12.10.2018

03.23.2005

Blade Runner had it all wrong

Filed under: a group of folks,movies,thoughts @ 01:56

So Blade Runner is a pretty awesome movie. A question everyone should ask themselves at some point in their lives: Do androids dream of electric sheep?

The only problem I have is Philip K. Dick/Ridley Scott’s vision of the future; There’s way too much petroleum being burned and filth being tossed about. Holly and I were talking the other day, and I told her about my biggest paranoid fear: a world without oil. (Trite, I know. Get over it.) As with any paranoia, some of what follows is a little half-baked, and some stuff may be inaccurate (what paranoid is going to do real research?). Feel free to correct me where appropriate.

It’s not the energy issue that scares me. When it’s economically favorable to produce energy through alternative means, it will happen, and there’s some kickin’, clean sources in the works. What scares me is the depletion of our best source of organic material.

Remember in The Graduate when the business man wants to say one word (just one word) to Dustin Hoffman? The same word comes to mind to me now: Plastics.

Look around. How much can you see that is neither made from some plastic nor produced by anything that is? Not too much. I know that there’s alternative sources to making plastics (or materials that behave like plastics, materials I’ll call ‘plastics’). Nanotubes, plant matter, silcon based materials, etc. are all promising but are still expensive and inefficient. Plus, the carbon source for nanotubes is often (yup) petroleum products.

Another word comes to mind as well: Pharmaceuticals. Natural product synthesis is typically more practical than grinding up the natural products themselves, and any organic synthesis involves petroleum products. If you like your psychopharmaceuticals, analgesics, or even your crystal meth, you might consider buying a hybrid.

In my vision of the future, oil (and coal?) will be used only as a hydrocarbon source, not for energy. Huge, trash mining factories and corporations will be built to reclaim all the useful materials from dumps and landfills. These corporations will be powerful and rich; I imagine people like Xaosseed will put there good skills into making them so. New York and New Jersey will find yet another reason to fight over Ellis Island.

Every piece of the buffalo will be used, only by ‘buffalo’, I mean ‘anything with organic bits in, on, beside, around, or vaguely near’. And what better place to find biologically active compounds than in biological things? I’m talking about grinding up dead people Matrix style. Heck, we might even discover an efficient way of mining carbon from the atmosphere, thus reducing the accumulation of greenhouse gasses (how many ways can we find to screw around with the carbon cycle?).

That’s what I see. No towering, flaming power plants. No plastic bags blowing around the street. I see fusion, refuse mining, and the chance of some creepy societal shifts à la Logan’s Run.

Good times. And I’ll be around to see them.

39 Comments

  1.  
    Dixie 03.23.2005 @ 08:19

    Last time I had this error, my comment never got posted…so apologies if this goes through twice.

    They’re making a remake of Logan’s Run.

    And you should be careful about saying natural products are easier to synthesize than extract; there are some miserable people in the Stoltz group who would disagree. Often what happens is that pharma will make an *analog* to a natural product that can be synthesized reasonably easily. Yes, this too comes from petrol products, but there are some smart cookies in synthetic chemistry, and I bet they could devise a synthesis from a different set of precursors if they had to.

  2.  
    Adam 03.23.2005 @ 11:18

    Ignoring your bleak outlook on things entirely, good job on pointing out ITER. [bragging]I find it extremely cool that should ITER indeed come to pass, I can claim to have helped out (in a very small way). I spent a summer analyzing data from the National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX) up at the wonderfully named Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL). The design of the NSTX is a precursor to that of ITER, so the work that I did to help understand the results of the NSTX test plasmas will hopefully help out with ITER in some small way. Needless to say, the impact will be extremely minor, but I can still say that I helped out.[/bragging]

  3.  
    Paul.za 03.23.2005 @ 11:25

    Yes, I agree — the biggest problems with oil depletion are seldom the initially obvious ones of public transport. Plastics is a huge thing, and in fact even most modern clothing comes from oil.

    But another huge problem, which I hadn’t thought about till a few months ago, is agriculture. Modern agriculture has been getting more efficient at a faster rate than population growth, all as a result of oil and natural gas. There is no way that we could produce and harvest the amount that we do, with the few people that we use, without something like diesel for the tractors and harvesters. Never mind the impossibility of getting food from farms to places like LA.

    The other use, though, is fertilisers: I found a very interesting site here/. Modern fertilisers use natural gas (as a hydrogen source) and lots of energy. There seems to be no way to feed anywhere near 6 billion people, without oil and natural gas for agriculture.

    And of course, chances are that as oil becomes scarce, it will be the wealthy who will continue to burn it, so food prices will start rising, undoing all the anti-poverty work of the last decades…

  4.  
    xaosseed 03.23.2005 @ 11:51

    I actually see bio-diesel and the like taking a big upturn – mainly because its the path of least disruption. There will be no revolution. There will be kludge upon kludge upon quick fix. We’re going to see the bizarrest things become huge just because of all that.

    Windfarms are being set up, alas they’re not great. Solar. Dear god would whoever the hell is working on Solar power GET OFF THEIR ASSES AND MAKE IT WORK! So much precious oil is burnt just shuttling it around, doing monkey work at fixed installations. This is rubbish – all these oil fields in the Gulf states, in Africa, in Southern Asia should be *plated* with Solarpanneling. Cut that and you’re talking hundreds of millions of barrels a day. A Day.

    I’ve given up hope for Fusion. We won’t see it. It would solve everything. Everything. We could cook and crack the most godawful refuse to aviation fuel with enough power, and with Fusions nigh unlimited fixed power you’d see Fusion powered refineries and efficiency would jump.

    See I’m not even looking for a paradigm shift here – cut fossil fuel with biodiesel. Power oil installations (non-mobile) with solar/wind and free up that crude to be exported. Power refineries with not-oil.

    Cut the losses, beef up the efficiency, buy ourselves a few more years to get more efficient. And hopefully by then, in accordance with the Buffy Hypothesis there should be cities on Mars and Terra’s problems won’t be out problems.

  5.  
    MDA 03.23.2005 @ 11:56

    Dixie,
    “this error” isn’t terribly descriptive :) What did I break this time? But I agree. There are some very smart cookies in synthetic chemistry (and there are some very miserable people in Stoltz’). I’m sure people will find ways around petroleum. The problem, though, is not just precursors. Solvents seems a big one to me. And laboratory equipment. And those bitty plastic beads that seem to be en vogue now (or were a few years ago). Too, when (not if) new non-petrol methods are developed, they’ll be monstrously expensive. See Paul.za’s above.

    Adam,
    Rawk.

    Paul.za,
    Most modern clothes are plastic. I fail to see the novel argument ;) Agriculture is something I thought of, but only in terms of transportation and farm equipment, as you mention. Those areas alone are huge, but the fertilizer problem you mention is new to me. Very clever. Not quite as scary to me, though. If all they need from natural gas is a hydrogen source, fusion is the solution. Clean, cheap energy + Oceans = Hydrogen up the wazzoo. This is the same philosophy behind my comment on the possibility of mining the atmosphere for carbon. With enough energy, light elements are easy to come by. It’s still the compounds that make me nervous.

    Dixie again,
    re: Remake of Logan’s Run
    No.
    No, it’s just not right. Hopefully it comes out thirty years to the day from the original release. “Renew! Renew!” *Zap*.

  6.  
    MDA 03.23.2005 @ 12:11

    xaosseed,
    I’m actually fairly optimistic about fusion. In fact, I think ITER’s 2050 goal is not unreasonable. Biodeisel, though, doesn’t make sense to me. We have enough trouble feeding everybody on the planet. Diverting food into fuel away from humans seems like a poor step indeed.

    Also, wind and solar have their own problems. For one, the systems are non-centralized by necessity. If something breaks, someone has to go miles and miles (coverting that to units you’re more familiar with makes that something like kilometres and kilometres) out into some miserable desert or windblown steppe to fix it. Getting there takes oil (at least, at the moment). Thermal solar power, though, that seems pretty kickin to me. Big mirrors, liquid sodium, and the heat of a thousand suns (ok, one) focused on a meter square or so. Doesn’t get much more awesome than that.

    As for Mars, if you believe The Onion, one of Bush’s scientific goals is to “Put a Christian on Mars by 2035”. So you might not be so far off.

  7.  

    […] Price elasticity of oil
    Filed under: Economics — paulcook @ 12:49 pm

    A post on blogwaffe has reminded me of some of the economic implications of oil depletion, in areas l […]

  8.  
    Griztown 03.23.2005 @ 16:44

    Ah, an oil discussion! My favorite! When oil started getting expensive last summer I ran across this website on the Oil Crash. This guys is not optomistic to say the least! But the things I found most interesting were his analysis of the food we eat. As Paul.za mentions that fertilizers come from natural gas.

    Dixie has informed me that there’s loads of natural gas out there though we seem to be declining here in North America and I would imagine that as your oil gets depleted your natural gas consumption will go up fairly rapidly too. Natural gas is also the main source for generating hydrogen so if we end up moving to Bush’s magical hydrogen economy that would further drive up consumption of natural gas and thus the depletion time for that resource as well.

    But the other interesting output from petroleum is pesticides. To further back up Paul.za here it will be very difficult to maintain our food production without the pesticides to ensure good crop yields.

    Anyway, fascinating stuff! Thanks for the post Mike.

  9.  
    paul.za 03.23.2005 @ 18:39

    MDA: I actually meant the clothing as an example of plastic use — sorry for the lack of clarity!

    As regards fusion: yes, cheap, easy fusion would seem to pretty much solve all our problems. I agree that it would be a great source of hydrogen; I don’t know whether that solves the farming question, because I imagine it needs to be in a useful form for using in fertilisers, and probably pesticides need an organic precursor.

    And it’s again my non-chemist speculation that fusion would quite possibly solve the precursor problem for plastics too — wouldn’t it be possible to engineer bacteria that produce useful organic precursors, even if they are somewhat different to oil-derived ones? Then we just grow these in huge underground caverns with artificial fusion-powered suns, and essentially make our own oil. Though, of course, this may not be possible.

    All of these, however, are long-term solutions. My concern, which maybe isn’t in the spirit of the further-future speculation of this post, is how to get from here to there. If fertilisers, petrol, electricity, plastics, etc. become priced out of reach even one year before ITER succeeds, we’re in a LOT of trouble.

    xaosseed: very interesting point in saving oil in the actual oil refineries. And I think your ideas might well be the answer — small stopgaps and savings where-ever possible, to stretch out our oil long enough for technology in shining armour to arrive.

    Very cool post, MDA, and all other commenters!

  10.  
    paul.za 03.23.2005 @ 18:45

    Of course, it might be far cheaper to mine Ellis Island than set up artificial suns under the ground. So your predictions, MDA, are probably pretty accurate.

  11.  
    Adam 03.23.2005 @ 19:46

    Some things that haven’t been mentioned:

    1) Solar power (of the photovoltaic variety) is being actively researched, but the problem is that the manufacture of solar panels requires a large input of energy and all sorts of nasty chemicals.

    2) Even at 100% efficiency (which we won’t get close to), solar panels don’t provide a huge amount of energy. Even if you pave all of China in panels.

    3) If it can be made to work, Fusion energy would be great, and current progress indicates that it *is* possible. The problem is that, like developing other new technologies, attaining workable fusion as a powersource requires a huge amount of money. We’d be a lot farther along if the US hadn’t cut funding for our Fusion program. (Note: ITER has been in the works for more than a decade. At one point, the US actually pulled out of the whole thing, setting progress back by years.) Think of how many billions of dollars were invested in developing fission reactors?

    4) If anyone is unclear as to exactly what is involved in fusion-as-a-power-source, I’d be glad to explain.

    5) Pebble-bed Fission Reactors! Safer than current fission reactors, waste that is easier to contain, and all within reach of current technology (perhaps 1-2 years development). Sure you have to deal with nuclear waste, but you have a lot less CO2/smog than Fossil Fuels, less environmental damage than with wind, tidal, and hydroelectric (dams) power, much greater efficiency than solar power, and much higher capacity than geothermal.

  12.  
    Griztown 03.23.2005 @ 21:31

    Nuclear does solve some of your energy problems but like Paul said it doesn’t solve a lot of the other uses of oil though I guess if you are using less oil for your power generation then you could conceivable extend the life of oil enough to find alternatives. However, the cost of building a nuclear reactor is extremely high and takes up to seven years. Of course this is for traditional reactors so I’m not sure about pebble bed reactors though since they’re new I’d assume it would be even longer.

    An interesting point on the link I posted in my earlier comment is how dependent our economy is on oil. If you have a shock (and we very well could be at the beginning of one now) money to build all this new stuff is going to be very limited. Not to mention the insane level debt we already have in this country. It’ll be hard to fund all this research and construction in addition to the baby boomers social security and medicare while your economy is in the tank.

  13.  
    Adam 03.23.2005 @ 21:55

    Actually, one of the best things about pebble bed reactors is that they should be very compact and very cost effective. That, plus they are “meltdown-proof”. Before you jump at that comment, I will go ahead and put up the disclaimer that, yes, you could probably cause a meltdown if you try hard enough, but the design is fundamentally safer. An inert gas is passed over the reacting pebbles, heating the gas, which then runs a turbine. This very same gas is the cooling mechanism for the reactor, but get this: there’s a maximum temperature that the reactor can reach, a limit that is imposed by the physics of the reactor. A runaway reaction hits this temperature and simply stays there until operators deal with it. In other words, a runaway reaction can only run so far. Pebble Bed entry in Wikipedia

  14.  
    Adam 03.23.2005 @ 21:56

    So Mike, what’s the largest number of comments you’ve had on a single post? Are we reaching a record for your blog?

  15.  
    xaosseed 03.24.2005 @ 10:55

    About biodiesel: there is less of a problem growing enough food than there appears, its just that getting it to market is uneconomic. The EU is *paying* farmers to keep land fallow. If we pulled out all the stops we could recreate the Milk Lake and the Butter Mountain. What is tricky is *getting* food to those who need it. Take a lot of energy because the unfertile places are far away and generally conflict-torn.

    We have the ability to produce enough food for all. We do not have the ability to get the food from the incredibly fertile fields of the Mid-West, the Ukraine and the like to those who are starving.

    To cover my ass – A study the relevant point of which being that “Land-abundant developed countries still possess the physical capacity to increase food production significantly”.

    Plant sunflowers and rapeseed. Process out the oil, cut crude with it. Its not a fix, its a sticking plaster. Same with the solar-panelling; oil fields are already in the middle of nowhere, and many of those places are hot as hell. The saudi’s I’ve known will not leave the shade unless they have to – Even in Scotland! – and they have many many oil fields. Put even small clusters along the pipelines, to boost the compressors and you’re cutting your energy needs. Self-sufficient installations would be the ultimate goal, but any step in that direction would be good.

    Regards the hydrogen economy – we do get most of our hydrogen from natural gas, but again thats because its easy. Water, sea water in fact which we have plenty of, could be used, its just a question of energy. (“just” ho ho) A gigantic desalination plant in line with hydrolisis plant and a gas-liquification plant – boom, all the hydrogen we could ever want, all we need is a power plant.

    Again, solar, nuclear, wind, wave, geothermal whatever. As long as its not burning produce to make product, thats good.

  16.  
    Griztown 03.24.2005 @ 13:27

    xaosseed, all of what you said is correct except that it assumes the status quo. Sure if we are talking about oil at $10 a barrel then we could feed the world. However as Paul said about the fertilizers and I said about the pesticides plus running all the machinery to harvest and cultivate the crops, the cost of producing the food will increase dramatically. So who’s going to pay for all that?

    Of course the planet has tons of hydrogen in some form but getting into a usable form to use in our cars requires quite a bit of energy as you point out. It is really a question of scaling.

    Nuclear I think is the best solution and I agree with Adam that pebble bed reactors could be easier to construct but I would imagine that the initial ones might take a bit longer.

    I think the biggest problem facing us if we are peaking in oil production is simply the large number of problems that we will be facing. So many things are derived from oil that we are dependent on to our livelyhood.

  17.  
    MDA 03.24.2005 @ 14:39

    Griztown,
    Pesticides. Another clever one. Paul.za’s bacterial idea may be particularly illsuited for generating poisons. Or maybe it just requires particularly clever engineering. That the world has plenty of.

    It’s good to know there’s natural gas out there, but it is, as you mention, just as non-renewable as oil. A good stopgap, but again, Hydrogen and elemental Carbon sources don’t bother me. I’m still bankning on Fusion.

    paul.za,
    I was just making fun. But good call on the biology. I imagine something like that would be very possible with further advances in genetic engineering and protein design, though a few of the other people who’ve commented here are in a better position to speak to the idea.

    (And thanks for mentioning Ellis Island. I thought refuse mining was the best bit, but I got everybody locked into the energy crisis. Certainly, there’s a lot more to talk about there.)

    Adam,
    You actually can get a decent amount of energy from Solar, assuming efficiency get’s up to around 15% in mass produced cells. Not enough, but a decent amount. And Solar would work great for the applications xaosseed mentions: energy waystations.

    The amount of money necessary to develop fusion only scares me with regard to Griztown’s note about the U.S.’s current financial situation. I think everyone (including more and more politicians) can agree that the expense is not prohibitive. The return on investment is absurd.

    Pebble bed reactors look pretty slick. This is actually the second time this week they’ve come up. That they’re reasonably clean is a big plus. It’s not just a cultural fear of nuclear waste (“Nuclear? Run for your lives!”), there’s serious political issues as well. Growing up near both handford.wa.us and inel.id.us, one tends to hear about the political and environmental issues in storing nuclear waste. That waste pebbles are, apparently, safer, is good news, but they’ll need really good PR.

    xaosseed,
    Yes, we could feed everyone if the agricultural industry were more efficient (where I’m conveniently defining ‘efficiency’). Do we, though, have the ability to feed everyone and produce enough biofuel to make a difference, especially when, as Griztown and paul.za mention, it takes petroleum to grow crops? I have no idea. There’s a food expert around here. I can see if she can give a good reference.

    And I still don’t like burning petroleum in any form, cut with biofuel or no. Precious organics! But you’re right. It’s a good stopgap, especially since little or nothing has to be done to diesel engines to make them compatible with even 100% biodiesel. The problem with stopgaps, is that we tend to use them too long. I can imagine the world shifting to cut petroleum over a decade or so. I can’t imagine the world giving up the petroleum similarly.

    I still say (broken record) invest everything we’ve got in fusion. It will make all other energy sources obsolete (with the exception of decentralized solar/thermal/etc. waystations as xaosseed notes).

    Oh. And Adam, the ‘record’ is 19 comments. See Signed, a Hollaback Girl.

  18.  
    xaosseed 03.24.2005 @ 15:33

    Hm. I just finished reading that site Life After The Oil Crash and frankly I apologise for wasting your time with my less than fully informed opinions. I never realised it was so bad. Nor that so little could be done about it.

    Hm. This is thought provoking.

  19.  
    Griztown 03.24.2005 @ 16:08

    Ah the nineteenth comment, tying a blogwaffe record!

    MDA, yes fusion is the way to go I think. Uranium is, like oil and natural gas, prone to resource depletion so as nice a pebble bed reactors might be, eventually the uranium will run out.

    Xaosseed, good comments no time wasted. Like I said that site is very pessimistic but it does make you think. He has very good links on there too. Anyway, only time will tell on any of this.

  20.  
    Paul.za 03.24.2005 @ 16:42

    So I agree, MDA, that we need to be chucking tons of money at ITER and anything along that vein of things — either it or really efficient solar will probably be the long term solution.

    But I don’t think that we can disregard the short term. There have been a number of really good ideas mentioned here, none of which would bankrupt us. All of them will do something to prolong oil supply, and start depressing demand growth. Without something like that, I don’t think we’ll have enough oil to last us to widespread cheap fusion. It’s also risky to have no backup ideas if fusion doesn’t come through.

    As regards Pebble Bed, I’ve been to some talks about it, as South Africa is probably the world leader at the moment (putting all our old nuclear weapons scientists to a better use). It’s a modern variation on an idea that has been around for some decades, so it’s pretty much a complete technology. All that SA is waiting for is parliamentary approval in order to construct the first one, on the site of an existing South African nuclear plant. It is really safe, the waste is far safer, and it will provide electricity at a price comparable to SA’s currently extremely cheap coal-based power. They’re also smaller and modular, so can be rolled out quicker than a conventional nuclear, or indeed coal-based, power plant. The only thing stopping it going ahead is the environmental lobby.

  21.  
    MDA 03.25.2005 @ 18:13

    I misspoke. More accurately, I misthought. My thoughts are to minimize the amount of oil used. Period. Fusion is an obvious solution, once it works, to preventing oil from being burned for energy. But you’re right, until fusion works, we’ll be burning oil unless there’s an alternative.

    So. Throw money at fusion, but keep some money around to develop energy sources that can replace/supplement oil soon. Biodiesel and pebble bed reactors may be a good solution. Fusion should be the over arching policy though. We shouldn’t lose site of that goal.

    And xaosseed, this whole thread has been, on my part, ill-informed opinions.

  22.  
    Laurel 03.26.2005 @ 04:52

    Interesting blog from a county-planner in California, who advocates “unplanning” strategies to convert places back to a sustainable lifestyle.

    And another which comments on the popularity of methane, and offers speculation about upcoming oil-wars.

  23.  
    Laurel 03.26.2005 @ 04:54

    Meanwhile, another thing I’ve wondered about is how this will interact with climate-change issues… and just came across this comment:

    >>
    Why will Peak Oil not save us from climate change?

    Many reasons, including: a) To avert dangerous climate change, we need cuts of 50-70% (with higher in the US), while the peak decline curve will not take us to 60%+ cuts in the near term

    b) peak oil under present system will lead to a push for more coal, a climate disaster. Yes peak will endanger jobs, economy, wars, etc, but
    not save us from global warming disasters.

    We need a holistic solution that addresses not just the symptoms (global warming, peak oil, water and other resource depletoin) but to the root causes in our economic model.
    >>

  24.  
    Laurel 03.26.2005 @ 05:37

    Okay, so now I’ve surfed across something actually useful/relevant to this particular discussion:

    Alternatives to Oil: Fuels of the Future or Cruel Hoaxes?

    Contains some facts helpful for addressing some of the speculations above. With some ah, rosy conclusions of it’s own…

  25.  
    xaosseed 03.26.2005 @ 12:20

    I’ve been thinking. From that After the Oil Crash site, and he pretty much conclusively sums up that we’re all utterly shafted. There is no answer, its just a matter of does it all go wrong in two years or five.

    His only suggestion to *ameliorate* (never mind prevent) this disaster is learn how to organically farm and become self sufficient. I’ve seen that. I’m two generations up from that on one side of the family, and frankly… well it sucks. Self sufficiency without oil technology (fertilizers, pesticides, tractors) means small hold farming, which means back breaking labour from sun up to sun down and probably beyond that. Or you could fish, except our fish stocks are knackered through industrial trawling. And there isn’t much in the way of wildlife to be a hunter gatherer on these days either…

    So the question is, do you learn how to farm, or learn how to fight? Become capable of surviving, or learn to prey on those who can? Cannibalism would probably also be something to start getting your head around since human meat will probably be the most freely available. Because according to everything I’m reading, expecting anything more civilised than Mad Max II is kidding yourself – and unlike the Meteors of Doom, this one *is* going to happen.

    Am I reading this correctly? Am I way off base?

  26.  
    Laurel 03.26.2005 @ 13:06

    Dear world: please keep in mind for when times get tough, that xoasseed is far, far tastier than i am.

    Love,
    Did I mention that I’m also a lower-caloric return for your bite than most respondents to this thread?

  27.  
    Paul.za 03.27.2005 @ 01:13

    So maybe I’m an incurable optimist, but I tend to believe that we’ll probably get by without everyone resorting to canabalism. Maybe some people, but not everyone. Of course, I don’t know how at the moment — probably a combination of various ideas. But I’m all in favour of talking about it, because anything we do now will help!

  28.  
    Laurel 03.27.2005 @ 03:51

    Seriously though, I agree with Paul.za. After the requisite rioting and looting phases, things will probably settle down into ye olde farming. And the ‘lack of wildlife’ thing only applies to certain places; you wouldn’t be saying that if you were from where I’m originally from, about an hour north of NYC, where there are often debates about poisoning the deer (or geese) because there are so many of them. There will be famine issues in some places; but I imagine that lack of sanitation and inadequate medical services (together equalling lots of disease) will be a bigger problem. Thankfully, as Paul.za mentioned elsewhere, much of this will happen gradually rather than immediately. So people will probably have moved out of suburbs and cities before the point where things would be so immediately drastic they’d have to cannibalize.

    Anyway, we could well put together a blog (or a book) just to deal with these kind of coping-with-life-after-oil issues.

  29.  
    Laurel 03.27.2005 @ 03:53

    (None of which, of course, is to discount what I said earlier about my personal relative tastiness and caloric value)

  30.  
    xaosseed 03.27.2005 @ 05:08

    First off, at the very least I demand a taste test before one or the other of us gets a ‘prime long pig’ label stuck on their head. Probably should run two, with and without spices.

    I don’t know what its like in the States, but there simply isn’t the land available over here for everyone who’s currently in the cities to just ‘move to the country’ and set up a small holding. And much what is isn’t productive (back breaking daily labour, as I mentioned).

    See this is the sticking point I keep coming to in my head, some places will be fine, will barely notice anything because as a region they can grow plenty of food, have all the existing infrastructure. Huge conurbations, like NYC, Tokyo utterly dependent on external food supplies (ignoring the power requirements to make multilevel habitation feasible) and the citizens will want to move to the places where there is food.

  31.  
    xaosseed 03.27.2005 @ 05:10

    Sorry – to return to the original post: MDA, you’re not paranoid. Soon it will be down to whether you starve, or eat your housemates.

    Best draw up a list. And lay on spices.

  32.  
    Brendan Hammond 03.27.2005 @ 17:51

    At least one American is thinking ahead.

  33.  
    adam 03.28.2005 @ 23:49

    If it gets down to cannibalism, my guess is that MDA doesn’t need to worry about that list. *evil grin*

  34.  
    Griztown 04.07.2005 @ 11:38

    How do you use these stupid trackbacks?

  35.  
    MDA 04.07.2005 @ 12:46

    I think you’re supposed to put my trackback URI into your blog somewhere when you’re writing your post. I don’t know how to do that in b2evolution.

    It could also be that trackbacks are broken on my site. I’ve never used them. I’ll poke about a bit.

  36.  

    […] ownhill from there. This post follows from my post on Price Elasticity of Oil, as well as this post on blogwaffe, and a whole collection of excellent, but scary, posts on Ted Brenner’ […]

  37.  
    rdl 11.14.2006 @ 09:31

    To me atomic is fine if we can agree on the disposal problem. The new plants just off the drawing boards are a far cry from the TMI types. And I lived 15 miles away when THAT event took place, so I’m not predisposed toward nuclear. Also we need to curb our appetites. Why do we need a 2 tone vehicle to get a loaf of bread or drop a kid off somewhere? Conservation still has a long way to go. Regarding oil, the buzz seems to be that diesels will make a big comeback around 2008. Newly developing emission controls will be in place and there should be a dramatic increase in mpgs.

  38.  

    Laurel,

    I think that the root of the problems we face lie not in our economic model, though I’m all for changing our economic model! I think the center of it is our inner motivation and world view, which is heavily shaped by our economic model.

    I see myself constantly striving and wanting things I do not have, instead of feeling satisfied with my current situation and I see many others in the same situation. We tend to focus our attention on the world around us, instead of focusing on how we can change inside to be more satisfied regardless of our surroundings.

    I believe that if we can find ways to be satisfied, regardless of our circumstances, then we will have the discipline that is needed to live more sustainably.

    Nathan
    P.S. I live in a community that’s striving to be sustainable called Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, so I’m working on the living more sustainbly part.

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