is crucial. Optimists may argue that technology, the market, brilliant scientists, and comprehensive government programs are going to hold things together. However, with an acute lack of awareness, time, knowledge, capital, energy, political will, and international collaboration, it is difficult to see how business can continue as usual. This is a startling conclusion, but it would be the most logical and likely outcome of a process that has been building for decades. Addictions are hard to shake…
You cannot solve this world’s problems with the same thinking that created them,” Albert Einstein

Preparations
“You must not only be able to survive the crash, but continue afterward”
“… it’s easier to put off dealing with problems that seem just too complicated and unpleasant to fix now (because of human nature).”

September 27, 2010, Fortune.., by Becky Quick
The experts and politicians have no plan B to fall back on. On a global scale Peak Oil is a problem without a solution. No amount of savings will help us if there is no more oil to purchase. We need to
start planning for alternative sources of energy now. If we wait until we are given no other option, it could be chaos.

It is extremely difficult to gather and process the enormous amount of information available and figure out what to do about it. Is it not a problem with an immediate solution or as some say, a condition without a remedy. You must not only be able to survive the crash, but continue afterward.

We must shortly choose a new path, or one will be forced upon us.

In the short time available, attempts to make collective changes are most likely to fail. Energy expert Simmons says that once energy peaks, the shock will be greater than anyone could imagine, while there is no solution to the problem other than to pray.

However, on the level of the individual/family there is much that can be done at relatively low cost to not only prepare for an economic crash, but to leapfrog past it to a post oil paradigm. While the present infrastructure continues to function you still have vast resources disposable that are only a click away.  Once a crisis begins, it may be too late.

There is probably no cluster of solutions which do not involve some major changes in lifestyles, especially for the global affluent. Peak Oil presents the potential for quite catastrophic upheavals, but also some more hopeful possibilities, a chance to address many underlying societal problems, and the opportunity return to simpler, healthier and more community oriented lifestyles.

Hope for the best, Prepare for the worst, and Accept whatever comes.
• 
The majority of the preparation (perhaps as much as 2/3) is mental  preparation. Acceptance of a new future is crucial and knowledge about Peak Oil will give you a new perspective on life and the future and will serve as an excellent guidance when making important decisions in areas such as careers, real estate and retirement, even absent a well defined ‘plan B’.
•  Protection of your wealth is a crucial step, and having many of your assets hedged against inflation, in my opinion, is never going to hurt you, even if a peak oil crisis fails to materialize in the short or medium term future. Purchasing power will most likely have a positive impact on survival chances during a crisis.
•  If you think the crisis is going to be severe, if you can afford it, it would be a good idea to plan some sort of safe haven, at least 200 miles or so from any major city / metropolitan area.

I am fairly pessimistic about the feasibility (especially long-term) of isolated retreats. It is going to involved extensive, informed planning tailored to the precise needs of the people who will use it. The problems that you must resolve in making such an arrangement viable are enormous and most likely unachievable. Land ownership laws may become meaningless in a post-oil world.
•  It is useless to be well prepared if you are in the wrong place to start with. Some countries around the globe will without doubt suffer much more than others as a result of a Peak Oil crisis. The odds of eventually being discovered are not negligible and will go up as a function of general population density. And then, once you have been discovered, the chances of you becoming a target of jealous & needy thieves, mobs or organized gangs much depend on how relatively well-off a country is as a whole during a global crisis. As an example there is the story about a village in India during a famine. After a while, the starving villagers noticed that some villagers did not seem to be as starving as the rest of them. The end result was that the well off who had stored food were killed and the food stolen. [Killed by the ‘Zombies’- Mr Larry] You may be better off ill-prepared, but in the right place than vice-versa. There are going to be some countries that may remain relatively immune, based on their geographic position and potential degree of self-sufficiency, where ambient chances of survival are relatively higher. This is why the focus of my research & planning is on individual countries.
•  When considering strategic relocation and you want to also take into account climate change, an excellent and very recent source of information on average predicted temperature changes is the BBC site that ran an experiment involving millions of computers from around the world. In its conclusions, countries like New Zealand will be relatively unaffected, while other areas like Asia and Central America will be greatly affected.
•  You can never be sure what will happen, and it is extremely difficult to cross that mental barrier to jump into action. Any life impacting decision you make, you must be able to live with until the crisis unfolds, even if this is still a decade away.

__D.  History As A Guide To Survival….
<http://www.oildecline.com/steps.htm
For a year, five experts ditched theory for practice, running a Welsh farm using 17th Century methods. What lessons for modern living did they learn? The BBC series Tales from the Green Valley follows historians and archaeologists as they recreate farm life from the age of the Stuarts. They wear the clothes, eat the food and use the tools, skills and technology of the 1620s.

It was a time when daily life was a hard grind, intimately connected with the physical environment where routines were dictated by the weather and the seasons. A far cry from today’s experience of the countryside, which for many involves a bracing walk ahead of a pub lunch.

While few would choose to live a 17th Century lifestyle, the participants found they picked up some valuable tips for modern life.
•  Know thy neighbor’s. Today it’s possible to live alone, without knowing anyone within a 20-mile radius (the same goes for townies). That was simply not possible in the past – not only did the neighbors provide social contact, people shared labor, specialist skills and produce. “And women were judged on good neighborliness,” says historian Ruth Goodman. “If you were willing to help others – particularly during and after childbirth – then others would be more prepared to help you in times of need.”
•  Share the load. It was nigh on impossible to run a 1620s farm single-handedly, and the family – either blood relatives, or a farmer, his wife and hired help – had to be multi-skilled. Labor, too, was
often divided along gender lines, but at busy periods, such as harvest time, it was all hands on deck.
•  Fewer creature comforts have some benefits. No electricity meant once daylight faded, work stopped in favor of conversation, music-making and knitting. And no carpets meant fewer dust mites,
which are linked to asthma and allergies. “They scattered herbs on the floor which released scent when trodden on – this drove out flies and other insects,” says Ms Goodman.
•  Eat seasonally. Today it’s because of “food miles” and the inferior quality of forced products. In the 1620s, it was because foods were only available at certain times of year – and not just fruit and veg. Mutton, for instance, was in abundance in spring, soon after shearing time. This was because a sheep’s wool quality plunges after eight years – thus animals of that age were killed after their final fleece was
removed.
•  Tasty food comes in small batches. Today farmers’ markets are a tourist attraction and many delight in regional specialties. For these producers play to the strengths of their ingredients, unlike, for instance, the makers of mass-produced cheese. This has to taste the same year-round, despite seasonal variations in milk quality. “So high-quality milk in the spring is downgraded so the finished product is consistent throughout the year,” says Ms Goodman.
•  Reuse and recycle. Today we throw away vast mountains of packaging, food, garden waste and other materials. In 1620s, there was a use for everything, with tattered bed linens made into fire-lighters and animal fat into soap. Even human waste had uses. Faeces was a fertiliser, and urine was stored to make ammonia to remove laundry stains.
•  Dress for practicalities. Today fashion and social convention dictate our wardrobes. While polar fleeces and high-performance tramping boots may be all the rage when going rural, the wardrobe of 400 years ago proved more comfortable. “While the crew shivered in their modern garb, we never felt the cold in just two layers – a linen shirt and woolen doublet,” says archaeologist Alex Langlands.
Breeches meant no wet and muddy trouser legs, and staying covered up – rather than stripping off in the heat – prevented bites, stings, sunburn and scratches.
•  Corsets, not bras. “By that I don’t mean Victorian corseting,” says Ms Goodman. “Corsets support your back as well as your chest, and don’t leave red welts on your skin like bra elastic does. They made it hard to breath walking up hills, but I get short of breath doing that anyway. And most people feel sexy in a corset.”
•  Biodiversity protects against unforeseen calamity. While the developed world no longer counts the cost of crop failure in starvation and mass migration – the result of Ireland’s Great Potato Famine in 1845 – the 2001 foot-and-mouth crisis decimated farms up and down the country as animals, the farmers’ livelihoods, were put to death. The 1620s farm had grains, fruit and vegetables, and a range of animals – if one failed, alternatives were available.
•  Reliance on any one thing leaves you vulnerable. Hence the country ground to a halt during the petrol blockades of 2000, and a shortage of coal during 1978-9’s Winter of Discontent caused electricity shortages. On the 1620s farm, when oxen used to plough fields fell ill, the implements were reshaped and horses did the job instead.
•  No pesticides means a richer variety of birds, butterflies and other insects, many of which feast on pests – a result as desirable for the gardener as the farmer. And the hedgerow and fields of wild flowers of the past are today making a comeback, as these provide habitats for these creatures and allow edible plants to flourish.

.

5.  Urban vs. Rural Sustainability
.

Urban vs. Rural Sustainability
Published Dec 25 2004 by Permaculture  Activist
by Toby Hemenway
http://www.energybulletin.net/node/3757
“Over ten years ago my wife and I moved to the country. One of our many reasons for leaving the city was to finally pursue the dream of self-reliance: to create a permaculture homestead that would trim our resource use and let us tap in more fully to nature’s abundance. And in the back of my mind was the quietly nibbling worry that someday the overconsumption party would end—the oil would run out, and things might get ugly. I wanted to be settled where we could be less dependent on the fossil fuel umbilicus when the cord finally snapped.

We went a good way toward making that dream come true. The red clay of our former clearcut turned, in places, to chocolate loam, though I noticed that even as our trees matured I still seemed to be needing more wood chips from the electric company or manure from a stable two miles away. From the garden flowed a steady procession of fruit and vegetables, but I confess I tried to ignore how much well-water we were pumping once our rain catchment ran dry partway through Southern Oregon’s four-month dry season.

We became involved in the local community: Master Gardeners, an environmental group, town meetings. Although we were busy in regional life in the beginning, eventually I found I preferred to drive the hour to see friends in progressive-minded Eugene than fight the pro-logging consciousness that permeated our county. Over the years my few local friends fell away as I became more drawn to the mind-set of those in Eugene, and as the local economics made it necessary for me to be away for weeks to teach and do design work. We were on good speaking terms with all our neighbors, but never found much common ground with them. Local parties began with watery beer and often ended in drunken fights, and neither was to our taste.

Slowly a mild paranoia set in. I started to wonder whether, if the Big Crash came, I was really in the right place. We had the best garden for miles around, and everyone knew it. If law broke down, wasn’t there more than a chance that my next door neighbor, a gun-selling meth dealer and felon, might just shoot me for all that food? How about the right-wing fundamentalists past him, who shot Stellar’s jays for fun and clear cut their land when they suspected spotted owls lived there? Or the two feuding families beyond them—one had fired a pistol during an argument, and neither would give way when their cars met on the road. I began to sense the outlines of a pattern that replicated one in society at large. We have the technical means to feed, clothe, and house all humanity. But legions starve because we have not learned to tolerate and support one another. People’s real problems are not technical, they are social and political. Down in Douglas County, I’d solved most of the technical problems for our own personal survival, but the social hurdles to true security were staring me in the face.

Our isolation also meant we were burning a lot of gas. A simple drive for groceries was a 40-minute round trip. Fortunately we both worked at home and had no children, so we could go for days without using the car. But the odometer was whirling to higher numbers than it ever had in the city. A couple of families had moved off our hill because they were exhausted by two to four round trips each day down our steep, potholed gravel road to work, school, soccer practice, music lessons, and shopping.

We cherished our decade-plus in the country, but eventually the realities began to pile up. There wasn’t a local market for the work we did. Community events left us saddened by the gulf between our way of life and theirs. And we were still tethered to the fossil-fuel beast, just by a much longer lifeline of wire, pipe, and pavement. That the beast looked smaller by being farther away no longer fooled us.

There was a positive side, too. We had achieved what we’d set out to do: to make sense of our lives, find the work we loved, and grow into ourselves. The portents now spoke clearly. It was time to return to where the people were, and to be in the thick of things once more.

So we have moved to Portland, and into the heart of town. We love it. The first of many good omens was the bio-diesel Mercedes across the street sporting a Kucinich sticker. And it’s a pleasure to be within walking distance of a bookstore, good coffee, and Ben and Jerry’s.

During the first few days in the city I would stand on the back porch, eyeing our yard with permaculture dreams in my head. The sole tree is a sprawling European prune plum. Other than that, the yard is a blank slate, dominated by a brick patio, a lawn, and an old dog run. And it’s small. I wondered how I would I fit all my favorite fruit trees in that tiny space.

The answer soon came. The plum tree straddles the fence we share with our neighbor Johnny, who has lived next door for 55 years. One day, on opposite sides of the fence, Johnny and I were gathering a small fraction of the branch-bending loads of plums when he called out, “Do you like figs?” I said I did, and soon a tub of black mission figs wobbled over the fence toward me.

We kept returning the basin to Johnny, but it found its way back almost immediately, full of figs. “You weren’t here in time for the apricots I’ve got,” Johnny told us, “But next year you’ll get your fill of them.”

As the buckets of plums began to fill up the yard, I tried to unload some on Theressa across the street. “Oh, no,” she said, “I’ve got my own tree. But when the Granny Smith’s come on, you’d better help me with them. And next year’s peaches will knock you out.”

When I met our neighbor Will, he begged me to take some of the pears that were plopping onto his yard. The American chestnuts up the street are bearing heavily, although the Asian community is all over them each morning before I wake up. I’ve cracked a few of the local walnuts, and they’re pretty good. And yesterday I discovered a nearby strawberry tree dotted with creamy mild fruit.

This informal assessment of local resources has revised my mental landscape design. I don’t need to grow all my favorite trees, only the ones that my neighbors lack (I’m thinking Asian pears, persimmons, and some early and storage apples). My neighbor’s yards are my Zones Two and Three. [Ed’s note: a common feature of permaculture design is the zoning of a property up into areas, numbered one through to five or so, relating to proximity to the house and levels of required maintainence. -AF ] Plus, Stacey and Troy on the next block have persuaded the owner of a vacant lot to let eight families create a community garden on the site. A local tree service will soon be dumping chips there for sheet mulch, and next year we’ll be awash in food.

The Big Rural Footprint
I had always assumed that cities would be the worst place to be in bad times. I’m revising my opinion. Granted, Portland is an exceptional city. (Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone!) But I can’t help comparing this neighborhood to our old one. There, we were twelve families on two miles of road, driveways hundreds of feet long, all served by long runs of phone and electric wire, individual septic systems and wells, each commuting long distances. And with political and social views so divergent that feuds, gossip, and awkward conversations about safe topics were the norm.

In the city, an equal group of twelve families use 10% of the road, wire, and pipe needed in my old neighborhood. Many neighbors bus or bike to work, or at worst, drive single-digit mileages. And our social and political views are close enough that I am fairly confident we can work in mutual support if times get tough.

This is not the place to go deeply into the question of whether cities are more sustainable than contemporary American country life, but at each point where I delve into the issues, I find suggestions that urbanites have a smaller ecological footprint per capita.

Over the last two decades, millions of people have moved out of cities. Many of them are people of modest means, driven out by the high costs of urban life. Unfortunately, they have brought their city ways with them. Our neighbors in the country all clear cut their land and planted acres of grass. Many built enormous houses, since low interest rates made more square footage affordable. Some put up
glaring streetlights in their front yards. They bought boats, ATVs, RVs, and other gas-guzzling toys. Unlike earlier self-reliant country folk, these are simply city people with really big yards. And there are millions of them.

Sociologists Jane Jacobs and Lewis Mumford have each noted that during the Depression and other hard times, urban residents have generally fared better than ruralites. The causes mainly boil down to market forces and simple physics. Since most of the population lives in or near cities, when goods are scarce the greater demand, density, and economic power in the cities directs resources to them. Shipping hubs are mostly in cities, so trucks are emptied before they get out of town.

In the Depression, farmers initially had the advantage of being able to feed themselves. But they soon ran out of other supplies: coal to run forges to fix machinery, fertilizer, medicine, clothing, and almost every other non-food item. Without those, they couldn’t grow food. Farmers who could still do business with cities survived. Those too remote or obstinate blew away with the Kansas dust.

Survival Skills
Today the situation for farmers has worsened. Few farmers grow their own food. Agribusiness has made them utterly dependent on chemicals and other shipped-in products. The main lack of cities compared to farms is food-growing, but farms lack nearly everything else—and most of that comes from cities. Setting aside for the moment the all-important issue of social and political cohesion, for cities to survive a peak-oil crash, the critical necessity is for them to learn to grow food. For country people to survive, inhabitants will need to provide nearly every single other essential good for themselves. And since many country people are simply transplanted urbanites lacking gardening or other land skills, but having the isolation that makes social cohesion unnecessary to learn (for now), their survival is even more doubtful. If catastrophe comes, the cities may be unpleasant, but I fear the countryside may be far worse off.

One important tenet of permaculture is to design for disaster. While giving a talk on the wildfire that destroyed his cabin at the Lama Foundation, Santa Fe designer Ben Haggard was asked what his biggest lesson was. “Plan for disaster,” he said. “Whatever is the likely catastrophe at your site, count on
it happening. Because sooner or later, it will.”

A technique displayed in good design that also happens to be a way to deter disaster is to meet destructive forces with mechanisms or attitudes that transform them into productive, or at worst, harmless energies. When this machinery of transformation is missing, even seemingly mild events wreak havoc. A gentle rain falling on bare ground will quickly sluice away topsoil and wash downhill in gullies. If instead plants carpet that same patch of earth, the rain becomes not an erosive force, but life-giving moisture whose energy is damped and welcomed by the vegetation. Instead of gullying, the water is held by the plants, stored over a longer time for them and for the animals that feed on or live among the vegetation. This is one of nature’s secrets: knowing how to create structures and systems that convert gales to refreshing breezes, change baking sun into sugars and living tissue.

What nature doesn’t do, and humans attempt so often, is to treat large forces as enemies to be vanquished and destroyed. This summer, as hurricanes repeatedly battered the Caribbean, ridiculous proposals appeared in letters-to-the-editor columns: Let’s build giant fans on the Florida coast
to blow away the storms. Pour oil over the Atlantic to smooth out the waves. And (inevitably), why can’t we toss a few nukes into those pesky hurricanes? (Whether it’s replacing the Panama canal or toppling Saddam, someone always seems to propose atomic bombs.)

Sector Acceptance
The conceptual tool offered by permaculture in these cases is to view large forces as sector energies: influences from off the site that are beyond the control of the designer. We deal with sector energies by designing systems or placing elements to deflect, absorb, or harvest these forces, or allow them to pass unhindered. This is nature’s way as well, and how she does it offers, as usual, some profound lessons.

As ecosystems mature, biomass and complexity increase. Ecologist Ramon Margalef, in his landmark 1963 paper, “On Certain Unifying Principles in Ecology” (American Naturalist 97:357-374), suggests we think of biomass as “a keeper of organization, something that is proportional to the influence that an   actual ecosystem can exert on future events.” In other words, we can think of biomass, complexity, and the other indicators of maturity as measures not only of the resilience of a system, but as a form of wisdom. That’s because as ecosystems mature, the aftermath of environmental tumult such as storm or
drought depends more on the richness of the ecosystem than on the nature of the disturbance. A drought that withers a weed lot doesn’t faze an old-growth forest—the forest has learned what to do with drought. It has grown structures, cycles, and patterns that convert nearly any outside influence into more  forest, and that protect key cycles during bad times. It has become wise.

Nature uses two principal tools to achieve this  protection from catastrophe.

1)  The first is diversity in space—in size, shape, physical pattern, and composition. If all the pieces of a system are at the same physical scale—all the same size, or the same genetic makeup, for example—a disturbance occurring at that scale will wipe out the whole system. Diversity in scale brings protection. When a hurricane hits a trailer park, the trailers blow away, but the bacteria, mice, and other elements of very different size escape damage. A plague of cats, on the other hand, strikes at the scale of the mice, leaving the trailers and bacteria unscathed. Mature ecosystems have enough diversity in space that any catastrophe may knock out the pieces living at that particular scale but will almost never destroy the whole landscape.

2)  The second protective tool of mature ecosystems is diversity in time—in rate, frequency, and schedule. Understory shrubs often leaf out earlier in spring than canopy trees, which lets the shrubs grab enough light to build plenty of leaves. Then when the trees grow leaves, the shrubs have the photosynthetic area to gather ample light in the dappled shade. Another classic example of diversity in time is the hatching cycle of locusts. Timed to emerge at intervals of years having prime numbers such as 13 and 17, they frustrate the predators whose more regular breeding period requires their food to arrive  more predictably.

Permaculture designers use similar approaches to design for disaster. Instead of using concrete embankments and other brute-force tactics to resist flood, we place fences that can lie down, reed-like as rushing waters advance and then can be easily set up afterward. Rather than gouging enormous barren firebreaks into their hillside, Lama Foundation stacks roads, swales, and plantings together in
a multiply functioning firebreak. When monsoon downpours arrive in Tucson, instead of standing by as flooding street runoff pours down sewers, Brad Lancaster harvests the water with cleverly placed curb cuts that lead to mulched food-tree basins. All these examples are detailed in Permaculture Activist #54 (November, 2004).

By observing nature’s wisdom, permaculturists follow nature’s lead and use patterning, succession, edge, and cyclic opportunities to convert large pulses of energy into smooth generators of structure, harvest, and nutrient flow. Permaculture design inquires into the nature of some of these “large pulses” and shows how they can teach us to use their energy, aikido-like, to benefit ourselves and the larger ecosystem.”
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6.   Cities, peak oil, and sustainability
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Cities, peak oil, and sustainability
Energy Bulletin, Published Dec 25 2004, by Permaculture Activist by Toby Hemenway
http://www.energybulletin.net/node/51386
In  mid-August I drove to a party in the country outside of Portland, Oregon. Twenty miles of freeway took me to a two-lane road that wound ten miles up steep forested hills and down through remote valleys. As the roads grew narrower and less traveled, I began to wonder how, if gas hits $5 or $10 a
gallon, people and supplies will reach these isolated spots. What kind of post-oil vehicle will climb this hilly, winding road that quite literally goes nowhere—a converted truck run on home-made biodigested methane? Then, after I arrived at the secluded acreage, I questioned whether my hosts could really supply most of their own needs, just the two of them and their kids.

I think these isolated places will disappear the way that Roman outposts in Britain and Gaul did during the empire’s decline.

In a recent issue of this magazine (Permaculture Activist 54 p. 2, “Designing Beyond Disaster”) I wrote that when I moved to the country 11 years ago, I assumed that rural people use fewer resources than urbanites, but now that I’m back in the city I can see that isn’t true. That article [“Urban vs. Rural Sustainability.”-immediately above this article-lfp] has generated more response than any other I’ve written, and has been reprinted around the Web many times, often with some furious comments. Obviously, a lot of people are thinking about the same topics. I’d like to re-visit the subject, respond to some of the commentary, elaborate on my reasoning, and describe some new thoughts on the subject.

First, a clarification on word usage. When I speak of rural, I generally mean places where people live on acreage outside of towns, with most services too far to walk to. Small towns decreasingly can be called rural, as their takeover by chain stores, engulfment by sprawl, and reliance on non-local goods renders many indistinguishable from suburbs.

•  I’m not a believer in the Peak Oil “end of the world” scenario, where decreasing oil production somehow mutates into the sudden, permanent shutoff of urban water supplies, and contented suburbanites are transformed overnight into looting gangs. Yes, fossil fuels surely will become much more expensive in the next decades, and scarce soon after. I don’t doubt that several tipping points will be broached along the way, with rapid and unexpected changes cascading through society. But civilization won’t end. People have repeatedly predicted the apocalypse: in millennial 1000, again in 1666 (the number of the beast), and many times between and since. Is our memory so short that we have forgotten the foolishness around Y2k? Or are we so wedded to the delicious notion of our annihilation that we grasp at any possibility? Why do we hunger so for our own extinction?

•  Neither the mega-cities nor the survivalist’s bunker will be viable in a post-oil future. The places with the best chance of surviving an oil peak will be cities of less than a million people, ranging down to well-placed smaller cities and towns. Cities of a million or so existed before fossil fuels—ancient Rome proper held roughly a million people—thus they are clearly possible in a limited-oil era.

Scale works to the advantage of sensibly sized cities. For example, Portland’s 500,000 people are served by two sewage treatment plants that use about 2000 miles of pipe to reach every home. Building this cost in the low hundreds of millions of dollars (exact figures don’t exist). Compare this to the sewage system for 500,000 rural people. That’s roughly 125,000 septic tanks, each with 300 or more feet of drain-field pipe, plus trenching and drain rock for all. A septic system costs about $10,000 to build, so the cost of 125,000 of them is $1.25 billion, several times that of the urban system, and the ruralites need 7000 miles of pipe compared to Portland’s 2000 miles. Of course, composting toilets and graywater systems would obviate the need for both of those unsustainable, resource-intensive methods of waste treatment, but I’m talking about what exists right now. Virtually any service system—electricity, fuel, food—follows the same brutal mathematics of scale. A dispersed population requires more resources to serve it—and to connect it together—than a concentrated one. That fact cannot be gotten around.

•  One of the most common responses to the Peak Oil panic is, “We’re planning on moving to the country with our friends and producing everything we need.” Let me burst that bubble: Back-to-the-landers have been pursuing this dream for 40 years now, and I don’t know of a single homesteader or community that has achieved it. Even the Amish shop in town. When I moved to the country, I became rapidly disabused of the idea of growing even half my own food. I like doing one or two other things during my day. During my life…” [Having ‘been there and done that’ myself, with 27 years experience on 29 acres of rural MN acreage, I agree. Mr. Larry]
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7.  Surviving Peak Oil, The Economic Meltdown and A Possible New Great Depression.
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Surviving Peak Oil, The Economic Meltdown and A Possible New Great Depression: Hypothetical Scenarios and Crazy Ideas For a Crazy New World.
http://www.peakoilstories.com/survival_strategies_for_the_comi.htm
The following survival strategies are for the possibility a post peak oil  world that is truly in chaos. No one knows if we will see such a scenario come to pass and I hope that they won’t.  As a self described “survivalist” and a Red Cross Volunteer who has spent time at the epicenter of category 5 hurricanes,  I have firsthand knowledge of what you need to stay alive. You need: 1) clean water, 2) food, 3) shelter, 4) medicines and 5) communications, basically in that order and last but not least, 6) a good plan.

If you are one of the lucky ones and can afford to keep your home during the current financial crisis or an even worse one that could happen, what kind of neighborhood will your home be located in? Already, in the early stages of the mortgage meltdown some of our suburbs are turning into suburban slums as the homeless and criminals occupy foreclosed homes and mosquitoes breed in abandoned swimming pools. There are nearly 12 million U.S. homeowners who owe more on their homes than those homes are worth and many people are walking away, bad credit be damned because they can now rent for a fraction of what they were paying the bank.  For those who choose to hang on to their homes it will be a challenge to keep that home safe as the crime rate increases.

 Strategy # 1: Standing Your Ground In The City
If you are able to hold onto your home and can find work in the area where you live then your home will become your fortress against the increasingly dangerous urban world around you. Residents of “bad neighborhoods” such as parts of East Los Angeles already have experience in protecting their castles against invaders. But for those of us accustomed to living in “nice” neighborhoods the learning curve will be steep.

a) You can start by spending some of the money you might have left on security bars for your windows, shotgun, and a fence for your yard. By this time property associations will be bankrupt and won’t be able to enforce rules so make your fence as high as possible. You’ll be building the fence to keep thieves out and a dog in. Dog food is an added expense but a good watchdog can be worth their weight in gold.
b) See the book, The Secure Home for more ideas on how to protect your property.
c) You’ll need a backup source of power since the power grid will become increasingly unreliable  and power may only be available for certain hours of the day. A tri fuel generator that runs on natural gas, propane and gasoline is a good choice. So is a diesel generator since you can store barrels of diesel more safely than gasoline. Ideally a large propane tank, in an area away from thieves, is the best way to go. You can run a tri-fuel generator several days straight on a 150 gallon propane tank. You will need at least 5000 watts of power to run your appliances.
d) A more lasting solution is to invest in a solar power system of at least 500 watts for battery charging and to power an inverter to run small appliances. If you can afford a larger backup solar power system of at least 3KW, with multiple deep cycle batteries now is the time to buy one before prices skyrocket. An Air Marine wind generator can provide additional power when the sun is not shining.
e) A wood stove can burn waste wood and lumber  to keep your home warm in winter. Choose one that has a cooking surface. You will need  a flue cleaning kit to clean your smokestack regularly when burning anything other than clean firewood.
f) For water you can divert your gutters into a 1000 gallon or larger fiberglass tank and use a solar panel and RV type demand pump to pressure up your plumbing if city water is interrupted. Broken water mains will be a frequent problem as cities go bankrupt and can’t afford to pay for repair crews.
g) If your yard is big enough you will want to replace much of your existing lawn with food producing
plants including fruit trees.
There are many varieties  of greens such as mustard, collard and kale that grow in marginal soil and shade. You can plant pinto beans, straight from the pantry to produce green beans in spring and summer. Choose hardy varieties of plants such as hybrid tomatoes that are resistant to blight and fungus.  Plant the eyes of russet potatoes in deep flower beds or stacked up tires filled with soil. You can kill pests with diluted dishwashing soap and by picking them off by hand. It is unlikely that you will be able to produce enough food on your own city lot to feed your family but your garden will fill in when other sources are scarce. You can also trade for different varieties of vegetables with your neighbors.
h) Since food supplies will be disrupted having a good supply of food on hand is a must. Buy canned
staples such as corned beef, evaporated milk, brown rice and beans and keep them in airtight containers such as Rubbermaid trash cans. Rust is the enemy of canned food so add dehydration packets which are available at boating supply stores. Keep a stock of dehydrated and freeze dried food for more long term storage. One good tasting brand is made by a company called Mountain House. Also keep a good supply of multivitamins to supply the nutrients you may be missing. Body-builder’s protein powder made from soy or whey also keeps well.
i) Skills like sewing will be needed again to mend items. Get a good quality sewing machine, a supply of thread and spare parts for it.
j) You’ll need a source of news and  it is unlikely you will be able to afford or even get cable at this point.  A simple solar powered radio may become your entertainment center. A small portable TV that operates on 12 volts can be operated from your solar battery bank.
k) You may not be able to afford medical care. Keep a good supply of  broad spectrum antibiotics such
 as Cipro and pain killers. You may want to consider stocking up on essential prescription medicines that you need but do so with caution and always store medicines in a cool dry place sealed in airtight containers.

Communications Gear For Survival
It is unlikely that you will be able to afford cell phone service in a severe depression if it is even available. Instead you can utilize long range handheld radios to keep in touch with  family around your neighborhood. There is a new type, that blows away the previous GRMS/FRS radios and gives about the same range. It is called  a 900MHz FHSS 2-Way Radio and it uses a new type of frequency hopping to provide up to a billion privacy codes so your transmissions are just between you and the other party.

High power SSB CB and ham radios can reach out for thirty miles under the right conditions and using “skip” or bouncing the signal off the atmosphere can talk around the world. Unlike some peak oil “doomers” I don’t see high tech going away in the near term.
There are enough garage inventors out there to scavenge and come up with all kinds of technology to fill in the gaps when the grid goes down as we have seen in third world countries.

In Thailand  entrepreneurs pedal around neighborhoods with solar powered Wi-Fi.  As in India, neighbors may also agree to set up and share a single secure wireless connection across several  city blocks with long range wi-fi antennas. Internet telephony services like Skype may replace traditional phones as land based networks become increasingly unreliable. There are now handheld phones that allow you to talk on the Skype network for free with any open WiFi connection in the world. Read more about how to set up a free internet connection with super long range WiFi antennas and boosters:

Someday you may have to decide to either hit the road or stand your ground.

Should you start buying guns? Should you start a neighborhood watch organization or patrol? Should you put in a garden for extra food or buy emergency rations? What about the infrastructure? Will power keep flowing down the lines with no money to fix our upgrade our electrical grid? Should you put in an auxiliary power supply such as solar panels or a generator? Maybe you should just pack up and hit the road.

Strategy #2: Going Mobile, Mad Max Style
For each of us our personal survival strategy may be different. For some it may mean leaving the home behind and taking to the road to find a less violent place to take shelter or an area where work can still be found. An RV, travel trailer or even a large tent  might become your new residence as they have become for so many evicted homeowners recently. For those who choose the mobile path traveling smart and light are essential.

You’ll want a good supply of freeze dried food or MRE’s, tools, a  multi – fuel generator for power and some communications gear such as a ham radio or CB in your vehicle for emergencies. You’ll also want a number of water storage containers and a pump system for filling from streams. You will need a good water purifier to deal with contaminated sources.   You will need a means of buying food so you will want a hiding place in your vehicle or RV for cash and small denominations of silver and gold coins in case the dollar becomes worthless.  A versatile gun that can also be used for hunting, such as a shotgun is a must . You’ll want a good supply of ammunition. Just remember to keep that gun in a safe place, both from thieves and your kids.

“Here’s your burger sir, that’ll be two twelve gauge shells and five 22 calibers please”. It is very possible that ammunition will become a currency itself so carry a large supply of the most commonly used sizes including 12 gauge shotgun shells and 22 caliber bullets.  The barter system may replace currency for most transactions. Items such as disposable razors, cigarettes and hand tools will be good for trading for gas and food. Sticking with a group of like minded people will be good insurance against trouble. This means finding safe RV parks and campgrounds where law and order still prevails. You’ll need good neighbors to watch your things while you leave to find work, if there is any.

For those without a car you’ll need a good frame backpack and everything you need to survive in miniature. Weight is your enemy so choose lightweight tents, sleeping bags, water purifiers and take along freeze dried food and MRE’s to live on. Carry your cash, silver and gold in a money belt or shoe hiding place. You’ll want to avoid crime ridden cities and find shelter and camping in safe campgrounds or on farms where you can find work. Setting up camp near a body of water has advantages for bathing and catching fish.  Since you may be crossing many jurisdictions carrying a pistol may not be wise. Consider large pepper spray – dye spray containers instead. You’ll need a lightweight crank or solar powered radio for news and if traveling with family a couple of GMRS radios to keep in touch with each other plus a solar battery charger. Consider a high power SSB CB radio for long range communication.

There are other options. A small sailboat is one of them. A self contained sailboat can provide shelter and mobility without the use of fuel. It can allow for movement to areas where there is work and safety along the vast Intercoastal Highway and navigable rivers as well as a way to leave the U.S. if necessary. There are many books that have been written about self-sufficient living aboard sailboats. In a post peak oil world sailboats may be one of the only affordable means of covering long distances. A fuel efficient motorcycle is another. The same packing strategy for backpacking applies to traveling by bike. Carry spare motorcycle parts, tire tubes, a good toolkit and extra gas.

Strategy #3: Rural Survival
If you are lucky enough to own your own farm you will be in the best position of all for survival in a post peak or post economic meltdown world. You will be able to produce not only enough food to supply yourself but also for trade. Since the supply chain will be disrupted and parts hard to find you will want to have spares of everything and the means to can and store your own food. Farmers will undoubtedly form closer alliances with other nearby farmers and cooperative groups  for tasks like  firefighting and crop harvesting. Home canning and self sufficiency skills as described in the aforementioned books apply both to urban dwellers and rural residents.   It will be essential for small farmers to re-learn the  ways and the wisdom of the old timers  before they pass on, such as growing crops without expensive chemical fertilizers.

Take The Middle Path, Be Prepared In The Early Stages Of The Crisis
I have met quite a few other individuals who call themselves “survivalists” in the hurricane ravaged areas where I have volunteered with the American Red Cross.  Although it is never a good idea to try to ride out a hurricane, the ones that made it had electricity, water, food and medicine plus communication gear such as CB or Ham Radio. Unlike the common image of survivalists as gun toting hoarders, these individuals often became excellent volunteers, helping their less prepared neighbors and beginning the rebuilding of their community.

A total economic meltdown caused either by peak oil or something else will bring out both the best and the worse in people. I’d like to think that most will choose to work to keep their community intact but those who are inclined to take advantage by looting and stealing instead of cooperating will do so.  I believe, cynically perhaps, that many of our citizens would react differently than they did in the Great Depression of the 1930’s because now many of us see having certain possessions and lifestyles as a right and therefore any means of getting them is justified.

I think that we would seem like a spoiled nation to those people of the 1930’s if they could have looked into the future and seen us now and the excessive energy wasting lifestyle that we take for granted. Once this is ripped away from us how will Americans react and who will they blame? Surely not ourselves. When the full blown crash comes there will be calls for more government bailouts or even wars to punish whoever caused us such hardship. Few will realize that it was living beyond our means and failing to have a plan of energy self sufficiency behind it all.

The current economic situation could go either way. There are many signs that point to it getting worse and all it will take is some type of unpredicted event to send the economy spiraling downward toward total collapse. The best thing to do right now is to prepare for the worst case scenario that could happen. Tailor your personal survival plan to either one of staying put or going mobile, based on your home ownership situation. You may want to prepare on both fronts, by having a ready pack of supplies in case you are forced to leave and at the same time preparing your home for a long term crisis.

Start by preparing your home to be a safe place when outside support systems fail. If you can afford to add things like solar backup power and rainwater collection now is the time to do it, not when it is too late. Invest in things that make your home more energy efficient and vehicles that use less fuel.  Stock up on freeze dried food and MRE’s now before they become unavailable or extremely expensive and have things like home medical kits and supplies already in place. In case paper money becomes worthless you should keep a savings of small denomination gold and silver coins in a good hiding place to buy food with.

Whether our nation turns a corner and is able to establish a renewable energy future and avoid a severe peak oil crash remains to be seen. Yet investing in home energy efficiency and more efficient vehicles is a win-win way of preparing. Having a stockpile of food and supplies is a cheap peace of mind insurance policy, regardless of how things turn out.
Ultimately it all comes down to preparedness and keeping one step ahead of the tide. Those who make fun of your survivalist ways will be the ones coming to you for help when the poop hits the fan.

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Filed under __2. Social Issues

Hubbert’s Peak Oil and the Hirsch Report

(Survival Manual/1. Disaster/ Hubbert’s Peak Oil and The Hirsch report)

(The Hubbert peak theory posits that for any given geographical area, from an individual oil-producing region to the planet as a whole, the rate of petroleum production tends to follow a bell-shaped curve. It is one of the primary theories on peak oil.)

I.  BACK IN THE 1950s
they saw it coming, we knew what it meant, it was ignored.

A.   M. King Hubbert – the first to predict an oil peak
In the 1950s the well known U.S. geologist M. King Hubbert was working for Shell Oil. He noted that oil discoveries, graphed over time, tended to follow a bell shape curve. He supposed that the rate of oil production would follow a similar curve, now known as the Hubbert Curve. In 1956 Hubbert predicted that production from the US lower 48 states would peak between 1965 and 1970.
Despite efforts from his employer to pressure him into not making his projections public, the notoriously stubborn Hubbert did so anyway. In any case, most people inside and outside the industry quickly dismissed the predictions. As it happens, the US lower 48 oil production did peak in 1970/1.
In that year, by definition, US oil producers had never produced as much oil, and Hubbert’s predictions were a fading memory. The peak was only acknowledged with the benefit of several years of hindsight.
No oil producing region fits the bell shaped curve exactly because production is dependent on various geological, economic and political factors, but the Hubbert Curve remains a powerful predictive tool.

In retrospect, the U.S. oil peak might be seen as the most significant geopolitical event of the mid to late 20th Century, creating the conditions for the energy crises of the 1970s, leading to far greater U.S. strategic emphasis on controlling foreign sources of oil, and spelling the beginning of the end of the status of the U.S. as the world’s major creditor nation. The U.S. of course, was able to import oil from elsewhere. Mounting debt has allowed life to continue in the U.S. with only minimal interruption so far. When global oil production peaks, the implications will be felt far more widely, and with much more force.

What does peak oil mean for our societies?
Our industrial societies and our financial systems were built on the assumption of continual growth growth based on ever more readily available cheap fossil fuels. Oil in particular is the most convenient and multi-purposed of these fossil fuels. Oil currently accounts for about 41% of the world’s total fossil fuel consumption, 33% of all global fuel consumption, and 95% of global energy used for transportation.
Oil and gas are feed stocks for plastics, paints, pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, electronic components, tires and much more.
Oil is so important that the peak will have vast implications across the realms of war and geopolitics, medicine, culture, transport and trade, economic stability and food production. Significantly, for every one joule of food consumed in the United States, around 10 joules of fossil fuel energy have been used to produce it.

B.  The ‘Hirsch Report’
A U.S. Dept. of Energy commissioned study “Peaking of World Oil Production: Impacts, Mitigation and Risk Management” [PDF] was released in early 2005. Prepared by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), it is known commonly as the Hirsch Report after its primary author Robert L. Hirsch. For many months the report, although available on the website of a Californian High School, remained unacknowledged by the DOE.
The executive summary of the report warns that: as peaking is approached, liquid fuel prices and price volatility will increase dramatically, and, without timely mitigation, the economic, social, and political costs will be unprecedented. Viable mitigation options exist on both the supply and demand sides, but to have substantial impact, they must be initiated more than a decade in advance of peaking.
A later paper by Hirsch recommends the world urgently begin spending $1 trillion per year in crash programs for at least a decade, preferably two, before peaking. Obviously, nothing like the kind of efforts envisaged have yet begun. Hirsch was not asked to speculate on when the peak was likely to occur.
[In retrospect, the peak ocurred between 2000-2005; by 2011 we have quietly entered the decline phase. Although the West is in a double dip recession, gas prices have only slightly declined. Asian markets are absorbing production. Western commercial petroleum bulk storage is the lowest in years, while production cannot rebuild stocks to capacity. Its slow, its quiet. Who’s upset, yet? -Mr Larry]

C.  The Olduvai Theory
The theory is a proposed way of measuring industrial civilization by a single ratio – world annual energy use to population. The important idea is that, unlike previous civilizations which have risen and fallen to be replaced by others, industrial civilization would be the last because we would have used up all the easily obtainable resources (oil, coal, minerals) which are necessary for a civilization to form.
The theory is defined by the ratio of world energy production (use) and world population. The details are worked out. The theory is easy. It states that the life expectancy of Industrial Civilization is less than or equal to 100 years: 1930–2030.
World energy production per capita from 1945 to 1973 grew at a breakneck speed of 3.45%/year. Next from 1973 to the all-time peak in 1979, it slowed to a sluggish 0.64%/year. Then suddenly – and for the first time in history – energy production per capita took a long-term decline of 0.33%/year from 1979 to 1999. The Olduvai theory explains the 1979 peak and the subsequent decline. More to the point, it says that energy production per capita will fall to its 1930 value by 2030, thus giving Industrial Civilization a lifetime of less than or equal to 100 years.

The chart above is a graphic showing energy usage/population as a curve with various key points defined. These are:
Note 1: (1930) the beginning of Industrial Civilization
Note 2: (1979) all time peak of world energy production per capita
Note 3: (1999) the end of cheap oil
Note 4: (2000) eruption of violence in the Middle East
Note 5: (2006) all-time peak in world oil production
Note 6: (2008) OPEC crossover when more than 50% of oil comes from the OPEC nations
Note 7: (2012) permanent blackouts spread worldwide
Note 8: (2030) world energy production falls to 1930 level
The future dates may vary but it is easy to see how, with the knowledge we have of peak oil, the world could slip into a Medieval or even Stone Age scenario. Even a Dark Ages world would be difficult to sustain with no coal and little wood to burn. We are so dependent on energy that, unless we find some alternatives to hydrocarbon energy generation pretty quickly, we will find ourselves without the time or energy to switch.
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II.  Predictions

Four Stages of Oil Depletion Through 2020
http://peakoilquestionoftheday.blogspot.com/p/life-after-crash.html
A.  World Oil and Natural Gas Liquids Production & Changes in each stage
Stage 1 (Now to end of 2011): World conventional crude oil and NGL production (CO&NGL) which is currently at 82 mbpd will remain stable with slight decline to 81 mbpd.
Continued economic stagnation with possible weak recovery, continued high unemployment will put little pressure on oil prices; gas prices will be generally stable. Non-OPEC production will begin to all off. Oil at $75 to $90 bbl; Gas at the pump in Dobbs Ferry $2.90 to $3.20.
Stage 2 (2012): Decline will accelerate in 2012 to 80 mbpd. Prices rises will become more pronounced, but still not seen as an emergency.
Global production fall off by end of year gets attention, markets respond with higher prices. Oil at $100 to $120 bbl; Gas at the pump in Dobbs Ferry $3.30 to $3.70. Economy continues to bump along in recession mode.
Stage 3 (2013 to 2015): Decline will be rapid in 2013 – 2015 with world production at 75 mbpd for CO&NGL by end of 2015.
Increasing fall off in production gets serious, news reports start talking about various causes — bad government policy, global conspiracy, return of “Drill, Baby, Drill”. Airlines cut back drastically as air travel becomes expensive. Demand for fuel-efficient cars soars. Government establishes crash programs to conserve, develop alternatives. Economy in terrible shape. By 2015 oil at $150 bbl; Gas at the pump at $6.00 to $10.00.
Stage 4 (2016 to 2020): by 2020 production will be 62 mbpd. Impossible to really estimate what prices will be. Life as we know it will be a memory.
Economy in shambles, oil prices continue higher.
By 2020 oil at $250+ bbl; Gas at the pump, when available, $15+.

B.  What will life be like once oil goes into decline. Here are a few things to expect.
1. Near Term Impact
__a) Continued economic decline with high unemployment. Without oil to fuel manufacturing, transportation, and food production, the only possible result is economic decline. Unemployment will continue to be high until people realize that they have no choice but to work for far less than they ever expected. Many of the unemployed will find work in agriculture as reliance on oil fueled machinery declines.
__b) Stagnant or declining stock market. Economic decline will inevitably impact the stock market and, as a result, the retirement savings of millions of Americans.
__c) Population move to urban areas/decline of suburbs. Who will want to (or be able to) live in a 4,000 square foot home 40 miles or more from work? The value of suburban housing (especially big houses) will decline as people try to get closer to urban centers and mass transit. Expect housing abandonment of the type already seen in California.
__d) Decline in construction, more people living together. As real income declines and construction costs increase, people will not be able to afford the square footage of living space they have become accustomed to. The migration from suburb to urban area, without additional construction, will mean more roommates, boarders, and houses cut up for rental.
__e) Air travel only for the rich. This is a no brainer. The airline industry is already in contraction. It won’t take much higher oil prices to push it over the edge.
__f) International trade declines.
__g) Deterioration of infrastructure as government revenues dry up.
__h) Increases in all prices — especially food and fuel.
__i) International conflict over remaining oil resources.
__j) Attempts by government to retain current lifestyle will fail and cause huge deficits, decline of currency.
__k) Solid waste disposal
2. Longer Term Impact
__a) more long distance transportation.
__b) Life becomes entirely local.
__c) Government breakdown.
__d) Social unrest.
__e) Population decline.
__f) Land becomes the main source of wealth.


 III. 
Preparing for Life in a Peak Oil World

23 January 2011, Oil Price.com, by Gail Tverberg
http://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Preparing-for-Life-in-a-Peak-Oil-World.html
“We know that peak oil will be here soon, and we feel like we should be doing something. But what? It is frustrating to know where to start. In this chapter, we will discuss a few ideas about what we as individuals can do.
1.  What will the first few years after peak oil be like? It is hard to know for certain, but a reasonable guess is that the impact will be like a major recession or depression. Many people will be laid off from work.
•  Gasoline is likely to be very expensive ($10 a gallon or more) and may not be available, except in limited quantities after waiting in line for a long time. Fewer goods of all types will be available in stores. Imports from third-world countries are likely to be especially unavailable, because of the impact of the oil shortage on their economies.
[Internet image right: Sanyo Enloop AA rechargeable batteries]
•  Gasoline prices may not rise as high as $10 gallon; the problem may be that at lower prices than $10 gallon, oil prices send the economy into recession. There may actually be a glut of oil supply because of recession or depression, because many cannot afford the high priced oil. For example, state highway departments cannot afford high priced asphalt. This is related to low “energy return on energy invested”. If the goods and services made with oil aren’t great enough to justify its high price, high oil price can be expected to send the economy into recession. Countries that use a lot of oil for purposes other than creating new goods and services are likely to be especially vulnerable to recession.
•  Money may not have the same value as previously–opinion is divided as to whether deflation or rampant inflation will be a problem. Investments, even those previously considered safe, are likely to lose value. Things we take for granted–like bottled water, fast food restaurants, and dry cleaners–may disappear fairly quickly. Electricity may become less reliable, with more frequent outages. Airplane tickets are likely to be extremely expensive, or only available with a special permit based on need.

2.  If a scenario like this is coming, what can a person do now? Here are a few ideas:
• Visit family and friends now, especially those at a distance. This may be more difficult to do in the future.
•  Learn to know your neighbors. It is likely that you will need each other’s help more in the future.
•  If you live by yourself, consider moving in with friends or relatives. In tough times, it is better to have others to rely on. It is also likely to be a lot cheaper.
•  Buy a bicycle that you can use as alternate transportation, if the need arises.
•  Start walking or jogging for exercise. Get yourself in good enough physical condition that you could walk a few miles if you needed to.
•  Take care of your physical health. If you need dental work or new glasses, get them. Don’t put off immunizations and other preventive medicine. These may be more difficult to get, or more expensive, later.
•  Move to a walkable neighborhood. If it seems likely that you will be able to keep your job, move closer to your job.
•  Trade in your car for one with better mileage. If you have a SUV, you can probably sell it at a better price now than in the future. [Internet image right: Mitsubishi or another make of small electric car.]
•  If you have two cars powered by gasoline, consider trading one for a diesel-powered vehicle. That way, if gasoline (or diesel) is not available, you will still have one car you can drive.
•  Make sure that you have at least a two-week supply of food and water, if there is some sort of supply disruption. It is always good to have some extra for an emergency–the likelihood of one arising is greater now.
•  Keep reasonable supplies of things you may need in an emergency–good walking shoes, boots, coats, rain wear, blankets, flashlights and batteries (or wind-up flashlights).
•  Take up hobbies that you will be able to continue in a low energy world, such as gardening, knitting, playing a musical instrument, bird watching, or playing cards with neighbors.
•  Join a local sustainability group or “permaculture” group and start learning about sustainable gardening methods.

3.  Do I need to do more than these things? It really depends on how much worse things get, and how quickly. If major services like electricity and water remain in place for many years, and if gasoline and diesel remain reasonably available, then relatively simple steps will go a long way.
Some steps that might be helpful to add once the crunch comes include:
•  Join a carpool for work, or make arrangements to work at home. If public transportation is available, use it.
•  Cut out unnecessary trips. Eat meals at home. Take your lunch to work. Walk or jog in your neighborhood rather than driving to the gym. Order from the internet or buy from stores you can walk to, rather than driving alone to stores.
•  If you live a distance from shopping, consider forming a neighborhood carpool for grocery and other shopping. Do this for other trips as well, such as attending church. If closer alternatives are available, consider them instead.
•  Plant a garden in your yard. Put in fruit or nut trees. Make a compost pile, and use it in your garden. Put to use what you learned in sustainability or permaculture groups.
•  Meat, particularly beef, is likely to be very expensive. Learn to prepare meals using less meat. Make casseroles like your grandmother’s, making a small amount of meat go a long way. Or make soup using a little meat plus vegetables or beans.
•  Use hand-me-down clothing for younger children. Or have a neighborhood garage sale, and trade clothing with others near you.

4.  Should families continue to have two, three, or four children, as they often do today? With the uncertainties ahead, it would be much better if families were very small–one child, or none at all. The world’s population has grown rapidly in the last 100 years. Part of the reason for growth is the fact that with oil and natural gas, it was possible to grow much more food than in the past. As we lose the use of these fossil fuels, it is likely that we will not be able to produce as much food as in the past, because of reduced ability to irrigate crops, and reduced availability of fertilizers, insecticides, and herbicides. In addition, manufactured goods of all types, including clothing and toys, are likely to be less available, with declining fossil fuel supply. Having smaller families will help fit the population to the available resources.
If couples have completed their families, it would probably be worthwhile for them to consider a permanent method of contraception, since birth control may be less available or more expensive.

5.  Are there any reasons why steps such as those outlined in Question 3 might be too little to handle the problem? Besides the decline in oil production, there are a number of other areas of concern. Hopefully, most of these will never happen, or if they do happen, will not occur for several years. If they do happen, greater measures than those outlined in Question 3 are likely to be needed.
•  Collapse of the financial system. Our financial system needs growth to sustain it, so that loans can be paid back with interest. Once peak oil hits, growth will be gone. Economic growth may even be replaced with economic decline. It is not clear our financial system can handle this.
•  Collapse of foreign trade. Many factors may come into play: The cost of transportation will be higher. Airline transport may not be available at all. Fewer goods are likely to be produced by the poorer countries of the world, because of power outages related to high oil prices. Rapid inflation/deflation may make monetary transactions more difficult.
•  Rapid climate change. Recently, scientists have discovered that climate change can take place over a very short period of time–as little as a decade or two. Temperature and precipitation changes may cause crop failures, and may make some areas no longer arable. Sea levels may also rise.
[Image right: Hot water and photovoltiac collectors on the roof of a private residence.]
•  Failure of the electrical grid. The grid tends to be vulnerable to many kinds of problems–including deterioration due to poor maintenance, damage during storms, and attacks in times of civil unrest. Maintenance is currently very poor (grade of D) according to the “Report Card on America’s Infrastructure” by the American Society of Civil Engineers. If we cannot maintain the grid, and upgrade it for the new wind and solar capacity being added, we will all be in the dark.
•  Water shortages. There are several issues–We are drawing down some aquifers at unsustainable rates, and these may be depleted. Climate change may reduce the amount of water available, by melting ice caps and changing storm patterns. City water and sewer systems require considerable energy inputs to continue functioning. If these are not provided, the systems will stop. Finally, systems must also be adequately maintained–something that is neglected currently.
•  Road deterioration. If we don’t have roads, it doesn’t matter whether we have cars. In the future, asphalt (a petroleum product) is expected to become more and more expensive and less available. It is not clear whether recycling asphalt from lesser-used roads will overcome this difficulty.
•  Decline in North American natural gas production. Natural gas is especially used for home heating, making plastics and making fertilizer. It is also used in electrical generation, particularly for extra load capacity when demand is high. Conventional natural gas is declining, and it is not clear that supply from other sources can make up the gap.
We now have shale gas and other unconventional making up the gap, but there are uncertainties how long it will stay with us.
•  Inadequate mineral supplies. A number of minerals are becoming less available, including copper (used in electric wiring), platinum (used in catalytic converters), phosphorous (used in fertilizer).
•  Fighting over available supplies. This could happen at any level. Individuals with inadequate food or gasoline may begin using violence. Or there may be fighting among groups within a nation, or between nations.

6. Are there any reasons for optimism? Yes. We know that people throughout the ages have gotten along successfully with far fewer resources than we have now, and with much less foreign trade. Financial systems have gotten into trouble in the past, and eventually new systems have replaced them. If nothing else, barter works.
We know that among the countries of the world, the United States, Canada, and Russia have reasonably good resource endowments in relation to their populations. They have fairly large amounts of land for crops, moderate rainfall, reasonable amounts of fossil fuels remaining, and populations that are not excessively large.
We also know that Cuba successfully made a transition from high oil usage to much lower oil usage, through the development of local gardens, increased public transit, and bicycles. A movie has been made about the Cuban experience.

7. What should we do, if we want to do more than described in Question 3? Some web sites (such as Life After the Oil Crash and wtdwtshtf.com) advocate moving to a farming area, buying land and hand tools, and learning to farm without fossil fuels. Typically, an individual purchases an existing farmhouse and adds solar panels or a windmill. The web sites generally recommend storing up large supplies of food, clothing, medicine, tools, guns, and ammunition, and learning a wide range of skills. These sites also suggest storing some things (liquor, razor blades, aspirin, etc.) for purposes of barter.
This approach may work for a few people, but it has its drawbacks. Making such a big move is likely to be expensive, and will most likely involve leaving one’s job. The individual will be alone, so security may be a problem. The individual may be dependent on his or her own resources for most things, especially if the farm is in a remote location. If the weather is bad, crops may fail. Living on the edge of a small town may prevent some problems, but such a move would still be a major undertaking.

8. How about Ecovillages? What are they? These are communities dedicated to the idea of sustainable living. These communities were set up in response to many issues facing the world, including global warming, resource depletion, and lifestyles that are not fulfilling. They were generally not formed with peak oil in mind.
Each ecovillage is different. Organizers often buy a large plot of land and lay out a plan for it. Individuals buy into the organization. Homes may be made from sustainable materials, such as bales of straw. Gardening is generally done using “permaculture”- a sustainable organic approach. Individuals may have assigned roles in the community.
The few ecovillages I investigated did not seem to truly be sustainable–they bought much of their food and clothing from outside, and made money by selling tours of their facilities. The ecovilliage approach could theoretically be expanded to provide self-sustaining post-peak oil communities, but would require some work. Some adventuresome readers may want to try this approach.

9. Is there a middle ground? What should people be doing now, if they want to do more than outlined in Questions 2 and 3, but aren’t ready to immerse themselves in a new lifestyle?
As a middle ground, people need to start thinking seriously about how to maintain their own food and water security, and start taking steps in that direction.

a) Food security. We certainly hope our current system of agriculture will continue without interruption, but there is no guarantee of this. Our current method is very productive, but uses huge amounts of energy. If we can keep our current system going, its productivity would likely be higher than that of a large number of individual gardens. The concern is that eventually the current system may break down due to reduced oil supply and need to be supplemented. Vulnerabilities include:
•  Making hybrid seed, and transporting it to farmers
•  Getting diesel fuel to the farmers who need it
•  Transporting food to processing centers by truck
•  Creating processed food in energy-intensive factories
•  Making boxes and other containers for food
•  Transporting processed food to market
[Internet image: Example of a way to grocery shop: Topeak trolley tote folding basket with groceries…also indicating that your home is located nearby a shopping district.]

If diesel fuel is allocated by high price alone, farmers may not be able to afford fuel, and may drop out. Or truck drivers may not be able to get what they need.
It is in our best interest to have a back-up plan. The one most often suggested is growing gardens in our yards–even front yards. Another choice is encouraging local farms, so that transportation is less of an issue. It takes several years to get everything working well (new skills learned, fruit trees to reach maturity), so we need to start early.
One type of crop that is particularly important is grain, since grain provides a lot of calories and stores well. In some parts of the country, potatoes might be a good substitute. It would be good if people started planting grain in gardens in their yards. There is a lot to learn in order to do this, including learning which grains grow well, how much moisture and nutrients the grains need, and how to process them. If the grain that grows well is unfamiliar, like amaranth, there is also a need to learn how to use it in cooking.
Individuals (or local farms) should also begin growing other foods that grow well in their areas, including fruits and nuts, greens of various types, and other more traditional garden crops, including beans. For all types of gardening, non-hybrids seeds (sometimes called heirloom seeds) are probably best for several reasons:
•  It makes storing seeds after harvest possible, and reduces dependence on hybrid seeds.
•  There is less uniformity, so the harvest is spread over a longer period.
•  The reduced uniformity also helps prevent crop failure in years with drought or excessive rain. Some seeds will not grow, but others will. (Hybrids are all or nothing.)
Imported foods are likely to shrink in supply more quickly than other foods. If you live in a country that is dependent on imported foods, you may want to consider moving elsewhere. [Farmers Market sales as seen in the picture above will not feed a community much less a city. Such sales seems to provide some sort of fuzzy safety net. The veggies look  so clean and healthy, but they are not an arithmatic solution (in lbs/person/year), but things could change, as they did in Cuba and North Korea, when the people got hungry. The problem is, following a crisis you have to ‘make do’ throught the next planting season to it harvest before the hopeful crop increase is realized.]

b) Water Security. Here, the largest issue is whether there is likely to be sufficient supply in your area. Another issue is whether there will be sufficient water for your garden, at appropriate times. A third issue is whether there will be disruptions in general, because of poor maintenance or because the process of treating fresh water (and sewage) is energy-intensive.
With respect to sufficient water in your area, if it looks like there is a problem (desert Southwest, for example), relocating now rather than later is probably a good idea. Transporting water is energy intensive, and new efforts at developing energy (like shale oil or more ethanol) are likely to make the water supply situation even worse.
With respect to water for gardening, consider a rainwater catchment system for your roof. Runoff water is saved in barrels, and can be used for irrigation in dry periods.
General disruptions of water supply are more difficult. Keep some bottled water on hand. You may also want to consider a tank for greater storage supply. Rainwater catchment can be used for drinking water, with the correct type of roofing (not asphalt shingles!) and proper treatment, but this is not generally legal in the United States.

10. What kind of investments should I be making? A person’s first priority should be buying at least a little protection for a rainy day – some extra food and water, comfortable clothing, blankets and flashlights. I suggested two weeks’ worth in Question 2. If you have money and space, you may want to buy more.
Paying down debt is probably a good idea, if only for the peace of mind it brings. There are some possible scenarios where debt is not a problem (hyper-inflation but you keep your existing job and get a raise). In many other scenarios (deflation; job lay-offs; rising food and energy prices) debt is likely to be even harder to pay off than it is now.
Land for a garden is probably a good investment, as well as garden tools. You will want to invest in gardening equipment, some books on permaculture, and perhaps some heirloom seeds. You may also want to consider a rainwater catchment system, to collect water from your roof.
You may also want to invest in solar panels for your home. If you want round-the-clock solar energy, you will also need back-up batteries. Buying these is questionable–they tend to be very expensive, require lots of maintenance, and need to be replaced often.
There is a possibility that the financial system will run into difficulty in the not-too-distant future. Some ideas for investments that may protect against this are
• Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS). [At 69 years of age I recieve Social Security, its suppose to ‘inflation protected’. With the price of every thng going up at the store, doctor’s office and gas station, we haven’t received a COLA raise in two years. I’m afraid TIPS investors will  conveniently
encounter the same non inflationary ‘protection.-Mr. Larry]
• Bank accounts protected by the FDIC  [Where FDIC means– some of the same folks that brought us here today.]
Gold coins
• Silver coins

If you want to invest in the stock market, we know that there will be more and more drilling done for oil and gas done in the next few years, so companies making drilling equipment are likely to do well. Small independent oil and gas companies may also do well, doing “work-over” business. We know that there are likely to be shortages in some metals in the years ahead (copper, platinum, uranium), so shares in companies mining these types of metals may do well.
Investments in biofuels should be considered with caution. Most ethanol from corn appears to be heavily dependent on subsidies. If it should ever have to compete with other fuels on a level playing ground, it is likely to do poorly.
I would be cautious about buying insurance policies, except for short-term needs such as automobile coverage, homeowners coverage, and term life insurance. If we encounter a period of significant deflation, insurance companies are likely to fail, because bondholders cannot pay their debt. If we run into a period of rapid inflation, the life insurance or long term care coverage you buy may have very little real value when you come to use it.

11.  Should I move to a different location? There are many reasons you might want to consider moving to a different location:
• To find something less expensive. If times are going to be difficult, you do not want to be paying most of your income on a mortgage or rent.
• To be closer to friends or family, in the difficult times ahead.
• To share a house or apartment with friends or family.
• To be closer to work or public transportation.
• To be closer to a type of employment that you believe will have a better chance of continuing in the future.
• To have better fresh water supplies.
• To join a community with similar interests in sustainability.
• To leave a community that you feel may be prone to violence, in time of shortage.

There are disadvantages as well as advantages to moving to a new location. If many others are trying to move at the same time, you may not be welcome in the new community. You will likely not have friends and the support group you would have had in your prior location. Because of these issues, it is probably better to move sooner, rather than later, if you are going to move. If you balance the pluses and the minuses, it may be better to stay where you are.

12.  We hear a lot about various things we can do to be “green”, like buying fluorescent light bulbs. Do these save oil? Most of the “green” ideas you read about save energy of some kind, but not necessarily oil. Even so, they are still a good idea. If there is a shortage of one type of energy, it tends to affect other types of energy as well. Doing “green” things is also helpful from a global warming perspective. Here are some green ideas besides using fluorescent light bulbs:
•  Move to a smaller house or apartment.
•  Insulate your house, and have it professionally sealed to keep out drafts.
•  If any rooms are unused, do not heat and cool them.
•  Keep your house warmer in summer, and cooler in winter.
•  If you no longer need a big refrigerator, buy a smaller one. Be sure it is an “Energy Star” refrigerator.
•  If you have more than one refrigerator, get rid of the extra(s). Refrigerators are a big source of energy use. For parties, use ice in a tub.
•  Separate freezers are also big energy users. Consider doing without.
•  Eat less meat. Also avoid highly processed foods and bottled water. All of these require large amounts of energy for production.
•  Get power strips and turn off appliances that drain energy when not in use.
•  Turn off lights that are not needed.
•  Rewire lights into smaller “banks”, so you do not need to light up the whole basement when all you want is light in a small corner.
•  Get a clothes line, so you do not need to use your clothes dryer.
•  When cooking, use the microwave whenever possible.
•  Reduce air travel to a minimum. Air travel results in a huge number of miles of travel with corresponding fuel use.
•  Recycle whenever you can.
•  Eliminate disposables as much as possible (coffee cups, napkins, plastic bags, etc.)

13. Should we be talking to our local government officials about these problems? Yes! At the local level, there are many changes that would be helpful:
•  Laws permitting people to put up clothes lines in their yards.
•  Laws encouraging gardens to be grown, even in the front yards of homes.
•  Laws permitting multiple occupancy of houses by unrelated individuals.
•  New local public transportation plans, particularly ones that do not require large outlay of funds. For example, a plan that is more like a glorified car pool might work.
•  Allocation of funds to study the best crops to be grown in the area, and the best cultivation methods, if energy supplies are much lower in the future.
•  It would also be helpful to make changes at higher levels of government, but these are beyond the scope of the discussion in this chapter.”
“The phrase, ‘consent of the governed’ has been turned into a cruel joke. There is no way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs. Civil disobedience is the only tool we have left.” —Chris Hedges
.

IV. Where we’ve been, where we are

Peak Oil
The world is rapidly approaching Peak Oil production and will be at an inflection point soon, if not already, after which, real prices will begin a long rise. Price inflection is possible before the next economic recovery, but will certainly come with a recovery, which will then be short lived, because rising energy prices will channel money away from other discretionary expenditures. For the last two years (2009-2010), the USA and Europe have been in recession with lower oil requirements, which have skewered the following 2007 chart by extending the plateau top and pushing the ‘decline in production slope’ (with subsequent increase in prices) into the future another couple years past the original 2007 projection.
Whether we are out of the recession or not by 2015 (within 4 years from now), production declines and the resultant rise in petroleum prices will probably have become an unpleasant factor in our national and personal, financial lives. On Saturday, 4 Sep 2010, FinancialSense.com weekly, ‘News Hour’ podcast, gave leads to the Peak Oil reports listed below. These articles seem to be telling a story, a story which has not yet been shared to any degree with the American people by either the US Government or the news media. Furthermore, there are almost monthly reports being issued by responsible, main stream institutions in Europe, the USA and the Middle East.
As I write, northern Europe is advancing on a program to greatly reduce their fossil fuel dependence; its estimated that in 10 years, by 2020, 20% of Europe’s energy, not just its electricity, will be derived from renewables.
What is happening in the United States? Nothing significant that I’ve heard, seen or read about. Maybe the government is waiting for a Peak Oil–Pearl Harbor type crisis to create a popular mandate for action, as opposed to making plans and choosing an intelligent path while there is time and opportunity to implement and mass test renewable systems.
The energy transition from one type energy to an alternative, historically, only happens about once per century and does so with momentous consequences. We will begin to move away from fossil fuels quite rapidly from here on forward. Business, families and individuals who can adapt to the charge and manage risk will gain an advantage with the shrinking energy pie. [Mr. Larry]

1)  February 2010: UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security (ITPOES) study on peak oil was released: “Business calls for urgent action on ‘oil crunch’ threat to UK economy
London, 10 February, 2010: A group of leading business people today call for urgent action to prepare the UK for Peak Oil. The second report of the UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security (ITPOES) finds that oil shortages, insecurity of supply and price volatility will destabilize economic, political and social activity, potentially by 2015. This means an end to the era of cheap oil.
•  Taskforce warns Britain is unprepared for significant risk to companies and consumers
•  Poorest to be hit hardest by price rises for travel, food, heating and consumer goods
•  New policies must be priority for whoever wins the General Election
•  Recommended packages include legislation, new technologies and behavior-change incentives
•  Fundamental change in demand patterns triggered by emerging economy countries

2)  March 2010: Telegraph.Co.UK, “Oil reserves ‘exaggerated by one third’
<http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/oilandgas/7500669/Oil-reserves-exaggerated-by-one-third.html>
The world’s oil reserves have been exaggerated by up to a third, according to Sir David King, the Government’s former chief scientist, who has warned of shortages and price spikes within years.
Published: 9:51PM GMT 22 Mar 2010, by Rowena Mason, City Reporter (Energy)
“The scientists and researchers from Oxford University argue that official figures are inflated because member countries of the oil cartel, OPEC, over-reported reserves in the 1980s when competing for global market share.
Their new research argues that estimates of conventional reserves should be downgraded from 1,150bn to 1,350bn barrels to between 850bn and 900bn barrels and claims that demand may outstrip supply as early as 2014. The researchers claim it is an open secret that OPEC is likely to have inflated its reserves, but that the International Energy Agency (IEA), BP, the Energy Information Administration and World Oil do not take this into account in their statistics.
It’s critically important that reserves have been overstated, and if you take this into account, we’re talking supply not meeting demand in 2014-2015.”
Dr Oliver Inderwildi, who co-wrote the paper with Sir David and Nick Owen for Oxford University’s Smith School, believes radical measures such as switching freight transport to airships could become common in future.
“The belief that alternative fuels such as biofuels could mitigate oil supply shortages and eventually replace fossil fuels is a pie in the sky. Instead of relying on those silver bullet solutions, we have to make better use of the remaining resources by improving efficiency.”

3)  March 2010: A heatingoil.com, Kuwait University and Kuwait Oil Company– Peak Oil report
Kuwaiti Researchers Predict Peak Oil Production in 2014
March 10, 2010,  by Josh Garrett
<http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/oilandgas/7500669/Oil-reserves-exaggerated-by-one-third.html>
“A new study published in the journal, Energy & Fuels, predicts that world conventional oil production will hit its peak in the year 2014. The study, undertaken by researchers at Kuwait University and Kuwait Oil Company (their chart shown above), looked at oil production in the top 47 oil-producing nations and found that humanity has extracted about 54 percent of total world oil reserves and that conventional oil production will reach its peak of 79 million stock tank barrels per day (an industry term, abbreviated as STB, that refers to the number of barrels of crude oil successfully extracted and “treated”) in about four years.
The study began with the Hubbert forecast model, named for peak oil pioneer M. King Hubbert, who successfully predicted that crude oil production in the US would peak in 1970. Though proven to be a useful tool in predicting peak oil, the Hubbert model has limitations when applied to more complex and diverse oil production methods and measures of the 21st century. The Kuwaiti researchers accounted for those limitations in the study, and also allowed for updates of their findings as new oil production data becomes available.
It should be noted that the study, no matter how sound its methods, reports exclusively on conventional oil (liquid crude that can be extracted from the ground relatively cheaply), and in doing so paints an incomplete picture of world oil supplies and the expected arrival of peak oil production.
(Note: If the study were to include data on unconventional sources such as Canada’s tar sands and oil shale deposits of the American West, the supply figures would grow substantially and the date of peak production would likely be pushed forward by at least a decade or two. However, because the technology and costs associated with extraction of unconventional oil vary widely and face an extremely uncertain future, it is logical that the study excludes unconventional oil figures.)
The more prepared governments and citizens are for any supply declines that could lead to rapid price increases in consumer fuels like heating oil, diesel, and gasoline, the less disruptive those increases will be to our daily lives.”
“Very few metro regions, cities or businesses are prepared for the impact of the global peak oil issue on their economies, or finances, operating budgets and mobility.
Cities, households and the economy will be impacted, as will industries. Some industries will be hurt (agriculture, retail, petrochemicals) and some sectors could be positively impacted (smart growth planners, alternative transportation providers, “smart city” technology providers, alternative fuel producers, mixed-use and infill developers)
Whether it’s bonafide peaking of global oil supplies, or a short- to medium-term “oil crunch,” the initial result will be the same. Rapidly rising gas prices and price instability should become evident by 2013, or even earlier if there are any supply shocks because of natural disasters (hurricanes in Gulf), political events, war and terrorists acts.
The most obvious area of impact of rising oil prices is transportation and mobility. During the gas price rises of 2006-2008, U.S. citizens turned to public transportation in record numbers. Light rail ridership was the biggest winner, as was an old and reliable form of gas-free transportation, the bicycle.
The biggest losers: SUVs (RIP Hummer) and personal automotive use. Across the nation, people substantially reduced their driving for the first time in decades, particularly in metro areas that had other mobility options.”

4)  April 2010: guardian.co.uk, “US military warns oil output may dip causing massive shortages by 2015″ by Terry Macalister
<http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/apr/11/peak-oil-production-supply>
“The US military has warned that surplus oil production capacity could disappear within two years and there could be serious shortages by 2015 with a significant economic and political impact.
The energy crisis outlined in a Joint Operating Environment report from the US Joint Forces Command, comes as the price of petrol in Britain reaches record levels and the cost of crude is predicted to soon top $100 a barrel.
“By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 million barrels per day,” says the report, which has a foreword by a senior commander, General James N. Mattis. It adds: “While it is difficult to predict precisely what economic, political, and strategic effects such a shortfall might produce, it surely would reduce the prospects for growth in both the developing and developed worlds. Such an economic slowdown would exacerbate other unresolved tensions, push fragile and failing states further down the path toward collapse, and perhaps have serious economic impact on both China and India.”
•  Shortfall could reach 10 million barrels a day, report says
•  Cost of crude oil is predicted to top $100 a barrel

The US military says ‘its views cannot be taken as US government policy’, but admits they are meant to provide the Joint Forces with “an intellectual foundation upon which we will construct the concept to guide out future force developments.”
The warning is the latest in a series from around the world that has turned peak oil – the moment when demand exceeds supply – from a distant threat to a more immediate risk.

Future fuel supplies are of acute importance to the US Army because it is believed to be the biggest single user of petrol in the world. BP chief executive, Tony Hayward, said recently that there was little chance of crude from the carbon-heavy Canadian tar sands being banned in America because the US military like to have local supplies rather than rely on the politically unstable Middle East.
But there are signs that the US Department of Energy might also be changing its stance on peak oil. In a recent interview with French newspaper, Le Monde, Glen Sweetnam, main oil adviser to the Obama administration, admitted that “a chance exists that we may experience a decline” of world liquid fuels production between 2011 and 2015 if the investment was not forthcoming.

“It’s surprising to see that the US Army, unlike the US Department of Energy, publicly warns of major oil shortages in the near-term. “The Energy Information Administration (of the Department Of Energy) has been saying for years that Peak Oil was “decades away”. In light of the report from the US Joint Forces Command, is the EIA still confident of its previous highly optimistic conclusions?”
The Joint Operating Environment report paints a bleak picture of what can happen on occasions when there is serious economic upheaval. “One should not forget that the Great Depression spawned a number of totalitarian regimes that sought economic prosperity for their nations by ruthless conquest,” it points out. From

5)  June 2010: Guardian.co.uk, news article posted 11 July 2010, “Lloyd’s adds its voice to dire ‘peak oil’ warnings”, by Terry Macalister
<http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/jul/11/peak-oil-energy-disruption>
“Business underestimating catastrophic consequences of declining oil, says Lloyd’s of London/Chatham House report. One of the City’s most respected institutions has warned of “catastrophic consequences” for businesses that fail to prepare for a world of increasing oil scarcity and a lower carbon economy.
The Lloyd’s insurance market and the highly regarded Royal Institute of International Affairs, known as Chatham House, says Britain needs to be ready for “peak oil” and disrupted energy supplies at a time of soaring fuel demand in China and India, constraints on production caused by the BP oil spill and political moves to cut CO2 to halt global warming.
“Companies which are able to take advantage of this new energy reality will increase both their resilience and competitiveness. Failure to do so could lead to expensive and potentially catastrophic consequences,” says the Lloyd’s and Chatham House report “Sustainable energy security: strategic risks and opportunities for business”.
The insurance market has a major interest in preparedness to counter climate change because of the fear of rising insurance claims related to property damage and business disruption. The review is groundbreaking because it comes from the heart of the City and contains the kind of dire warnings that are more associated with environmental groups or others accused by critics of resorting to hype. It takes a pot shot at the International Energy Agency which has been under fire for apparently under-estimating the threats, noting: “IEA expectations [on crude output] over the last decade have generally gone unmet.”
The report the world is heading for a global oil supply crunch and high prices owing to insufficient investment in oil production plus a rebound in global demand following recession. It repeats warning from Professor Paul Stevens, a former economist from Dundee University, at an earlier Chatham House conference that lack of oil by 2013 could force the price of crude above $200 (£130) a barrel.
It also quotes from a US department of energy report highlighting the economic chaos that would result from declining oil production as global demand continued to rise, recommending a crash programme to overhaul the transport system. “Even before we reach peak oil,” says the Lloyd’s report, “we could witness an oil supply crunch because of increased Asian demand. Major new investment in energy takes 10-15 years from the initial investment to first production, and to date we have not seen the amount of new projects that would supply the projected increase in demand.”
And while the world is gradually moving to new kinds of clean energy technologies the insurance market warns that there could be shortages of earth metals and other raw materials needed to help them thrive. From

6)  August 2010: Spiegal Online International, posted 4 September 2010, “German Military Study Warns of a Potentially Drastic Oil Crisis“, by Stefan Schultz
“A study by a German military think tank has analyzed how “peak oil” might change the global economy. The internal draft document — leaked on the Internet — shows for the first time how carefully the German government has considered a potential energy crisis.
The study is a product of the Future Analysis department of the Bundeswehr Transformation Center, a think tank tasked with fixing a direction for the German military. The team of authors, led by Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Will, uses sometimes-dramatic language to depict the consequences of an irreversible depletion of raw materials. It warns of shifts in the global balance of power, of the formation of new relationships based on interdependency, of a decline in importance of the western industrial nations, of the “total collapse of the markets” and of serious political and economic crises.

The news report from Spiegal Online was specific about their study’s socio-economic findings, pointing out that:
1.  “Shortages in the supply of vital goods could arise as a result, for example in food supplies.
2.  Oil is used directly or indirectly in the production of 95% of all industrial goods.
3.  Price shocks could therefore be seen in almost any industry and throughout all stages of the industrial supply chain.
4.  In the medium term the global economic system and every market-oriented national economy would collapse.…
5.  (Relapse into planned economy) Since virtually all economic sectors rely heavily on oil, peak oil could lead to a partial or complete failure of markets. A conceivable alternative would be government rationing and the allocation of important goods or the setting of production schedules and other short-term coercive measures to replace market-based mechanisms in times of crisis….
6.  (Global chain reaction) A restructuring of oil supplies will not be equally possible in all regions before the onset of peak oil. It is likely that a large number of states will not be in a position to make the necessary investments in time, or with sufficient magnitude.
7.  If there were economic crashes in some regions of the world, Germany could be affected. Germany would not escape the crises of other countries, because it’s so tightly integrated into the global economy….”
8.  The Bundeswehr study also raises fears for the survival of democracy itself. Parts of the population could perceive the upheaval triggered by peak oil “as a general systemic crisis.” This would create “room for ideological and extremist alternatives to existing forms of government….”
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V.   The economy of extracting the last half of the oil

6th June 2010, MI2G, “Beyond Oil: Beginning of A New Era?”, London, UK
As the marginal cost of extracting oil has risen ever higher, it has been a red rag to the investment bulls seeking a return. Given that the risk profile of extracting that extra barrel of oil has now grown exponentially, this is likely to act as a new deterrent. The risks are rising much faster than previously anticipated as we approach peak oil.
The inertia which has set in amongst governments, businesses and the investment community in regard to preserving the status quo is going to be knocked sideways by the Gulf oil spill and as the costs of the cleanup mount, it will become imperative to invest in cleaner and safer forms of energy. The change in direction will ultimately be driven by a forced change in our collective value system. The end of oil-dependency is likely to mark the end of an era for the globalised western civilization’s model of oil-centric capitalism. If we survive, the age of oil will be followed by an age of recovery, restoration and a return to local generation of power through alternative means. What does the future look like without oil-dependency? Cleaner forms of energy are likely to proliferate. The possibility of a world in balance with natural resources, clean air, clean water, and with the natural environment, is like a shining light at the end of a dark tunnel.
If the problems were only the current recession, we’d muddle through and eventually it would end; if it were a matter of too much personal and national debt, we’d still muddle through, after increasing taxes and fees on everything and decade or so of unusually high inflation; if the problem were only Peak Oil, we’d muddle through, but with a sense of nervous urgency. However, combining, the recession, massive multi levels of debt and Peak oil is going to be taxing (pun intended), economically and socially exhausting.
It appears that global socio-economic systems are working their way deeper into a period of increasing stress. If there were no other major exogenous events to hit humanity over the next 5-10 years, we could probably pull off a global Manhattan type project of converting to renewable resources. An expansion of the ‘renewable energy’ paradigm would fuel manufacturing employment and consumer spending, banks would loan money, and for a short while there would be an economic boom, until the fallout from Peak Oil caught up. Our conversion from Oil to ‘renewables’ will not be fast enough to make up for the coming price hike in petroleum products. Look for the race from oil to renewables to be a ‘diminishing returns’ scenario, the more renewables we adopt, the higher energy prices go. Why? Because the problem is time related, we are starting too late to mitigate the coming Peak Oil price hikes.
So, even with the recession, massive debt and a late start at converting to renewable, we could with higher taxes and prices, come through with the current system intact, but jarred. Under these conditions the global economic system will be tight, there is little if any economic slack as we move forward through the recession toward Peak Oil. If an unexpected calamity arises, that could very well be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, resulting in serious, wide ranging population ‘hardships’.
[The term ‘hardships’ can cover a lot of unpleasant ground! Think about it. Name 10 inconveniences that could arise in your life from a national calamity, then throw in 10 unknowns you didn’t expect. Mr. Larry]
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VI. Energy: Shell’s future scenarios – Staring into energy’s black hole

6 Jul 2008, Author: Tobias Webb
http://www.climatechangecorp.com/content.asp?ContentID=5937
Shell’s “energy scenarios” see fossil fuels remaining a huge part of the energy mix to 2050. And if Shell is right, what does it mean for the planet’s future?

1.   Scramble scenerio
Under the Scramble scenario, the current and future “flight to coal” as a relatively cheap energy source cannot last forever. According to Bentham, in this scenario, around the mid part of the decade (ca 2014-2016) comes “a triple squeeze” in energy. This is made up of the logistical difficulties of having to move growing volumes of coal around the world. At the same time, conventional oil and gas supplies are likely to plateau because of a lack of investment and for “political issues” (shorthand for oil nationalism or a lack of big oil company interests in major projects).
These two factors could lead to the “demand levers being pulled rapidly”, Bentham said, and knee-jerk reactions by governments, such as reducing car speed limits to save on fuel use, decommissioning inefficient power plants quickly, and changing building regulations. All this, needless to say, is set to make the world a volatile place.
In Shell’s Scramble scenario, second generation (non-food sourced) biofuels will grow rapidly from 2020 onwards. Meanwhile, renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, will see local growth but will not yet be able to compete with conventional energy in size and scale. The economic conditions of the 2020s will encourage further renewables growth, Shell says, and renewable energy will “rebound” by the end of that decade. The flip side will be that only by then will serious action be likely on global carbon prices as climate change related weather events begin to be blamed on a lack of action during the world’s previous dash to coal sources for energy. This rather paints a bleak picture for the future for environmentalists and, indeed, anyone else.

2.  Blueprints scenerio
Shell believes that its Blueprints scenario presents a much more positive picture. While the company does not believe that achieving a global balance of 450ppm of CO2 by 2050 or earlier is remotely feasible, Shell says that global energy demand can be met by less-polluting sources than fossil fuels, and can be reduced significantly by technology, driven by both regulation and collaboration between governments.
Bentham spoke of the “political reality” of climate change as a key driver for this scenario of collaboration on energy use. He cited two key examples: the law passed in California in 2006 which mandated a cap-and-trade carbon emissions trading system by 2012; and the recent attempts by politicians in Australia to distance themselves from their nation’s past recalcitrant attitude to the Kyoto Protocol and carbon dioxide emissions regulation.
The Californian approach has influenced other US states, Bentham said, noting that in the US, climate change is now “a Federal issue”, with both US presidential candidates saying that they take the threat seriously. Bentham said that the C40 group of cities around the world, which is sharing best practices on transport management and infrastructure development across borders, in both developed and developing economies, is another example of an emerging consensus around the need for collaboration to tackle energy and climate concerns.
Developing countries such as China, and their citizens, are also increasingly concerned about environmental issues and this may drive change towards cleaner economies much faster than in the past, Bentham claimed. China has far more UN-approved clean development mechanism greenhouse gas reduction projects than any other nation.

By 2012 to 2015, under the Blueprints scenario, Bentham thinks that we might see “a critical mass of carbon pricing being applied to a critical mass of sectors in a critical mass of countries”. While this rollout is not global, it begins to influence the choices that people are making in investments. This encourages technological progress such as carbon capture and storage by 2020, and vehicle electrification – by 2050 around 40 per cent of all ‘vehicle miles’ are electric under this scenario. National approaches begin to be harmonized, such as around carbon pricing. This encourages energy efficiency and wind power, while helping electric vehicles come to mass market in the 2020s.
CO2 emissions rise, plateau and then fall by around 2050, under Blueprints. Shell believes that there is no one solution to the global energy and climate conundrum, and that, according to Bentham: “Any technology that is going to be deployed at global scale in the next 50 years is already out of the laboratory.” It’s all about policy and incentive choices, he concluded, “the next five years are crucial”.

3. A third scenario: no fossil fuels
So what do others make of Shell’s predictions and dire warnings about the future of climate change and energy? Opinions are mixed.
“Shell is living in la la land,” says Mark Lynas, author of climate disaster bestseller Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet. “They are constructing scenarios where they continue to be relevant as a fossil fuel company.” Lynas points out that the climate crisis is so serious that what he calls the “real world” will not tolerate such a high carbon vision of energy for 2050. “The whole scenario process should be about figuring out realistic outcomes and planning for them, whereas what Shell seems to be doing is deciding what they would most like to happen, and writing it down,” he says, calling Shell’s scenarios a “political exercise”.
Shell’s view that stabilizing global carbon emissions at 450 ppm is unrealistic is “totally irresponsible”, says Lynas. “If we don’t stabilize at way below 450 ppm we’ll see irreversible climate change with several tipping points being crossed as a result,” he argues. “They are obviously saying that the world can go fry and that their profits must come first.” Lynas believes that despite oil company claims that they can innovate around the frameworks set by politicians and prosper in a low-carbon world, the current large energy majors will eventually die off, as newer, hungrier firms replace them with what he calls “disruptive” energy technology.
David Strahan, author of The Last Oil Shock, says Shell’s best case analysis – Blueprints – is a “fairly disastrous scenario, because (by their estimation) coal is getting bigger as we go up to 2050”. Strahan notes that NASA’s Jim Hanson believes that if the planet managed to eliminate the emissions from coal-fired power stations by either closing them or capturing all the carbon, then “we squeak in at around 440 parts per million” of CO2. “What’s interesting about [what] Shell [is] saying [is] that it’s the end of the planet” if they are right, Strahan claims.

The carbon capture dream
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is still largely wishful thinking, Lynas agrees. Right now only a tiny number of pilot projects exist around the world, with none being commercially viable. He is in favor of an upstream cap-and-trade system for carbon, which he says is “much easier to manage than regulating emissions” and should be discussed further. Under upstream trading systems, carbon is measured before consumers can become responsible for emitting it and effectively taxed heavily, creating energy efficiency and renewable energy investment incentives across the board.
While Lynas believes there is sufficient technology to decarbonizes power generation by 2050, he thinks it will have to come from renewable sources, with even nuclear a possibility, rather than from fossil fuels. He estimates that future scenarios should factor in a carbon price of €200-€300 a ton to make renewable energy power generation and transportation a reality by 2050. “We need to eliminate coal from the energy mix,” he says, noting that “nuclear may be a good option for China and India”.
“I think the scenarios are a good way of focusing policy makers’ attention on the progress we need to make,” says King. But she notes soberly that even with the considerable co-operation and technology implementation envisaged in Shell’s more positive Blueprints scenario: “We would not deliver the reductions that the climate science indicates we need. It is a useful reminder of the size of the challenge and the urgency.”

Scary future
A bleak message in many ways, but one that Shell appears increasingly comfortable offering – both as a wake-up call to others and to reassure shareholders of the company’s place in the future, after the firm was rocked in 2004 by a massive reserves accounting scandal and struggles to replace oil reserves.
Perhaps the most alarming two facts to emerge from Shell’s scenario planning are the uncertainty around predictions of future energy supply and the potential, or lack of it, of carbon capture and storage technology. No-one knows exactly when “peak oil” – the moment when more of the planet’s oil is out of the ground than left in it – will be reached and what the ramifications for global economics, unrest and politics will be.
Secondly, while many banks and energy firms say 2020 is the earliest when carbon capture and storage will be rolled out, the technology is still at its earliest stages. Unless massive investment in renewable energy is made over the next five to ten years, and if CCS is unable to decarbonize power generation from fossil fuels relatively quickly and on a commercially viable basis, the world will be short of low-carbon power options.
The fight between industry, with their hopeful ideas of carbon capture and storage technology, and those that want to see the whole planet shifting to renewable energy in the next two decades shows no signs of abating.

The peak oil problem
Shell predicts that global oil production will peak around 2020. But the company neatly side-steps the debate in its scenarios by predicting in both the Scramble and Blueprints scenarios that the decline rate of global production will be virtually negligible up to 2040.
David Strahan is surprised that Shell’s oil peak estimation is now 2020. “I haven’t heard them say that before,” he says. The world has already reached the beginnings of a global oil peak, he argues. “The facts are stark. The amount discovered has been falling for 40 years. For every barrel we find each year, we now guzzle three. Output is already falling in more than 60 of the world’s 98 oil-producing countries. And global oil production has been essentially flat, at just less than 86 million barrels per day, since early 2005. Serious analysts now forecast $200 per barrel.”

Blueprints or Scramble
Strahan believes peak oil is coming even earlier than Shell believes and will have a much faster decline rate in production than the company predicts. “Peak oil is this side of 2020”, he says. “Even if you take the most optimistic future discovery numbers that have any credibility and apply a little bit of common-sense you get a peak in 2017”. His fear is that global production will quickly descend to a 4 per cent annual decline rate sometime after that date. “That is the average decline rate of existing oil production capacity.
All major oil companies are struggling to replace their reserves and increase production, Strahan observes. Many are giving more money back to shareholders than they are spending on exploration and production combined, he claims. “They are basically liquidating themselves. Although the high oil price is giving them high profits for the time being, they are in trouble.”

[Did you understand that last statement (bold, brown text above)? After peak oil production, the rate of decline in oil coming to the market will quickly reach the standard average oil production DECLINE  rate of 4% a year. Every year there will be 4% less available oil in the market to sell, and for you, 4% less to buy.
Question: How can there be “growth” if every year there is 4% less work being done? How can we feed 2% more children born into the world with declining food production, when we already have a great deal of dislocation, warfare and starvation on the African continuent?
Since it takes 10 calories of energy input to produce and place 1 calorie of food on your table, if the energy input is declining so are the numbers of available food calories.
Of course there will be a couple years of belt tightening, which will briefly mitigate the food shortage in richer countries, but then with the energy continually declining 4% a year, the deficiencies add up fast: -4%, -8%, -12%, -16%, -20%….in less than 5 years we’ll be unable to hold back to flood tide of misery sweeping across the world, the country, into our homes. In 10 years there would be 40% less petroleum, in 25 years…..in less than 25 years, its all changed. Before 2034.
However, for now, (sadly said) if we can remain in a global recession for the next couple years that will push forward the ‘peak production’ inflection point a few months, while lower recessionary demand may or may not curtail price increases.
Your vote at the polls will not change this. Writing to elected officials or demonstrating on the street will not change this. The global population has voted, they are becoming increasingly concerned and now that they are becoming poorer, they are arming; some are hungry and many are angry, more are in the streets, but none will change the outcome. We are faced with classic ‘overshoot and collapse’.

In closing, a look back at a chart from the book, The Limits to Growth, © 1972, by the Club of Rome. The ‘limits to growth model’ data run is seen below, where there is a  cascading effect from the decline in (resources) oil production that spreads like falling dominos  across the variables, except death rate. The ‘establishment’ -governement, industry and finance, have found it economically convenient to ignore the concepts discussed by the Club of Rome, they did not heed the warning in Hubbert’s Peak oil or the Hirsch report; time passed and these ‘limiting factors’ have  quietly approached. Today, the leadership are ignoring the ‘peak oil’ reports made by various military, business and academic institutions…. Wake up, Neo!
Mr Larry]


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Filed under Survival Manual, __1. Disaster

Introducing the Solar Oven

(Survival Manual/ Food & Water/ The solar oven)

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[My Global Sun Oven: Set up in the yard, currently cooking a whole chicken, bakes excellent home-made bread, boils corn, makes stews…Mr. Larry]

A.  Benefits of solar cooking
Pasted from: http://www.sunoven.com/sun-cooking-usa/why-use-it/benefits-of-solar-cooking
•  Cook for free:  Bakes, Boils or Steams Any Kind of Food with the Power of the Sun – No Fuel Needed!
•   No learning curve: Create your favorite recipes as you feast upon natural sun baked treats!
•  Just like your home oven: Reaches Temperatures of 360° to 400° F!
•  Totally Safe – No Danger of Fire – Never Burn Dinner Again!
•  Versatile – Easy-to-use, Portable as a Small Suitcase!
•  Satisfaction GuaranteeIf you are not completely satisfied with your SUN OVEN® you may return it within 30 days of the date you receive it and you will receive a refund. [Offer from the Sun Oven website]

Cooking in a SUN OVEN® is easy, fun, natural, and nutritious, while helping the environment. SUN OVENS® are ideal for everyday use in your back yard, at picnics, while camping, or in the event of a power failure. They can help keep your house cool in the summer by keeping the heat from cooking outside.

Even though it is called an oven, food can be baked, boiled, and steamed at cooking temperatures of 360° F to 400° F. There is no movement of air in a SUN OVEN®, allowing food to stay moist and tender and flavorful. Sun-baked roasts are tastier and more succulent, and sun-baked bread has unparalleled taste and texture. The aroma of food sunning itself in a SUN OVEN® is sure to please your senses.

Temperatures in a SUN OVEN® rise slowly and evenly, allowing complex carbohydrates time to break down into simple sugars, emanating subtle natural flavors. The even temperature of the SUN OVEN® prevents burning, so you do not need to stir your food while it is cooking.

There are two ways to cook in a SUN OVEN®. If you refocus the oven to follow the sun every 25 to 30 minutes, cooking times and methods will be very similar to cooking with a conventional stove or oven. Or a SUN OVEN® can be used for slow cooking, much like a crock-pot. You can prepare your dinner, put it in the SUN OVEN®, point the oven where the sun will be approximately halfway through the time you will be gone. Leave, and come home to a tasty, slow-cooked dinner. If you run late, there is no need to worry; the SUN OVEN® will keep your food warm, moist, and fresh for hours.

My unit was purchased from Amazon.com
Global Sun Oven – Solar Cooker by SUN OVENS International, Inc.
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
Price: $259.00 (no tax)

VIDEO LINKS: (Page with 10 brief videos showing the use of a Sun Oven:
http://www.sunoven.com/sun-cooking-usa/how-to-use#whatis

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YOUTUBE (Jack Spirko of “The Survival Podcast” cooking a roast on the Global Sun Oven)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSHL39DMD9k&feature=related

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Explanation of the Global Solar Sun Oven’s Function: 
•  The Global Sun Oven® will quickly reach temperatures of 360 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit!!!
•  When the Global Sun Oven is focused in the sun, the interior of the oven is heated by the sun’s energy.
•  Panels of polished metal flare out above the oven and direct the suns rays into the oven chamber where the heat is trapped, much like the heat captured when windows of a car are closed.
•  The black surfaces on the inside of the oven capture and transform the sun’s energy into a radiant energy wave length that cannot escape the oven chamber.
•  Direct and reflected sunlight enters the oven chamber through the glass door. It then turns to heat energy when it is absorbed by the black inner-shell and the levelator device.
•  The light energy absorbed by both the dark surface, and thick steel walls of the The Global Sun Oven Roasting Pot, [or other dark pots], and the oven’s dark interior is converted into longer wavelengths of radiant heat energy. Most of this longer-wavelength radiant energy cannot pass back out through the glass, ensuring more efficient cooking.
•  Food will not stick or burn… because the      solar heat is radiated throughout the cooking oven and does not come from a single direct source; no hot spots created by harsh burners or heating elements.
•  Food does not even have to be stirred – PLUS the Sun Oven is an excellent tool for boiling water. Cooking times are about fifteen minutes longer than with conventional ovens.
•  The oven will generally reach its maximum temperature as it is being preheated. The temperature drops slightly when food is placed in the chamber.
•  Note: The Sun Oven works even in subzero air temperatures, as long as the sun is out, the oven will capture the sun’s energy and cook as if it were a tropical day. The oven will heat up quicker on clear, low humidity days.
•  The Global Sun Oven is equipped with a built-in levelator device, an inner shelf that pivots to always keep food level and avoid spills while the oven is being refocused. The levelator is easily removed to make cleaning easier – or expand the baking area!
•  The four mirror finished anodized aluminum reflecting panels fold in and are easily secured with a heavy-duty strap. Convenient suitcase style handle allows for hassle-free handling – rugger construction,compact size, and low weight make transport or storage a breeze!

 Product Benefits:
• Perfect for crock pot style cooking while busy or at work
• Superior cooking; virtually every food tastes much better!!!
• Captures the nutritional benefits of all natural cooking
• Bake breads, casserole, etc – without heating up kitchen!
• Facilitates enhanced cooking worldwide – from ice fishermen in Minnesota baking their catch on a frozen lake, to desert dwellers in Kuwait baking lamb – from women in rain forests of Africa who can’t find wood to cook with – to deer hunters in North America who love moist venison – Sun Oven cooks!

 Product Features:
• Cooks with the power of the Sun – no fuel needed!
• Uses source of power that never fails – the energy of sun
• Cooks any foods – no special recipes are required
• Reaches temperatures of 360 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
• Levelator inner shelf pivots to always keep food level
• Levelator easily removed to expand the baking area
Built in leveling leg on back allows for easy sun tracking
• Rugged construction – built for years of trouble-free use
Strong plastic case – both durable and easy to clean
Outer shell made of a highly durable ABS plastic
• Reflexo specular finish reflectors plus tempered glass door
Reflectors made with mirror finished anodized aluminum –  will not oxidize, rust, or corrode
• Black inner shell is formed from aluminum coated with non-toxic, high temperature powder coating
• Coating is baked on and does not emit any toxic fumes – like other industrial paints or coatings
• Oven interior is double-walled and lined with thick batt of non-toxic fiberglass insulation
• Gasket that seals the oven chamber is made from patented material specifically designed to withstand UV radiation
• Gasket forms an air-tight seal to hold heat in while preventing out-gassing from building up in the oven’s chamber
• Stained wooden bezel made of milled kiln dried hardwood
• Reflecting panels fold in and are easily secured with strap
• Carry it anywhere – as portable as a small suitcase!
• Convenient suitcase-like handle – weighs only 21 pounds!!!

OPTIONAL: Black Graniteware, oval-shaped roasting pot; 3 Quart, This black ceramic-coated, all steel roaster is perfect for use in The Global Sun Oven®. The 3 quart size is ideal for most meals using solar cooking, and fits precisely inside The Global Sun Oven with maximum use of interior oven space. Roasting Pot dimensions: 9 3/4 x 5 3/4.
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B.  Emergency Food Preparedness by using a Solar Oven
http://www.solarcooker-at-cantinawest.com/emergency_food_preparedness.html

When natural disasters or unforeseen events occur, you know that being physically prepared for an emergency with backups and reserves of food, water, power and shelter is usually the difference between security and peace of mind, or uncertainty and possible tragedy.
We realize of course that conditions within any locale at any given time may not be favorable for using a solar cooker.
Stormy, cloudy and violent weather will most surely make it difficult, even impossible to use a solar oven. But, as everyone knows, these conditions will not always be present; in fact they are usually very short in duration.
The resultant effects of events such as; power outages, tornadoes, storms and such usually leave many hundreds and thousands without the basic necessities that are so common and vital to our customary standard of living; these usually include power, clean water, shelter, food and medical care.
A solar-powered oven can address several of these emergency needs in varying ways and with great results.
•  Clean Water, a most vital resource, can become contaminated through a variety of disruptions or compromises to the culinary water system in a city or town of any size and sickness can result because of it. Boiling water to remove the impurities is the best and most common way for individuals faced with such conditions, but not always are there means available to do this. Without electricity or other fuel sources it would be impossible to obtain the heat levels necessary to boil water. But with a solar cooker you can easily purify enough water to meet the drinking needs of the average family. In fact is, it is not even necessary to bring the water to a complete boil since you can sterilize the water by merely pasteurizing it, thus increasing the amounts of water that can be purified in a day.
•  A solar oven can also be used to sterilize other items as well, such as medical instruments and cooking utensils. In some third world countries where there are epidemics of grain infestation, solar cookers have been used for sterilization of various grain staples.
•  A solar Parabolic Cooker can be used to pressure cook as well as do pressure canning and even run a solar water distiller with the right parts and equipment customized to a parabolic cooker.
•  Solar ovens can be used for such needs as warming or drying clothing articles, drying fruit and vegetables (at ventilated lower temps) melting wax for candles, beekeeping wax melting. And a solar parabolic cooker can be used for warming the body and hands in cold weather as well as warming/heating pipes for air and water heating.
•  The foremost reason for including a solar cooker amongst your emergency supplies is of course; to be able to cook your food when there are no other means available of doing so.

*VIDEO LINK (16 videos: a variety of solar ovens and their uses):
http://www.solarcooker-at-cantinawest.com/solar_cookers_videos.html

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Filed under Survival Manual, __3. Food & Water

Modern Living: Part V of V (Infrastructure deterioration)

(Survival Manual/2. Social Issues/Death by 1000 cuts/ Modern Living)

Topic: Part I
1.  What happened to the American dream?
2.  Entertainment galore
Part II
3.  Cigarette smoking

4.  Illegal drug use

Part III
5.  Antibiotics and super bugs
6.  Antibiotics in meat
7.  GMO in crops
Part IV

8.  Household Pollutants and Chemical spills

Part V

9.  Infrastructure deterioration

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9.  Infrastructure deterioration

System 2009
‘Grades’
5 yr. funding requirements(Billions $ projected shortfall) System 2009
‘Grades’
5 yr. funding requirements(Billions $ projected shortfall)
A.  Aviation D $40.7 Public Parks & recreation C- $48.1
Bridges C $549.5 D.  Rail C- $11.7
Dams D $7.5 E.   Roads D- $549.5
B.  Drinking water D- $108.6 Schools D $35.0
Energy D+ $29.5 Solid waste C+ $43.4
Hazardous waste D $43.4 Transit D $190.1
Inland waters D- $20.5 F.  Wastewater D- $108.6
C.  Levees D- $48.8

Red topics in table above = Topics discussed below

 A.  Aviation

  <http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/fact-sheet/aviation>
Air travel in the U.S. rebounded from its post-September 11, 2001, downturn and reached new highs in both domestic and international travel. Enplanements on U.S. carriers for both domestic and international flights totaled 669.2 million in 2000. By 2006, that number had risen to 744.7 million; in 2007 alone, the number increased an additional 25 million to 769.6 million. A sharp increase in the cost of aviation fuel, followed by the recent economic downturn, however, has slowed the demand for air travel. The number of domestic and international passengers on U.S. airlines in October 2008 was 7.1% lower than in October 2007. From January to October of 2008 there were 630.1 million enplanements, a decrease of 2.6% from the same 10-month period in 2007. It is estimated that air travel will increase in 2009 though, the latest forecast (March 2008) projecting an annual increase of 2.9% in domestic U.S. commercial enplanements and 4.8% in international enplanements—a system increase total of 3%.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has a goal of ensuring that no less than 93% of the runways at National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS) airports are maintained in good or fair condition. That goal was exceeded in 2007: 79% were rated good, 18% were rated fair, and only 3% were rated poor. However, there were 370 runway incursions in 2007—up from 330 in 2006. Due to the FAA’s 2008 change in definition for a runway incursion, this number is likely to increase further. A runway incursion is defined as an incident involving the incorrect presence of an aircraft, vehicle, person, or object on the ground that creates a collision hazard for an aircraft taking off, intending to take off, landing, or intending to land.

Top 10 U.S Passenger Airports 2006-2007
Rank Location Airport
1 Anchorage, AK Ted Stevens Anchorage International
2 Memphis, TN Memphis International
3 Louisville, KY Louisville International
4 Miami, FL Miami International
5 Los Angeles, CA Los Angeles International
6 Indianapolis, IN Indianapolis International
7 New York, NY John F. Kennedy International
8 Chicago, IL Chicago O’Hare International
9 Newark, NJ Newark Liberty International
10 Oakland, CA Metropolitan Oakland International
U.S. DOT, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 2008

Every year the industry incurs avoidable air traffic control delays that, while beyond the immediate control of air traffic control personnel, waste hundreds of millions of dollars. In 2007, airlines reported an on-time arrival record of 73.3%, the second worst in history; the worst record—72.6%—was recorded in 2000. The air traffic control system remains outdated and inefficient, and modernization efforts continue to meet with delay. The FAA is seeking to implement its NextGen system; however, drawn-out congressional reauthorization of the FAA funding mechanism is causing delay and confusion among airport sponsors across the nation.

Top 10 U.S. Cargo Airports 2006-2007
Rank Location Airport
1 Atlanta, GA Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International
2 Chicago, IL Chicago O’Hare International
3 Los Angeles, CA Los Angeles International
4 Fort Worth, TX Dallas/Fort Worth International
5 Denver, CO Denver International
6 New York, NY John F. Kennedy International
7 Las Vegas, NV McCarran International
8 Phoenix, AZ Phoenix Sky Harbor International
9 Houston, TX George Bush Intercontinental/Houston
10 Newark, NJ Newark Liberty International
U.S. DOT,  Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 2008

The old airline business model is being replaced by a newer low-fare, low-cost model. Between 2000 and 2006, U.S. airlines’ domestic operations reported combined operating and net losses of $27.9 and $36.2 billion, respectively. However, in 2007—for the first time since 2000—the airline industry posted a $5.8-billion net profit. And, cargo carriers continue to report strong results with net profits of $1.4 billion.

Generally, there are four sources of funding used to finance airport infrastructure and development: airport cash flow; revenue and general obligation bonds; federal/state/local grants, including the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grants; and passenger facility charges (PFCs). Access to these funding sources varies widely among airports. Since fiscal year 2001, AIP grants have exceeded $3 billion annually, and for the past five years, PFC collections have exceeded $2 billion annually. Together, AIP grants and PFC collections account for 40% of annual U.S. airport capital spending. Since 1990, annual funding for airport capital needs has been in the range of $5.5 to $7.3 billion.1 Since congressional authorization for the AIP expired in September of 2007, the program has operated under a series of continuing resolutions, making long-term planning difficult.

An additional challenge to airport capacity-building is the fragmented nature of airport ownership. Local governments and the private sector represent the majority of owners and investors in air transportation infrastructure, and they tend to focus primarily on their own needs, and only secondarily on national, system wide concerns. According to the NPIAS, there are 3,356 existing publicly owned, public-use airports in the United States, with an additional 55 proposed. There are also 522 commercial service airports, and of these, 383 have more than 10,000 annual enplanements and are classified as primary airports.

Resilience
Aviation’s rapid movement of goods and services, as well as its support of tourism, is critical to the economic vitality of the nation, and air travel is often chosen over other modes of transportation on the basis of convenience, time, and cost. Thus, the consequence of failure is severe. Additionally, shifts in demand corresponding to threats, delays, and fuel pricing contribute to the volatility of the industry. In a highly complex system like aviation, resilience is not simply a matter of technical or facility upgrades. Future investments must consider dynamic system changes, security, capacity, life-cycle facility maintenance, technology innovations, and redundancy.

Conclusion
Just as the industry was recovering from the events of September 11, 2001, it was dealt another blow from the impact of surging oil prices, volatile credit markets, and a lagging economy. In the face of recent FAA estimates that predict an annual 3% growth in air travel, the continuing delays in reauthorization of federal programs and updating of the outdated air traffic control system threaten the system’s ability to meet the needs of the American people and economy. To remain successful, the nation’s aviation systems need robust and flexible federal leadership, a strong commitment to airport infrastructure, and the rapid deployment of NextGen.

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B.     Drinking water

Report Card for America’s Infrastructure
http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/fact-sheet/drinking-water
The nation’s drinking-water systems face staggering public investment needs over the next 20 years. Although America spends billions on infrastructure each year, drinking water systems face an annual shortfall of at least $11 billion in funding needed to replace aging facilities that are near the end of their useful life and to comply with existing and future federal water regulations. The shortfall does not account for any growth in the demand for drinking water over the next 20 years.[Tip: Fix that leak!
A faucet dripping just once per second will waste as much as 2,700 gallons of water per year. Fix any leaking faucets.]

[Image at left: Samples of contaminated tap water from Maywood, Calif.]

Of the nearly 53,000 community water systems, approximately 83% serve 3,300 or fewer people. These systems provide water to just 9% of the total U.S. population served by all community systems. In contrast, 8% of community water systems serve more than 10,000 people and provide water to 81% of the population served. Eighty-five percent (16,348) of nontransient, noncommunity water systems and 97% (83,351) of transient noncommunity water systems serve 500 or fewer people. These smaller systems face huge financial, technological, and managerial challenges in meeting a growing number of federal drinking-water regulations.

In 2002, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued The Clean Water and Drinking Water Infrastructure Gap Analysis, which identified potential funding gaps between projected needs and spending from 2000 through 2019. This analysis estimated a potential 20-year funding gap for drinking water capital expenditures as well as operations and maintenance, ranging from $45 billion to $263 billion, depending on spending levels. Capital needs alone were pegged at $161 billion.

Water Usage: 1950 and 2000
1950 2000 % change
Population (Millions) 93.4 242 159%
Usage (Billions of Gallons per Day) 14 43 207%
Per Capita Usage (Gal. / Person /   Day) 149 179 20%
SOURCE US EPA Clean Water and Drinking Water   Infrastructure Gap
Analysis Report, September 2002

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) concluded in 2003 that “current funding from all levels of government and current revenues generated from ratepayers will not be sufficient to meet the nation’s future demand for water infrastructure.” The CBO estimated the nation’s needs for drinking water investments at between $10 billion and $20 billion over the next 20 years.

Resilience
Drinking water systems provide a critical public health function and are essential to life, economic development, and growth. Disruptions in service can hinder disaster response and recovery efforts, expose the public to water-borne contaminants, and cause damage to roadways, structures, and other infrastructure, endangering lives and resulting in billions of dollars in losses.

The nation’s drinking-water systems are not highly resilient; present capabilities to prevent failure and properly maintain or reconstitute services are inadequate. Additionally, the lack of investment and the interdependence on the energy sector contribute to the lack of overall system resilience. These shortcomings are currently being addressed through the construction of dedicated emergency power generation at key drinking water utility facilities, increased connections with adjacent utilities for emergency supply, and the development of security and criticality criteria. Investment prioritization must take into consideration system vulnerabilities, interdependencies, improved efficiencies in water usage via market incentives, system robustness, redundancy, failure consequences, and ease and cost of recovery.

Conclusion
The nation’s drinking-water systems face staggering public investment needs over the next 20 years. Although America spends billions on infrastructure each year, drinking water systems face an annual shortfall of at least $11 billion in funding needed to replace aging facilities that are near the end of their useful life and to comply with existing and future federal water regulations. The shortfall does not account for any growth in the demand for drinking water over the next 20 years.

Design Life of Drinking Water Systems
Components Years of design life
Reservoirs and Dams 50–80
Treatment Plants—Concrete Structures 60–70
Treatment Plants—Mechanical and Electrical 15–25
Trunk Mains 65–95
Pumping Stations—Concrete Structures 60–70
Pumping Stations—Mechanical and Electrical 25
Distribution 60–95
SOURCE US EPA Clean Water and Drinking Water   Infrastructure Gap
Analysis Report, September 2002

Of the nearly 53,000 community water systems, approximately 83% serve 3,300 or fewer people. These smaller systems face huge financial, technological, and managerial challenges in meeting a growing number of federal drinking-water regulations.

In 2002, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued The Clean Water and Drinking Water Infrastructure Gap Analysis, which identified potential funding gaps between projected needs and spending from 2000 through 2019. This analysis estimated a potential 20-year funding gap for drinking water capital expenditures as well as operations and maintenance, ranging from $45 billion to $263 billion, depending on spending levels. Capital needs alone were pegged at $161 billion.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) concluded in 2003 that “current funding from all levels of government and current revenues generated from ratepayers will not be sufficient to meet the nation’s future demand for water infrastructure.” The CBO estimated the nation’s needs for drinking water investments at between $10 billion and $20 billion over the next 20 years.

In 1996, Congress enacted the drinking-water state revolving loan fund (SRF) program. The program authorizes the EPA to award annual capitalization grants to states. States then use their grants (plus a 20% state match) to provide loans and other assistance to public water systems. Communities repay loans into the fund, thus replenishing the fund and making resources available for projects in other communities. Eligible projects include installation and replacement of treatment facilities, distribution systems, and some storage facilities. Projects to replace aging infrastructure are eligible if they are needed to maintain compliance or to further public health protection goals.
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•  That Tap Water Is Legal but May Be Unhealthy
16 December 2009, New York Times, by Charles Duhigg
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/17/us/17water.html?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1305695093-MB1uD14BF9hUOpPKG+6vzg
“The 35-year-old federal law regulating tap water is so out of date that the water Americans drink can pose what scientists say are serious health risks — and still be legal.

What’s in Your Water
Only 91 contaminants are regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act, yet more than 60,000 chemicals are used within the United States, according to Environmental Protection Agency estimates. Government and independent scientists have scrutinized thousands of those chemicals in recent decades, and identified hundreds associated with a risk of cancer and other diseases at small concentrations in drinking water, according to an analysis of government records by The New York Times.

But not one chemical has been added to the list of those regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act since 2000. Other recent studies have found that even some chemicals regulated by that law pose risks at much smaller concentrations than previously known. However, many of the act’s standards for those chemicals have not been updated since the 1980s, and some remain essentially unchanged since the law was passed in 1974.

All told, more than 62 million Americans have been exposed since 2004 to drinking water that did not meet at least one commonly used government health guideline intended to help protect people from cancer or serious disease, according to an analysis by The Times of more than 19 million drinking-water test results from the District of Columbia and the 45 states that made data available.
In some cases, people have been exposed for years to water that did not meet those guidelines.
But because such guidelines were never incorporated into the Safe Drinking Water Act, the vast majority of that water never violated the law…”

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C.  Levees

 http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/fact-sheet/levees
The state of the nation’s levees has a significant impact on public safety. Levees are man-made barriers (embankment, floodwall, structure) along a water course constructed for the primary purpose of providing hurricane, storm and flood protection. Levees are often part of complex systems that include not only levees and floodwalls, but also pumps, interior drainage systems, closures, penetrations, and transitions. Many levees are integral to economic development in the protected community.

Federal levee systems currently provide a six-to-one return on flood damages prevented compared to initial building cost. Despite this, baseline information has not been systematically gathered through inspections and post-flood performance observations and measurements to identify the most critical levee safety issues, quantify the true costs of levee safety, prioritize future funding, and provide data for risk-based assessments in an efficient or cost-effective manner.
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[Image at right: Rising waters cresting levee along Mississippi River.]

There is no definitive record of how many levees there are in the U.S., nor is there an assessment of the current condition and performance of those levees. Recent surveys by the Association of State Dam Safety Officials and the Association of State Floodplain Managers found that only 10 states keep any listing of levees within their borders and only 23 states have an agency with some responsibility for levee safety. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimates that levees are found in approximately 22% of the nation’s 3,147 counties. Forty-three percent of the U.S. population lives in counties with levees. Many of those levees were designed decades ago to protect agricultural and rural areas, not the homes and businesses that are now located behind them.

In the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, Congress passed the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2007. The Act required the establishment and maintenance of an inventory of all federal levees, as well as those non-federal levees for which information is voluntarily provided by state and local government agencies. The inventory is intended to be a comprehensive, geospatial database that is shared between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), FEMA, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the states.

While the USACE has begun the inventory of all federal levees, to date few states or local agencies have provided any formal information, leaving the inventory far from complete. In addition, there is still much to be determined about the condition and performance of the nation’s levees, both federal and nonfederal. As of February 2009, initial results from USACE’s inventory show that while more than half of all federally inspected levees do not have any deficiencies, 177, or about 9%, are expected to fail in a flood event. The inventory data collection process is ongoing and these preliminary findings are expected to change as the process continues.

WRDA 2007 also created a committee to develop for the first time recommendations for a national levee safety program. The National Committee on Levee Safety completed its work in January 2009 and the panel recommended that improvements in levee safety be addressed through comprehensive and consistent national leadership, new and sustained state levee safety programs, and an alignment of existing federal programs.

Damages from Flooding in Levee-Related Areas
Location/year Damages in Dollars
Midwest 1993 $272,872,070
North Dakota/Minnesota 1997 $152,039,604
Hurricane Katrina 2005 $16,467,524,782
Midwest 2008 $583,596,400
National Committee on   Levee Safety

Often, the risk of living behind levees is not well-known, and the likelihood of flooding is misunderstood. For this reason, little focus is placed on measures that the public can take to mitigate their risks. Though the 1% annual chance flood event (“100-year flood”) is believed by many to be an infrequent event, in reality there is at least a 26% chance that it will occur during the life of a 30-year mortgage. The likely impacts of climate change are expected to increase the intensity and frequency of coastal storms and thereby increase the chance of flooding.

During the past 50 years there has been tremendous development on lands protected by levees. Coupled with the fact that many levees have not been well maintained, this burgeoning growth has put people and infrastructure at risk—the perceived safety provided by levees has inadvertently increased flood risks by attracting development to the floodplain. Continued population growth and economic development behind levees is considered by many to be the dominant factor in the national flood risk equation, outpacing the effects of increased chance of flood occurrence and the degradation of levee condition. Unfortunately, lands protected by levees have not always been developed in a manner that recognizes the benefits of the rivers and manages the risk of flooding.

FEMA’s Flood Map Modernization Program, which remaps floodplains using modern technologies, is resulting in a reexamination of levees throughout the United States to determine if they can still be accredited. Before accrediting a levee, FEMA is requiring many communities to certify that their levees meet the 1% criteria.

Flood insurance is one of the most effective ways to limit financial damages in the case of flooding and speed recovery of flood damaged communities. Currently, many people who live behind levees do not believe that they need flood insurance, believing that they are protected by a levee structure. Requiring the purchase of mandatory flood insurance is intended to increase the understanding that living behind even well-engineered levees has some risk. This may encourage communities to build levees to exceed the 1% annual-chance protection standard that has mistakenly become a target minimum.

Resilience
Levees serve to protect the public and critical infrastructure and to prevent flooding. With increasing development behind existing levees, the risk to public health and safety from failure has increased. To address the current lack of resilience in the nation’s levee system, DHS has included levees within the critical infrastructure protection program in an attempt to identify those levees that present the greatest risk to the nation. DHS has also funded research to increase the robustness of levees—for example, armoring the slopes to resist erosion should floodwaters exceed the design elevation—and technologies are currently under study to rapidly repair any breaches that may occur in a levee. To ensure system integrity, future investments must also focus on life-cycle maintenance, research, development of emergency action plans for levee-protected areas, and security.

Conclusion
Much is still unknown about the condition of the nation’s tens of thousands of miles of levees. The residual risk to life and property behind such structures cannot be ignored. Due to their impact on life and safety issues, and the significant consequences of failure, as well as the financial burden of falling property values behind levees that are not safe and are being decertified, the nation must not delay addressing levee issues.

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D.  Rail

Freight Rail
<http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/fact-sheet/rail&gt;
The U.S. freight rail system is comprised of three classes of railroad companies based on annual operating revenues:
8 Class I freight railroad systems;
30 Class II regional or short-line railroads; and
320 Class III or local line-haul carriers.

Approximately 42% of all intercity freight in the United States travels via rail, including 70 percent of domestically manufactured automobiles and 70 percent of coal delivered to power plants.  As of 2006, Class I railroads owned and operated 140,249 miles of track. However, most traffic travels on approximately one-third of the total network, which totals 52,340 miles.

After years of shedding excess capacity, railroads have been increasing infrastructure investment and spending in recent years. In 2006, overall spending on rail infrastructure was $8 billion, a 21% increase from 2005. More specifically, spending on construction of new roadway and structures increased from $1.5 billion in 2005 to $1.9 billion in 2007. Increased spending on maintenance of railroad networks and systems has become necessary as investments are made in more costly signaling technology, heavier rail, and the improved substructure necessary to accommodate heavier trains.

Demand for freight transportation is projected to nearly double by 2035—from 19.3 billion tons in 2007 to 37.2 billion tons in 2035. If current market shares are maintained, railroads will be expected to handle an 88% increase in tonnage by 2035.However, as many look to rail as a more efficient and environmentally friendly freight shipper, rail’s market share could increase and lead to additional increases in freight rail tonnage.

An estimated $148 billion in improvements will be needed to accommodate the projected rail freight demand in 2035.Class I freight railroads’ share of this cost is estimated at $135 billion.Through productivity and efficiency gains, railroads hope to reduce the required investment from $148 billion to $121 billion over the period 2007 through 2035.

Passenger Rail
Amtrak, the nation’s only intercity passenger rail provider, carried 28.7 million riders in fiscal year 2008, an 11.1% increase from fiscal year 2007. Further, the 2007 ridership represented a 20% increase from the previous five years.  Corridor services linking major cities less than 500 miles apart, such as Milwaukee-Chicago, Sacramento-San Francisco-San Jose and the Northeast Corridor, are experiencing the fastest growth. 5

Increased ridership has led to increased revenue, and Amtrak received $1.355 billion in federal investment in fiscal year 2008. However, an additional $410 million in immediate capital needs have been identified, including acquiring new cars to add capacity. In addition, upgrades to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and improve overall conditions of the 481 stations in its network are estimated at $1.5 billion.

While electrical power in the Northeast Corridor cushioned some of the blow of increased fuel prices in 2008, it also represents a major infrastructure challenge for Amtrak. Upgrading the electrical system in the Northeast Corridor, parts of which were installed in the 1930s, is among the immediate needs identified. Failure of these critical systems could bring the entire line to a halt, which would impact not only Amtrak, but also the eight commuter railroads that share the Northeast Corridor.

Amtrak anticipates reaching and exceeding capacity in the near future on some routes. For example, approximately half of trains traveling on one northeast regional line were 85% full and 62% were at least 75% full during one week in July 2008. Even though the current economic downturn has dampened growth, trains will soon reach capacity as the economy rebounds and the growth patterns of recent years are reestablished, and the fleet of cars and locomotives continues to age.

In the long term, the Passenger Rail Working Group (PRWG), which was formed as part of the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission, determined that an annual investment of $7.4 billion through 2016, totaling $66.3 billion, is needed to address the total capital cost of a proposed intercity rail network. It is further estimated that an additional $158.6 billion is needed between 2016 and 2030 and an additional $132.3 billion between 2031 and 2050 to achieve the ideal intercity network proposed by the PRWG.  These costs do not include the mandated safety upgrades for freight rail lines that carry both passenger as well as freight traffic and for those routes that carry toxic chemicals as required by the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008.

While the investments set forth by the PRWG are significant, the benefits would be significant as well. The PRWG estimated a net fuel savings of nearly $4 billion per year by diverting passengers to rail if the proposed vision was adopted. In addition, the investments would reduce the need for even greater capacity investments in other modes.

Intercity passenger rail faces particular concerns not faced by other modes of transportation, such as the lack of a dedicated revenue source. Amtrak owns and/or operates 656 miles of track that are maintained and upgraded using funds from its general operating budget, impacting its ability to fund other projects. The annual congressional appropriations process has provided minimal funding in recent years, leading to a major backlog of deferred track maintenance on the track that Amtrak owns and operates, more than half of which is shared with commuter and freight railroads. For the remainder of its 21,095-mile network, Amtrak relies on freight rail lines that make maintenance and upgrade decisions on the basis of their own business models and shareholders’ interests while preserving Amtrak’s statutory rights for access. Freight and passenger rail interests are becoming more aligned as both require increases in rail network capacity, but successful alignment of interests will require both a public and private investment.

Resilience
Because of its efficiency and reduced energy consumption, rail is an important component of the nation’s transportation network, supporting the economy through both commerce and tourism. But due to a lack of adequate investment, limited redundancy, intermodal constraints, and energy system interdependencies, the rail system is not resilient. Current rail security strategies are risk-based as determined by corridor assessments, corporate security reviews, intelligence analyses, and objectively measured risk metrics. To improve resilience, future investments must address life-cycle maintenance, rapid recovery, multihazard threats and vulnerabilities, and technological innovations.

Conclusion
Rail is increasingly seen as a way to alleviate growing freight and passenger congestion experienced by other modes of transportation. In addition, rail is a fuel efficient alternative for moving freight long distances.
Anticipated growth over the coming decades, as well as demographic shifts, will tax a rail system that is already reaching capacity in some critical bottlenecks. A substantial investment in rail infrastructure will maximize efficiencies and ultimately reap broad benefits for passengers, shippers, and the general public.
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E.  Roads

 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure
http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/fact-sheet/roads
Our nation’s economy and our quality of life require a highway and roadway system that provides a safe, reliable, efficient, and comfortable driving environment. Although highway fatalities and traffic-related injuries declined in 2007, the drop is most likely attributable to people driving less. Still, in 2007, 41,059 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes and 2,491,000 were injured.  Motor vehicle crashes cost the U.S. $230 billion per year–$819 for each resident in medical costs, lost productivity, travel delays, workplace costs, insurance costs, and legal costs. These findings are clearly unacceptable.

Next to safety, congestion has become the most critical challenge facing our highway system. Congestion continues to worsen to the point at which Americans spend 4.2 billion hours a year stuck in traffic at a cost of $78.2 billion a year in wasted time and fuel costs–$710 per motorist. The average daily percentage of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) under congested conditions rose from 25.9% in 1995 to 31.6% in 2004, congestion in large urban areas exceeding 40%. And as a result of increased congestion, total fuel wasted climbed from 1.7 billion gallons in 1995 to 2.9 billion gallons in 2005.

        Poor road conditions lead to excessive wear and tear on motor vehicles and can also lead to increased numbers of crashes and delays. According to the Federal Highway Administration, while the percentage of VMT occurring on roads classified as having “good” ride quality has steadily improved, the percentage of “acceptable” ride quality steadily declined from 86.6% in 1995 to 84.9% in 2004, with the lowest acceptable ride quality found among urbanized roads at 72.4%. 2 These figures represent a failure to achieve significant increases in good and acceptable ride quality, particularly in heavily trafficked urbanized areas.

Compounding the problem are steadily increasing demands on the system. From 1980-2005, while automobile VMT increased 94% and truck VMT increased 105%, highway lane-miles grew by only 3.5%. From 1994-2004, ton miles of freight moved by truck grew 33%.  The increase in freight traffic is of particular concern because of the increased dependency of commerce upon the efficiency of the roadways and the added wear and tear caused by trucks. Without adequate investment and attention, the negative trends will continue, as will the adverse consequences. It is clear that significant improvements and system maintenance will require significant investments.

The National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Commission studied the impact of varying investment levels (medium and high) and produced the following ranges of average annual capital investment needs (in 2006 dollars):

  • $130 billion-$240 billion for the 15 year period 2005-2020;
  • $133 billion-$250 billion for the 30 year period 2005-2035;
  • $146 billion-$276 billion for the 50 year period 2005-2055.

The lower end of the ranges reflect the estimated costs of maintaining key conditions and performance measures at current levels, (the status quo), while the higher end ranges would allow for an aggressive expansion of the highway system, which would provide improved conditions and performance in light of increasing travel demand.  Even at the lower range of estimates, an enormous gap exists between the current level of capital investment and the investment needed to improve the nation’s highways and roads.

Resilience
The Interstate Highway System was constructed as part of the nation’s strategic homeland defense, illustrating the important role of transportation in mitigation, defense and recovery.

Top 10 Most Congested Cities in the U.S.
Rank City Hours of Delay per traveler
1 Los Angeles/Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA 72
2 San Francisco-Oakland, CA 60
3 Washington, DC-VA-MD 60
4 Atlanta, GA 60
5 Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 58
6 Houston, TX 56
7 Detroit, MI 54
8 Miami, FL 50
9 Phoenix, AZ 48
10 Chicago, IL-IN 46
Urban   Mobility Report: Texas Transportation Institute, 2007

The ability of our transportation system to withstand threats from hazards of all types, both natural and human-caused, and to restore service promptly following such events, is known as resilience. Resilience includes a variety of such interconnected aspects as structural robustness, system redundancy, security posture, emergency response capabilities, recovery measures, business continuity alternatives, long-term mitigation strategies, cross-sector interdependencies, regional impacts, and supply chain disruptions.

Building disaster-resistant roads and highways reduces hazard mitigation costs, limits exposure, and maintains operational continuity. A multihazard approach utilizing next-generation codes, standards, and practices is necessary to minimize the extent of a disaster.

Conclusion
The challenges imposed by our highway infrastructure require a large increase in capital investment on the part of all levels of government and other sources as well. The failure to adequately invest in the nation’s highways and roads will lead to increased congestion and delays for motorists and the further deterioration of pavement conditions and will pose increased safety concerns. An overstressed infrastructure will also slow freight delivery, create unpredictability in supply chains, diminish the competitiveness of U.S. businesses, and increase the cost of consumer goods. There must also be a significant change in the way we manage the system, which should include the use of emerging technologies and innovative operational strategies.

While acknowledging the need to move to a new, sustainable funding system in the long term, the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission has recommended an increase of 5-8 cents per gallon per year over the next 5 years to address the current projected shortfall.  Clearly, we cannot continue to rely upon gasoline and diesel taxes to generate the HTF revenues, especially when national policy demands a reduction in both our reliance upon foreign sources of energy and our nation’s carbon footprint. While in the short term an increase in the gas tax is clearly necessary, our national policy must move toward a system that more directly aligns fees that a user is charged with the benefits that the user derives.
.

F.  Wastewater

Crumbling U.S. Sewage System Undermines Public Health
20 Feb 2004, Environmemental news Service, By J.R. Pegg
http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/feb2004/2004-02-20-10.html
WASHINGTON, DC, February 20, 2004 (ENS) – The United States has a million mile network of sewage collection pipes designed to carry some 50 trillion gallons of raw sewage daily to some 20,000 treatment plants. But parts of this complex and aging infrastructure are crumbling, environmentalists warn, posing a health risk to communities across the nation.

There is no shortage of communities that have already suffered adverse effects from the failure to regulate or upgrade sewage collection and treatment. Their situation is documented in a report issued Thursday by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP).
•  “Swimming in Sewage” details how sewage pollution costs Americans billions of dollars every year in medical treatment, lost productivity and property damage.
•  “We have a looming public health crisis on our hands that will take billions of dollars to fix,” said Nancy Stoner, director of NRDC’s Clean Water Project.

In fact, it may cost even more.

A statement on the report by the Association of Metropolitan Sewage Agencies says the Congressional Budget Office, the Government Accounting Office and the EPA all agree there is a national funding gap estimated to be as high as $1 trillion for water infrastructure. Some 87 percent of the more than 12,000 beach closures and advisories in 2002 were the result of high bacteria levels in the water.
[Photo at right: Water treatment facility.]
The report features seven case studies from around the country that illustrate how exposure to sewage pollution has killed or seriously injured people and harmed local economies. The case studies are from California, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and Washington, DC.
•  The report cites figures from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that found in 2001 there were 40,000 sanitary sewer overflows and 400,000 backups of raw sewage into basements.
•  The EPA estimates that 1.8 million to 3.5 million individuals get sick each year from swimming in waters contaminated by sanitary sewage overflows.
•  Many older municipalities, many in the Northeast and Great Lakes regions, have sewage collection systems designed to carry both sewage and stormwater runoff.
•  These systems are often overwhelmed with a mixture of untreated sewage and stormwater, and the EPA estimates that some 1.3 trillion gallons of raw sewage are dumped each year by these combined sewer overflows.

A large part of the problem is one of aging infrastructure, some pipes still in use are almost 200 years old, although the average age of collection system components is about 33 years.

Federal officials predict that without substantial investment in the nation’s sewage infrastructure, by 2025 U.S. waters will again suffer from sewage related pollutant loadings as high as they were in the record year 1968.

Wastewater treatment is expensive and plant operators say federal funds are needed for vital upgrades to occur. But the greater problem is not one of engineering, Stoner says, it is the lack of political will to address and fund solutions. Under the Bush administration, the political will to deal with sewage infrastructure problems is weaker than before he took office, according to the report.
[Image at left: New Mexico Environment Department, Emptying into the Rio Grande.]

The President’s 2005 budget request, for example, cuts some $500 million from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, which provides grant money to state and tribal governments for development and upgrades of sewage treatment plants. This is the biggest cut in the Bush budget for any environmental program and Stoners says it will result in more beach closings, more contaminated shellfish beds, more polluted drinking water supplies, and more waterborne disease, which now sickens nearly eight million Americans every year.

“Waterborne disease outbreaks are on the rise across the country,” added Michele Merkel of the Environmental Integrity Project. “Most often, Americans get diarrhea, skin rashes or respiratory infections, but waterborne illness can threaten the lives of seniors, young children, cancer patients, and others with impaired immune systems. Now is the time to boost funding to protect Americans, not cut it.”

The administration has also shelved a Clinton era plan to require new controls aimed at preventing raw sewage discharges and has issued a new proposal to ease existing sewage treatment regulations.

The Bush proposal focuses on the practice of blending, which occurs when large volumes of wastewater, caused by heavy rainfall or snowmelt, exceed the capacity of secondary treatment units at a sewage treatment facility.

At most sewage treatment plants, incoming wastewater is treated by the primary units, which separate and remove solids. Then it is sent to secondary treatment units where the remaining solids are broken down by biological treatments, and most of the pathogenic organisms and other pollutants are removed.

The wastewater is then disinfected before it is discharged into waterways. But during heavy storms the capacity of the secondary treatment units is exceeded at many plants and the excess is diverted around these units, then later recombined or blended with the wastewater that has been treated by the secondary units. These blended flows are disinfected and discharged – the practice is allowed under the Clean Water Act only when there is no feasible alternative.

Under new Bush proposal, blending would be permitted regardless of feasible alternatives.  Upgrading sewage treatment plants to handle peak flows would cost billions of dollars, say industry officials, who call blending a “longstanding, sensible practice.”

In addition, EPA officials and industry representatives note that the blended waste must still meet discharge standards, but environmentalists say those standards do not cover viruses or parasites and believe the plan violates the Clean Water Act.

“Swimming in Sewage” cites a recent study that finds the risk of contracting the diarrheal illness giardiasis from untreated parasites in blended wastewater is a thousand times higher than from fully treated wastewater.

End of > (Survival Manual/2. Social Issues/Death by 1000 cuts/Modern living/Part V of V: Infrastructure Deterioration)

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Modern Living: Part IV of V (Pollutants & Spills)

(Survival Manual/2. Social Issues/Death by 1000 cuts/ Modern Living)

Topic: Part I
1. What happened to the American dream?
2. Entertainment galore
Part II
3. Cigarette smoking

4. Illegal drug use

Part III
5. Antibiotics and super bugs
6. Antibiotics in meat
7. GMO in crops

Part IV
8. Household Pollutants and Chemical spills

Part V
9. Infrastructure deterioration
.

8. Household Pollutants & Chemical Spills

A. Household Pollutants
<
Household”>http://www.pollutionissues.com/Ho-Li/Household-Pollutants.html&gt;
Household pollutants are contaminants that are released during the use of various products in daily life. Studies indicate that indoor air quality is far worse than that outdoors because homes, for energy efficiency, are made somewhat airtight. Moreover, household pollutants are trapped in houses causing further deterioration of indoor air quality.

Hazardous household products fall into six broad categories: household cleaners, paints and solvents, lawn and garden care, automotive products, pool chemicals, and health and beauty aids. Many commonly used household products in these categories release toxic chemicals. As an alternative, manufacturers are introducing products, often referred to as green products, whose manufacture, use, and disposal do not become a burden on the environment.

Chemicals in Household Products and Their Effects
Many household products like detergents, furniture polish, disinfectants, deodorizers, paints, stain removers, and even cosmetics release chemicals that may be harmful to human health as well as cause environmental concerns (see the table below, “Household Products and Their Potential Health Effects”).

Insecticides, pesticides, weed killers, and fertilizers that are used for maintaining one’s lawn and garden are another source of household pollution. Their entry into the house could occur through air movement or adsorption by shoes and toys, which are then brought inside the house.

A common class of pollutants emitted from household products is volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Sources for these pollutants include paint strippers and other solvents, wood preservatives, air fresheners, automotive products, and dry cleaned clothing. Formaldehyde is a major organic pollutant emitted from pressed wood products and furniture made from them, foam insulation, other textiles, and glues. Exposure to very high concentrations of formaldehyde may lead to death.

Other household products that contain harmful chemicals are antifreeze, car cleaners and waxes, chemicals used in photo development, mice and rat poison, rug cleaners, nail polish, insect sprays, and wet cell batteries. Such household chemicals may pose serious health risks if not handled, stored, and disposed of properly.

Indoor Air Pollutants from Other Household Activities
From time to time, homeowners complete a variety of remodeling projects to improve the aesthetic look of their house. These include new flooring, basement remodeling, hanging new cabinets, removing asbestos sheets, scraping off old paint (which might contain lead), and the removal or application of wallpaper. Such activities could be a significant source of indoor air pollutants during and after the project. Asbestos, formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, toluene, chloroform, trichloroethane and other organic solvents, and lead dust are the main pollutants released during remodeling. Homes built before 1970s may pose additional environmental problems because of the use of lead- and asbestos-containing materials. The use of both materials was common in building construction prior to the 1970s (e.g., lead-based paint used to paint homes).

Table: Household Products and Their Potential Health Effects

Household products & their potential health effects Harmful Ingredients Potential Health Hazards
Air fresheners & deodorizers Formaldehyde Toxic in nature; carcinogen; irritates eyes, nose,throat and skin; nervous, digestive, respiratory system damage
Bleach Sodium hypochlorite Corrosive; irritates and burns skin and eyes; nervous, respiratory, digestive system damage
Disinfectants Sodium hypochlorite Corrosive; irritates and burns skin and eyes; nervous, respiratory, digestive system damage
Phenols Ignitable; very toxic in nature; respiratory and circulatory system damage
Ammonia Toxic in nature; vapor irritates skin, eyes and respiratory tract
Drain cleaner Sodium/potassium hydroxide (lye) Corrosive; burns skin and eyes; toxic in nature; nervous, digestive and urinary system damage
Flea powder Carbaryl Very toxic in nature; irritates skin; causes nervous, respiratory and circulatory system damage
Dichlorophene Toxic in nature; irritates skin; causes nervous and digestive system damage
Chlordane and other chlorinated hydrocarbons Toxic in nature; irritates eyes and skin; cause respiratory, digestive and urinary system damage
Floor cleaner/wax Diethylene glycol Toxic in nature; causes nervous, digestive and urinary system damage
Petroleum solvents Highly ignitable; carcinogenic; irritate skin, eyes, throat, nose and lungs
Ammonia Toxic in nature; vapor irritates skin, eyes and respiratory tract
Furniture polish Petroleum distillates or mineral spirits Highly ignitable; toxic in nature; carcinogen; irritate skin, eyes, nose, throat and lungs
Oven cleaner Sodium/potassium hydroxide (lye) Corrosive; burns skin, eyes; toxic in nature; causes nervous and digestive system damage
Paint thinner Chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbons Toxic in nature; cause digestive and urinary system damage
Esters Toxic in nature; irritate eyes, nose and throat
Alcohols Ignitable; cause nervous system damage; irritate eyes, nose and throat
Chlorinated aromatic hydrocarbons Ignitable; toxic in nature; digestive system damage
Ketones Ignitable; toxic in nature; respiratory system damage
Paints Aromatic hydrocarbon thinners Ignitable; toxic in nature; carcinogenic; irritates skin, eyes, nose and throat; respiratory system damage
Mineral spirits Highly ignitable; toxic in nature; irritates skin, eyes, nose and throat; respiratory system damage
Pool sanitizers Calcium hypochlorite Corrosive; irritates skin, eyes, and throat; if ingested cause severe burns to the digestive tract
Ethylene (algaecides) Irritation of eyes, mucous membrane and skin; effects reproductive system; probable human carcinogen of medium carcinogenic hazard
Toilet bowl cleaner Sodium acid sulfate or oxalate or hypochloric acid Corrosive; toxic in nature; burns skin; causes digestive and respiratory system damage
Chlorinated phenols Ignitable; very toxic in nature; cause respiratory and circulatory system damage
Window cleaners Diethylene glycol Toxic in nature; cause nervous, urinary and digestive system damage
Ammonia Toxic in nature; vapor irritates skin, eyes and respiratory tract

.
Avoiding Exposure and the Use of Green Products

There are several steps one can take to reduce exposure to household chemicals. The table below provides a list of alternative products. One can bring unused and potentially harmful household products to a nearby chemical collection center; many communities have such a center. Chemicals received at these centers are recycled, disposed of, or offered for reuse. One may also purchase just the amount needed or share what is left over with friends. In addition, one should always avoid mixing different household chemicals.

Most of the chemicals released during remodeling projects are toxic in nature, and some of them are even carcinogenic. Proper care, such as employing wet methods for suppressing dust, use of high-efficiency filters to collect fine particulates, and sealing the remodeling area, must be taken while remodeling to prevent the emission of harmful chemicals into the surrounding air. Reducing material use will result in fewer emissions and also less waste from remodeling operations. Another good practice is to use low environmental-impact materials, and materials produced from waste or recycled materials, or materials salvaged from other uses. It is important to avoid materials made from toxic or hazardous constituents (e.g., benzene or arsenic).

Indoor air quality should improve with increasing consumer preference for green products or low-emission products and building materials. Green products for household use include products that are used on a daily basis, such as laundry detergents, cleaning fluids, window cleaners, cosmetics, aerosol sprays, fertilizers, and pesticides. Generally, these products do not contain chemicals that cause environmental pollution problems, or have lesser quantities of them than their counterparts. Some chemicals have been totally eliminated from use in household products due to strict regulations. Examples include the ban of phosphate-based detergents and aerosols containing chlorofluorocarbons.

Alternatives to common household products Alternative(s)
SOURCE: Based on information available from various sources including the Web site of Air and Waste Management Association
Air refresher Open windows to ventilate. To scent air, use herbal bouquets, pure vanilla on a cotton ball, or simmer cinnamon and cloves.
All-purpose cleaner Mix ⅔ cup baking soda, ¼ cup ammonia and ¼ cup vinegar in a gallon of hot water. Doubling all the ingredients except the water can make stronger solution.
Brass polish Use paste made from equal parts vinegar, salt and flour. Be sure to rinse completely afterward to prevent corrosion.
Carpet/rug cleaner Sprinkle cornstarch/baking soda on carpets and vacuum.
Dishwashing liquid Wash dishes with hand using a liquid soap or a mild detergent.
Drain opener Add 1 tablespoon baking soda into drain and then slowly pour ⅓ cup white vinegar to loosen clogs. Use a plunger to get rid of the loosened clog. Prevent clogs by pouring boiling water down drains once a week, using drain strainers, and not pouring grease down drains.
Fabric softener Use ¼ to ½ cup of baking soda during rinse cycle.
Fertilizer Use compost and organic fertilizers.
Floor cleaner Mix 1 cup vinegar in 2 gallons of water. For unfinished wood floors, add 1 cup linseed oil. To remove wax buildup, scrub in club soda, let soak and wipe clean.
Floor polish Polish floors with club soda.
Furniture polish Mix 1 teaspoon lemon oil and 1 pint mineral oil. Also, use damp rag.
Insecticides Wipe houseplant leaves with soapy water.
Laundry bleach Use borax on all clothes or ½ cup white vinegar in rinse water to brighten dark clothing. Nonchlorinated bleach also works well.
Methylene chloride paint stripper Use nontoxic products.
Mothballs Place cedar chips or blocks in closets and drawers.
Oil-based paint, thinner Use water-based products.
Oven cleaner Wash the oven with a mixture of warm water and baking soda. Soften burned-on spills by placing a small pan of ammonia in the oven overnight. Sprinkle salt onto fresh grease spills and then wipe clean.
Pesticide Use physical and biological controls.
Silver cleaner Add 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt and a 2″ x 2″ piece of aluminum foil to a small pan of warm water. Soak silverware overnight.
Toilet cleaner Use baking soda, a mild detergent, and a toilet brush.
Window cleaner Mix ¼ cup ammonia with 1 quart water.

.
B. Chemical spills
__1. Sick fish in Gulf are alarming scientists
Unusual number a ‘huge red flag’ to scientists, fishermen
< http://newworldorderreport.com/News/tabid/266/ID/7830/Sick-fish-in-Gulf-are-alarming-scientists-Unusual-number-a-huge-red-flag-to-scientists-fishermen.aspx>

Scientists are alarmed by the discovery of unusual numbers of fish in the Gulf of Mexico and inland waterways with skin lesions, fin rot, spots, liver blood clots and other health problems.

“It’s a huge red flag,” said Richard Snyder, director of the University of West Florida Center for Environmental Diagnostics and Bioremediation. “It seems abnormal, and anything we see out of the ordinary we’ll try to investigate.” Are the illnesses related to the BP oil spill, the cold winter or something else? That’s the big question Snyder’s colleague, UWF biologist William Patterson III, and other scientists along the Gulf Coast are trying to answer. If the illnesses are related to the oil spill, it could be a warning sign of worse things to come.

In the years following the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska’s Prince William Sound, the herring fishery collapsed and has not recovered, according to an Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee report. The herring showed similar signs of illness — including skin lesions — that are showing up in Gulf fish. Worried that same scenario could play out along the Gulf Coast, Patterson is conducting research on the chronic effects of the BP oil spill on Gulf fish. And he sees troubling signs consistent with oil exposure: fish with lesions, external parasites, odd pigmentation patterns, and diseased livers and ovaries. These may be signs of compromised immune systems in fish that are expending their energy dealing with toxins, Patterson said.

“I’ve had tens of thousands of fish in my hands and not seen these symptoms in so many fish before,” said Patterson, who has been studying fish, including red snapper, for 15 years. “All those symptoms have been seen naturally before, but it’s a matter of them all coming at once that we’re concerned about.”

He’s conducting the research with some of the $600,000 in BP money distributed to UWF from $10 million the oil company gave to the Florida Institute of Oceanography in Tampa to study the impact of the spill.

Higher scrutiny
As part of his studies, Patterson is collecting samples at targeted sites in the Gulf and from commercial fishermen. Samples from his targeted sites have shown fewer problems than those from fishermen. While Patterson is alarmed, he’s quick to point that the Gulf’s ecosystem never before has been scrutinized as closely as it is now, or by so many scientists. “Are we looking more closely, or are these unusual?” he said.

Sick fish have been reported from offshore and inshore waters from Northwest Florida to Louisiana, he said. Scientists are trying to figure out how prevalent these abnormalities are and their cause.

In that pursuit:

  • Patterson and Florida A&M University scientists are conducting toxicology tests to find out if the fish were exposed to hydrocarbons or oil. Results are not final.
  • Scientists at Louisiana State University’s veterinarian school are in the Gulf looking into what microbes might be causing the diseases.
  • Pensacola marine biologist Heather Reed is studying red snapper for a private client using broader testing methods than mandated by the federal government, which she says are not adequate.

“I’ve been testing different organs in game fish that have been brought to me, and I’m seeing petroleum hydrocarbons in the organs,” said Reed, the environmental adviser for the City of Gulf Breeze. “I was shocked when I saw it.” She is trying to secure grants to continue that research and is talking to federal and state officials about her findings, she said. All the studies are aimed at one goal: “To find out what is really going on and get things back to normal,” Reed said.

Solving the mystery
But both Reed and Patterson say it’s hard to determine just how many fish are being found sick because many commercial fishermen are reluctant to report their findings to state and federal officials out of fear fishing grounds will be closed and their livelihoods will be put at risk.

But at the same time, to protect the future of the Gulf, Patterson said, the fishermen quietly are asking scientists to look into what is happening.

Clay Palmgren, 38, of Gulf Breeze-based Bubble Chaser Dive Services, is an avid spear fisherman who has about 40 pounds of Gulf fish in his freezer. He has not seen sick fish so far, but he said many of his angler friends, both recreational and commercial, are talking about catching fish that appear abnormal. “I’m 100 percent glad scientists are looking at this,” he said. “I’m concerned with the health of fish, and I think it will take a couple of years for the (toxins) to work up the food chain. I think that’s a shame.”

Patterson’s studies and those of other scientists delving into this mystery of the sick fish are not trying to determine whether the seafood is safe for public consumption. “There is fish health and human health, and we’re concerned about the sublethal effects of the oil spill on communities of fish,” he said.
Findings so far demonstrate that studies need to continue far into the future, he said.

The $500 million BP has provided for long-range research on the Gulf oil spill will ensure “people will be examining the impacts for the next decade,” Patterson said.
The cause of the fish illnesses may be hard to nail down, Snyder said.
“Cause and effect is a huge problem for environmental work,” Snyder said. “You see anomalies in fish. Is it oil-related? How do we prove it? We can make the connection with economic stuff. But after the oil is gone, how do you definitely say the fish are sick because of the oil spill? “We may never know, and that’s the frustrating thing.”
.

__2. Top Military Brass Working With BP to Promote Gulf Seafood
8 Dec 2010, The Intel Hub
<http://theintelhub.com/2010/12/08/top-military-brass-working-with-bp-to-promote-gulf-seafood/>
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus is pushing all members of America’s armed service to buy and eat as much seafood as possible.
This is as sinister as it gets! BP has destroyed the gulf and is now working with the U.S. military to get it in the homes of American troops (already poisoned by continued exposure to depleted uranium) throughout the country! Multiple scientists have declared gulf seafood toxic and for good reason. Over 2 million gallons of toxic dispersant has been sprayed in and around the gulf. The facts are so heavily documented that there is no logical way that any literate human being not pushing an agenda could believe otherwise.

This is common sense
To top it off, Ewell Smith, executive director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, is pushing for this toxic cocktail to be served in in school lunch programs nationwide! The children of this nation are already heavily medicated/poisoned and the last thing they need is Corexit seafood.

“He expressed what we wanted to hear; he is in favor of the federal government buying seafood from the Gulf,” said Smith, who said he would like to see Gulf seafood as the choice throughout the public domain, “whether it’s the military or prison systems or school systems.”

This is the America that we currently find our self in. An international company has been allowed to control their own massive oil spill, obliterate the gulf with Corexit, ban the first amendment on the beaches they littered with Wackenhut thugs, and use 30 billion dollars to promote their seafood to the American people.

The Times Picayune
BP is giving the Louisiana marketing board $30 million to spend over the next three years to promote Gulf seafood, and Smith said a request for proposals from agencies that would craft the marketing campaign will be going out shortly. The Louisiana board also will be getting a share of the $15 million the Commerce Department has given to the Gulf State Marine Fisheries Commission to divide among the Louisiana board and its sister groups in the other Gulf states, including Texas.

Imagine the horror of being one of the families that had their lives destroyed by the oil spill and seeing a carefully crafted commercial promoting BP and gulf seafood. Where is the FCC when we need them?

I recently attended a forum at Seattle University that was put on by both Project Gulf Impact and students at the university who were so touched by the spill and its impact that they asked PGI to come to their school and put on an educational forum. What transpired was three hours of groundbreaking information including multiple fisherman who have had their businesses destroyed and families sickened by the disaster.

The American people are soon to be subject to a huge BP marketing ploy and we must do everything in our power to get the word out on the dangers of the gulf waters and seafood. Call me crazy, but a ‘smell test’ is just not adequate enough for a fish that has been subject to months of Corexit exposure.

We have documented the events of this disaster from the beginning and it has become undeniably clear that the waters, people, and seafood of the gulf were poisoned beyond belief.

End of Survival Manual/2. Social Issues/Modern Living/Death by 1000 cuts/Part IV of V: Household Pollutants and Chemical Spills

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