Zero-sum game

Buy Nothing Day Poster

When I was in college in Richmond, Virginia, there was a fabulous little hole in the wall of a bookshop called Carriage House Books. It's still there, near the campus, and just as cozy. Carriage House always welcomed browsers, even though it was crowded, pokey, and tiny. If you were particularly lucky you could snag one of those library-style step stools, blend in to a corner, and settle in for … [Read more...]

Neither apocalypse nor paradise

hi, loser poster

I'm pleased that my little article on the high volume of collapse talk coming  from peak oil writers recently generated some attention. And I'm grateful that as someone so obviously committed to Transition as Dave Ewolt judged my musings worth an intelligent response. I'd like to address some of his excellent points here. For me, there are three issues in talking about any kind of post-peak … [Read more...]

Do shoot the messenger

big Buddha statue

If the right message is delivered by the wrong messenger, it probably won't get through. Even worse, the wrong messenger can make people who were neutral on an issue into hostile critics. Using the wrong messenger may be worse than using no messenger at all. That's the finding of a study on the Golden Rule done in October at the University of Virginia. For Christians, the Golden Rule is … [Read more...]

Thank you for oil

Prayer at Thanksgiving

As families gather around Thanksgiving tables to voice the things they're thankful for—usually family, friends, "this time together"—I'll be offering my thanks for oil. Not for the olive oil that might be used to sauté some of our veggies, though I'm thankful for that too. No, I'm talking about petroleum. When we think about oil we mostly see it as gasoline, or lubricant for a car. Petroleum so … [Read more...]

Peak-ocalypse now: a cult of doom

the four horsemen of the apocalypse

Change out those barrels of potable water, haul a few more cases of pork-n-beans down to the basement and make sure that Messrs Smith and Wesson are well oiled up. That's right -- it's time again for the Peak Oil Apocalypse show, sponsored naturally, by Goldline International. To hear many peak oil bloggers talk recently, you'd think that Western society was sure to collapse by Christmas. Is … [Read more...]

Can Palin and Glenn Beck make America solar?

NASCAR fans

Solar power. Do-goodery. Environment. Limousine liberal. Rare. California. Eco-Yuppie. Expensive. GREEN. No doubt about it. The words that the general public associates with solar power these days are probably not the ones that will get most people to put PV panels or a solar hot-water heater on their roofs, as the blogger known as Dave puts it at 1blog.org. He suggests a new set of … [Read more...]

I wish the British were coming

British redcoats

America may need a British invasion to get an energy policy that will take us through peak oil. These days, the British seem to know better than we do when it comes to energy. So maybe they can help us out this time, as they have in the past. Fortunately, America has always been an Anglophile nation. Even if we chafed under their Crown, we did buy their culture. There's nothing we trust more than … [Read more...]

Reading between the lines of the IEA report

world oil chart in Swedish

One of the more interesting occasions each year is learning just how far the International Energy Agency has come in the last 12 months towards publicly admitting that days of boundless cheap oil are over, just how high global oil production will ever get, and when the inevitable decline in production will set in. The IEA, of course, is not a completely free agent in formulating its discussion of … [Read more...]

What the Stewart rally means for Transition

Sarah Palin is so important that this look alike showed up at the Rally To Restore Sanity

Listening is a much needed virtue, says Transition movement co-founder Rob Hopkins. And, he says, it's crucial to the effort to relocalize on which the Transition movement makes its case. That's why the model of civility in Transition has a welcome ally in the recent Rally to Restore Sanity. Gathering to do anything begins first with being able to gather peacefully—to listen, to honor, to be … [Read more...]

It’s official: Peak oil came in 2006

vintage oil cans

The subject of peak oil seems to hover always at the margin of the national conversation. Every so often a prominent politician will make a veiled reference to problems with oil supplies. The Saudis will talk about "demand" declining. A mainstream media outlet will do a tongue-in-cheek profile of someone who's preparing for a post-peak world. Or some country's military will warn us yet again that … [Read more...]