Developments, Energy Systems, Society, peak oil — by Earth Policy Institute October 10, 2011
by Lester Brown, Earth Policy Institute
As the debate unfolds about whether to build a 1,711-mile pipeline to carry crude oil from the tar sands in Canada to refineries in Texas, the focus is on the oil spills and carbon emissions that inevitably come with it. But we need to ask a more fundamental question. Do we really need that oil?
The United States currently consumes more gasoline than the next 16 countries combined. Yes, you read that right. Among them are China, Japan, Russia, Germany, and Brazil. (See Excel data.)
But now this is changing. Not only is the affluence that sustained this extravagant gasoline consumption eroding, but the automobile-centered lifestyle that was considered part of the American birthright is fading as well. U.S. gasoline use has dropped 5 percent in four years.
Roberto Perez Rivero: “Permaculture’s Use of Water in Time of Climate Change – the Cuban Experience” (IPC Presentation – Video)
Biodiversity, Community Projects, Conferences, Conservation, Consumerism, Deforestation, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Irrigation, Presentations/Demonstrations, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor September 28, 2011
Roberto Perez Rivero gives his presentation at the IPC10, Amman, Jordan
Photographs © Craig Mackintosh
Roberto Perez Rivero gave an excellent presentation at the Tenth International Permaculture Conference (IPC10). Watch it below. As the projector wasn’t the best, you may also want to make use of the links below to download the slideshow from this talk so you can click through those in a different window as Roberto speaks:Comments (2)
Biofuels, Consumerism, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor September 3, 2011
Peak Oil: Security policy implications
of scarce resources
Download PDF (1.77mb)
In previous articles (here and here) we’ve linked to the German language version of a study recently undertaken by the German military on the topic of peak oil, and we also linked to a couple of English summary-only translations as well. Now we can link you to a full English translation!
It’s great that this landmark document is being made more accessible.
It’s quite a fascinating analysis, where you can begin to envision some of the oft-not-discussed implications of peak oil — like how oil can be used by producer states as a weapon to enforce their particular ideologies and/or political and economic agendas on oil-dependent states. Current allegiances between nations may be broken up and reshuffled as politicians prioritise good relationships with oil-rich countries, no matter what those countries might be doing in other areas. Hypocrisy can become the new norm, as authoritarian regimes get empty for-show lectures on human rights on the one hand, whilst being mollified and propped up with oil dollars on the other.Comments (1)
Energy Systems, Global Warming/Climate Change, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by George Monbiot September 2, 2011
It looks as if the UK government is allowing shale gas fracking companies to regulate themselves.
by George Monbiot: journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist, United Kingdom.
Before the government approves a new industrial process in the UK it must have ensured that it won’t harm either people or the environment. Mustn’t it? That’s what any sane person would expect. Any sane person would be wrong.
One year ago, a company called Cuadrilla Resources began drilling exploratory shafts into the rock at Preese Hall near Blackpool, in north-west England, to begin the UK’s first experiments with extracting gas trapped in formations of shale. The process – called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking – involves pumping a mixture of water, sand and drilling fluids at high pressure into the rock, to split it apart and release the natural gas it contains. In June Cuadrilla temporarily suspended its operations as a result of two small earthquakes in the area, which might have been caused by the fracking. The experiment is likely to resume soon. Cuadrilla has also started exploratory drilling at two other sites in the region.Comments (6)
Consumerism, DVDs/Books, Economics, Food Shortages, Society, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor August 30, 2011
Download the Food and Democracy e-book
To give some excellent reading for the readerholics amongst you, regular contributor Marcin Gerwin has put together an excellent collection of articles to create a highly readable e-book focusing on food sovereignty — the necessity for it, the challenges to achieve it, and the solutions associated with it.
Produced by 17 authors from around the world, attacking the same topic and interconnected issues from different angles, this is a great read and is not only a valuable overview of the crisis we face but ships with excellent holistic suggestions for how we can extricate ourselves from it.
Read it, enjoy it, and please do circulate it!
Nice work Marcin!Comments (7)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Biodiversity, Community Projects, Consumerism, Deforestation, Economics, Ethical Investment, Global Warming/Climate Change, People Systems, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Maddy Harland August 18, 2011
Editor’s Note: At time of writing, Polly is on a speaking tour of Australia and New Zealand — check out dates and locations here.
Maddy Harland meets Polly Higgins, a barrister who is campaigning for the United Nations to adopt an additional crime against peace: Ecocide.
by Maddy Harland, editor of Permaculture magazine – inspiration for sustainable living
In my two decades working for Permaculture magazine I have met many fascinating and wonderful human beings but my recent meeting with the barrister and campaigner, Polly Higgins, was a turning point. She prompted a leap in my understanding of the power of law and our collective capacity to change the world overnight. I had heard of Polly’s campaigning work but I had not fully realised the far-reaching potential of international law. Polly deftly stretched my worldview. Bear with me if the subject of ecocide sounds grim… the outcome of these meetings was utterly inspirational.
What is Ecocide?
There are already four international Crimes Against Peace: Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, War Crimes, and Crimes of Aggression. Polly says there is a missing 5th Crime Against Peace and that crime is Ecocide: the destruction of large areas of the environment and ecosystems. Obviously ecocide can be caused by severe weather events like tsunamis and volcanic eruptions, not directly attributable to specific human activity but there is another category: Ascertainable Ecocide. This is the destruction, damage or loss to the territory, caused by human activity – people, corporations, and nations. Activities such as nuclear testing, the exploitation of resources, mining practices like tar sands extraction, the dumping of harmful chemicals or the use of defoliants, the emission of pollutants or war. Examples of ascertainable ecocide affecting sizeable territories include:Comments (13)
Consumerism, peak oil — by Brad Lancaster August 16, 2011
Years ago at a red light I looked into the car beside me and saw the frowning driver’s hair blowing into the back seat as though she were leaning into a mighty storm. But her windows were up. The gale was coming from her air conditioner — on a beautiful day when an open window could just as easily cool and refresh. Then I coughed, and looked back at her tail pipe spewing out toxic exhaust. I was on a bicycle, and loving the day, except for the coughing. And that’s when the simple realization hit me.Comments (6)
Consumerism, Economics, Food Shortages, People Systems, Population, Society, Village Development, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor July 28, 2011
In a world of decreasing energy excess, will ancient hostilities get reignited or defused? What will peak oil and economic collapse mean for our human relationships if we fail to prepare for the stress ahead?
“It was a dark and misty night…”
So begins many a dramatic work of fiction. I am not going to begin a novel in this way – rather, just a short description of my first major contact with a Roma (known as ‘Gypsy’ to many in the North, but this word is regarded as derogatory by many Roma).
It was only my second visit to this region, in December 1993, and on this very cold and bleak night I almost got into a physical scuffle with a rather large and inebriated Roma man, due to some very inappropriate attentions he was giving my wife – and every other attractive female, one by one, on the train we were travelling on. We were travelling from Prague to central Slovakia – a seven-hour journey through the night to our stop – and, being the eve of Christmas eve, the train was absolutely jam-packed with people trying to return to their families, many from working in Prague or Germany. After coming to the aid of my wife, I was quickly surrounded by several of his Roma friends. In such circumstances, one has visions of being thrown off the train into the snow, or worse. Through translation they learned the ‘woman’ was my wife, and one man subsequently apologised for his friend. The Mexican standoff was seemingly defused.Comments (6)
Consumerism, Eco-Villages, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Society, Village Development, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor July 27, 2011
Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition movement, gives a great TED Talk.
Community Projects, Land, Retrofitting, Urban Projects, Village Development, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor July 22, 2011
This Korean tale of an ancient stream which got paved over to make a freeway, before becoming a nightmare of congestion and stress for inhabitants, and then being painstakingly restored, at great expense, back into a stream and pedestrian zone again, is an excellent case for permaculture observation, planning, ethics and design.
A little history on this:Comments (4)
Consumerism, Economics, Global Warming/Climate Change, peak oil — by George Monbiot July 20, 2011
To prevent climate breakdown, we need to declare most of the fossil fuels in the earth’s crust off-limits.
by George Monbiot: journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist, United Kingdom.
Rejoice, the boom is back! After a drought of investment, last week BP announced that it was spending £3bn to redevelop fields in the deep waters to the west of Shetland. The government was delighted: this shows, it says, that its policies are working. It promised to “continue to work alongside oil and gas companies to support growth and jobs in the UK.”(1)
Great. But hold on a minute, didn’t the government tell us, just two days before, that its priority is to decarbonise the economy?(2) Well it depends who you’re talking to, and at which point in the cycle of crashing contradictions you catch them.Comments (4)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Consumerism, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Food Shortages, Land, News, Society, Urban Projects, Village Development, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor July 17, 2011
This is by-law madness, and it’ll have to change…. I rather blatantly encourage everyone to disregard dumb rules like this which would stop you from increasing your resiliency and demonstrating better use of your lawn space. The more of us who rebel against absurdity, the easier it becomes to legalise sustainability. I just hope you’ll be smart enough to ensure that your lawn-liberation is done whilst keeping aesthetic standards high as well (i.e. don’t give people justifiable reason to complain!). Julie Bass’ nice tidy veggie planters, which you’ll see in the videos below, are a good example, and only reflect all the more poorly on the neighbours who have complained and the local government who are obviously wholly ignorant of where we presently stand in history….
Vegetables are most definitely suitable!Comments (23)
This 1-hour documentary shares the history of how General Motors deliberately swindled the U.S. public out of a superior, healthier public transport system — so as to replace the then-popular electric street cars with their own products: cars, buses and trucks. This deceit and selfishness has landed the American public in its current ultra-vulnerable position, where they: despite having only 4% of the world’s population are consuming 25% of the world’s oil; must endure hours of each day in oft-gridlocked traffic; and must even see their sons shot to pieces fighting far-flung wars over resources. Thanks GM.
Consumerism, Economics, Energy Systems, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor July 16, 2011
The low hanging fruit of the world’s energy tree is so, so gone now that we’re throwing caution to the wind, frantically shimmying up the trunk, clambering out onto the limbs and putting all the weight of our demands onto its uppermost, and very tenuous, branches. The laws of supply and demand mean that as a resource declines, its worth goes up, and thus there’s not only ever greater pressure to drain the very last drop, there’s also increasing incentive to do so — at least for industrialists without a conscience (they themselves being a ‘resource’ in seemingly unlimited supply…).Comments (12)
Biodiversity, Consumerism, Deforestation, Economics, Global Warming/Climate Change, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Rhamis Kent July 9, 2011
All photographs © Craig Mackintosh
I’d like to revisit a few points I brought up in a piece that appeared here at the PRI Australia website in April last year; “Things That Can’t Last Forever, and Things That Can: A Few Thoughts”.
I’d like to begin with the following premise:
Economics is a continuation of energy by different means.
Classical physics defines energy as the ability to do work. Money represents the ability to do work. Fossil fuels furnish the ability to do work — quite a great deal of it — and, for the moment, relatively cheaply when one accounts for the finite nature of its supply in relation to what it facilitates.Comments (6)