Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Note: Here's a fellow blogsite I've found that's specifically dedicated to the peak oil situation http://resourceinsights.blogspot.com/2005/04/peak-oil-to-do-list-why-we-should-do.html

Monday, May 29, 2006

The Four Point Plan [I didn’t get to five]

So in our class so far, we’ve only been learning how to predict the future rather then grow closer to changing it. Now, we’ve had the time, in class, to think about what we could all do to avoid the situation and what would WE do if we were the ones in charge rather then bush. With that being said, if I was at the head of the government I’d initiate the following steps to prepare America for the frightening future when there will be a lack of energy:

Awareness and Understanding: In my last post I tried to talk about the relationship that people in Cuba have with each other and the impact that this relationship had on there response to peak oil. This relationship enabled them to easily communicate the seriousness of peak oil and bring about change within society. Cuba’s bond with its people is a connection that ours can not replicate. The bond that the United States has with its people is the bond of manipulation through mass media. Everyone is influenced from it in some way, so my first step [yup I’m finally getting to it] is to use mass media to influence the importance of peak oil on our society. So what I would do is create TV shows, commercials and even movies to show what could happen when oil production hits rock bottom on a global range. And if you think “who would even create a movie like that? Better yet… who would watch it?!” Then take a look at this.


Interested? Someone’s already creating a movie like what I have in mind. Movies like this impact the people in a realistic way that could possibly keep them thinking. Even if it doesn’t affect us all permanently it’ll affect us enough to think about it. And if EVERYONE’S thinking about it, chances are you’ll do the same. I think it's the reason why none of us can really get through to someone about the seriousness of peak oil and the role it plays on our lives. It just feels as if we can't explain it to anybody to make them really understand it, and if they DO it's because a spark was lit inside of them that will soon run out because of a lack in fuel to keep it burning... [and on top of that we the more things we have influencing us the better because we all know that the average attention span of an American is as fast as commercials change on television]

Also, you know how bush made plenty of “War On Terror” speeches? Those speeches, along with his current status in our country, convinced the people of America to do what he wanted. This is because even though he had NO EVIDENCE WHAT SO EVER he was able to make us believe that we needed to go into Iraq and start a war over weapons of mass destruction. So why wouldn’t something like the peak oil theory convince us to change if there’s PLENTY OF EVIDENCE? I was thinking maybe he could go through with a speech like “Hello America. We are at yet another conflict that we must all deal with. There is an issue of energy in this world that you and I have never known until now. Oil is the basis of our economy. And unlike the sun, it is a finite source that can one day run out. Oil production has peaked and we Americans MUST do something about it. The issue of peak oil is much like the war on terror my friends. It is an issue that we must prepare for and eliminate!” Then we'd all clap, sing the anthem and we’d all be convinced that we must change by any means possible to eliminate the issue of peak oil.

Create Restrictions: This is mostly for the people that don’t believe in peak oil being an issue in their lives [Trust me... You do NOT want to be stuck in this mind set]. What I would try to do is to make it so that even if I can't convince them that they need to change out of there own will, I'd make it so that it wasn't affordable or convenient for them. That way they'd change regardless. I’d do this in the following way: [1] Reduce the width of roads all over the country. So it increases traffic rather then decrease it. At the same time I’d be increasing the width of bike routes as to encourage the use of bikes rather then cars. [2] Create a restriction to the amount of people in cars to a minimum of 4 or else the car violating this law would be impounded. This will reduce the use of gas to a close to minimum amount, while at the same time it will be making people dislike cars more and more. [3] Import a massive amount of bikes to the country, while reducing the price of them as to bring about its attention to those of us who like sales. Picture yourself walking through the 99 cent store, looking for a bag of chips and you find yourself upon a brand new bike for the same price. [nods head] “That would be awesome...” [4] Reduce the imports of gas in the United States. [5] Take the land that’s not in use and turn them in to places of agriculture to start the evolution of our economy.

Research: Throughout my 18 years of life on earth, I’ve learned that life is currently all about money [duh]. It’s because of this that I know that money would be a great way to change our society if that’s what people seem to think that life is all about. All I’d have to do is encourage the amount of research done by paying the people who are investing there time in finding new and EFFIECIENT energy sources capable of powering America’s people. So people researching a new source of energy would get paid, as well as those people who create extra energy for others.

Evolving Transportation: Like Henry said some time ago, I’d re-open all ports for boats located all over the country. The rest is questionable on what exactly about transportation can be evolved without making another energy source run out. Maybe we could generate electricity by putting fans all over the oceans surrounding us as well as in rivers. Then maybe we could create some type of massive subway track system that can be used to power up cars (sort of like a go cart, only the antenna that’s attached to the ceiling is attached to the floor. So make sure you don't touch the floor. :-D).

So these are the 4 things I would do if I were controlling the government right now. But there is one thing that I haven't included in my plan. It's Agriculture. This is the one point in my plan that's EXTREMELY important, but doesn't seem to have a place in it. Maybe it's because America can't transform into an agricultural system with just 5 points. Or maybe it's not the five points and it's just that I wasn't capable of fitting agriculture in to my list. I'm not so sure. But if we had 20 years to prepare for the hard times ahead for the entire world, this plan is what I'd follow through with. And I'd start now, because we've apparently already hit the peak in oil production on a global level.

===============================================
A Follow Up To The Four Point Plan
[Will Something Like This Work?]
===============================================

But let's continue thinking about this for a minute. We've all made a plan for what the government should do, but we're definitely not the only ones doing this. There are so many different faces and races from everywhere trying to shine some light on the peak oil problem and the impact it will have our world. So if there are so many different plans out there for what the government could be doing, why aren't they just doing it?!

I keep telling myself the government will do something to help us, but what if they don't? What if they continue to procrastinate and pass the problem on to the next person? It's just like Oil is America's crack. None of us can just quit. But what's going to happen when the people realize that all the government seems to be doing is holding off the situation until they can't anymore? I think that it's possible we'll start to go through with Henry's first point [get rid of the politicians who aren't handling the situation] in his five point plan and beginning to start a revolution. If that's the case, my theory is that when the people of America do start to revolutionize that we'll have a war... with ourselves. The army of America will fight America. This is part of what we were talking about last class. We touched on the topic of how we live in a violent society. Like Andy said "[You] Try not following the rules and you'll see how we live in a violent society."

Everything just seems to be pointing towards chaos. And this is all because "I believe many people are like me – we are not prepared for Oil Peak and what may follow." as said in Ying Mings most recent post.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Cuba - The Worlds Ideal

Based on the movie clip we saw in class the other day, Cuba seems to have been the only country that has successfully turned itself around when affected by their lack of oil. Basically, their government was smart enough to realize that they can no longer depend on oil as an energy resource and that they can not depend on imports from other countries as well. It seems to me that they thoroughly understood, the hard way, that the best way to continue surviving and 'growing' their economy was to start depending on only themselves. They chose to turn their country in to a place based on agriculture. Globalpublicmedia.com says that "Scarce petroleum supplies have not only transformed Cuba's agriculture. The nation has also moved toward small-scale renewable energy and developed an energy-saving mass transit system, while maintaining its government-provided health care system whose preventive, locally-based approach to medicine conserves scarce resources." And the process wasn't an easy one, as we all know.

But enough with the summary. What I really wanted to get at in this post was that although Cuba is a country that gives us hope for our survival in times of need when oil is only a demand, we can not survive and prosper using all of the same methods that they did.

Cuba seems to be a place that is 90% covered with land rather then concrete; a place where everywhere you walk there are natural habitats with trees, flowers, and animals; a place without huge skyscrapers ruining the land that they had when they first found it. America... is quite the opposite. It seems to me that in America, most of our land is covered in, and ruined with, suburbia and cities with a massive amount of skyscrapers. We've completely ruined our land. From what I understand, when you travel through places like Cuba, you can see land as far as the eye can see. In New York, all I see are buildings with this one HUGE park in the center that supposedly makes up for all the concrete we have that's covering almost all of our land. Also, for all of those people that are thinking "Well what about when you ACTUALLY travel through the United States of America, and not just from the Bronx to Brooklyn?" If I were in Cuba, I think that if I were to stand on any of the buildings there, I'd be able actually see land with mountains in the distance. In New York City, all I see are what seems to be an endless amount of buildings with skyscrapers in the distance...

Cuba's land enabled them to do what they did to turn their country into a place of agriculture. They were able to do a lot of things, and watching the movie Andy showed us made me ask the following questions:

  • Cuba was able to revive the land because the land was not ruined. New York City's land seems to be nowhere in sight... so how can it NOT be ruined?
  • They were able to turn every piece of land that was not in use into a land used for agriculture, but how can places like New York City do something like that if every piece of land is taken to make another building that covers it?
  • The people of Cuba were educated about the situation at hand until every person in society was on the same page. So Cuba was able to turn its society around and they did it in the period of 5 years. If the peak oil theory has been publicized and communicated to the people ever since the 1950's, why is it that the people are still not paying attention to what we will have to experience in the near future? It's as if peak oil is affecting the times, but only the television is affecting the minds of our society.
  • It was said in the movie that the relationships that the Cuban society had with each other enabled them with the power of really co-operating with each other. They were connected in a way that gave them the power to share and trust each other with there own lives. This relationship between people is known to be natural between those that live in the country because there is a natural feeling of a lack in resources. It seems to me that we definitely don't have this natural feeling because we have this overpowering mindset that we will never have a lack of resources. So will we have this feeling when we DO have a lack in resources OR will fail to do so and continue to doom ourselves?
  • Cuba was able to make its people learn to use bike's rather then cars. They were able to teach people to share, and even fill trucks to the brink of capacity. How can we possibly do something like this, if everyday there are people driving there little cars with only themselves to carry?

If the answers to these questions are generally "You're right... We really can't compare to Cuba," then what can we really look forward to? Who can look to for advice? And should we trust in the advice of others or should we learn to survive alone and on our own? What's you're point of view on the situation?

Famine

Last class, Andy tried to explain what famine does to a societies people and it's really been on my mind ever since. He basically tried to tell us that the normal society has a top and a bottom, and that when famine occurs the top becomes the bottom and the bottom is then gone. It got me thinking about all the people I know who aren't up there when it comes to money and how there is a huge possibility that most of them will die, myself included. I used to think that when oil is gone, there won't be any distinguishing between the rich and the poor because the lack of oil will affect everyone in the planet, no matter what your skin color is or how much green paper you have. But now it's come to my attention that even in light of that idea, the people who are already at the bottom of the food chain, won't be able to survive as long as the people who are hovering above them.

It's all got me really thinking about what my family, and others, will do to survive and how can we do it while everything around us is getting worse and worse. We all know that there will most likely be an energy war, that has already began, and we will all experience a time when we are no longer seen as the most powerful country in the world. The almighty United States of America will one day come crumbling down, like every other civilization. So what will we do when the floor starts to disappear from beneath us?

We are all just waiting to disappear if we don't prepare for survival. I just hope that we can all survive, but I guess it's inevitable that we won't. In times of danger, some people will always die. So hopefully, everyone is prepared for the hard times ahead because when there is no oil on the planet anymore, we will go through a revolutionary period where there will be massive amounts of death occurring all over the place. It just feels like apocalypse.

It's got me thinking about how Andy really had a point when he said that we should invest in things like gold because the price of it is practically unchangeable, and if we're going to experience inflation things like gold are especially worth it because while the dollar become less and less valuable the value of gold will be sustained. I've been trying to find more things that are like that, but all I've found are dead ends to the search (probably because most people who are smart enough to figure out what could make them rich in the near future, are smart enough to keep that to themselves).

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The [Unattainable] Scenario

What comes to mind when I think of a positive example of peak oil, where the oil production peak actually turns our world around into something different and more technologically advanced then ever before, are the endless amount of anime's that have been created to show us the future (and some cool fight scenes while you're at it). I think of the world coming to an end where the very few who survive, rebuild the society as the most amazing city in the world where energy is converted from wind power and plants are used to give off electricity, and all the biomechanical machines that do everything we want and run off of hydrogen as energy (as if all the people who survived were the most smarted people in the entire planet and were able to work together to create these things).

Basically, what I see is something like the matrix happening. Where we sort of destroyed our selves by trying to become more and more advanced with technology and not really thinking of the consequences, but the people who survive make things even MORE advanced then before, but their actually thinking about what their inventions do to the world. This is what I think as the positive outlook on things, but I think that this positive outlook is unattainable. Why else would it be seen repeatedly in comic books and movies instead of us seeing it in real life? I think it's because it's not able to be created now, or even never at all.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

What In The World Is Our Current Situation?

Throughout the history of humanity, we have been influenced by so many different factors such as physical, psychological and spiritual. We also have been in the position of influencing the world around us and subsequently everything in it.

Politically speaking, the present administration has engaged in a long list of decisions that affects our daily lives. For instance the issue of global trade; (NAFTA and CAFTA). Since the United States of America (The President and Congress) signed on to the trade treaty, the United State has engaged in what most economist would call an unfair trading practice. These unfair or unbalanced trading practices has many intended and "unintended" consequences.

The global trading agreement in a summary is the agreement between nations of the world to buy and sell from each other. It sounds simple and fair enough, but there's more. The trading between China and the United States is not fair because China buys from the United States less than what it sells to us. This has consequences because most of the economic advancements and revenues goes to China, making the working and upper classes wealthier, while the middle and working classes in the U.S. are squeezed. How? Well take for instance the manufacturing industries. The companies in the United States have outsourced millions of manufacturing jobs to China because it is cheaper to pay the Chinese worker to build a product than it is to pay the American worker. Besides the product would still be sold to the American consumer at the companies pleasure in profit, hence the booming stock market. Meanwhile we as Americans need to line our lives, so we ration aspects of our lives to buy these products, hereby sinking further into poverty, as unemployment rises.

With just this one example we can see how the actions of a few affect millions of people. This also brings insight into the state of our country. America, as I've said in past posts, has the mentality that we will be the lasts ones standing when it comes the problem of who will have th emost oil. But as you can see from above, China is begining to become a problem to us. A problem that we'll be dealing with soon.

I've found that the middle east contains about 2/3 of the worlds remaining oil, and although the United States Of America has been attempting to gain more oil to help continue building our economy, rather then destroying it when oil runs out, China became, in 2000, the worlds second greatest consumer of oil and could EASILY decide one day to gain control over more of it by force. What can the United States and Bush really do to stop this? And on top of that, will we attempt to trying to fix the problem and really share the last of oil with the rest of the world, or will our own pride kick in to try to take the last oil for ourselves? But really... my opinion on the subject is that we really can't go into something like a war with china. The chances of us winning are slim to none. Mostly because The US is in debt of about 11 Trillion, like andy mentioned in class, so one day the countries that are our allies will cease to lend us money, because how can they expect us to pay them back? And why would they lend us money to just take control over the energy that the world needs? So my theory on it is that the US can't do anything about China, or any other country for that matter, because we will only just begin to slowly exhaust our money and resources in the process.

Reading the Hirsch Report, as found on Andy's Blog, made me realize how serious the situation really is, and how it sort of supports what I think will happen sometime in the future. One of his scenarios, which seems to be our current one, is basically that the United States didn’t prepare for the problem at hand, and so when the oil peaked, the demand continued to increase as it has been doing for the last year, but since oil can no longer be extracted at the rate at which it used to be, there will be a massive energy shortage. This shows us that if we will have a energy shortage, it supports my thought about how we won’t have enough energy or resources to fix the problem. We won’t be able to wage war against other countries for oil if we have no oil energy to begin with. We need oil to power our vehicles to drive our troops, fly our troops, feed our troops and almost everything else involving them. Oil is used for everything, so unless we have a back up supply, which we don’t any more, we can’t really fight for anything. What we should do is do like Germany, I think, and really begin to invest in new energy sources that are infinite rather then finite.

Besides our lack of energy and the ways in which it will stop us from solving the problem, I’ve been thinking about how our economy has grown tremendously solely because of oil. So if oil is gone what’s really going to happen to society when it ceases to exist? Will it really be like movie clips we saw in class of the world being over populated, split between the rich and the poor, with cars now abandoned as transportation and used as shelters? It really is a possibility when you think about it.

I think this is really a possibility because if you think about it, America has transformed into something totaly different then what it originaly was. We've destroyed the farm land that we used to have and has replaced it with suburbia as far as the eye can see. It'll hurt us becauses we'll desperately need this land when we run out of oil, because no longer will food be imported to us by trucks, run by gas, which is oil that WE DON'T HAVE. So we'll be forced to create our own food sooner or later.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Something To Think About

hey you guys, I thought this would be sort of cool to share with you guys. It made it more clear to me the issue of peak oil.

The first thing I thought about when I was watching this was why did the creator of this say the world won't run out of oil, that it would only run out of CHEAP oil? It made me think of a number of questions that I really want answers to; "Is the oil peak really that much of a crisis? If 'cheap' oil is what we'd lose, then can't we just spend more money for 'expensive' oil and continue to run society? If we can't is it because that would run out eventually as well?" Also I was thinking about how he said "remember that oil shock back in the 1970's?" I heard that and I thought to myself.. "WHAT?! How could we have had an oil shock already and still think that peak oil hasn't happened yet?" So I researched it a bit and found that what he was talking about was how the US's oil had peaked in the 1970's so during that time there was an oil tragedy for some time, and we couldn't really obtain oil. James Howard Kunstler wrote an article for Rolling Stone and wrote that

" The United States passed its own oil peak -- about 11 million barrels a day -- in 1970, and since then production has dropped steadily. In 2004 it ran just above 5 million barrels a day (we get a tad more from natural-gas condensates). Yet we consume roughly 20 million barrels a day now. That means we have to import about two-thirds of our oil, and the ratio will continue to worsen.

The U.S. peak in 1970 brought on a portentous change in geoeconomic power. Within a few years, foreign producers, chiefly OPEC, were setting the price of oil, and this in turn led to the oil crises of the 1970s. In response, frantic development of non-OPEC oil, especially the North Sea fields of England and Norway, essentially saved the West's ass for about two decades. Since 1999, these fields have entered depletion. Meanwhile, worldwide discovery of new oil has steadily declined to insignificant levels in 2003 and 2004."

So what the author of the video was talking about when he mentioned this, was the the united states reached it’s peak in the 1970’s, but the worlds amount of oil extracted will peak soon.

Any way, what'd you think of the clip? Insightful?

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Spectacle

I was reading blogs on this site by pressing the next button on the upper right hand corner of the screen repeatedly, and I found someones blog who was talking about peak oil. While I was reading his entry, some of his words sort of hit me with a bigger impact than I expected. One of the things that he said was that

"Oil is up by about 600% since the late 90s, So where's all those scary peak oil effects?? You know, the knock-on effects caused by the end of cheap oil."

This is a common reaction I've found in people when I've attempted to talk to them about the peak oil problem. But if you really analyze the situation, you'd understand that OFCOURSE oil production has increased by about 600%. If you pay attention to the bell curve of the peak oil prediction graphs, you'd see that the slope is low at the bottom and increasing until it reaches the peak (where it flattens out). This shows that extractions will, and have, increased more and more with each year since it has been discovered.

While I've been studying this topic of peak oil, I've had alot of thoughts about when will peak oil really impact my own life. Will it be this year? next year? 5 years from now? 10 or even 20 years from now? There's really no answer for it that will accurately portray what will happen in the future. Though I've come to understand that it will impact me in the next 5 years, there are also those times where I've come to think like persons blog I was reading. He said that

"peak oil is a non-event, which has no significant impact on my daily life."

This reminded me much of the way that my mother and most people I've talked to about this respond. They think that the oil extracting companies will just invest in new technologies and new techniques to get more oil. This is a valid idea and I agree with it. But the idea of it does not mean that the oil peak will not effect your life. This is because sooner or later the oil will eventually run out and it's because of this that no matter how long we prolong the event of the worlds oil extractions peak, we will still be affected unless we find an alternate energy that is virtually infinite (like solar power).

"The reality just isn't matching up with the rhetoric. Where's the die-off? And the marauders? And the sky-rocketing prices at the supermarket? And the implosion of Walmart? And the death of Phoenix? And the shootings at Gas-n-Go? And the national temper tantrum? And the failure of oil-intensive agriculture? And the mass migrations from the suburbs? And the endless depression? And the collapse of the dollar? And the collapse of fiat money? And hyper-inflation? And deflation? And the nuking of Iran? And the popping of the housing bubble? And the reinstitution of the draft?"

My answer to this is that all of the above WILL happen, but none of us knows when. All we can do is assume. But living in fear is the wrong answer to the peak oil problem. We can't live our lives in fear while trying to hide from the problem. Neither can we live our lives as if nothing has ever been told to you, as if nothing will ever happen to you, because if it doesn't happen to you, it'll happen to you're children. What we all have to do is just prepare ourselves as best we could for the upcoming future that will happen to all of human kind.