12.31 Lindsay Curren
John Sheehan: Hated what Nicole Foss had to say but he fears it’s true. Says Nicole only spends 10% time explaining peak oil, 90% responding to it.
ASPO should have a message, “You’ll fare better if you prepare for the peak.”
Must be short, tight, focused.
Another guy likes:
Truth in Energy.
Mueller: Know what you’re saying about yourself, and what you’re saying about the opposition. We need a policy plan because people ask what ASPOs plan is. Our government plan is don’t do anything, but do be truthful
12.31 Erik Curren
Audience member, man: James Howard Kunstler said at a book signing at Third Place Books in Seattle, responding to an audience of women who were unhappy with the way he treated women characters in his book. He said tough luck, in the future if technology and energy are gone, people might not like the roles they have to settle for.
Astyk: Jim and I have had a lot of back and forth about this. I agree with him partially. So much of our economy has been about moving women into the workplace and out of the informal economy and domestic sphere. Why is it in most societies women do most of the childcare rather than the farming or mining? Women have to be close to children so they can only do work that’s easily interruptible so you can attend to baby. And not dangerous of course.
But in his novels women who were raised in today’s society go very quickly into an old timey gender division of labor. That could be done in a variety of ways, it’s not inevitable. We could go back to a society where women lose legal freedoms and education, because there were good reasons to do that in the past, but not necessarily.
Greer: Kunstler makes a mistake in thinking that the gender roles of middle class Americans in the 1950s was genetically encoded, that June and Ward Cleaver define the eternal nature of gender relations. Don’t forget, men are disposable — in a tribe with 50 women but only one man can still have 50 babies the next year. Tribal societies do a good job of putting young men in dangerous situations. This is Darwinian selection, so the fittest survive and reproduce. But how this plays out will differ drastically from one society to another. In my online novel, Stars Reach, all the scholars are women. And men — OK, most men — don’t lactate. There’s an immense amount of flexibility we see in human societies.
Orlov: There can be very different arrangements, for example, Russia is a matriarchy where women rule from the kitchen. As the situation becomes harder and harsher, the typical pattern will be followed, as men form the defensive perimeter and women are in the center with the kids. And yes, men are disposable. After WWII in Finland, women had trouble finding husbands, and they came up with interesting arrangements, but their society easily survived.
12.26 Lindsay Curren
David Gard: Went to an interfaith energy & light event. Has about 100 peak oil slides, which one to use? Which one for this group?
Intead of him giving a presentation of his own, he put up words and let people riff off of the themes. Audience engagement as a group process, helps people engage, start to see things through their own eyes, and this opens a process of inclusion and an important process together.
12.23 Lindsay Curren
Audience member: YOu can’t have infinite growth on a finite planet. And yet the earth is abundant. How to knit together these vision?
12.19 Erik Curren
Audience member, man: Solar panels?
Greer: Great, it’s buying energy now to use later. Even if it’s just energy neutral. But it won’t power industrial civilization.
Astyk: To accept the premise of the renewable panel from yesterday, you have to really want to keep things the way they are. But the reality is that it’s not necessarily how things work. And I think you have more fun if you’re more flexible to see the world as it’s probably going to be you have more fun. If you can’t be happy without controverting the laws of physics and chemistry, there’s a problem.
Orlov: I make all my power by PV and wind. But I don’t like the idea of putting panels all over the Sahara, is that you’ll need whole villages of guys with squeegies and water bottles. But you know, energy on demand is a luxury. Use the sun to heat things and use kinetic energy (wind) to move things. Don’t convert and suffer the conversion loss. The idea of generating electricity for alternative means doesn’t make sense except for limited uses, such as communications. And that’s a very small power requirement.
Greer: Our fetish in the modern world is having energy available on demand. We’ve built our life around that. But the rest of the world has dealt with a world where you use energy only when it’s there. When do you make hay? When the sun shines. You can do marvelous things with solar heat to domestic or light industrial temperatures if you don’t mind it not being around 24/7. So we need to change ourselves. Getting to the future is going to suck at this point. It didn’t have to, if we had kept going the way we were in the seventies. We need to know: the alternative to industrial society is not living in caves, but instead, is returning to a normal human existence, which none of us have experienced.
Astyk: We have made our past uninhabitable to us. We can’t go home again. Though some things are better today, the past wasn’t really an unmitigated hell. It’s not hard to do a few things to have a little bit of power, heat and clean water. So we should put up PV today but not on our houses — on the hospital. We should have public not private infrastructure. We should have town water instead of our own personal stash.
12.15 Lindsay Curren
YOung person: Says that a boook called Ishmael about 20 years old, says it is good storytelling for this kind of thing.
Question: What do you tell people for the short term? Especially young people? Should I go straight to the garden.
12.13 Lindsay Curren
Audience member: Logic doesn’t sell stories. It’s logic combined w/ emotional driver.
12.12 Lindsay Curren
Guy Dauncey: References Naomi Davis’s storytelling yesterday, talking from the future back to today and how inspiring she was. A clear, positive message.
He says there are too many negative visions, and that there is a great need for positive visions in environmental movement and energy community.
12.09 Lindsay Curren
Audience member; Get message across. From idea to action.
Active listening. He found when he rephrased what they said that he understood things better.
He used the Transition Trainig method where you look at a slide, read about it, and then put it in your own words to share it with someone else.
12.04 Erik Curren
Audience member, woman: Three of us sold our houses (and our stocks) and bought a single larger one for all of us to share. We have no mortgage to pay and we’ve bought a solar hot water heater. It’s fun and lots of women come to check it out. In Mass, there’s no a community farm where the community can invest in eighth acre plots and then hire people to grow food for local use. We can invest locally like this.
Greer: Solar water heating? What’s the payback time — you have a hot bath after the oil runs out. Even now, you save 10 percent on your home energy bill, forever. Repudiate your identity, as you’ve done!
12.04 Lindsay Curren
Audience member: Talks about electoral politics and setting the stage for relocalization platforms, local office, state office. This guy did it and got more support from Teddy Roosevelet Republicans. They got the narrative.
Frank Lutz good at framing story and putting things into soiund bytes that people can understand.
What are the commonalities between people? Build on those toward a common future “worth inheriting.”
12.01 Lindsay Curren
Audience member, a young fella named John.
What is the story of peak oil? Do we sound like a ufo cult? We’re prophesizing on a new world to come, and one that’s unhappy. Transition story might do a better job by offering a positive vision.
What is your objective? Can you create a compromise between traditional values and nudge them toward a different way of life or understanding, then you might get some traction there.
He says peak oil peaked, now it’s Transition, but it isn’t viral enough.
11.59 Erik Curren
Comments from the panel.
Greer: Dmitry and I famously disagree on timeline for collapse. I think there will be a stair-step decline, with little collapses and then a partial recovery afterwards. My long-term view is that we’re heading toward a dark age, but none of us will live to see that, maybe 300 years in the future. But that old standby the backyard garden will be useful no matter what you think about when collapse will come. A backyard garden will save you money now and provide valuable training. Or, my wife makes soap. She mixes fat and red devil lye with scenting agents. Wasn’t there a shortage of soap in the former USSR? Even today, you can make soap as gifts and it’s better quality soap.
Astyk: I’m not getting into the question of timeframe since I don’t have a dog in that hunt. I do think you should stockpile things that are shelf-stable. For example, drugs. Your local high school chemistry teacher can probably make many useful drugs. You just need to have the ingredients in place before collapse.
Greer: Make sure your plan works even if the collapse doesn’t come next week. For example, eco-villages. They’re expensive. Also you have to pay taxes. Have your plan B in place so that it’s survivable for the time being before eco-topia comes.
Orlov: heating will be a problem in the future. How about concentrating solar that will provide heat to a group of houses? It’s a big structure, and will only be competitive once heating fuel is too expensive. So hold the raw materials in place for now. Also, farming is a turnkey operation. In the future, people will probably want to work for food, and human-powered agriculture can be scaled up in one season.
11.58 Lindsay Curren
Audience member: Also reach local radio stations, especially ones with a broader reach.
11.57 Lindsay Curren
Tom Quin, editor. Try local strategies. You don’t have to say peak oil (but you can) but there is a great angle w/ emergency planning sessions. Reporters will come to this, and you can ask about pwer grid, transportation, give out one page hand out.
11.54 Lindsay Curren
Kurt Cobb: Responding to mob rule. People don’t really understand peak oil quickly, and so it isn’t likey to cause mob rule.
Responding to Nancy, the Soc. teacher, who mentioned FOX news. Don’t exclude conservatives, conservative Christians, etc. These people are concerned, too.
11.52 Lindsay Curren
Greg Smith: Empower EPA to turn down environemntal plans for transportation plans. If they don’t meet the standard, don’t pass it. They need info, and support.
11.50 Lindsay Curren
Audience member: Buy peak oil books and give them to your public library. Late adopters are often older,m conservative and use library.
Occupy movement is unconventional leadership training program. Their decision making process is consensus building and they have lending libraries. Give books to them.
Baldauf: Maybe more citizen suits should be filedunder Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act. Citizens must file!
11.49 Erik Curren
In the interim, before the economy collapses, some things are counterproductive:
- Accumulate financial assets
- Make debt payments
- Look for a job — employment will be a thing of the past
- Protest, lobby, vote — government will soon be gone
- Pretend that “everything is going to be allright”‘; nothing will be fine
Productive activities: Plan, recruit, train, educate, stockpile, provide support, rest!
Deciding when to pull the rip cord is pretty tricky. Don’t count on the govt to show you when it’s collapsed. Local measures are probably better — how many people are showing up at local soup kitchens? If it’s half the town, you have a problem. And you don’t want a hungry winter — one of those can wipe out many people.
Post-collapse investing: Don’t be a zombie investor, who, no matter what time it is, says “it’s time to buy stops and bonds.” But a well stored inventory of durable supplies will not depreciate in value. Ten thousand feet of wire rope will be cheaper today than in the future. And it’s a low risk investment overall, the investment retains value either pre- or post-collapse.
11.48 Lindsay Curren
Catton: Next spirng in baseball season, write to sports page editors w/ question of how to have teams meet in wake of peak oil.
11.47 Lindsay Curren
Professor Catton: He attended Chicago World’s fair in ’33, about Century of Progress. He says we need a world’s fair again, and what would be the theme?
11.45 Lindsay Curren
He says coming here, meeting those w/ shared perspective, has been great for his own journey, will affect him in teaching to other EPAers, but suggests ASPO name change to Peak Oil Anonymous.
11.44 Lindsay Curren
Rob Gillman from EPA, says EPA feels no pain right now in terms of adjusting to peak oil story.
Messaging and story are the main thing. Greeks Rhetorical Triangle, Ethos, Pathos, Logos.
Logos: Info is solid, and that’s great.
Pathos is there, the emotion.
Ethos: But what’s the moral?
11.42 Erik Curren
Orlov now gives a PowerPoint presentation. He’s been collaborating with Prof Ugo Bardi, who has done mathematical experiments.
Hubbert Curve is not lopsided enough, the trailing edge is too long and smooth. Gradual decline is accurate for countries that can start importing oil from the rest of the world, not the case with the USSR, which collapsed three years after reaching its own oil peak. If the US was alone on the planet, it would’ve collapsed in 1974 or so. So we should expect the planet earth, which can’t import oil, to have its economy collapse just a few years after the global peak.
I’ve got a very simple model, not like climate models which are too complex. Mine is a “mind-sized model,” simple enough to get. Chart of the rise and fall of the economy based on oil supplies. We bleed off about a third of the economy into fixed costs like pollution, war, regulation, etc needed to provide oil, what Bardi’s Seneca Cliff model just calls “pollution.” These things get more complex over time and you can’t de-complexify them easily. Take the US Tax Code for example, it’s 140,000 pages. It would be easy to double it, just give pens to legislators. But to cut it down would be nearly impossible. So, complex systems don’t de-complexify — they collapse.
Solutions? Post collapse solutions are not needed or competitive today, eg, having Dmitry take your package up the coast to Boston in his boat rather than shipping it on Fed Ex. What should we do? Start setting aside resources and plans and have your post-collapse solutions in reserve so they can start working a short time thereafer because everything has been put into place. This assumes that shortly after peak oil occurs, people start planing, setting aside supplies, recruiting and training.
Then, society will need to re-boot, like changing a computer from Windows to Linux.
The economy can recover partially, hopefully enough to supply everyone’s basic needs.
11.41 Lindsay Curren
John Sheehan: Peak oil will have casualties so let’s understand that and be prepared for people being panicked.
Charlie Hall: A session this afternoon on education. Tune in, we’ll live blog it if we can.
11.37 Lindsay Curren
John Sheehan with his missionary analogy again. Brimstone and hellfire used to work. It doesn’t work today. Don’t want to say, “be afraid, be very afraid.”
Kids are a key constituents. Know the teaching moments, and sometimes there are not teaching moments.
Today is the wisdom of crowds, other side is mob rule. Probably wont have mob rule in this room, but out there, let’s contribute to not having mob rule as this story gets out.
11.34 Lindsay Curren
Audience member: I think this is best session because story, narrative, communications most important element right now.
Finding a realistic, positive vision to hold on to, and people will be drawn to, and build upon it.
Narrative of Americans as candoists can be built on.
What about Christian message: Eternal bliss or eternal damnation…can be built on in a broader sense.
11.32 Erik Curren
Audience member, man: smallness will be a big advantage in the future. Occupy the countryside — the skills aren’t all there anymore, but some still are. Also, no one can afford the land alone.
Astyk: My model is not an intentional community but a family farm and we even invited my former housemate to live there and he did until we lost him to love 🙂 The seven of us are not sufficient to occupy our house, so the answer is to put more butts in there to share the work. Everyone in this room probably has underutilized space to share and while I’d like more formalized organizational models, I’ve got space and you’ve got energy could be good enough.
Greer: I’m basically a city boy. I haven’t pursued it, we have a small but pleasant urban house. I recommend a book from the seventies: The Integral Urban House. Get an old copy or hope that New Society will reprint it.
Orlov: The last time I saw a place like that was in Estonia, big wooden houses on a hill with a barn designed for several families. It was almost a hilltop town in miniature.
11.31 Lindsay Curren
Audience member: Grant underwriting is helpful, but can sometimes undermine efforts because including peak oil aspect may not be under the grant mandate.
11.29 Lindsay Curren
Problem with telling the peak oil story because the global warming prioritized folks don’t like peak oil for many reasons. Need a narrative to bridge that gap.
11.28 Lindsay Curren
Audience Member: Says Goolge Gimley Glider, perfect metaphor for society coming down from oil.
11.27 Erik Curren
Audience member, man: I lived through WWII in Germany and our food stash was broken into three times during 1945-48 by the neighbors. By nature I’m a Robinson Crusoe. But one of my fascinations with Transition is that I need to learn to do the community thing. Unless my neighbors have a stash of their own, then my stash is gone.
Astyk: Good points. Refugees are a wave of the future. Often the people who are most troubling to us are those who compete with us for food and shelter. We’ve seen how quickly in other places how your neighbors can become no longer neighborly. Do we have good community building tools to try to resist this? It’s an issue for me since I’m a leftist Jew living in a rural Christian community. Not sure I have a good answer on that one.
Greer: No one easy answer, every community or human settlement pattern is different. To some extent, choose your community and neighbors well, because you’ll have to live with them. Ideologies and styles differ considerably from town to town. I’m pretty comfortable with my neighbors, I get the occasional piece of venison from them. But if you’re seen as the outsider, you will be blamed when things get bad.
Orlov: A lot depends on how you behave where you are. On my boat, I have a summer and a winter marina. When you come together for the season, the marina congeals into a village where people interact in self-organizing ways. For example, people soon realize that it’s easier to cook for more people less frequently rather than more frequently for fewer people. So there’s always a barbecue going on. Nobody plans the menu or guest list. But you need to get over the mentality that what’s mine is mine and you have to plan everything out. If they have this attitude they should stop.
Astyk: I agree with all that, but every genocide I’ve ever heard about people say “they were my neighbors.” Sometimes when there is community, things fall apart. What we need is a zero-tolerance policy for the “othering” of other people. Even for us tolerant liberal, you need to avoid blaming conservatives or whomever.
Greer: And if you don’t do it someone else may. There are no guarantees. Every one of us could be dead in a ditch at some point. We need to get over this idea that we’ll always have a pseudo-utopian existence because this is America.
Orlov: People on the water have a legal responsibility to come to each other’s aid on the water, so that carries over to what people do on the dock.
11.23 Lindsay Curren
Greg Smith gave a shout out to Transition Voice, sayng we’re great! Woo hoo! He also promised a donation (yeah, thanks).
Talks about organizing people to their self interest. Relays that someone told him not to frame things outside the factual box, and to not be moral, exact opposite of what has been shared among people here. Clear that bureaucrats are threatened by a moral message.
11.19 Lindsay Curren
Sociology Prof: We’re in a new place after 10 years of telling the ASPO story. Since 2008 fear and hurt have settled in, people are struggling to understand it.
NOW IS THE MOMENT to size the opportunity on the peak oil story. All is coming together through econpmic crisis. We need to find ways through multiple fronts to have that discussion.
People are interested in seeing how they fit into society, and why the things that are happening are happening (poverty, sexism, racism.)
It’s a ripe time to take our explanation and help people understand the moment we’re in.
11.17 Erik Curren
Audience member, woman: Coastal areas are dangerous because of sea level rise from global warming. There will be environmental change everywhere and will make it tough to find places that are viable. Low lying areas will send refugees to higher ground. Will they camp in our backyards?
Greer: Most Rust Belt cities have half the population they had in the seventies. So in Cumberland we could take a few of those refugees in.
Astyk: We have bad land on top of a hill — it was a sod farm, so literally, they sold the top soil. Land below us in the river bottom was flooded out recently and you had FEMA come in. These kinds of practice disasters are useful. They should you what your community is like. But also it shows that places that were not attractive or viable in the past could be better in the future. I used to be jealous that river bottom land, but no more.
11.16 Lindsay Curren
Audience member: I don’t know if I feel confident in my ability to flip someone’s belief system.
She’s concerned about narratives that are out there told again and again. So we should focus on getting out story out in a consistent way, message discipline and relentless repetition of same three points again and again. That must be in a coordinated fashion. To have lofty goals, like getting on Charlie Rose, is a sophisticated campaign with some groundwork already laid down through broad, similar stories.
Mueller: A message campaign for this may differ from a message campaign for an electoral campaign.
11.13 Erik Curren
Orlov: Back in Russia, they used to shut down the universities and bus students out to the countryside to pick potatoes. It might have some didactic value. Maybe some community colleges might consider adding that to their program.
11.12 Lindsay Curren
Audience member in Comm discussion: We too often focus on the enemy, go past them, and press what you have to offer.
11.12 Lindsay Curren
Audience Member: I’m a union organizer, so yeah we have to met people where they are. We all operate by beliefs, they underlie our mental structure. You have to understand their beliefs and reason from their point of view.
Not just info, but an ask. What are they going to do to confirm, demonstrate, internalize that knowledge.
And I added that women are a key constituency and we have to be more represented in the speaker’s bank, and in outreach.
11.11 Erik Curren
Audience member, man: In South Bronx, he was involved in a program that took city kids on field trips to upstate farms. Program is called Plenty USA.
Greer: Today, that’s a fine program. But in the future it won’t work. We need to look at things like the Erie Canal, which is still usable. Too bad others have gotten silted up and there will be good jobs in the future digging those out. One reason I moved out to a town in Maryland, is that the urban-rural connection thing is easier to handle when you don’t have to go through miles of suburbs.
Orlov: Once the transportation options become very expensive, it would be make sense to have land on a waterway, such as the intercoastal that goes all along the Carolinas. You can have a farm right there. Water transport is much more energy efficient.
Astyk: It’s a common model in many societies, you have a strong rural-urban connection. You start by building strong ties in rural areas. In England, people used to take their vacations to pick hops all day. What kind of infrastructure can you create now, when most people don’t expect to pick peas on the farm. The program with children is good to give people exposure to agriculture.
11.06 Erik Curren
Do you need your own homestead or is just living in a place that has a commons enough?
Good question, but he phrased it as a statement more than a question so no answer. Bummer.
11.03 Erik Curren
I’ve moved to the session on community solutions, chaired by ASPO board member Megan Quinn Bachman, with speakers Sharon Astyk, John Michael Greer and Dmitry Orlov.
10.36 Erik Curren
Audience member, man, ex-military: If the religion of industrial society is growth, then that makes us missionaries. It can also get us burned at the stake…We’ve got a pretty big task and don’t be discouraged if you’re not getting a quick response. If you’ve ever changed your religion or had a conversion experience, you know that you won’t win many converts if you tell people they’re assholes and that their god is dead. Let them come to conclude that themselves.
Kurt Cobb: In the West, we tend to be monotheistic. In the East, not so much. The Chinese are Buddhists, Confucianists or Taoists on different days. Maybe people don’t need to abandon their faith all on one day. We don’t have to displace somebody’s belief with new information or stories.
Somehow, I find this discussion dissatisfying. I’m hearing a lot of conjectures and opinions without much support, either stories or even (gasp!) some data on what works.
What about drawing on people who are experienced in successfully reaching a larger public, such as green advocacy groups? I’d like to hear what Bill McKibben has to say. Most of the people in this room don’t seem to have that kind of experience.
10.34 Lindsay Curren
Cobb: We tend to be monotheistic in the West. Not so much in the East.
People don’t need to abandon their faith in economic growth all at once, or altogether, they can have a polytheistic view and hold different ideas at once.
We don’t have to displace a belief, but rather to moderate a belief, and tell new stories.
10.32 Lindsay Curren
Audience member: If growth is our religion, then we are missionaries trying to convert 7 billion to a view against their religion.
This is a hard task. Do not be discouraged. You are not converted by telling others that their God is dead. They need a conversion to something other than growth and they have to conclude their God is dead on their own.
10.28 Lindsay Curren
Audience member. Longest journey is from an intellectual thought to a heartfelt belief.
Important to draw on credible sources, like the JOE 10, and such, but don’t dwell on them. Reach people through stories.
10.27 Erik Curren
Audience member, man, eco-psychologist and systems theorist: State religion of America is “mammonism,” or greed. The invisible hand is mysticism, it’s not science. The problem is more complex than peak oil — it’s peak soil, peak water, etc — peak everything. How can we create a new story that is just as systemic as the mainstream story we want to correct and that also meets people halfway, that invites people into this story?
10.24 Lindsay Curren
Audience member: Must be honest about the system keeping us from getting where we want to be on peak oil issue.
Underlying thing is deification of greed. It’s religion of growth. It’s the “invisible hand.”
Must add to the story that we are a part of the natural world. This has an economic factor. Labor of natural resource and human labor. Closing the loop on humanity within nature not outside of it.
10.18 Lindsay Curren
Audience member: Must have a strategy to address crisis when it happens.
Audience Member: She’s a sociology prof. Says sometimes history must happen to make change. Average person gets that we’re in decline. But they don’t know what’s up.
10.17 Erik Curren
Kurt Cobb: why do defense and transportation officials get it? People will overcome their innate resistance to an idea when the physical circumstances of their situation cause change (?). So, these two areas are impacted strongly by energy. Implications? We’ll have to wait for more and more groups to feel this same pressure. That can help speed progress along the S curve of adoption of this idea.
10.15 Lindsay Curren
Cobb: Transportation people can be key allies.
10.10 Erik Curren
Audience member, woman with investment bank: The Defense establishment obviously gets peak oil. Shouldn’t we leverage the military to make our point? Bill Catton: we should go after the Interior Dept too. We should shame the present secretary of interior to follow the example of Stuart Udall who held the office in the past and accepts peak oil.
But I think ASPO or any other advocate won’t have much credibility with White House officials without much public support. And that’s where peak oil is today — especially compared to green issues, no constituency. And look how hard it is to get green issues addressed on the federal level.
Big polluters have much more pull on the Hill than the Sierra Club.
10.08 Lindsay Curren
Baldauf: Have we failed or succeeded in getting the peak oil message out there?
Have we failed or succeeded in getting ASPO out there?
We’ve had a lot of success. W/in 10 years we’ve acknowledged peak oil more broadly, as well as peak everything, and ASPO USA has had a lot to do w/ achieving that.
We want to get the peak oil message out there, and ASPO needs to get credit.
To that I say, then you need to begin adapting.
Audience member asks: Are you after national policy, or state policy too. At state level there are some energy strategy docs coming out, Georgia, Arizona…
10.05 Lindsay Curren
Audience member: Shame those who are not carrying forth the agenda of predesessors (sp?).
10.04 Lindsay Curren
Audience members: Communication has to be directed to moderators. Conservatives have more resistance to change.
She says Dept. of Defense agrees w/ us, but not openly. She suggests using a medium they already respect, what’s happening in the military? Also the Interior Dept. Communicate w/ several departments, not just energy.
10.02 Lindsay Curren
Audeince member: References a Biblical story from Geesis about cows coming out of the river which was an oimen for storing grain….he says there’s a history of preparing in times of abundance for times of scarcity.
So can we tell a story of preparing for scarctiy? And can we get the pharohs to dream a dream?
How can we connect pharohs to connectors?
10.01 Erik Curren
I asked Kurt Cobb about the issue I mentioned earlier, that the 99 percent of ordinary people can get peak oil easily but that the top 1 percent of the rich are pumping out propaganda to confuse the issue.
He disagrees and says that there’s considerable disagreement in the ruling elites about how to deal with peak oil. But Kurt didn’t give any examples, so I’m not sure who those rich disagreers would be. I don’t remember having heard from any of them?
09.57 Lindsay Curren
Data important, but irrelevant. YOu have to tell stories!
09.57 Erik Curren
Martenson likes George Lakoff and has worked with his firm on “framing” messages. When people ask what he’s doing, he doesn’t say “I’m trying to get people to save energy,” which is just a tactic. Then, people will pull out their machine guns and start attacking it. Instead, he says “I’m trying to create a world worth living in.”
Then, his own life becomes a meaningful story, he quit his corporate job to start prepping for peak oil.
Then, repeat your message. Overall, we’re after the tipping point of awareness, not 51 percent, but the right 6 or 8 percent of “mavens,” “communicators” and “connectors,” and then your “salespeople.” So he tries to identify those people. He wants to double his traffic on his website.
09.56 Lindsay Curren
Martenson: Story is important because you have to have a narrative. My own life becomes a model. Use yourself as an example.
People have to see them selves in that story so at the national level, you have to tell the story in a way that people can see themselves in it, and there are challenges to that w/ peak oil story.
We’re after a the tipping point.
You have Mavens (data collectors)
Communicators (they cross brorders)
Salespeople they can sell anything
09.54 Lindsay Curren
Chris Martenson: I’ve made a career out of telling complicated stories. I talk about really hard stuff.
I’ve learned a number of things.
The Crash Course is laid out in 20 chapters that go from easy beliefs among people (new information). To the highest chapter where there is strong resistance and attachment to beliefs.
Also, wording is important. Framing is important. Things should be framed morally, not tactically.
09.53 Erik Curren
Chris Martenson, author of the Crash Course. By the way, he’s lost lots of weight. I heard that he says it’s because he’s now found his life’s purpose and is doing what he believes in.
Living in truth is apparently good for your health. Who knew, but it makes sense.
09.51 Lindsay Curren
Cobb: Values drive decisions, and there are different audiences. Story tellign does this better.
09.50 Erik Curren
Kurt Cobb, author of peak oil novel “Prelude.” Old idea that humans evolved only to see immediate threats and can’t plan for the future. This accounts for basic conservatism of culture and denial of obvious truth.
I see this issue for climate change but not for peak oil. In my experience, ordinary people get that the world will run out of oil sometime, maybe soon (I know, I know oil experts, we’ll never “run out” of oil entirely, but for regular people that’s a distinction without a difference).
It’s not that hard to talk about peak oil with the 99 percent. I think the problem is that that top 1 percent don’t want us to get it, because business as usual keeps them rich. So they spread all sorts of disinformation.
09.48 Lindsay Curren
Kurt Cobb wants to talk about the difficulties in getting your message across.
Humans are designed to think about the present because they adapt to their environment, not for the future. It’s difficult to countermand that all our cells are pitched on the present. We do plan, but not a lot.
This accounts for the conservatism of culture, and resisitance, as in the peak oil story.
We see this story as logical, but all others are focused on RIGHT NOW!
09.46 Erik Curren
Guy from Sweden — why don’t they have name cards as on the other panels earlier — makes a good point about how we need to tell more stories. For example, the story of how the butcher and the baker feed us only from their self-interest and how this works for society (“the invisible hand”) must’ve converted more people to the free market than any number of facts…
09.45 Lindsay Curren
Audience member: Pitch the transition to renewables as a market opportunity.
09.45 Lindsay Curren
Speakers for this policy and communications session are:
Jan Mueller, ASPO Exec Director Moderating
Kurt Cobb, author
Chris Martenson, Crash Course
Tom Whipple, Key ASPO volunteer with his Peak Oil
Jim Baldauf, ASPO Board Chair
Kristofer Jacobsson (I think an economist form Sweeden)
09.43 Erik Curren
Lots of discussion about media relations and policy communications. I’ve been in PR for years, so I’ve got some opinions there 🙂
ASPO does need to do more user-friendly communications I think. Even at this conference, which was pretty good overall, there were too many charts and graphs.
I told Jan Mueller that ASPO should’ve done a quick bullet point factsheet on why Daniel Yergin is wrong. But he replied that “there’s some disagreement about how to engage with Yergin.” As if ASPO weighing in is going to give more credibility to Yergin? He gets plenty of attention without this earnest but obscure little group’s help. The press is all over Yergin. They need to respond.
09.40 Lindsay Curren
Audience members here seeing obvious signs that there’s a recognition publicly that contemporary economics (it’s thinking and practices) aren’t working.
At the same time, you have to talk with the media with a simple story, also have to deliver it to policy makers in bite sized chews, patiently, and then you have to build the grassroots out.
09.36 Lindsay Curren
Audience member from a environmental group says media operates as 1. who’s the victim, 2. who’s the villian? 3. Who’s the hero?
He’s convinced that people get that we’re on the wrong track and we’re not far from being able to link groups’ interests and find common ground in telling a story.
09.36 Erik Curren
Earlier, Tom Whipple said that we have so much problem communicating the peak oil story because growth is America’s religion. So we’re apostates or heretics and when we contradict the core belief of the society, we can’t get through.
09.34 Lindsay Curren
Audience member says peak oil communications have to be ground up. At the same time government has to acknowledge things because they are the ones making resource decisions.
09.34 Erik Curren
Q. What are you trying to accomplish by getting politicians on board if you don’t have the rest of the country behind the issue of peak oil?
Jan Mueller: You’re right. We want to work with grassroots ground up groups to recruit local politicians. Though we’d like to have two more Roscoe Bartletts to give speeches on the floor of Congress.
09.33 Lindsay Curren
Changing 300 million American minds isn’t esasy.
Audience member relays a story about a politician who said he’d fight for something but then decided not to push for it because too many Americans wouldn’t be convinced. He didn’t want to waste political capital on it.
She thinks populace has to understand it first, before the Congress or politicians.
09.32 Erik Curren
We’re in the same session together, just sitting separately, because the room’s full…
09.32 Erik Curren
Good morning from ASPO-USA. Today’s sessions are just Q&A. I’m in the one on communications and policy. We started out with Tom Whipple talking about how Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), chair of the Congressional Peak Oil Caucus, managed to get a meeting with George W. Bush while he was in office. He had to promise a vote in exchange. In the meeting, Bush acknowledged the problem, but decided he’d need to kick the can down the road because, though “important,” peak oil wasn’t “urgent.”
09.29 Lindsay Curren
It’s day three and we’re live blogging from the ASPO conference again. Today I’m in a session on peak oil communications, as well as policy. Let’s see what people are saying about A) How to communicate it? and B) What kinds of policy initiatives can prod change.
I saw a sign in the subway last night. It said “Change takes heart.” I see that as both openness, and courage. I wonder if that will be part of this dialogue.
17.21 Lindsay Curren
Where will renewables go? Is it half conservation, half renewables?
Angelina G says number one thing is conservation. Negawatt is most important watt.
Dauncey: 30% efficiency (must be done by regulatory approach) and 70% renewables.
Rapier says we’ll never do more than 20% replacement w/ biofuels of fossil fuels. More like 10%. As to arable land, there’s not enough for food and fuel from land growth.
Greer: From the 70s the saying goes, “weatherize before you solarize.” Solar is diffuse, so make major conservation first, then follow up w/ renewables.
ASPO wants to start addressing tension around the renewable conversation. Tomorrow there’s a session on that.
Also tomorrow there’s one on communication (that’s what I’m going to, very interested in hearing the take on this because what I see is far from effective.)
Also one on investment roundtable ( a lot of guys here who invest in dirty energy, though they get peak oil.)
Session on policy and government relations and one on communities.
Wish I could be at them all. I’ll be at communications. Taking serious notes.
Live blogging out for today. Would love it if you would donate to Transition Voice to help support our work, especially a trip like this which was way over our budget for now.
17.12 Lindsay Curren
Guy Dauncey says spend less time on problem, only 10 % and 90 % on solutions, proposals, ideas. Also, people respond to hope, inspiration, possibility.
Schlumberger says at World Bank there is an inability to understand “no growth.” Our modern world is based on a model that economist can’t put into question.
Skrebowski says men accept change only when its a necessity, and a necessity only comes about by crisis.
Greer wants to argue w/ Dauncey…in a gentlemanly way. There are more options than doom and gloom versus happy go lucky. He says we must depose the dominant religion: the religion of “progress.” That belief system gets in the way of grappling with how future might not be brighter. Not bad, or worse, but a “return to normal” in Heinberg’s words. But progress is where we find meaning, and put our faith in salvation.
Audience member says we live in a bubble of technological wizardry and everything is “magic” disconnected from food, water systems, etc. Part of antidote is for people to regrasp is to know the origins of things.
Dmitry Orlov: People have a dominant narrative through their heads, programmed through media, education, culture, narrative of Americans are the best, nothing we can’t solve, we can do everything. He doesn’t know if it its true but says go with it, because otherwise you’ll get filtered out.
Audience member Carl Etnier mentions how his radio show helps share ideas…He hopes the ideas will catch on. In fact in his home state of VT. gubernatorial candidate ran on peak oil theme and won.
17.03 Lindsay Curren
Question from writer Gerri Williams about states annexing localities, shutting down city councils, taking resources. The declaration of emergencies w/out an empirical measure. What does this mean for the future?
Greer: We have to get used to “I’m here from the government, I’m here to help you.” Governments are pushing bankruptcies, etc. So we need to look not by way of municipalities, but rather by community organizing.
An audience question: Why doesn’t anyone listen to us? About peak oil, etc. How to reach mainstream audiences?
Wes Jackson: Kittens who have blindfolds put on them in first 6 weeks never learn to see.
When you’re caught in a paradigm of extraction, we’re all like blind kittens. Copernican revolution took a while to take hold. Protestant reformation, the same. We don’t have the neurological development yet to learn to live within our means. So when we talk its like talking to blind kittens. It’s a cognitive problem, so more attention should be paid to that side of development.
But the more we say it, it is understood it more and more.
Nicole Foss: I talk to community groups and there’s no problem really understanding it. But what do they do? They grasp the message, whether they act on it is more the question.
It is possible to communicate at the grass roots level. Much harder at institutional level, much more deeply rooted paradigm, less capacity to respond, the system is enmeshed and so are the personnel. A lot easier to talk to people w/ no background and are not part of the governing system on these issues.
16.53 Lindsay Curren
Final session today, a wrap up.
A guy asked what we can expect in 2012.
Schlumberger says it depends on what happens in Europe. If crisis, it gets bad. If not, if US grows vigorously could mean oil price spike and therefore, back to recession. Bottom line: recession.
He says its 50/50…there will be oil crash or financial implosion.
Questioner asks about restraints on renewables growth, such as capital, materials, suppy lines.
Greer talks conservation and insulation. The biggest obstacle is expectations. The “I plug it in the wall, flip a switch, off I go.” Instead, have to lower expectations of use and how. his means conservation.
Srebowski says governments will be too tied up to lend capital, renewables wont see much growth.
Robert Rapier answers a question on Brazil. He says they use what they extract, they also have hydropower and sugar cane ethanol. In 2008 when oil prices crqashed, he looked in the mirror and said he believed in the peak oil story and invested heavily in Brazil. He believes it’s well positioned. But US is not Brazil, we use 6 times the consumption they do. We don’t have their hydropower.
Greer said if we were like Brazil, we’d have to settle for the average standard of living there, which wouldn’t be too popular in US.
16.17 Erik Curren
Foss: Our system in the US is the most predatory on earth, the crippling premiums that people have to pay, we pay more and get less than anyone. I think healthcare is a bigger cause of the debt collapse than oil. Once it can’t make a profit, healthcare will go away, and that will be good news for most people, such as the average family that pays 25K dollars/year in premiums but doesn’t use most of that.
Q. Is Greece just the tip of the iceberg?
Foss: Yes, all countries are in the same situation, we’ve had so many multiplier effects of fractional reserve banking, collateralized debt, etc. When the structures that we have that are based on cheap energy that are not reformable will collapse. So I tell people to build things on a local level while we have cheap oil and also while we have more trust than we’ll have in the future. There are many more local solutions for local problems.
Vodra: Wrap up. As Bob Hirsch said, notwithstanding everything I’ve said so far, the future will actually be awesome. When I grew up, we were promised nuclear war, AIDS, bird flu, Y2K. None of which came at the scale they were promised. And the idea that the Soviet Union would peacefully go away and other great things were not believed possible two hours before they happened. We can make changes. Just when things seemed to be freezing up, a bunch of people said Occupy Wall Street and opened up the conversation.
You can connect the dots and wind up with a pretty scary future but it’s also possible to do things that we don’t yet know are possible.
16.11 Lindsay Curren
Link to the amazing Naomi Davis’s website Blacks in Green.
Sorry, love to put a photo in to this but the ipad2 is so new to me. Can’t make a link either but her site is here: http://www.blacksingreen.org/
16.10 Erik Curren
Q. The single biggest expenditure is the military budget, the best way to waste resources. Won’t we have to convert the military budget for real purposes? Also, homeland security and surveillance society was set up for justn the situation we’re in now.
Vodra: Many people think we don’t have an energy policy. I think it’s the USA PATRIOT Act.
Q. Can’t the world’s billionaires defend themselves in a chaotic future?
Orlov: Their wealth today is paper and based on future industrial production. But once that goes away, their security guys may not want to defend them so much anymore.
Q. Gold? Local currencies?
Tverberg: There just won’t be enough coins to go around. If you have gold, maybe you can find somebody who will sell you some piece of land but otherwise it will have very limited use, unless you have some certificates that will go with it for denominations we need. And you need a safe place to keep it too.
I think that each govt will essentially have a local currency. They won’t be as interchangeable as they are today. maybe the US will break up into regions, each with its own money. You’ll find yourself making more local purchases, but there won’t be many choices about what you can make with the materials only in your area.
Q. Can’t we have complementary currencies to meet a variety of needs, instead of a money monoculture as we do today? Will it mitigate some of the problems of trying to stick to soiled paper?
Foss: Local currencies are a wonderful way to preserve liquidity, but they should have demarrage (sp?) so they lose value over time and there’s no incentive to hoard them. But govts find them to be a threat and to centralized systems where big businesses can skim something off the top.
And gold — govts will likely outlaw private ownership of gold. Gold is now in a bubble. I see it coming down to 600 dollars an ounce. And in the next five years, you won’t be able to get even the lower spot price. But after 20 years it will hold its value. Before owning gold you have to have no debt and access to cash for your own existence.
Orlov: There will be a lot of different types of local currencies, improvised ones. In the future, there will be quite serious conversion losses. Don’t let anyone know what you have, obscurity becomes more important than security, you might use gold coins to bribe local officials. Or your hobby can become a source of health, Boris Beresovsky traded brushes. Fly under the radar.
Vodra: Money is an agreement it is not a thing. As long as everyone agrees that something is money, then it’s money.
Q: Social security and Medicare — how much longer will they last?
Vodra: Are we now facing a Depression or a Collapse? In a Depression, we still had all the recognizable financial institutions of 1928 in 1938, insurance companies, stock markets, etc. But in Russia, the institutions of 1912 didn’t survive to 1922. I don’t see SS going away short of a revolution. If there’s not a crisis, SS is not in trouble, we can raise payroll taxes by 1 percentage point it will be fully funded.
Orlov: Now, there’s an election campaign in Russia. In a certain province, a candidate has said that the amount of pension paid out will be equal to the amount of votes his party gets from retirees. Any politician anywhere who thinks he can get some votes by throwing some money to old people will do so.
16.01 Lindsay Curren
She was raised in a walkable neighborhood. She said her black-centric families grew what they ate, sewed what they wore, and they thought they were poor but they were rich, capable, able, doing, being, living, connectingz;
Naomi Davis…Her amazing ideas here:
1. Micro-lending, bartering, local currencies, pooled village capital. having fun, creating new ways to implement wealth.
2.. Local energy production each village produces own energy for heat light and transportation.
3. Shopping & Waste, each village supplies all basic goods and services to neighbors, converting waste to wealth in the process.
4. Affordable gren homes & gardens. Each village is sustained through jobs driven development w/ out displacement, providiing low-income housing and producing high quality food.
(THis lady is arousing my melancholic tendency to cry when I hear an inspiring speaker who has a great vision and beleives in it and it feels doable and beautiful)
5. News and Netwoorks/ Stories & Structures…villages celebrate their pasts, present, and future culture through stories in print, digital, and theatrical forms. Ran for office…
6. Village Center and Borders…Each village fosters life-long learning through hubs, which are epicenters for green training, development and lifestyle transpformation.
(I am just posting her points, she is storytelling this place down. You’ve got to get naomi Davis and have her come tell this story in your area. She’s amazing!)
8/ Green JObs & Enerprise. Each vilage circulates its wealth throguh neighbor owned business whcih event, invest, ,manufacture, and merchandise locally.
15.54 Erik Curren
Now Q&A. Why do you all seem to be among the few to recognize these problems?
Orlov: It goes against most of what we believe in public: growth. And then there’s the private narrative of the apocalypse. You don’t talk about it in public. As when George Bush was asked if his war in Iraq would bring on the apocalypse. He said “I’m a practical man.” So, he must believe in apocalypse in private but won’t admit it in public.
Q. What about govt repression, esp in the former Soviet Union?
Orlov: Very little under Yeltsin when you had a long democratization movement operating very openly. And the police and army wouldn’t fire on the demonstrators. That only came later under Putin.
Vodra: Here, police still supporting the ruling class, by evicting Occupy demonstrations. In Egypt, the army didn’t fire on protesters but didn’t give up power either.
Q. Nicole and Gail seem to disagree about whether to spend money now or not. What should we do?
Foss: Money has already started to disappear. In the Depresson, prices were incredibly low, but people couldn’t afford to buy things because they had little money. Those who can preserve liquidity will be in a better position. I don’t see any chance of inflation for several years. Eventually, if you break the intl debt financing model, there’s nothing to stop govts from printing money. That could happen in Greece. But other countries won’t. I think prices are going down.
Orlov: Should we believe statistics in a period of contraction? It’s like the blood pressure of a corpse.
15.47 Lindsay Curren
Naomi Davis makes me inspired. This is the kind of speaker who opens minds, touches hearts, and makes one believe in waking, engaging, doing.
15.46 Lindsay Curren
Next up Naomi Davis of Blacks for Green. She’s story telling! Yes, a stroyteller at the ASPO conference. Woo hoo.
She’s citing the activist influences of her life, noting that blacks were contributing least to global warming, but suffereing from it the most.
And she’s a “systems” thinker who wants a whole system solution.
15.44 Erik Curren
Financial crisis could’ve been resolved through widespread bankruptcies, re-pricing of assets and prosecution of fraud. Instead, we had a bailout. So now, big govt has been yoked to big business and both are totally corrupt. These twins will not collapse together.
Our legal system, based on the old English one, based on property rights, can’t survive in a world without money. But here, we respect the rich, we don’t think of them as the ones who robbed us. We admire the greedy and want to be as greedy as they are.
Yet, we don’t need money. We can transition to a gift economy pretty quickly if we understand how it works. That will be intolerable to many people who expect tomorrow to be like today, so they will make themselves miserable. We can feel sorry for them, but there’s not much we can do.
Seems to be about mental transition as much as financial or physical change. Maybe the Occupy movement is just the school we all need?
15.43 Lindsay Curren
Lessons of the 70s, by Greer:
Most effective & reliable response to energy crisis are conservation and lifestyle change.
New energy schemes more affordable when you conserve first.
Individuals, communities etc. very able to take on conservation and you don’t have to wait for anyone else to do it.
15.39 Erik Curren
In the future, much of our infrastructure won’t be maintainable: houses too expensive to heat and cool, bridges with rebar sticking out, and worst of all, nuclear plants. We have no good way to de-commission one. They’ll just shut off and then go, well, nuclear, as in Fukushima…
Financial assets have a tendency to turn into soiled paper. But there’s a lot of value left in inventory and physical assets. If you own copper in sheet rolls, it will be valuable for the next few thousand years.
The rich are only rich on paper, they hold 40% of America’s wealth. But this is mostly financial assets, what I call soiled paper. Most won’t be very rich going forward, though they won’t like not being distinguishable from the general population. Poverty takes a lot of getting used to, you have to go through a process of shedding various expectations and needs and then you can be happy again.
Start getting poor now, seems to be the message. So many of us have already started going to this school…
15.34 Lindsay Curren
Greer says the Drill, Baby, Drill response has always been there in spite of the US being the most explored piece of real estate on earth.
Despite huge subsidies (why, these are profitible industries?) oil extraction has declined.
Greer calls nuclear a “mirage.”
Nuclear fusion is the energy industry equivalent of “vapor ware.”
15.34 Erik Curren
Now up, Dmitry Orlov. Photo of a painting, “Burning Bank” (a Chase branch on fire!). It’s a conservative kind of oil that a banker might buy and it sold for 25K dollars.
Big money doesn’t seem to know where to go, it’s apparently coming to the US to die. That money all was created through debts. And when the debts go bad that money will go away. And we have no good way to deal with the disappearance of money.
Now we have the 99% and the young feeling that the future has been stolen from them by aging richies who want to hold on to what they have. Who will win? It’s clear. Tea Party, watch out.
15.31 Lindsay Curren
John Michael Greer up now. He’s kind of reading his presentation, making it difficult to live blog as it’s moving so fast.
Maybe I’ll add some key thoughts…
Greer says Americans have blamed others, and thrown a big national hissy fit in repsonse to energy crises, and we still are. He says we have a mood of national entitlement.
15.29 Erik Curren
Psychology of contraction — collective fear and anger will increase. If you think it’s hard to share wealth, think of how hard it will be to share poverty. Trust in govt will decline, govts will lose legitimacy and then respond with repression. Govts typically respond only by making things as expensively as quickly as possible. Foss looks for solutions not from above, but from below.
The contagion from Europe will spread here. The first financial crisis will take the pressure off energy but then energy will only get worse.
15.26 Erik Curren
Foss’s advice? Preserve liquidity over the next few years — cash. It represents uncommitted wealth and gives you choices. It’s not a long-term strategy, you may not be able to spend it in 50 yrs. But nonetheless, it’s crucial to survive the coming period of de-leveraging.
Proof? All industries and all commodities are going up and down based on the ebb and flow of liquidity, rather than the fundamentals.
Now, energy demand collapse. Good fun. Once we all lose access to cash, we won’t be able to afford energy. That will create a temporary over-supply and false perception of a glut. Even as price is falling, afforability is getting worse. Oil in future will be less affordable. But it might be at a lower price than today!
Imagine if oil was 60 dollars/bbl. But nobody could afford to buy it…
15.24 Lindsay Curren
Kelly Cain is cited from retreat on education, it will move from global to local w/ focus on sustainability skills.
Transpo: Low tech, reliable, easy to repair. Car has democratized transpo but that’s likely to go away:
What are the social implications?
megan Quin Bachman looked at community, mutual aid, courtesy, etc.
Heinberg advanced his Community Investment Labratory idea.
15.21 Erik Curren
Countries with a bigger percentage of their economy in the banking sector are in most danger. Switzerland is at the top and US, at the bottom of 20 industrialized nations. Does that mean we’re not in such bad shape? Foss says we could catch Europe’s flu, but for now, they’re the epicenter of financial risk. Austerity programs are the only choice and will force economic contraction and ultimate default. Greece will default by Xmas and Euro will disappear in a couple years. Countries in European periphery could lose 50% of GDP in first year post-Euro.
Italy is the biggest problem now, not Greece. Italy owes too much debt to French banks.
15.20 Lindsay Curren
Peter Kilde, Sharon Astyk, John Michael greer, Dmitry Orlov, Richard Heinberg and others got together before this confernence for a two day retreat on the impact of peak oil on poverty.
Came out of it with some ideas and recommendations. Slies passed by too fast for my notes, but ASPO says all slides are going up w/in two weeks of confernece so searhc for that.
But, retreat group expects poverty to grow and impacts of lowering resources on people who haven’t known poverty.
Orlov: “There may not be jobs, but there is always work.”
Idea is to de-monetize as much as possible to get away from money economy to live, be do.
Other ideas about really re-localizing food w/ whole infrastructure. Easier to get this started now than after the shit storm of peak oil.
Health and housing will be issues. But better living can lead to better health, and some strucutres can be repurposed. But there are significant challenges…
15.17 Erik Curren
Credit expansions are growth of excess claims to real wealth. Like a game of musical chairs with 100 people for each chair. What happens when music stops? Everyone grabs for a chair. And many chair claims will just disappear, deflation. Now we’re in the extend and pretend phase — assets have not yet been marked to market. That’s the reckoning we’re all facing soon.
Financial contagion is the spread of fear from one asset class or country to others. The tug of war between greed and fear drives both finance and the real economy, but finance goes there a few months first. That’s why she watches money as a leading indicator.
Tulips, South Sea Company, DJIA in 20s and 30s — you don’t need massive fossil fuel subsidies to blow a bubble. And in burst, it’s rapid and ends below where they start. Our current credit bubble began in early 1980s, so asset prices of 1970s are probably where we’ll end up. Apparently, we’ll all be watching “That 70s Show.”
15.15 Lindsay Curren
Said he heard about peak oil in 2000 and realized it was going to have a huge impact on the poor and therefore would have a huge portion of his work going forward.
He’s from the Community in Action program, he’s been elected to it’s leadership this year.
What is Poverty in America in 2011?
References binary thinking coming out of John Michael Greer lately.
Problem is there are simplisitic understandings about poverty.
Right now 46 million people living in poverty,
USDA said POVERTY IS AT the LARGEST NUMBER EVER RIGHT NOW!
16 million children in poverty. 1 in 4 American children.
Greatest nation on earth? Hmmmm…
That means 46 million unique experiences of poverty.
Rough pictures of American poverty in New York, New Orleans, Indian reservations, Atlanta George, but also nice cottages that may contain elderly eating…dog food.
Close community in poverty is different than homeless and adrift. But there are more differences than this. Some go through temporary periods of poverty.
Poor people can be called:
Most Resilient…not far to fall, able to adapt
Most Vulnerable…will be hard hit by peak oil
15.12 Erik Curren
Next at bat, Nicole Foss who blogs at The Automatic Earth and lives in Canada. Left Oil Drum Canada to start AE to integrate finance and energy, which she’ll do today.
Energy drives expansions, since it’s the capacity to do work. It also drives socio-economic complexity. But FINANCE drives contraction, not energy, since the bursting of bubbles rules in a short time frame. And they burst whether or not energy still remains available. Eg, the Depression — America had vast energy and natural resources but what we lacked was money.
In the next several years, money will be the limiting factor. Money will be scarcer than energy, it will impact the energy sector and then after that, we’ll have a shortage of energy! I guess we’ll get it going and coming.
She focuses on money supply, the cause, rather than the effect, inflation/deflation. And nominal price is not the real issue but affordability is (if everyone’s a billionaire, then a 100 dollar cup of coffee is affordable. But with no money even 5 cents is too much).
15.07 Erik Curren
Don’t count on social security. Nor stocks and bonds. Nor bank accts. Really, anything on paper. It’ll either lose value or just disappear.
Gold and silver? Too hard to use as money, at least by itself.
Best investments are knowledge about things we can do ourselves. Relationships with our families. Lands, tools, seed and water. And a place to live that’s near land.
If you have money in the bank, “you shouldn’t be afraid to spend it now.” On the other hand, don’t accumulate big debt, eg, to send your kids to an expensive college. The payback won’t be there. Admissions offices watch out!
15.06 Lindsay Curren
Peter KIlde is presenting on implications of peak oil on the poor, which hecalls “a growth industry.”
Ouch, I feel that pain as part of the post-jobs economy. But I’d like to think there’s a job out there for me somewhere.
15.05 Lindsay Curren
Council recommended a 10% at least buy of NC and particular Caberres County foods for County events.
Program coordinator is…Aaron. Position is:
Staff assistance to Food POlicy Council
Superintendent for incubator farm
Education and community awareness
Identification of opportunities /….
Collaboration = Diveristy + Communication
Put stakeholders together
Phase 1 How to get it built
Phase II A tax plan to dump ag taxes into sustainable farming
Phase III Programs fund themselves
Don’t reinvent the wheel–so, the local food campaign idea? Borrow it, learn, best proactices, move quickly and get on to farming
And its Cabarrus County, sorry for guesses at spelling.
15.04 Erik Curren
Crazy Limits to Growth graph, hard to follow, but basically: resources dropping (soil, oil) while population and econ output go down. A big scary story in this techy looking graph. Die off?
Intl trade problems coming. If Greece goes back to Drachma, their currency value will go down so they can’t buy as much oil and that will help relieve pressure for a while for the rest of us. But in the long run, it’ll be ugly.
Electricity may cease to work, if everybody gets too poor to buy replacement parts for the grid.
Same with oil supply, can’t afford replacement parts for drilling or bank financing. Hard to believe that could ever happen but who knows? Would that apply to Saudi or Venezuela or just to oil consuming nations?
15.00 Lindsay Curren
Aaron’s locality built a Food Policy Council to have a continuance plan, not just as growers, but also producers, processing, health care, education, hunger relief, etc. A way to be inclusive and increase integrated conversations among constituents.
Regular meetings, get some County support w/ space, some worker support, group is essentially paperless.
Also jumped on the Locally Grown Campaign
Came up w/ a great logo for locally grown w/ their county footprint in the logo. It’s really a great model from Caberis County where he’s from.
Nice banner for the cause, tee shirts, mugs, whatever to help raise revenue, show support.
I mean, who doesn’t love local food except, maybe, …Monsanto?
14.59 Erik Curren
Chart showing that US fed debt started shooting up just when Brent oil price hit a peak, when US govt was spending more — on bank bailouts, stimulus, UI because of recession.
US federal govt revenues are about flat but expenses have gotten “way high,” so it would be difficult to raise taxes enough to make up for it. Really? Tell that to Occupy, who wants to make the top 1% pay more taxes.
14.56 Lindsay Curren
Up first, Aaron Newton, who co-authored A Nation of Farmers: Defeating the Food Crisis on American Soil.
Aaron from NC and he worked on expnading farming in his locality, helping gardners leap frog from light growing to some market ready farming. Try it 3-5 yrs w/ farming and issues of paperwork, etc.
Locality needed more ag infrastrucute. Especially wanted to expand beef cattle. Now county building a slaughter facility, w/ a local family contracted to run it. Training coming. Soon locals can get animals slaughtered and sold locally.
Also, localities wanted help to re-learn what it means to grow and eat locally, germane to their area. Wanted to learn where they were, where they could go.
14.56 Erik Curren
If you don’t have the oil supply to pump up the economy, you can put in a little more debt to compensate — for a while. But then debt starts getting destroyed by high oil prices as economy contracts.
We may be hitting the classic “Limits to Growth.” Consider with Leibig’s Law of the Minimum — some things have no substitute. If you don’t have enough oil, as reflected by high price, the economy will just “make a smaller batch.” If you don’t have enough all, everything in the economy tends to constrict at the same time, the number of employees, the tax collections, even the amount of electricity we use. But what goes UP is the payment of unemployment benefits.
14.52 Erik Curren
Gail Tverberg, actuary, affiliated with Oil Drum and blogger at Our Finite World.
Charts on why it’s easier to replay debt with interest in a growing economy rather than a flat or shrinking one.
Reinhart and Rogoff looked at 800 yrs of repayment of sovereign debt: countries that didn’t default were GROWING economies.
14.51 Lindsay Curren
Moderator Megan Quinn-Bachman says it’s time to move past the problems and start talking about the solutions. Important in peak oil conferences in particular to do this.
Speakers for this session on At Ground Level: Adaptation for Local and Regional Economies are:
Naomi Davis, Pres. of Blacks in Green
John Michael Green of Long Descent, the Archdruid Report, and The Wealth of Nature: Economics as if Survival Mattered
Aaron Newton: Pollinator, Cultivatist
Peter Kilde: Exec Dir. W. Central Wisconsis Community Action Agency
14.47 Erik Curren
Finance: Moderator Richard Vodra, this is about the day after the peak or the day after tomorrow. We’ve already had the session on alt energy where the future is so bright you should wear sunglasses. We’ve heard from Wes Jackson in agriculture that the energy crisis started 13,000 years ago. We’re going to talk about the context of oil, ecology and debt crisis.
14.44 Erik Curren
Now, Finance in a Rapidly Changing World with:
- Dmitry Orlov
- Gail Tverberg
- Nicole Foss
14.25 Lindsay Curren
Jackson says their corporate charter is a structural immorality.
How do you get around it?
Let’s start thinking about corporate charters.
Think who wont be interested in this, and forget them. Move to those who are seeking the compelling alternative and work with them. Monsanto ought to look into what happened to buggy whip manufacturers.
14.23 Lindsay Curren
Conservation as a consequence of production.
Build a system more like an ecosystem.
Should be coming from a “poor peaopl, rich land, and institutions to empower them.”
14.21 Lindsay Curren
A proposed 50 year farm build:
50 million bucks a year over 50 years we can build an agricultural revolution. Would:
Save soil and water resources
328 million acres of reversing annuals for perennials. How do we get there? Fire, grazing, learn from prairie, domestic bovine, small use of farm equipment w/ small use of bio fuels.
Next synthesis: Launch a 30-year mission for a sustainable green revolution. THINK FOOD! How will your kids eat in the future?
14.15 Lindsay Curren
Back to Basics w/ Jackson:
If we can keep ourselves fed agriculture is the number 1 threat to biodiversity. Given desecration of ag land, and dependency on fossil fuels, we can introduce the ecosystem consept. For 10 k years we have not been able to do the eco view, but now, w/ perennials on horizon, we can begin to imagine a different future.
Makes an interesting connection about 1959, John Brown hanged, oil well found, and Darwin’s Origin of Species comes out. I wonder what Tarnas of “Cosmos and Psyche” would find there?
14.10 Lindsay Curren
Jackson advises thinking about what you want to do not in your lifetime, but beyond your lifetime. Think of yourself, your life, your ideas, your creation, as a continuation of the life cycle, beyond you into the next gneration. Good advise for positive efforts, as well as reflection on selfish and negative efforts.
14.07 Lindsay Curren
Maybe made the best joke of the conference so far. Said when he’s showing very technical slides he’s showing it to us to “impress you, not to inform you.” Would that some of the other speakers would grasp that and make presentations that are driven more by insight, narrative, and advisement than on data dumps.
14.05 Lindsay Curren
Jackson showing a variety of perennial polycultures–rain forest, desert, prairie.
What happened 10k years ago? The wheat plant was cultivated, an annual grown in monocultures. To cultivate, nature had to be subdued or ignored.
Our diet dominated by grains.
Humans are primarily grass grain eaters, secondarily vegetation.
Idea that nature is subordinate to humans has run rampant through the world.
Around 1977 it was realized that soil erosion was as bad as when it was first idenitified as bad in 30s. Why can’t we build polycultural agriculture?
14.01 Lindsay Curren
Homo the homogenizer is ruining it all.
Jackson cites Pope, saying, “In all things consult the genius of nature.”
13.58 Lindsay Curren
Said the old farming model had a natural element that mirrored nature’s form of photosynthesizing and concentrating energy. Industrial model the exact opposite.
High energy destroys info of the cultural and bilogicial varieties.
Today, cultural capacity is gone.
Horses will be back faster than the people who will know how to farm. And this is the coming farm and food crisis coming at us.
13.53 Lindsay Curren
Said the old farming model had a natural element that mirrored nature’s form of photosynthesizing and concentrating energy. Industrial model the exact opposite.
High energy destroys info of the cultural and bilogicial varieties.
Today, cultural capacity is gone.
Horses will be back faster than the people who will know how to farm. And this is the coming farm and food crisis coming at us.
13.50 Lindsay Curren
Showing Rockwell’s “County Agent” of 1948. Wes Jackson hunted don the family to find that none of them stayed on the farm
Jackson asks, “Why?”
1948 Global pesticide production began. Sales followed.
Despite Silent Spring in 1960 something sales had doubled.
Now farming is nitrogen, phosphorous, diesel engines, the ammonia tanks replaced recyled manure, horse and worker off farm, and the farms were sold off.
Barns are around the US primarily due to nostalgia. Where are the farms? TYhe farmers? The farm workers?
13.44 Lindsay Curren
He says Americans viewed themselves as poor people on open land that was rich, and so we built institutions on this premise.
Now we’re a rich people, with poor land, that’s full up with people.
My how things chage in a century of fossil fuels.
13.41 Lindsay Curren
Wes jackson says we think we’re so smart, have so much knowledge, but really we’re ignorant, so why don’t we adopt an ignorant world view?
13.38 Lindsay Curren
Lunch speaker is Wes Jackso of the Land Institute, who’s speaking on food issues.
He says soil is as important as oil. And as for the US, we had a good plestocene era and so we’ve got great soil. He thinks there will come a day when we stop treating soil like dirt.
“here we are at 7 billion and counting..” Soil is overlooked and not considered about our future.
He says his message is that if we can keep ourselves fed during the long, dark tunnel ahead, if we can keep our soils in place, all of the gains we’ve had at the beginning of “the fall” then we can have a true green revolution, a renewable energy revolution, a sustainability revolution.
12.40 Lindsay Curren
What’s in the way of chage?
1. Political power of fossil fuel lobby and
corruption in democracy and wealth acting against this new investment.
2. Doomsday views that welcome the end of the western civilization.
3. Bad policy, like no awareness of feed-in tariffs, and no incentives.
All these must change.
He says we’ve had plenty of philosophical growth, intellectual change, we have the skills to contend w/ making renewable enrgy but we have to make this shift or we are definitively go down.
We have to have vision, visualize the change like a winning sports team.
12.36 Lindsay Curren
Dauncey talks about broad integration, from theory to practice, investment to action, showed lots of examples around the world, French solar railway, whole towns in Europe and Japa that are solar, solar stadiums (not ideas, these are realities.)
Transparent solar windows, huge solar installations in desert areas.
Wind energy…exxcluding sensitive environmental areas by 2 times. If we do it.
12.26 Lindsay Curren
Up now Guy Dauncey, Pres of BC Sustainable Energy Institute.
His concern is global warming. Under biz in usual he expect 4 degrees celsius increase by end of century. He says 53% of global warming is caused by fossil fuels, so he does not see peak oil really helping to stave off global warming, to say nothing of the methane impacts of natural gas..methane over 20 years traps more heat than carbon. So he suggest, get on it!
He expects 25 meters sea rise. Show picture of 70 meter rise w/ statue oif liberty up to her arm pits in water, so goes Manhattan.
Green Peace Report: Energy Revolution suggests all renewable by 2050 and how to get there.
Battle of the Grids looks at how Erope can go 100% and phase out dirty energy. W/ grid premised on nuclear and coal, so you have to get the renewable grid shift, they offer a path, a rigorous analysis. Read it.
The Energy Report by Ecofys, they have done serious research to get to 100% renewable by 2050.
Intl Oanel on ClimateChange also said tech potential there to move to renewables.
12.18 Lindsay Curren
What about municipal mass transit in electric vehicles, shuttles, etc.
Cars used as storage sold back to the grid during peak hours.
Electric cars last longer..about 30 years very easily.
School buses, Post office trucks, solar charging stations in parking lots w/ the awnings that provide the benefit of shade.
Has a link: www.go100percent.org
Thisted, Thy-Mors Denmark 80k people powered by 100% renewables.
Tsumkwe, Namibia 200kw solar hybrid plant powers 100 households, and small community services, internet. 20% cheaper than building a grid. They leapfrogged into modern world w/ this system.
Greensburg, KS> the town destroyed by tornado is now 100% renewable.
Marin County, CA. Wants to be 100% renewable electricity by 2020. Ambitious, but they are focused. Sonoma, and San Fran wants the same goal.
Vermont wants 90% renewable by 2050.
12.07 Lindsay Curren
You have to have efficiency and electric cars and moreover, mass transit, efficiencies over all.
Investment in innovation & R & D
Develop Bio fuels
Legilstive framework that works–key because our politics don’t work
Cross industry alliance
12.04 Lindsay Curren
She says Investors want TLC from policy:
Transparency, Longevity, Certainty.
Legislation drives capacity and learning cost curve. This is why it’s working in Germany. 87% increase in green jons in Germany 2004-2009.
ONLY PLACE WHERE JOBS ARE REALLY GROWING ARE COUNTRIES THAT SUPPORT GREEN JOBS!!!
Simplicity is key to success,.
Italy started renewables in 2004 and has done more than California in 5 years because they went at it.
France, very nuclear, adopted distributed power, nothing more valuable than nega-watts, the conserved energy.
Germany now has over 20% renewables and are doing fine, they are reducing peak in pricing for consumer.
11.59 Lindsay Curren
Here comes Angelina Galiteva who’s going to talk about Living on a Renewable Energy Budget.
She was raised in Africa and she said she had no energy, except a small amount of solar energy to pump water, etc. Big contrast w/ her native Eastern Europe, and her experiences seeing Chernobyl.
Fossil fuels uses 30% of our air and fresh water, she says! Ouch! She points to her child, here at the confrences, and she says bring the externalities to the EROI to get the real picture.
To get to a better place she talks about political will, a stakeholder process.
She says the intent has to be real for a renewable energy infrastructure, or else you have green washing.
She says w/in utilites and w/in industries, there has to be more talk, and a share language.
She cals for regulatory policy to move us forward to develop the industries, deals w/ economies of scale. Go beyond bandaids and public education to economic polices pushing the changes.
11.38 Lindsay Curren
Dave Murphy of EROI INstitute is up but he’s going so fast that I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep up.
He asks how we could get to a Transition to solar? But he talks really fast I’m not sure I would be able to keep up even if I wasn’t live blogging.
11.29 Lindsay Curren
Ken Zweibel up now. I had technical trouble but he’s interesting in a basic sense about how much solar capacity is out there, though it’s about 20% more than the market is supporting, leading to price plummets.
He talked about how the US has lagged behind China and German in production, making the US the total Johnny-come-lately on solar.
Zweibel argues for long term affordability of solar, especially when peak fossil fuels will go up in cost over the coming years. Thing is, who can afford that?
Zweibel says that there’s 15 c/mi for electric cars, and it’s 20 cents a mile for gas. He says you can drive electric, save money, and then have money for buying batteries. But let’s face it, who takes their daily savings and sets it aside for the day they have to buy batteries? I mean they SHOULD, but will they?
Zweibel says solar is ona fast cost reduction curve, so we should and can begin to transition more to solar, though the cost is still high and of course, solar is diffuse and we have to contend w/ variability.
11.17 Lindsay Curren
New session and moderator Rob Swenson wants to tell us about the history.
He says ASPO is in part to tell the early warning, calling it the Paul Revere phenomenon.
Swenson wants the wolrd to go to solar transportation, kind of transpo pods. This is the kind of story I’m rarely open to hearing. Great vision, but hey, we can’t even get the country behind municipal solar installations, or solar on homes.
Swenson argues to do his vision though, you need a Silicon Valley approach.
The rest of the panelists are:
Dave Murphy, an energy consultant w/ EROI INstitute at SUNY-ESF
Angelina galiteva Pres. NEOOptions, Chair World Council Reneable Energy
Guy Dauncey, Founder, Pres. of BC Sustainable
Ken Zweibel, Director, GWU Solar Institute
10.42 Lindsay Curren
Good morning. Managed to make it back to the hotel conference center after many oddball adventures last night. Will tell you more about that soon.
But suffice it to say I got here late this a.m. which is a bmmer because I missed Jeff Rubin speak, and he’s one of those presenters who really knows how to do it —some data, but moreover, and ability to knit it together and tell it in a compelling way. The perfect storm of presenters. So, hope I’ll catch up with him later.
Meantime, there’s a Q & A session on his presentation, and also w/ Charlie maxwell, on the post-peak economy.
Though there were some differences of opinions on the “peak” and “peaks” from country to country…
But now folks in the audience are asking, “How bad will it get?”
Maxwell is talking austerity for everyone like in Europe 1955-65. He said, gas the equivalent of a gallon, limited food, mending your clothes, not really buying stuff.
Someone jokingly asked if the US will stage a preemptive war on Canada for the tar sands to get it before China does.
Now Jeff Rubin says China is definitely getting in on Canada, and we can expect a SINOPEC.
20.59 Lindsay Curren
Now they’re on a question and answer session. Interesting but unless they say something amazing, I’m out. Me old lady equal tired how to make sentence don’t know.
But seriously, folks, I did want to say something about that woman Amy I met.
I asked her another question, since she has small children. I asked how learning about peak oil has affected her thoughts on raising her kids. She said at first it was overwhelming, almost too hard to believe, so she didn’t want to think about it.
But after a while she felt she should really consider what are the best choices to make as a parent to help the kids be able to make the best choices for their lives as they grwo up. She’s looking for ways to be mindful and help them along with that. But they’re little, so she has some time. Still, she says it is a major focus for her because she doesn’t feel she can ignore the evidence and has to help them inherit a world they can live in in a healthy way.
It’s interesting, there’s more young people and women here this year, though the event itself is still too “charts and graphs” focused thus far, and not as much contextualizing and storytelling…yet. Who knows what tomrrow will bring.
Tune in tomorrow, we’ll live blog all day.
We’re the team that never rests, so please donate to help us do all this.
And now I really am out. Good night Gracie!
20.50 Lindsay Curren
She proposes solutions from develop renewables to industry changes, likely as regulated and enforced changes in extraction.
Industry benefits from loopholes in laws so we need stronger state and federal rules as well as enforcement. Penalties have to be meaningful. They’ll keep violating if penalty isn’t meaningful.
20.47 Lindsay Curren
How about the water polllutants?
And then chemicals from fracking, and stuff like heavy metals and radioactive materials that should really…stay underground.
Massive health concerns reported across the county as well as symptoms reported by farmers among livestock —do these go into the food chain?
Also, local impacts, hundreds of trucks, noise, accidents, infrastrucute impacts, social service needs, property values shrink after wells on them, title insurance issues. Not an easy process altoghether.
20.44 Lindsay Curren
Drilling impact on air quality is profound. THere are trucks, engines, pits, venting, etc.
THen air contaminants like methane, ozone (smog) patriculate mattter, hydrogen sulfide, greenhouse gases, etc.
And huge WASTE:
Hundreds of billions of aster water gallons per year. Where does the waste water go?
20.39 Lindsay Curren
Now it’s Amy Mall w/ the NRDC…
She’s doing overall Environmental Impacts of onshore and gas production (extraction).
20.34 Lindsay Curren
Interesting one…require full disclosure of the chemicals in fracking fluid.
Editor’s note: And how’s about not making hydrofracking exempt from Clean Water Act. No need for this examption, its a crock that undermines the people’s interest and the people’s laws.
20.32 Lindsay Curren
Restrict drilling w/in 1000 feet of a public wate supply (but he thinks it shoudl be 3000 feet).
Double distance from 250 feet to 500 feet to separate a gas we;; from a private water well.
Extend a well operator’s presumptive liability…and more, sorry, he changed the slide.
20.30 Lindsay Curren
Showing a smaple of water that had trned entirely black. But, he says that’s rare.
20.28 Lindsay Curren
Impressive water analysis capacity at Duke, so they took those 200 samples back to the lab (and did a little of on-site field work, too.
Found methane concentrations were higher in water wells near gas wells. This is a correlation between distance but does not prove cause and effect.
He said he didn’t find fracking fluids, though they didn’t search for all, didn’t find brines, the good news side of the story.
20.24 Lindsay Curren
Howarth studied over 200 private wells in N Eastern PA to see for evidence of impact from fracking (which apparently is spelling fracing) but that doesn’t look anywhere near as good when you’re writing, for example, “What the frack?”
20.19 Lindsay Curren
Very good presentation by Robert Howarth on the controveries around fracking. On one hand, industry loves it. On another, a lot of people are upset.
I wish I wasn’t so tired after last night’s travel misadventures because I feel like I’m starting to fade. Just keeping it real, folks!
20.10 Lindsay Curren
Shale is positioned as a replacement for conventional gas, but shale gas methane leaks and impact are 60 times greater in shale gas than in conventional, meaning more, faster global warming impact.
Questions of economics don’t really change industry behavior. More a matter of regulation to drive this.
20.03 Lindsay Curren
Jackson say’s we’re better off now concentrating on Methane control for the short term to deal with fast approaching tipping points.
20.01 Lindsay Curren
Jackson says that methane loss w/ natural gas extraction, and methane a worse global warming gas. Even though carbon dioxide stays in the environemnt longer, methane makes a worse quicker impact.
Big push on gas extraction raises issues on these fast, untested extraction rates on global warming.
19.59 Lindsay Curren
Jackson talking about old pipes in municipal systems and how they’re leaky, letting methane out. Pictures of cities on fire. Relationship to fracking? Scary!
19.54 Lindsay Curren
Here’s a quote from Jackson and Howarth’s study:
The take-home message of our study is that if you do an integration of 20 years following the development of the gas, shale gas is worse than conventional gas and is, in fact, worse than coal and worse than oil. We are not advocating for more coal or oil, but rather to move to a truly green, renewable future as quickly as possible. We need to look at the true environmental consequences of shale gas.
Read more: http://ecocentric.blogs.time.com/2011/04/11/frack-is-shale-natural-gas-worse-for-the-climate-than-coal/#ixzz1cgp3tHJO
19.52 Lindsay Curren
Jackson is talking about rapid global warming because of all the natural methane release coming out of artic tundra releases…could lead to traumatic rapid release.
But another issue is shale gas. Shale widely touted as a “bridge” to the next energy paradigm to avoid as much green house gases, but Jackson asks “Is that true?”
19.48 Lindsay Curren
Woops, actually Rob Jackson of Duke is talking now, asking whether natural gas is really a “clean” fuel?
19.47 Lindsay Curren
Cumulative effects on air and water not known of methane releases both accidental (accidents) and purposeful (venting.) He concludes that this is a newer, untested technology not adequately explored and we have to consider potential impacts.
Amy Mall up next from the NRDC to ask is there a way around this.
19.42 Lindsay Curren
Ingraffea says that hydrocarbon migration is a big issue becaude methane is such a bad green house gas. So he says hydrofracking methane leaks make it pretty serious for global warming, leaving only 30 years to deal with this and change course.
19.38 Lindsay Curren
Looks like in particular older wells have a lot of hydrocarbon migration. But the young ones fail, too. These are industry data showing failures. Industry calls it “rare,” but Ingraffea says “rare is in the eye of the beholder.”
19.36 Lindsay Curren
Now Ingraffea is showing us what fracking looks like. Used a cement block that they fracked to show us what it’s like. He says in this one experiemnt, now picture this happening over 10s of thousands of wells, often clustered.
Looking at a fracking “pad” w/ 16 wells clustered. It’s in British Columbia…but it’s coming to a pristine place near you…
Uses over 400 million gallons of water using nearby lake water. Fracked this pad many times.
How’s about in Tioga, County Pa? There are tons of pads there, and you have to drill everywhere, so you cover it w/ pads and spacing units and all that chemical “slick water” does.
What are the impacts to air, water, climate, and human health? Next speakers up will say more but he says…Migration of hydrocarbons—Contamination of underground sources of water.
Also: GHG Emissions: Substantial affect at climate change scale. “Getting it right can still be wrong.” So frackers can do their thing, and call it safe, but is it?
19.31 Erik Curren
Yes, fracking is 60 years old. But all the parts of this new industrial process to extend fracking is only about five years old. It’s a big change — and that leads to the environmental issues. That lateral could be miles long and intercept tens of thousands of natural fractures, so you need 10-100 times more fluid than in conventional fracking. The fluid needs to be slick — “slickwater.” Finally, the use of clusters in a small area on pads is new too.
19.29 Lindsay Curren
Ingraffea says the horizontal wells go a mile or more down and then a mile or so horizontally to breaak up the shale and get to the gas.
He said whole idea is get as many of the lateral wells at the surface to get down to the rock, to then drill horizontally all over the place.
He says while some elements of hydrofracking are old, but only w/in last five years have the innovations occured to change the drilling situation.
Directional drilling, high volumens of frack fluid, interactions open 10s of thousands of fractures with millions of gallons of frack fluid with myriad chemicals in order to get at that gas—all this is new, not old.
Also “clustered pads,” is a new development. Lots of pads together in one place.
19.26 Erik Curren
Hydrofracking 101. Ready for school to start?
It’s not just fracking…but fracking plus: High Volume, Slickwater Fracing from Long Laterals. How is it different from conventional methods of producing natural gas?
Drill a vertical well into a pool of gas. So far, the same as conventional. But then, if it’s unconventional play, in shale, the gas isn’t one place, it’s everywhere, in a narrow band of shale. So you need to turn your well laterally or horizontally. This part can be much longer than the rest.
19.20 Erik Curren
Coming up now: natural gas!
The Shale Gas Rush: Boom or Bust?
Massive expansion of shale gas development has been touted as a cure-all for America’s energy challenges. This special feature session takes a hard look at the prospects and pitfalls for shale gas.
Anthony Ingraffea, Professor of Engineering, Cornell University
Rob Jackson, Professor, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University
Robert Howarth, Professor of Ecology and Environmental Biology, Cornell University
Amy Mall, Senior Policy Analyst, NRDC
Moderator: Art Berman, Labyrinth Consulting Services, Inc.; ASPO-USA Board Member
17.24 Erik Curren
End of Growth: Jean Laherrere
GDP vs federal expenditures including national defense. In terms of capital and income, it peaked in 2000 and is now going down. And energy consumed is a plateau since 1972.
Problem with measuring energy use, since the US almost alone in the world doesn’t use metric SI energy units, but instead Btus.
Even US govt stats conflict with each other when new authors come in at Lawrence Livermore or national government energy agencies, including DOE.
17.02 Erik Curren
End of Growth: William Catton
Grew up in the Depression and had a good time. People thought of each other as people. But now we dehumanize each other by thinking of each other as customers.
Perpetual growth on a finite planet is just nonsense.
When I was a kid, it was considered the main task of kids to grow. Maybe it still is? The family enjoyed seeing the lines of the kids’ height move up the door jamb.
At the time, Robert Watlow of Alton, Illinois, nine feet tall, was renowned as the tallest man who’d ever lived. He got an infection from the leg braces his height required and after two weeks he died. But as a kid even his parents must’ve realized that those marks on the door jamb were not marks of success but of danger.
“A ceiling we cannot wish away,” a headline in a letter to the editor of the New York Times that could’ve described that Americans have created a monumentally perilous deficit in carrying capacity by our reliance on fossil fuels. Alas, the letter was just concerned about the US federal debt limit and not the more important limits of the earth.
We should never have viewed resource discovery rates as the same as replenishment. Nature replaces plants but not oil at any rate meaningful to humans. Discovering oil deposits is not growth, except in our weird definition of it.
In the early days of human farming, animal husbandry and crop techniques allowed more humans to live on less land, but there were limits. Use of animals and then machines expanded it, but machines allowed land formerly used to feed animals to be converted to feeding people. One farm he knew freed up 50 percent of their land for feeding humans once they replaced their draft horses with tractors and combines.
But this meant using our air as a dumping ground for combustion products. We kept acting as if the only matter of concern was the rate we could extract from nature’s storehouse, calling extraction “production.” We need to change this vocabulary quirk. Thus, we committed ourselves to using up the earth’s solar energy savings acct, because no human farmers had to be paid for growing that prehistoric plant material, or burying it, or making it into coal, oil and gas.
Carrying capacity: loads exceeding capacity do so at their own peril, we damage the resource base in growth leading to overload.
Hydrocarbons were nature’s sequestration of a former contaminant. Had nature not sequestered that carbon, the atmosphere would never have become friendly to humans…for us to burn fossil fuels!
Technological progress did enable humans to behave as giants, and many of us became homo colossus. But the fossil fuels behind this, being non-renewable, could not support perpetual growth. We fortunate humans did not realize we’d taken a step that was retrograde — we’d returned to foraging on a giant scale and abandoned farming. Oil wells — that’s our modern foraging technique.
From the beginning of the industrial era, we’ve been running up ecological deficits. That unacknowledged deficit has more consequences than any country’s financial deficit. The letter in the Times mentioned above, was by Lawrence Tribe calling for “great courage and sacrifice” in tightening our belts. This could apply to nature’s constitution, more important than the US one.
People who oppose any redistributive change will aggravate not ameliorate the problems with the economy. Present preoccupation with getting the national debt under control could be a helpful rehearsal to coming to terms with living on a finite planet or a fatal distraction. Has it already been settled by our stubborn pursuit of endless growth?
16.40 Erik Curren
The End of Growth?: Richard Heinberg
All money now is debt. As the economy grows, debt grows. Where does the money come from the pay the interest on today’s debt? From the ever growing economy. As long as we’re all working and selling stuff to each other, the economy keeps growing and interests keeps getting paid.
Until the 1980s, money was growing about the same rate as debt. But then, when labor became outsourced, hourly wages for American workers stagnate. So, if 70% of the economy is consumer spending, but people don’t have the money, how can they buy? Ads work to create desire…so new debt is necessary to give consumers credit. This debt becomes an investment for Wall Street and thus we see the financialization of the economy. Wall Street gains political power, lobbies the govt for looser regs, and we’ve seen what happened with that.
US total debt 1970-2010 grew dramatically, both consumer and govt, up until 2008. All to illustrate that we’re now living at the end of history’s largest credit bubble. The way it appears is as a growth crisis. And this is fueling the political crisis we’re now seeing in Greece and elsewhere.
We’ve been on a growth train and have been fueling it for decades. We want more, more, more. But we live on a finite planet and those theoretical limits are now real. Whether we interpret the daily news that way or not, if we’re going to adapt to this new economy, we’ll have to take those environmental limits into account.
For his book, he interviewed lots of Wall Street people, some of whom would speak on the record and some not. They all agreed in a general picture of our economic future: Persistent high unemployment, declining household income and net worth, financial system instability.
We need to accept this. We should not demur and delay. Instead, we should start building local resilience. We should not ignore the national political system…but it’s clearly difficult to get good things done at the national political level. At the local leve, more possibility for change.
We need resilience to continue to function in the shocks that are on the way. Very often, resilience is at odds with economic efficiency, which we’ve prioritized in the last few decades, trading on the specialization of production and reducing inventories to the biggest extent possible. See what happened: after Japan crisis, even US car manufacturing slowed down for lack of Japanese parts.
We need more farmers, distributed around the country, even if big industrial ag is more efficient.
The takeaway of the book: there is life after growth. Rapid econ growth is an artifact of the fossil fuel age. We’re now just getting back to normal. And we can have a better future with more quality of life, if we aim for it.
Community Economic Laboratories: one-stop shop, central location; car share, ride share; food co-op; credit union; job center; free clinic.
Just as Bhutan has for the last forty years experimented with Gross National Happiness we could do the same. But we’ll need a deliberate policy shift to get away from GDP. But what politicians are doing now is promising something they won’t be able to deliver. There’s no future in that and citizens will become more and more disgruntled with the failed performance of govt until it becomes clear that there’s no more cheese at the end of that tunnel.
Once we understand that, we can set different goals, like the integrity of our enviro, the health of local culture in music and art and make life better for real people as we consume less.
16.23 Lindsay Curren
Caught up w/ Art Berman who’s moderating tonight’s panel on The Shale Gas Ruch: Boom or Bust?
You can read my article on Berman from last year’s ASPO conference by using our search feature and look for The Great White Shale (sorry, haven’t learned how to make a link on my iPad yet, and WordPress isn’t showing me my whole kitchen sink. But read it, it’s good (about natural gas).
Tune in for my live blog on tonight’s session w/ some guys who may think it’s all boom. I wonder what Berman will ask them?
16.22 Erik Curren
Up Next, The End of Growth
The spectacular economic growth experienced by the United States and other industrial nations over the last 100 or more years was made possible in large part by access to abundant, affordable energy, principally from fossil fuels. Can growth as we have known it continue in the face of accelerating depletion of global energy resources?
Jean Laherrère, President of ASPO France, retired geologist/geophysicist, Total S.A. (France)
William R. Catton, Jr. Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Sociology, Washington State University; Author, Bottleneck: Humanity’s Impending Impasse
Richard Heinberg, Senior Fellow, Post Carbon Institute: Author, The End of Growth
Moderator: Jim Baldauf, President, ASPO-USA Board of Directors
15.36 Lindsay Curren
Q & A begins and right out audience wants to know what top peak oil denier Daniel Yergin recently wrote about “There Will Be Oil.”
Experts showing very different data points than Yergin sites, w/ claims that Yergin “conveniently” leaving out important data points. But also that it doesn’t deal with the effect on export delclines.
15.32 Erik Curren
Wells and Wall Street Q&A
Robert Rapier: “If we ever are 100 percent renewable energy, it will be the oil companies that are doing it.” He bought Brazilian company Petrobras.
15.30 Lindsay Curren
Li believes (perhaps optimistically he says) that by 2050 China will face contraction in GDP. Until then, they’re growing and using lots of energy.
15.28 Lindsay Curren
Li now talking about implications of a coal future for China on global warming.
Not good. He says not sustainable, 5 celcius increas. He says, “Pretty much end of the world scenario.”
15.19 Erik Curren
Wells and Wall Street: Jason Stevens
“Investing in a Peak Oil World”
At the end of the day, investing in stocks won’t mean that much compared to other problems from peak oil.
Oil prices ran up 86% from 2000-2005. That wasn’t a crisis market, but a rational increase based on supply and demand. Go to the next five years, 05-11 YTD, oil prices increased 69%. Though OECD demand flattened out, China etc pushed demand up still higher than supply.
Global oil production growth will fail to meet underlying demand growth. Duh…
It means lots of volatility is coming. Oil will flow to the highest and best use, from utilities to farming, rather than driving kids to soccer practice. Upward slope because we’re not adding to incremental supply over time.
For investors, this means volatile prices, lower returns or a failure to perform at all. But will it be boom, recession, depression or collapse? In the latter case, there would be no financial markets, which would be too bad, because they can be helpful to allocate energy. Let’s assume no collapse, but that fin markets continue to exist.
Pyramid diagram. First, invest in yourself, learn useful skills, work to increase resilience. Second, pay off your debt (a return of 12% on avg, better than financial markets). Third, buy useful or valuable things (tools, gold, land, spare parts if you have a hobby). Last, invest in public markets.
In that case, find companies that can earn returns in excess of capital: an economic moat (Warren Buffet term) whose stocks stocks trade at discounts to intrinsic value with a margin of safety.
Want stocks that will:
- Benefit from higher oil prices (oil services, coal): Whiting Petroleum a low-cost producer who can pump oil for /bbl and sell to Cushing for /bbl with massive acreage in Bakken Shale. Also building new positions in Permian Basin and shale in Rockies.
- Benefit from higher price volatility (commodigies exchanges): CME Group (exchange). A wide moat with a captive audience trading your products and you collect a fee from every transaction coming or going, you thrive off of volatility. Also has a monopoly on clearing transactions, getting a fee on each.
- Relatively unaffected by higher oil prices (healthcare, telecom): Covidien, medical devices. As populations age, you’ve got a price insensitive demand for joint replacements, scopic surgery. They’re also a low-cost leader for making and selling sutures and needles, so they can thrive in a lower tech medical market too in the future. Low-cost sales force by virtue of market share — doctors know them and give repeat sales.
- Can pass through higher prices without losing their customers immediately (strong brands): Apple Computer. iPhone and IPad reinvented mobile telephones and created a “need we didn’t know we had and now everyone pays more than 100 dollars per month for a phone. Quintessential example of 5,000 mile supply chain, parts sourced everywhere. Goes against peak oil thesis. Yet, the parts for a 600 dollar iPad cost about 75 dollars for products and another 12 dollars to ship, so it’s a high value-to-weight product. But even if price goes up, they have captive users in their network so they can charge a higher price.
15.16 Lindsay Curren
Li says by 2020 cola will overtake oil as world’s biggest energy source used.
Yikes…he says nothing about what this means for global warming.
15.14 Lindsay Curren
Minqi LI says we’re entering into another period, like early 20th century, of global crises—economic depression, instability, etc. But unlike 20th century…this won’t be followed by a new “golden age of capitalism.” INstead, problems will compound, persist, and things will get worse.
15.12 Lindsay Curren
Jefferey Brown recommends an ELP plan because he says governemnts are not doing their job. So he advises:
He says this is what individuals have at their disposal. Don’t expect Government to start dealing with the implications.
15.00 Lindsay Curren
I did meet an interesting woman at my table. Amy is here w/ her husband who does investment and buys real estate and farmland.
She tole me that about a year ago he came upon peak oil news, and tried to get her into it. At first she was too busy w/ stay-at-home parenting and other concerns to pay much attention. But he kept pressing her to read the material and so she did. Thye’ve both been doing research now for about the past year and decided to come to the conference to learn more and look at how that affect their lives, as well as their investment.
After this session I’m looking forward to asking her how she sees this affecting her pre-school age children in the future.
14.58 Erik Curren
Wells and Wall Street: Robert Rapier
“The Art of Technical Due Diligence”
Works in Hawaii (tough life!). Lots of people claim to have the solution to the world’s energy problems and they can solve them if they can just get the govt’s money (or yours).
If you might want to invest, get as much info as possible before signing a secrecy agreement with a company. He’s done a cheat sheet available online to help.
Legal Disclaimer: Nothing I say should be taken seriously.
Story from Discover magazine about a company that could change anything into oil. They were going to make turkey guts into oil at under /bbl!
When you talk to a company, you’re going to be lied to. You’re going to have to get past the PR guys to the scientists and engineers who aren’t as good at lying. The company may have nothing more than an idea and a website.
Understanding scale — average sized oil refinery is 125,000 barrels per day. Avg ethanol plant — 4,000 bbl/day. Biomass expected — 600-3,000 bbl/day. Pilot plant — 1 bbl/day. Lab experiment — one aspect of tech at very small scale.
Every scale up involves big risks and most technologies get knocked out at small scale. You have a 50% failure probability at each level. So that means you have more than a 90% chance of failure to get to commercial scale. Why? You can have very small emissions probs in the lab that become very big.
The heat transfer challenge. Thanksgiving is coming — an oven is a “reactor” for cooking one turkey, like a small lab experiment. Let’s say you want to scale up to cooking 1,000 turkeys per hour. Imagine a huge tube heated on the walls. But you have to avoid temperature differences between the outside and the inside. Cold areas can produce tar. Hot spots can crack everything down to methane, which you don’t want. Always a challenge to have uniform heating inside a reactor as you scale up.
So, the first question: how large a scale has the process been operated at? How many consecutive total hours? What feedstock (don’t assume grass is the same as wood)? What is your biggest weakness, what kind of problems are you having? Check this against, eg, experiments in the patents.
Economic assumptions. There’s been an arms race in biofuels, everyone saying they can make liquid fuel cheaper, such as /gal. That assumes that you’ll get cheap or free fuel or someone will pay you to take their biomass. Then, you’re not in the energy, but the waste disposal business. Will scale up really drive down costs? It may drive them up in fact, such as pollution control, that you don’t need in the lab.
What is being produced? Pyrolasis oil is not really “renewable crude,” it’s nothing like crude oil’s long chain of hydrocarbons, but half of it ends up as water or CO2, making it much less powerful.
Energy balance (EROEI). How much energy does it take to make the energy? And what energy are you using? Are they looking at the whole process, including disposal, or only part of it?
Then, test the financial model. Assume that feedstock will cost at least as much as hay does today. In future, there’ll be more competition for biomass. What if it goes to 0 per ton — can you still make oil for /bbl?
Sources of info: operators are the best, if you can get past the PR people. Former employees can be a great source of info. Competitors may tell you things you don’t know about.
See Rapier’s article in Forbes from April 2011 with his Cheat Sheet.
And that company that used turkey waste, that Discover magazine hyped so much? Production costs were really /bbl when crude was trading at /bbl. Claimed they made “light Texas crude” but it was really “thick, tarry fuel.” Plant operated at less than 40% capacity. Missouri dept of env quality shut them down. Bankruptcy!
14.57 Lindsay Curren
Now up…Jeffrey Brown…a Petroleum Consulting Geologist.
It’s good but unless numbers are your favorite way of telling stories, some of this just gets lost on mean. I mean I get net production declines, and how that relates to consumption, production and exports on a peaking slope…
But I need a way that this relates to real life, not just the oil field snapshot.
14.48 Lindsay Curren
Aleklett had a best case to worst case scenario that showed ability through tar sands and al that to extend the plateau out toward 2035. But, worst case scenario shows a precipitious decline in oil, and no ability to sustain a plateau…showing a crash by 2017 or so. Again, he emphaiszed, US will be rationing w/in ten years.
Time to move to a walkable comunity, folks…and start growing food.
14.43 Lindsay Curren
Graph shows US as biggest importer after Europe overall. China lower than half US imports. But they’re going up. Where will they get more oil? How will that affect US access to oil?
Aleklett: Time is running out!
14.42 Lindsay Curren
Aleklett sees Russia seriously lowering its export capacity by 2035. Not 10.5 m/bd export, but 2 m/bd.
14.40 Lindsay Curren
From Aleklett: Issues around infrastructure development around giant fields is huge, because to continue extraction rates, wells must be pressurized. To pressurize giant fields takes huge infrastructure before you can pressurize. And that costs big bucks. Where does that come from in a global economic crisis? Can Saudi Arabia extract all it believes it can? What does that mean for US
14.34 Lindsay Curren
Aleklett is asking where does the US think it will be able to get oil imports in 2035? Looking at oil exporters, he says US ends up in a vulnerable position politically to these countries relative to how those countries behave, and what the US can “say” about them if US needs their oil. To say nothing of oil field declines and how countries change from exporters to non-exporters (to keep oil for their opwn people).
14.34 Erik Curren
Wells and wall Street: Now, Chris Martenson.
Really quick tour of the Crash Course. We can’t just focus on economics anymore and see everything else as an externality. We have to connect it to energy and the environment.
Investing: most of what we’re doing now is speculating. The Fed punted today but what will they do in six weeks?
1. Our money is based on growth, all loaned into existence. And because of principal and interest, we have an exponential money system. See chart of US M3 Money Stock 1959-2007. There’s an .98 fit (R squared) between an exponential system and the actual money supply. Total US Credit Market Debt has doubled five times in four decades. So, we’d have to see credit market go to continue to double, to over 100 trillion dollars. Not likely, or maybe even possible. “Tomorrow’s growth is the collateral for today’s debt.” — Colin Campbell.
2. There’s no growth without energy. For debt to grow exponentially, then energy use and supply will also have to grow exponentially. And to use it you need to find it. Crazy! World discovery of oil peaked in 1964. Now it’s down to early 20th century levels. And of course peak conventional oil is in the rear view mirror.
What happens when something that must grow meets something that can’t grow? One is human created (econ) and the other is natural (energy). So, that means our money system is poorly designed.
Economy is not a linear but a complex system: inherently unpredictable (eg, piles of sand, faultlines, and our economy) — the govt can pull on its levers all it wants but they may not fix the economy; and complex systems owe their complexity to the energy flowing through them.
So, our complex system when starved for energy will start simplifying (!). The economy will have a lot fewer nodes in the future.
What are stocks and bonds in aggregate worth when you factor growth out of the story? Both have growth built in — equity and interest. For 13 years, the S%P 500 has gotten an effect zero percent return (without dividends).
Energy will consume a growing proportion of disposable income. We’ll have less money to spend on other stuff. Money will flow towards energy and away from more discretionary aspects of society.
Food prices will mirror energy. And that will lead to civil unrest. See Egypt: in 2010 the country became a net energy importer for the first time in a long time. Thus, the revolution?
We have to understand all three Es at once — Economy, Energy and Environment.
This framework has allowed him and his personal portfolio to do extremely well in the last few years. You need to suspend your beliefs about growth, which come from society. There’s a huge gap between what you know to be true and what you believe to be true.
14.26 Lindsay Curren
Aleklett says US will face gas rationing within ten years!
14.23 Lindsay Curren
Alekett says US projections about what it can do, and what it will have access to is nonsense based on current projections in relation to real qualities of fuel sources —shale, bio fuels, etc. It wont work.
14.22 Lindsay Curren
Kjell Alekett is up w/ stories on peak liquid fuels graphs.
He said world peaked at 81.5 Million barrels of oil per day or m/bd in 2006.
He says in US we’re going to have big competition w/ China.
He says US will definitely shrink in productin and consumption.
14.19 Erik Curren
Wells and Wall Street: Intro by Jim Hansen, Ravenna Capital Management. His company only invests based on peak oil. Most people ask, how much can I make? Wrong question. Now, if you chase growth, you will fail. Think in a broader scale. We’ll talk about energy. A lot of things will work that are not oil and gas companies. Eg, a company that manages the friction between rails and wheels. They manage the lubricant — that’s where they make money. We came to it as a result of the peak oil story and how rail fit into it. Also, don’t ignore the debt issue — stay away from highly leveraged companies.
14.09 Lindsay Curren
So, like I said, I’m in a session on China and the Middle East and the implications for US Energy Security. Hopefully we won’t hear any of the crap about how the US is the new “Saudi Arabia” of energy w/ hydrofracking and tar sands. What a crock.
Who knows what they’ll cover but the speakers are:
Kjell Alekett, Professor of Physics Uppsala U. Sweeded
Minqi Li Associate Prof of Econ at U of Utah
Jeffrey Brown, Independent Consulting Petroleum Geologist
Let’s get started
14.06 Lindsay Curren
Just sat down next to Sharony Astky for a session on China and the Middle East : Implications for US Energy Security.
Any of you who know Sharon know she’s very influential in the peak oil world for her love of farming and food, and her tips on how to preserve food for food security. She also writes on the implication of peak oil for women, children, and vulnerable populations worldwide.
She has a farm in New York, four sons, and has just begun to open her home to foster children as well.
She writes a blog, and has several books out. So of course I asked her, “How do you juggle it all?”
She said, “I don’t. I drop a lot of balls.” But, she explains, it all comes out in the wash.
Besides, she has a very supportive husband who works with her 50/50 to get things done and , as she says, when she’s loving what she does, that makes all the difference.
Sharon is also a Board member here at the Association for theStudy of Peak Oil.
14.02 Erik Curren
Breakout sessions starting. I’ll be at “Of Wells and Wall Street: Implications for Businesses and Investors” with:
- Chris Martenson, author of the Crash Course
- Robert Rapier, Chief Tech Ofcr, Merica Intl
- Jason Stevens, Assoc Dir, Energy, Morningstar
14.01 Lindsay Curren
Guy across from me is John Wetmore of Pedestrians.org. I checked out his site, but he’s busy talking to other folks right now. His site is for a monthly TV show on awareness and issues affecting pedestrians and bike riders.
13.57 Erik Curren
Jim Baldauf, ASPO board president, talking. Any response to ASPO letter to US Energy Secy Chu on peak oil? No. Is anyone from Dept of Energy here? No hands go up. ASPO is re-releasing their letter to Chu as an open letter that anyone at the conference can sign. Will check if signatures can be done online.
13.43 Lindsay Curren
Sitting here with Gerd Ebeling of Transition Quincy, Ca. (They’re on Facebook)
He told me the best story about how in his area bunches of apple trees were planted some 100 years ago or so. But they were never really tended and so produced fruit that then basically rotted on the branch, or fell off for animals.
Essentially, their group decided to do something about it, gathering their larger community in around the idea of “tending the apple trees.” Because they were such old varieties, the best choice was to juice them. They came up with an acronym, Apple JOLT –Juice Or Lose Them. They teamed up w/ the local co-op, got a big front page story in their local paper, and held this community juicing event! They’re even talking about brining in a micro brewer to make local hard cider from some of it.
It’s an inspiring story of bringing community together with what you have and discovering something new that can help move the community forward.
Glad to see folks from a Transition group here!
13.31 Erik Curren
Sitting at lunch with Phil Erner, grad student at U of Albany in physics and Zachary Reaver, undergrad in bioengineering and chemistry at Univ of Toledo.
Why are they here?
Phil: Looking for a job. Has done teaching and is open to working in private industry. He’s researching habitability of planets outside of our solar system! He talks about it on his blog. He also looks at climate models that help predict global warming. Obviously, dealing with climate change will take energy to deal with. Lives in the same county as Sharon Astyk, was TA for her husband Eric Woods and he has visited her farm. Getting interested in food security issues.
Zachary: There’s a group of five engineering students here. We found out about the conference. U of Toledo is pushing for more green energy. They want to present what they learn at ASPO when they get back to campus.
Why do they care about peak oil?
Phil: Agrees with those who call for austerity on the part of those of us who can afford to be more austere, particularly relatively well off Americans. We should think about how to trim that down as soon as we can.
Zachary: The implications of it are very serious. Whether or not it happens in the next year or 10 years, it at least needs to be addressed through a plan of action, a national energy plan in case we’re not having oil. Everyone here is saying there’s a problem and he agrees but others will deny that there there’s an issue. We have to start addressing that there is an issue to start with. And then we need to plan.
13.05 Lindsay Curren
Lunch is starting. Cool guys sat down at our table.
There’s Vincent Springer from Adalai Stevens High School in Chicago. He teaches an AP class in human geography and he sees the issues raised at the ASPO conference on human population and how we got from 6 bilion people to seven billion in around just 11 years.
He sees this as relevant to his students’ examination of how population has increased so quickly, and what energy and in particular cheap energy has to do with it. He wants them to examine then, what the ened of the area of cheap energy mean to future population? And further, what that means for lifestyle choices and perhaps careers they’ll choose in the future.
An interesting note, Adalai Stevenson school is a LEED certified building. Read more here: www.d125.org/gogreen/default.aspx
12.43 Lindsay Curren
Hi, Lindsay here. After a grueling trip from our home in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, up to DC in the dead of night, (after a long day that ended when the class I teach on Social Media and Blog Writing dismissed at 9pm) we finally got to the bare, furnitureless apartment that our friend is lending us in Cleveland Park.
So we hauled all our stuff up the stairs, and then went back to the car for the futon I insisted we bring (I don’t do wooden floors anymore). But lo, what’s this? Erik had locked us out of the apartment!!!
It’s 1:30 in the mornign, we’re dead tired, we’re calling our pal back in Lexington, Va. about the lock, and after about thirty minutes that had us jiggling the key in the lock seven ways to Sunday, and contemplating bashing the door in with our shoulders, I finally think, check above the door frame to see if anyone put a key there.
Miracle? I think not. There it was and we got in and I was so sweet and nice even though I wanted to burst a blood vessel from fatigue and frustration.
Needless to say we didn’t make it to the first session but we’re here at the catered networking lunch (about to begin) and ready to start finding out who’s here, why, what they’re hoping to get from this and most of all…I’m ready to keep a keen eye on what ASPO considers “Truth in Energy.”
Hope you’ll stay tuned as we live blog our way through this thing.
Send questions in, e-mail us, donate to our trip costs. Join the live Web fun from the ASPO conference
12.27 Erik Curren
Folks seem to be a bit late from their morning sessions over at the Congressional Meeting Room in the Capitol building.
12.25 Erik Curren
We’re about to start the networking lunch at the Hyatt Capitol Hill.
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That’s why we bring you regular coverage of perhaps the world’s leading advocate for agrarian values, poet and farmer Wendell Berry. Today’s review of Berry’s new book on the economy, “As farms go, so go the cities,” is just our latest look at Berry’s disturbingly original thought.
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