Thursday, September 14, 2006

College, no more rehearsal


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Essential Skills to Survive/ Adjust/ Cope with Peak Oil

The following skills are not in order of greatest importance, all are valid and essential for life to continue in our industrialized block with a primitive availability of resources.

- Solar Pannel construction and installation knowledge. It is given that energy will be an obvious dominant demand of the people, and the solar energy companies will most likely exploit this inelastic demand by raising their prices, to such unaffordable by many people. And thus, knowledge of how to build solar pannels from recycled plastic will be very valluable knowledge, as well as solar pannel repair.

- Bike Repair Knowledge.

- Carpentry

- Organic Farming Tecnhiques.

- Vegetarianism/ Veganism

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Peak Oil Scenarios

I have been deeply considering the reading on the long ago assigned cheery seneario reading. The reading has sparked heavy cotemplation as to what individual or communal action I will take regarding peak oil.

The so called optimistic senarios had a pretty grim outlook on the reality of urban lifestyles post peak. Such has had me deeply considering an ideal outer city location to begin a tranquil village. I thought about the beauty of fresh air, and independent water waste management with living machines. I've been researching many alternative ways to live. Living machines (referring to plants that naturally take the same action as machines used for waste management) is the one of the most interesting topics i have yet discovered, which we have not yet touched in this class. Composting toilets are not the only alternative to city-managed water systems. Small towns or villages can set up waste systems into an economic resource instead of a cost. Infact, some already have. See the following article for more information.,2967,todd,00.html

John Todd is the man who created this very interesting idea. A course on his design is taught as Smith College in Amherst, MA if anyone is interested in gathering more information while doing college as most of us have planned.

Waste management is the largerst concern of mine, or one of the, regarding peak oil. This relates to health, and quality of life. At this point in time, walking through even the most beautiful wealthy neighborhoods, such as Gramercy Park in Manhattan by SOF, or in Brooklyn Heights or Park Slope, I cannot help but notice the putrid odor of dog crap. All the rich people live such lonely lives, they must keep a pet to feel needed and useful and loved at home, and that pet craps all over the streets and leaves permanent odor of crap. As oil peaks, we, as in NYC will not longer afford to transport our waste out into distant landfills in the US. We, as in NYC, will remain with piles of crap on our streets, due to an inability to bury crap in the land, because it is encased in concrete. Every aspect of our space will be unpleasant. I fear a haze of unsanitary waste everywhere, causing massive disease and fear of coming into contact with other people for health. That may prevent any form of community from exisiting, which would be our only hope for survivial. I hope people kill their dogs.

I discussed the concept of waste management briefly in class with daniella, and she brought up a good point. In post peak times, there will not be as much waste necessary to transport to a distant landfill. People will not longer be spending massive amounts of money on disposable products, and will be looking more towards reusable commodities, and possibly even looking through the trash for materials to use. That would be one naturally adjustment to drastic change in our economy.

Some other esential topics to consider regarding our particular region, i.e. the Northeast.
It seems that a criticial issue to consider is climate. One of the demands I would make the federal government take is evacuate regions with unstable climate conditions. Considering climate without energy altered temperatures, the northeast will have particularly harsh winters, as mentioned in the cheery senarios. Without heat, there is a very possible flue epidemic to arize. The most gruesome image is the projected image of no tree standing in a 3 mile radius of NYC, as people cut and gather any material to burn for warmth. I have considered that idea as possibly the worst reality regarding our future urban fate, but realize that to be not so probable. People are not going to walk miles in the cold to gather a heavy huge tree, and walk through miles of snow, to return home to burn. They would freeze in the process. And not many people have fireplaces, or the means to cut trees or cary them. But winters will be a criticial issue for the northeast.

Thinking more and more about community and individual action regarding peak oil, and the northeast, I dont think I want to leave NYC despite all that is bound to go wrong. I think its imporatant that I stay in contact with some land in the country incase of some dire situation, but I know right now im in park slope with a lot of rich people that arent leaving their brownstones. They are going to find some way to survive. And right now there are a bunch of great community organizations in the area, and I think we have great potential to do a lot of things right.

And this city is filled with so many exceptional people. My decision not to leave is beyond a fear of leaving the familar. There are so many things i dont know about the city, and so many people I am not familiar with. I Imagine in a post peak situation, I would be able to ride my bike into a completely different village like area, which was just a different neighborhood. Such as riding out to williamsburg or greenpoint, where all the polish people are focusing on recreating their cultural elements using their old traditonal methods. I could also ride my bike over the bridge to china town for fresh vegetables, where many of the people remembered how to farm the land, and are now growing organic vegtables in the public parks that were dug up for local farms. I think the city will survive, and become such a beautiful diverse place.

Trying to individually gather up amazing people to come live in a distant village land to live together, would be physically beautiful, and emotionally satisfying, but it will not be intellectually or creativly stimulating. All the great artists, poets, and imaginative minds will remain in NYC, and those are the people I want to share space with. Not just other folk who thought it would be nice to breathe some fresh country air as others suffer in a dirty city.

I have been spending time roaming around the city, meeting new people in neighborhood events, art gallery openings that usually come with warm weather. There are so many amazing organizations, and so many amazing people who have devoted thier lives to such notable causes. These are the organizers that will make life okay, tollearable, and worthwhile. I dont want to leave that. There are so many new opportunities I discover each day.

In contrast, this memorial day weekend, I took a bus up to a hostel off the appalachian trial which my fathers friend just purchased after the city closed down his community peir in manhattan. I love communal lifestyles, I have spent many vacations hostelling on the west coast. My fathers friend invited all his colleages and personal friends up for the weekend to stay and see the new place, and live together for a while. It was nice to really live with people. In NYC I am usually attempting not live with the people (blood relatives) I am crammed into an apartment with. I am always trying to find my own individual space. In contrast, at the hostel I ate every meal with people. The main chef, really the guest who decided he wanted to cook for everyone, was a jewish professor of political science at city college, whos wife is a vegetarian, and really knew how to accomodate me. I spent a lot of time playing ping pong with people, getting to know them on a semi superficial level through metaphorical interactions, such as how they respond to decision making on "dangerous" nightwalks in unknown regions of the woods. All in all, it was a nice time, which gave me a pretty good insight into a way of life. The social dynamic of communal living can be plesant, but that is not what i really need in my life. I am accustomed to poor social situations living with people i dont wish to socialize with. What makes my life worthwhile is acess to the arts, and great words of literature and other forms of abstracted personal contributions to the world.

Returning to personal issues regarding peak oil, I am so upset when I consider the end of commercial airlines. I love to travel. Seeing other parts of the world so casually is a new phenomena in the age of human life, and it is soon to end. I have grown up in a historial era, the age of oil. I have never thought of my life this way. History books will refer to my time, as a time when people had the opportunity to wake up one day, and arrive in china the next. There are so many places to see, and I'm not using my oppurtunity. It seems that today, so many of our operations are based on daily interations with other countries. I wonder without consistant interchange between nations, how different each country will now be. With localized economies, and more isolated cultures, what will the world feel like? More small? More apparanent and clear and simple?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Sweden and Peak Oil

Wednesdays discussion and reading on Sweden's early mitigation efforts regarding peak oil was very compelling. Most notably, Sweden's plan to completely remove total dependence on oil by the year 2020. It enabled a class realization on the state of our government, and we now have a valid perspective to consider possible federal responses to peak oil. These are our demands of our Federal and Local goverments, or powers that be.

Federal Responses to Peak Oil:
1) Mandatory expurgation of of all politicians finaincial supported, and thus politically obligated to comply with oil corporations.
2) Public acknoledgement of the global situation, and comming crisis of peak oil.
3) Heavy financial support, encouraging and enabling solar energy instalations. At first government subsidies, and tax breaks. Later, government provisions to financially needy districts.
4) Mandatory evacuation of unstable climates in the U.S. such as deserts which are inhabitable without the use of heavy amounts of energy for air-conditioning.
5) .... (need to find notes to rememember, will update)

Local Responses to Peak oil:
1) Mandatory usurpasing of land to the people, i.e. government allowing local people to use the land for thier purposes of growing food and catching rain water.
2) Community Center formed in a local public space of choice, to be the center for assitance and organization around peak oil issues. The community center will focus on providing the local people with knowledge to grow food in the vacant lands, and provide knowledge on how to build solar pannels from recylced plastic. There will also be a essential portion regarding how the community will dispose of its waste.
3) Weekly communal meal shared throughout the community with excess food products produced by the land, or individual contributions to those who have not produced enough indivudually.
4) Communal sharing of crops and plants to begin to grow on rooftops, to create green roofs or roof gardens to reduce the urban heat buble, and make summer more bearing in the heat without the use of air conditioning.
5) Communal production of biodesiel fuels for communal trips to nearby communities, for those who still wish to have some element of travel in their lives.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Hirsh Report Implications with Respect to Collapse

I believe in the last class we touched on some essential topics necessary to predict the future, and I understand these concepts may have just been brushed off as any other class discussion. Here I am choosing to further consider these ideas, and reflect on the class period.

The most compelling question regarding the Hirsh Report, proposed by Professor Schneider:
Since the government knows about Peak Oil, why is it not taking adequate action?

The question is adressed in Chapter 14 of Jared Diamond's book Collapse titled: "Why do some societies make disasterous decisions?" Why do some societies make these poor decisions, when in retrospect it seems so obvious that they were leading to thier own distruction?

p. 421 Well it seems that some of these collaspsed societies failed to anticipate a problem before it arrived, such as they have had no prior experience of such problems and may have not been sensitized. This seems not to be the case for our society as it is obvious the U.S. government knows about peak oil. But if we consider a society more than just a government, and consider it to be a body of citizens as well, we would know that the general population of the U.S. seems to have little to no conception of the implications of peak oil. In class we considered this to be a posible reason why the government is not taking action. Because the general population is not concerned with Peak oil, politicians dont wish to address peak oil as an issue so that each individual politician can emerge with a last term in office, rather than as a bringer of bad news. Due to this action, the general population in turn, is not aware of of Peak Oil. But even so, politicians must be aware this comming situation is more serious than a few votes. Why are they not seriously considering the implicaitons of peak oil?

Societies may not be able anticipate the problems before it arrives, not just because it has no experience in the problem, but because the experience was that of such a long time ago, it is no longer relevant. It seems that today, our society's experience with energy shortages has not been adequate to allow us to consider the comming permanent situation of an oil shorage. (This point was brought up in the Hirsh Report Itself). This may be way some dominant coverage of the Peak Oil situation boats theorys of substainable economic adjusmens, and no serious threats. Artices we considered as a class, such as the economist's "steady as she goes," reflects this confidence of a unsinkable economy based on factors which are no longer relevant.

Diamonds next argument is that societies may also not be able to anticipate a problem, because they are reasoning by a false analogy. Our desire to fall back on familiar situations when in an unfimilar one is a critical way societies lead the path to thier own ruin. THis is preciesly what we are doing, out of a desire to believe we will be alright.

p. 424 Societies who havent anticipated problems before they arrive, may still not anticipate the problem as has already arrived. This is another argument that may be criticial to consider for all of the peak oil analysts who consider the peak to be about now, as other anaylists still do not recognize this problem as anything to concern ourselves over as of now.

Some societies may not anticipate the problem as it arrives due to the fact that some problems are imperceptable. This is a criticial reason there is so much debate over when the peak will occur, because it is pretty close to imperceptable to consider how much oil is not yet discovered somewhere on the planet. How can we know that were arent just at another low, that will soon shoot upwards again later on?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Hirsch Report Implications on Our Near Future

WIthin the next 5 years, conventional oil production will peak. If we attempt to delay this peak, and pump and process unconcentional oil, we will exaust our supply of conventional oil, and face an economic crisis unlike any of the past. Oil prices will reach record, unrealistically affordable highs.

Within the next 10 years, people will drastically be attempting to convert thier energy to renewable sources such as solar pannels, and wind energy. People will be living under a suddenly forced lowered standard of living. Their will have been a mass die off for all of those who could not afford to purchase oil, or food. This attempt to convert existing systems is done sloppily and fast, and many things have collasped.

Within the next 25 years, Only the rich, or those well informed and individually worked to mitigate the situation beforehand have survived.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Questionable Economist

Arguement #5: In short: OPEC's Conservative Reserve Estimates are Huge

Knowledge that the OPEC nations have, each individually and thus collectively, been exagerating their oil reserve estimates has become known to the public. This is metioned in the economist iself right before it presents argument 5 "Petroleum Intelligence Weekly (PIW), a respected industry newsletter, got hold of government documents suggesting that Kuwait might have only half of the nearly 100 billion barrels in oil reserves that it claims" {p. 2 Paragraph 12} In order to address this issue, the economist presents its 5th argument, that even conservatively estimating OPEC's reserves we will be fine in terms of energy.

The article precisely states:
"IHS Energy, an industry research outfit... had long been using a figure of 50 billion barrels for Kuwait. Ron Mobed, boss of IHS, sees no crisis today: “Even using our smaller number, Kuwait still has 50 years of production left at current rates.”" {p. 3 Paragraph 2}

Essentially, the economist's argument is PIW's exposure of witheheld government information (of exagerated oil reserve estimates) was already known by IHS energy, whom had been using the actual figure of half of the OPEC estimate to calculate our energy situation. And by thier calculations, we should have about 50 years left at current rates.

The argument is fundamentally an interpretive argument. It is known that the evidence is in question, and based on a given estimate, the interpretation is "kuwait still has 50 years of production left at current rates." the logical implication to this interpretation, is that we will be fine, and peak oil is not an issue for today.

Find out if IHS energy has actually stated that we have "50 years left at current rates"
Find out if this calculation by IHS energy has used a figure of 50 billion barrels for Kuwait.
Find out the process of IHS energy energy calculations
Compare the IHS process to those of other oil economists, to get a sense of IHS's credibility.
Find out OPEC's current postings on energy reserves, and see how this plays into other oil economists.

OPEC quotes its own total reserves at 900 billion barrels. The following quote is to put OPEC's postion into perspective with a very a very sweet, reasuring sounding argument reguarding our future world situation with oil.

"The global reserve/resource base can easily meet forecast demand growth for decades to come. Estimates of ultimately recoverable reserves (URR) have increased over time, with advancing technology, enhanced recovery and new reservoir development. For example, according to an established industry source, reserve growth from improved recovery alone in existing fields amounted to 175 billion barrels in 1995–2003; combined with new discoveries of 138 billion barrels, total reserve growth was therefore well above the cumulative production of 236 billion barrels for that period. Moreover, technology continues to blur the distinction between conventional and non-conventional oil, of which there is also abundance, as well as with other fossil fuels. We expect the world’s URR to continue to increase in the future. Therefore, the real issue is not reserve availability, but timely deliverability, and here enhanced cooperation and dialogue among all parties is essential to ensure security of demand, as well as security of supply."

Article:Elusive truth about oil figures. Adam Porter in France, Aljazeera. Thursday 12 August, 2004.

The following is an Important quote to consider. OPEC's estimates are never conservative. They are heavily inflated in attempt to maximize profits under OPEC regulations.

"OPEC decided to allow member countries to pump only a certain percentage of their reserves. The obvious point being the more reserves you said you had, the more you could pump. The more you could pump, the more money you earned.

So, overnight Kuwaiti reserves near doubled.

Again, Kuwait currently reports its reserves at 94 billion barrels. Yet it has reported its reserves at 94 billion barrels since 1992. Unchanged, each and every year. This is despite daily production and no significant new finds.

Of course Kuwait, like Shell, is not alone. Iraq's reserves are still those quoted by former president Saddam Hussein. In response to the 1985 Kuwaiti increase in 1987 Saddam announced that Iraq's oil reserves were not in fact 47.1 billion barrels but "reserves of 100 billion barrels".

Not only did production and a leaking infrastructure fail to dent these figures, in fact the opposite occurred. Today they are actually quoted at 112 billion barrels."

There are no conservative figures for OPEC members. OPEC memembers are interested in profiting off of oil, not reserving oil to ensure an energy supply for our future.

The article goes on to explain even non-OPEC members have heavily exagerated oil figures. It suggests no figures are reliable. you can read the article on your own at...


OPEC website..

Original Article up for critique: "Steady As She Goes" from the Economist

Emotional Response to Collapse Revisited

When a collapse occurs, the statistical figures will fall far into the background for most. Possibly a symptom of the undue narcacistic nature of our society, for most the focus of the effects of collapse will be on our feelings.

For the oringinal assignment, I interviewed a person firstly because I felt I had no experience in a collapse, so what could I say? Later, Nina commented and suggested it may indicate some admirable human quality that i have the desire to listen to someone. That may be true, but I am not so certain. I am a pretty good listener, but here I want to talk about my experiment to get myself familar with the emotional dynamics of a collapse.

I have been experimenting with my body: attempting to simulate a collapse like senario in my eating habbits, and examining my body's response. Some nights, I go to sleep very hungry, after eating only one small meal during the day, while moving around and excersing as normal. The next day, I feel my entire body strained and mentally stressed. I noticed my stomach and breasts shrinking in thier volume, the breasts part was at first somewhat depressing. I felt a little muscle mass being eaten away, which was the most depressing. When you do not eat, excercise is a nauseating burden. Without food, there are no materials being used to rebuild the muscle you wore. Its an extra stretch on every bodily function to distribute the small amount of minerals and such throughout the body. I know that we will need to be physically fit to operate our self-sustained societies, so I wonder how we can have enough food to be fit enough to have enough food.

I have also been experimenting with eating only raw foods in particular meals. Energy will need to be conserved, and it is wasteful to burn fuels for cooking when you can eat food raw. Eating only raw foods is nutricious, but does not feel at all filling. Maybe this feeling could be solved by a mental adjustment; living on such a starch based diet, salad is always a side dish to a grain, and its difficult to percieve raw vegetables as a meal. Maybe we just need to start beliving in salad as a ideal dish. The more often I eat salad, it seems less and less painfully bland and empty, but I do notice I spend most of the day with a background cringe of hunger. I imagine this feeling to be more than familiar to most people in the world today. The hunger I feel cannot compare to those starving, hunger is thier life.

With these choices I've made in my experiement, I feel like I am beginning to become less and less american. Since I decided to take this challenge of food on my own, I feel liberated. If these were no longer choices, and some forced senario based on poor ecological and political decisions of a society (its people and its government), I can see the mental stress with the physical stress component being exponentially overwhelming for many. For others, the mental stress of worrying about food may be equal to the amount of stress they previously emphazed on making money. It may not be so unfamiliar to others, but this is a new playing field.

I remember eating these huge meals at each meal. American portions, far more than we need. I think our average dish contains 6-8 servings of food. I think my body is operating with much unnecessary fat which only slows and weighs me down. So I am still working on getting rid of it, and becoming accustomed to eating only the necessary portion of food to maintain a minimal weight. It seems like such greed to need extra food, to maintain a surplus of fat.

This process also feels scary. Since my body is drastically changing, I'm not sure any longer how people may percieve me. I've always been thick. I cant imagine myself skinny. Ive drowned myself in anti sterotypes of thin people, to justify my body. But viewing myself as anti skinny its just another typing. I guess I'm not really sure what beautiful is, I just want to be althetic and fit. So im afraid this minimal eating thing may just turn me into a weak bag a bones.

So in response, I've decided to go back to eating occasional large meals. I think it is actually a good strategy for eating. Once, back when each meal for me was unnecessarily large, I noticed the patterns of a few homeless men. These men were economically intelligent, and worked together in a group of three. They decided they are not each going to fend for themselves on the streets, but solitcit money on the streets, not enough to get an apartment, but enough to sustain basic living needs. Each week they would put thier money together, and purhcase one large healthy well cooked meal at a restaruant. One person would eat this one meal at one time, but the person would alternate in the week. When one eats, the others would watch, and smell and anticpate thier next meal, which they know would come. They each looked like they maintained a decent diet.

And when I think about the hunter gather's, they probably roamed around, eating fruits they found and nuts, walking around eating. And what sustains them are occasional large meals. Consistantly snacking is akin to starving, and I think if i were to continue, I may have developed some eating disorder.

The mentality that gets me through this is anti-greed, but im still afraid this may turn into some eating disorder. In order to not eat, I think about how eating makes me feel. It seems not eating has brought me more aware of my digestive system. When i ate all the time, i guess my digestive track was numb. I hardly remember sensations of digestion, mostly just tastes of food. In that state, pushing in more food really didn't really matter, it was just more good taste.

And eating food, was like becomming spirtually full in an alientated isolated culture. I was so immersed in the spectacle, my reality was my unreality, and eating food provided this temporary mental clarity. It aroused this focused sensation, which was more addictive then then the actual flavors.

I remember the night I ate my first large meal after, it was only the early evening, at about 4:30 or 5pm. I went to bed that night, feeling like i was accompanied by a person. The food felt like it occupied the esscence of another human being. or atleast the sensation was so exciting, it reminded me of nights I slept in beds with others.