Biodiversity, Biofuels, Consumerism, Deforestation, Economics, Food Shortages, GMOs, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Nuclear, Population, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Paul Chefurka November 10, 2012
We are now well into a global crisis that may mark the end of this cycle of human civilization. In this note I present a summary of what’s going on as far as I can tell, as well as a scenario for how things might develop over the next 75 years or so.
The issue is enormous, so an overview like this is inevitably going to be skimpy on details. This is, after all, not an academic journal. However, like every other fact in the known universe, those details are just a Google away…
Because the global predicament manifests itself in some way in virtually every area of human endeavour, any useful approach to it must be massively cross-disciplinary. Fruitful areas for investigation include:Comments (12)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Community Projects, Eco-Villages, Markets & Outlets, Society, Urban Projects, Village Development, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor October 30, 2012
This is a fun and very inspiring talk by Incredible Edible Todmorden champion, Pam Warhurst, on the great work her town is doing in northern England and its growing influence around the world. One of the many encouraging things I take from this talk is hearing how local businesses in Todmorden are, with the renewed interest to support them, being able to diversify their offering, and hence make Todmorden more self-reliant and thus resilient.
The standing ovation at the end of the video says it all….Comments (0)
Biodiversity, Deforestation, Global Warming/Climate Change, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Ryan Harb October 24, 2012
I have an urgent message to share — it is extremely important that you all know this. Our brothers and sisters in the Ecuadorian rainforest are under significant pressure from the oil companies. The government of Ecuador is planning to auction off 10 million acres of pristine rainforest for oil extraction. This is the same place that I visited in Ecuador just two months ago, so it really hits home for me.
The 10 million acres is part of the largest contiguous rainforest left on Earth — and one of the most biodiverse and culturally diverse places on the planet. If this happens, the majority of people will be left with a much lower quality of life — health problems, polluted water, poverty — with only a few getting rich off the suffering of others. Please join us in signing this letter and sharing this message widely. This is a very important battle that could set a precedent for keeping oil below ground and respecting indigenous rights across the world. It means literal life or death for them. Thank you everyone — the people of the Amazon appreciate your help enormously.Comments (1)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Community Projects, Consumerism, Eco-Villages, Food Shortages, People Systems, Society, Urban Projects, Village Development, peak oil — by Anthea Hudson October 23, 2012
Our local areas and community are likely to play a much bigger role in our future resilience, so it makes sense to begin to include active community participation in our children’s lives. Children often enjoy having a sense of being an important part of something that matters and even young children can develop a feeling of ‘ownership’ in their particular part of a project. When children feel vitally involved they will take much more of an interest and be open to taking on board new ideas and skills that will be invaluable to them in the future.
There is a saying that it takes a village to raise a child. Community is a really great educational vehicle — after all, it’s the way young people learned their life skills in past times. We can once again make it a part of the way we prepare our children for times to come.
Below are some ideas for ways children can begin to get involved with developing greater community spirit in their neighbourhood.Comments (5)
Consumerism, Economics, Health & Disease, Society, peak oil — by New Economics Foundation October 16, 2012
The case for a new, voluntary scheme to introduce a shorter working week, and for the rapid expansion of productive and pleasurable gardening in Britain’s towns and cities.
Click to download (1.34mb PDF)
The Proposal – National Gardening Leave: for a stronger, healthier and happier Britain.
This pamphlet argues that Britain will be better off if we all spent less time at the office. It makes the case for a new, voluntary scheme to introduce a shorter working week referred to as National Gardening Leave. And it calls for adapting a wide range of available spaces for the rapid expansion of gardening, both productive and aesthetic, in Britain’s towns and cities.
We argue that this will leave people happier, healthier and better equipped for our challenging times. It will make the economy more resilient, better positioned for the modern world, and more protected from external food and energy price shocks. It will also make communities stronger and more convivial places to live.
Giving people entering new jobs (and, where possible, those in existing jobs) the option of working a four day week – something which is standard practice in the Netherlands, for example – brings potential multiple benefits to individuals, workplaces, communities, the environment and the economy.
It is time to reap the benefits in taking the next logical step in the historical trend toward a shorter, conventional working week. In the new time made available, gardening wouldn’t be compulsory or the only choice of what to do, but it is already incredibly popular and we believe, an important and attractive option.Comments (4)
Consumerism, Global Warming/Climate Change, Nuclear, Society, peak oil — by George Monbiot October 12, 2012
Editor’s Note: I’m sure a few of you will be tempted, at first glance, to pounce on me due to this piece — since it has the name ‘George Monbiot’ and the word ‘nuclear’ in the same post. But, I would ask you to read it through first…. I put this up, not because of George’s present stand, but solely due to the very articulate and lucid response from Theo Simon in this fascinating email conversation. Indeed, having George’s name and ‘nuclear’ in the same post will likely cause a flurry of reading by those eager to find fault, and in this case I’m happy about that, as it will ensure that Theo’s message gets read. Theo ably challenges George’s position, and does so from a position worthy of respect — that being that he’s been occupying the site of the proposed Hinkley C nuclear power plant in the UK, and thus has an on-the-ground view of the machinations that are resulting from the marriage of Big Government and Big Nuclear. This is a long but very interesting read, and one worthy of our attention and consideration. In my own post on nuclear, in March last year, I raised, in a more concise fashion, many of the main points that Theo makes — notably in regards to the ability of future generations to contain and maintain in a safe state the resulting nuclear waste, and the danger of assuming they will live in a society with enough excess energy, water, time, money and knowhow to do so, and the ethically bankrupt, diabolical selfishness of lumbering them with this ongoing burden — on top of the many great challenges they will surely face — when they will have absolutely no benefits from that obligation (since the power plant will have long since ended its useful life). I’d like to congratulate Theo for his reasoned response, and thank him deeply for his commitment to values that permaculturists enshrine as essential. It’s clear that rather than merely surrendering to grass roots apathy in the face of the present economic and political momentum in madness (a tempting thing to do, I admit), he clings to the hope that we can build a social movement which connects all the dots in our present dilemma (i.e. that seeks to find a successful marriage between economics and biological/ecological reality) and that works to address them all — adjusting our lifestyles as necessary to facilitate that. Where George seems to be trying to choose between the lesser of two evils, Theo, as permaculturists seek to do, is trying to eliminate the evils, whilst asking society to deal with their problems holistically, today, rather than kick them down the road.
Aerial photograph of Hinkley Point.
Photo – Hinkley Point C: Initial Proposals and Options Summary Document.
This is by far the most interesting and challenging debate about nuclear power I have had to date.
By George Monbiot and Theo Simon, over the course of eight months.
George’s note: This debate began with an email I sent to Theo, which I did not intend to publish. Theo wrote a powerful response and posted the correspondence on his site. I then replied, and Theo has now answered my second letter. Here is the whole debate.Comments (6)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Community Projects, Consumerism, Markets & Outlets, Society, Village Development, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor October 11, 2012
If you want a little inspiration today, the following video about the excellent work going on in Todmorden, UK, should do the trick.
Consumerism, Economics, Global Warming/Climate Change, peak oil — by George Monbiot October 8, 2012
The justifications for airport expansion turn out to be bogus.
by George Monbiot: journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist, United Kingdom.
When politicians say that we need more runways and more airports, they invariably claim that “the economy” depends on them. They seldom specify what they mean by this, but in most cases they seem to have business flights in mind.Comments (1)
Compost, Conservation, Consumerism, Demonstration Sites, Economics, Food Forests, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Land, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Society, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Structure, Trees, Urban Projects, Village Development, Water Harvesting, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor October 4, 2012
The yard in winter, before work begins…
A great many people today are living in fear. The future looks uncertain, but bleak. Many cannot see a future at all. The post-WWII baby boomer generation, with their short-lived cheap energy era, have been largely calling the shots, shaping the world we have today. After the miseries of two world wars, they set a course for excess. They and their descendants have been spending profligately, borrowing resources and finances from their children and grandchildren — and the deficit has increased so rapidly that the present generation is already having to foot the bill. We’ve been living the dream, and living in a dream — seeking to live lifestyles without limits — and now it’s time to pay the piper, as it were. We’re discovering that we were the children and grandchildren that society was borrowing from.
Biodiversity, Biofuels, Consumerism, Deforestation, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Population, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor October 3, 2012
From May 30 — June 1, 2012, the 10th ASPO (Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas) meeting took place. This year it was held in Vienna, Austria. I haven’t had time to check out all of these presentations yet, but want to ensure you’re all aware they’re available to watch as you have time. Not having watched them all, I put the videos below up in no particular order, except for a little influence from intuition perhaps. If you’re not familiar with the Peak Oil topic (is there anyone left in this camp?), you might want to read some previous posts I’ve done on the topic: here, here, here and here for example.
Nate Hagens – Navigating through a Room full of Elephants
Biodiversity, Biofuels, Consumerism, Deforestation, Food Shortages, Population, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Earth Policy Institute
Editor’s Note: Some permies may wish to download the slideshow files at bottom to use, or modify to use, for "It’s time to wake up" type presentations in your local schools and community halls, etc.
Food is the new oil. Land is the new gold.Comments (0)
Radical Simplicity and the Middle-Class – Exploring the Lifestyle Implications of a ‘Great Disruption’
Consumerism, Economics, Food Shortages, Society, peak oil — by Samuel Alexander September 28, 2012
by Dr Samuel Alexander, co-director of the Simplicity Institute and a lecturer with the Office for Environmental Programs, University of Melbourne.
One of many ‘Hoovervilles’ during the Great Depression
How would the ordinary middle-class consumer – I should say middle-class citizen – deal with a lifestyle of radical simplicity? By radical simplicity I essentially mean a very low but biophysically sufficient material standard of living, a form of life that will be described in more detail below. In this essay I want to suggest that radical simplicity would not be as bad as it might first seem, provided we were ready for it and wisely negotiated its arrival, both as individuals and as communities. Indeed, I am tempted to suggest that radical simplicity is exactly what consumer cultures need to shake themselves awake from their comfortable slumber; that radical simplicity would be in our own, immediate, self-interests. In this essay, however, I will only defend the more modest thesis that radical simplicity simply would not be that bad. Establishing that thesis should be challenging enough.Comments (10)
Biodiversity, Biofuels, Economics, Food Shortages, GMOs, Health & Disease, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by La Via Campesina September 20, 2012
Editor’s Note: It is intensely infuriating when people in suits make wholly inaccurate, ignorant statements about incredibly important issues, and due to their position get it published in the mainstream media, where far too many people take it at face value. The rapid conversion of the world from small-scale, diverse ecological farming systems towards factory-floor agribusinesses is causing untold woes, and yet the ’solution’ to the multiple crises born of industrialised agriculture, we are told, is the further takeover by large corporate interests and even more industrialised agriculture…. I wholly endorse the reaction, found below, to this madness.
Common statement of La Via Campesina — GRAIN — Friends of the Earth International (FoE) — Coordinadora Latinoamericana de Organizaciones del Campo (CLOC) — Re:Common — World March of Women — ETC group — Latin American Articulation of Movements Toward ALBA
We are shocked and offended by an article co-signed by Jose Graziano da Silva, Director General of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), and Suma Chakrabarti, President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), that was pusblished in the Wall Street Journal on September 6, 2012.(1) In the article, they call on governments and social organisations to embrace the private sector as the main engine for global food production.Comments (3)
Biodiversity, Comedy Break, Consumerism, Economics, Food Shortages, GMOs, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor August 31, 2012
If we fail to change trajectory, then perhaps we should be re-engineering the root cause of our problem — ourselves?
It’s true that I’m well known for attacking the GMO industry, its industry financed scientists and their thus-incentivised reductionist ’science’. I’ve expressed many times that GMOs are a "solution looking for a problem". We know that GMOs are really only a bid to deal with symptoms of agricultural mismanagement, so they can perpetuate and capitalise on the temporarily highly profitable root cause (i.e. monocultures) of those symptoms. Without monocultures we would not need the many products that keep many an industry alive and many of us in employment (heavy machinery, oil, gasoline, pesticides, fertilisers, GMO seeds and the chemicals they require, etc.), but, with the present paradigm seemingly so entrenched, with our citizens and economic systems being painfully slow to change trajectory (with the industrial agriculture model still rapidly spreading its tentacles across the world’s landscapes), and it threatening our very survival as we begin to head deep into the peak oil era, I’ve had something of an epiphany….
Let me explain.Comments (15)
peak oil — by Sadad al-Huseini August 30, 2012
This is a guest post by Sadad al-Huseini, now a petroleum consultant and formerly executive vice president of Saudi Aramco for exploration and production, and is a response to the recent article in PIW (Petroleum Intelligence Weekly) by Leonardo Maugeri on his new study Oil: the Next Revolution, challenging his optimism about future oil supplies (PIW Jul.2’12). This article originally appeared in the July 23, 2012 edition of PIW. Originally published on the Oil Drum.
Leonardo Maugeri’s recent paper Oil: The Next Revolution on the presumed future abundance of oil supplies rejects the pessimistic outlook of limited increases in oil capacity over the next decade. It suggests global oil capacity will exceed 110 million barrels per day by the end of the decade, putting an immediate end to concerns regarding constrained long-term oil supplies. This conclusion is based on an assessment of new projects with a reported capacity of 49 million b/d before a downward adjustment to 29 million b/d to allow for completion risks and reserves depletion. Maugeri holds two PhDs, one in Political Science and one in Economics, and has extensive executive experience with ENI in strategies and developments and in petrochemicals.
In putting forth this optimistic thesis, Maugeri apparently sets aside a variety of technical realities, including the difference between natural gas liquids (NGLs) and conventional oil, reserves depletion versus capacity declines, and proven reserves as opposed to speculative resources.Comments (6)