Musings...

Jul. 6th, 2008 04:04 pm
tnrkitect: (Default)
I have been thinking a lot lately about the way society is running headlong over the cliff of peak oil like lemmings.

I had even considered putting together a series of posts outlining my "presidential planks" or stands on the issues the same way the presidential candidates do on their website, but realized that post such as that do not really convey what I am trying to say.

Instead, I will outline what I see happening in the next few years, and offer up my opinion of what should be done to minimize the effects of resource depletion on our society.

First, a bit of an overview as to what I mean on resource depletion. cut for those who already know whereof I speak )

So where does this leave us?

The age of oil is collapsing around us.

"So what?" You may ask.

Well, consider this. very brief explanation of inflation and the economy )

So how do we deal with this mess?

Unfortunately, there is no easy solution.

We as a nation are dependent upon (not so)cheap oil.

nutshell explanation of the American landscape )
Originally, the way that people commuted to work from the suburbs and back was via mass transit; streetcars, interurbans, and passenger rail. However, the automobile industry did everything it could to promote individual cars for every family while simultaneously ruining the competition from mass transit.
explanation of how big business drove us off of public transit into surburbia's cul-de-sac )

In the 50's, while all of this was going on, the federal government stepped in and decided to subsidize the creation of the National Interstate System.

description of the history of the Interstate system, and how it 'killed' long distance passenger rail )

Over time, as the railroads were no longer able to turn a profit on their vast networks of rails, they trimmed service and abandoned routes. The communities that were served did not really notice that much, as the businesses merely moved their freight operations to commercial trucking. Some communities even tore up the rails and turned the rights of way into walking and bike paths, while the roads continued to get more and more congested.

The railroads consolidated on making the most profitable routes more profitable, concentrating on high volume cross country freight, and high volume, single item bulk service, such as coal.

Trucking moved into the voids left when the railroads left, and the volume of traffic on the roads increased. People continue to follow the flight into the suburbs and exburbs, following the "American Dream".

In short, the situation in many parts of the Midwest and South stand as such:

The average Joe (or Jane) is buying (the banks still owe it until the mortgage is paid off) a house at the outskirts of a city, where land is still cheap. They drive 30 minutes to an hour each way to get to work, and find it harder to pay their bills because their paychecks just don't stretch as far as it used to. The long commute amplifies the increase in the cost of gasoline, as they have no alternative to driving everywhere they go.

Sure they care about the environment and complain about the cost of gas, but what can they really do? There are no jobs close to where they live, It costs too much to buy property close to work, and the neighborhoods they live in aren't on any sort of mass-transit system, because no-one wants to pay more taxes to support the extension of a city's transit system.

It is ingrained into our psyche that we must increase our consumption, that if something breaks it is easier to buy a new one than to fix it, and that we can have anything we want when we want it, (and thanks to easy credit, we can have it even if we can't afford it.)

Our governmental policies demand the growth of the economy every year. Lack of growth is considered bad, and it is considered a patriotic duty to spend our money to buy stuff, even if it means borrowing money to do so.

So what do we do?

First we must realize that we no longer can live beyond our means.
Read more... )
A good way to figure out where your money is going is to keep track of every penny spent over the course of a month. Read more... )

The point is, document where you spend your money.

Once you know where you money is going, you need to determine if some of the recurring items are worth it.

Do you really need to spend $1.25 on a 20 oz coke twice a day? Do you really need to spend $4.50 on a cappuccino or a latte or a mocha from your local Starbucks?

Is there a way to get the same benefit for less?

Look at all aspects of your budget.

The point is, figure out how to live on less money than you earn. If you are doing that already, then instead of spending your money on frivolous stuff, spend it where it will help you. On bills.

Make a budget that lets you live on less than you earn, and still has funds in there for a bit of fun. Otherwise, just like when dieting, you will deny yourself pleasure until you are tempted just a tad too much, and then you will splurge, and have to start over from scratch.

The excess monies you free up, will be what you will use to get out of debt.

Why we should get out of debt. In a word. Freedom. )

Those who are debt free can afford to quit, to find a different job, to enjoy life.

In short, they are free.


If we are living within our means and we are debt free, then we are already immeasurably in a better position to deal with high energy prices.

The high transportation costs are going to make it more imperative that you live closer to work.

Another way to give yourself more leeway financially is to be closer to your workplace. This can be accomplished by changing jobs or by moving.

Consider the following scenario. Read more... )

I will continue musing on these things, but this one has gotten a bit unwieldy, and I think I should just go ahead and post it before it losses it's direction entirely.

Stay tuned for my thoughts on how we, as a nation, should address the problems ahead.

Musings

Oct. 27th, 2007 12:07 pm
tnrkitect: (Default)
Although I have not been posting as much here recently (hmmm, maybe my marriage back in June had something to do with that ;-) ) I have still been keeping up with the various topics of interest to me.

Frankly, I am a bit worried.

See what has me worried. (warning, a bit long.) )
Regardless, the times are interesting, and change is in the wind. The best that you can do is get your house in order, prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.
tnrkitect: (Default)
As I mentioned earlier in [livejournal.com profile] peakoil_prep, I have a decent sized library of books containing skills that could be useful as the ramifications of peak oil make themselves known. Some of them are books on modern skills, and others are books on "lost" skills, often modern reprints of older books.

Click through for titles, links, descriptions and a review )
These books are just a start on a collection of knowledge on self-suffiecency, and should provide what you need to begin a simpler life for yourself. I hope the list helps!

(x-posted to [livejournal.com profile] peakoil_prep)
tnrkitect: (Default)
A while back, it was susggested that I write up a small post about the things to think about in regards to living off-the-grid. By this I am referencing the ability to not need connection to the electric company for your house.

Now this is a wide subject that can fill volumes, so what I present here is just a brief overview, to give you some thoughts about what is available along with some books and publications on the matter.

So without further ado, Living Off the Grid )
tnrkitect: (Default)
It is only prudent to gain an understanding of the current energy market in North America, as the U.S. alone accounts for one quarter of world wide energy use. There are two main energy applications that we must address; mobile fuels, that is fuel for transportation that can be carried along with the vehicle and stationary fuels, that is those that can be used for heat and electricity generated in a fixed location. Click through to read the rest of the essay )
tnrkitect: (Default)
Preface: It is said that hindsight is 20 / 20. Events unfold in complex and confusing ways which can only be truly understood after the fact, when placed into the context of history. Yet care must be taken when consuming the tales of history, for the winning sides have always taken care to ensure that the public account of what happened sheds a favorable light upon their actions. I will give you my interpretation of recent history, and ask that you read it with a critical eye. Do not accept my word as truth; rather, use it as a springboard of exploration from which to investigate the events on your own, until you reach your own personal understanding of what has happened. In this age, information is much more readily available than in years past thanks to the internet. Yet here too, you must use discretion, and cast a critical eye at your sources of information. Do not accept one view or the other blindly; read accounts from all sides of the issue, and form your own synthesized view. The following is my understanding of events.
essay behind here )
tnrkitect: (Default)
It’s the Economy, Stupid

As the demand for commodities and more specifically, oil keeps rising, prices keep going up. To figure out what these higher prices mean to our economy, we must think about the basic underpinnings, the laws that govern how the economy works and the policies that affect it.
click to read the rest )
tnrkitect: (Default)
The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades

The 1980’s and 1990’s were more than just big hair, personal computers, and the end of the cold war, the space shuttle, the internet, and MTV (back when it actually aired music videos). They were also times of racial strife, bankrupt farmers, savings and loans collapses, sexy cigars, Black Tuesday, and the first Gulf War. One of the key elements to the remarkable excesses of the two decades is one that is often overlooked; OPEC finally figured out how to manage oil prices.
click for the rest )
tnrkitect: (Default)
Dominos in a Row – Energy, Population and the Environment

The climate change that is currently occurring is seen as beneficial by some, but the changes have far reaching implications. On the surface, people may think that a little warming is a pretty good deal. Less snow and ice to mess up the roads in winter, a few more weeks in which it is warm enough to be at the beach in summer. This sort of thinking is short sighted. We must realize that everything is interconnected, and changing one part of the equation affects all of the other parts. Once you accept the truth of this statement, that earth functions as one giant organism, and start looking into how the warming causes a domino effect through out all of the parts of the system, you begin to see just what sort of a hand basket we are in.
click for the rest )
tnrkitect: (Default)
Pollution is not a recent invention. Ever since men first began rudimentary industry and agriculture, there have been waste products generated. Read the rest behind the cut )
tnrkitect: (Default)
As mentioned previously, in 1961, the Middle Eastern Countries of Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Iran, Iraq, and Kuwait formed OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. By the end of the 1960s, Algeria, Indonesia, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar and The United Arab Emirates had joined this collective as well. OPEC now controlled 53 percent of the world’s oil, with the remaining 47 percent having much higher costs of recovery.
read the rest behind the cut )
tnrkitect: (Default)
As oil insinuated itself into every nook and cranny of industry, the rulers of the various nations began to take notice. As the profits flowed, so too did power. The oil of the world was controlled by only a handful of private companies, yet governments came to the opinion that oil was too important to be left alone, or to the whims of the market.
click through for the rest of this essay )
tnrkitect: (Default)
In which we learn about oil, and how it took hold.
Click Through for the Essay )
tnrkitect: (Default)
Coal and the steam engine revolutionized industry in the 1700’s, prompting unprecedented growth in all sectors of the economy. This new paradigm had transformed industry worldwide within a century. Coal and the power it supplied increased productivity in mining, and boosted profits. The textile industry was the next to capture the increased productivity offered by coal engines. As the professional tinkerers, more commonly referred to as engineers, refined the designs of the coal engines, their efficiency improved, and their size dropped to a size that they were able to be mounted upon wheeled vehicles, thus creating steam powered railways.
click through for the rest of this essay )
tnrkitect: (Default)
As I discussed previously, by the 13th century Europe was in an energy crisis. The population had grown to the point that the forests that they were dependent upon for fuel were dwindling fast, going up in smoke. Industry required voracious amounts, in addition to the requirements of the burgeoning population.
click through for the rest of this essay )
tnrkitect: (Default)
A brief history of the Energy Economy from the Stone Age to the advent of the Coal Age.

We all are aware of how high gas prices have risen in the last year and a half. Some of us are more aware than others, thanks to the amount of driving we have to do on a regular basis, or through being proud owners of gas-guzzling behemoths. In case you haven’t noticed, because you were cut off from the outside world, hiding out under a rock somewhere, or just had your head in the sand for the last year, gas prices are steadily increasing, showing no signs of going back down. You may hear that the prices are so high because of the unrest in the Middle East, or due to price gouging by the oil companies, who are in cahoots with the oil men (and women) occupying the White House, but you would be just as enlightened as the blind man describing an elephant from just feeling it’s tail.
Click through for the rest of this essay )

Preamble

Jan. 11th, 2006 05:32 pm
tnrkitect: (Default)
Over the course of the next few weeks, I will be sharing some thoughts with those of you who are interested in understanding what is going on with gas prices, why they keep rising the way that they do, what is to be expected in the coming years, and how we as individuals can prepare for it, with the minimal amount of disruption in our daily lives.

I will begin by explaining the history of energy, how it has become a vital part of our lives.
I will give the background of the oil industry, and explain this term known as “peak oil”. I will elaborate upon the current world energy market, showing where all of these billions of barrels of oil produced on this planet are going.
I will explain how oil ties in with international politics.
I will give an overview of the different technologies available to us for energy generation today.
I will explain throughout how all of the above effects the environment.

Once I have delineated the current situation, I will delve into the realm of informed conjecture.

I will explain where the energy markets are going, and why we will never see cheap gasoline prices again.
I will offer up a number of scenarios for how society will deal with the end of cheap oil, from pie-in-the-sky utopist outlook, to grim, Mad Max –esque pessimism.
I will concentrate on different areas of the world, and offer up their probable reactions.
I will focus on the different areas and social groups within the United States, and their probable reception to the events.

The final parts of this series of essays will delineate recommended courses of action.

I will explain what should be pushed for politically as a society.
I will outline some local actions that can be taken by towns, cities and states.
I will focus on preparations that individuals can accomplish.

My goal is to educate my friends and colleagues of what is happening and give them the necessary information and potential solutions to allow them to minimize the effects of the upcoming era of transition on themselves and their loved ones.

If I help a single person have a better life in the future as a result, the work I put into this will be worthwhile.

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tnrkitect - Musings of an Unconventional Mind

June 2011

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