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Re: [carfree_cities] Is the oil dependence problem on the radar?

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  • Simon Baddeley
    Wow. The great Ken Avidor. My hero. Sorry for embarrassing you! Trouble with the Titanic metaphor is that although it was risky there was at least a place to
    Message 1 of 20 , Jun 18, 2004
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      Wow. The great Ken Avidor. My hero. Sorry for embarrassing you!

      Trouble with the Titanic metaphor is that although it was risky there was at
      least a place to bale out to. Barring planetary colonisation there's nowhere
      else for us - sinners and saints alike - to go.

      We all hang together or we all hang separately.

      Simon


      On 18/6/04 11:36 pm, "kenavidor" <kenavidor@...> wrote:

      > Simon Baddeley said:
      >
      > "To some it's like being on the Titanic"
      >
      > It definately seems that way to me. I really doubt there's a way to change
      > course or to reverse the engines. I think a better plan is to make ready the
      > lifeboats and prepare to abandon ship.
      >
      > Ken Avidor
      > Minneapolis
    • Doug Salzmann
      ... To which Simon responded: ... I think Ken means that the prospects for altering the course of mainstream culture seem remote, and that those of us who
      Message 2 of 20 , Jun 19, 2004
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        Ken wrote:

        > > Simon Baddeley said:
        > >
        > > "To some it's like being on the Titanic"
        > >
        > > It definately seems that way to me. I really doubt there's a way to change
        > > course or to reverse the engines. I think a better plan is to make ready the
        > > lifeboats and prepare to abandon ship.

        To which Simon responded:

        On Sat, 19 Jun 2004, Simon Baddeley wrote:

        > Trouble with the Titanic metaphor is that although it was risky there was at
        > least a place to bale out to. Barring planetary colonisation there's nowhere
        > else for us - sinners and saints alike - to go.
        >
        > We all hang together or we all hang separately.

        I think Ken means that the prospects for altering the course of
        mainstream culture seem remote, and that those of us who clearly
        see the looming iceberg can most usefully focus our energies, at this
        late date, on strategies for survival and rescue.

        Sadly, I think Ken is correct. It appears very unlikely that
        global techno-industrial society will even recognize that destruction
        is around the corner in time to take corrective action, let alone
        actually implement such action. The only chance, I think, is for the
        relatively alert and enlightened among us to work to establish and
        support as many pockets and corners of sustainable culture as
        possible.

        As Ken Said earlier, each of these projects is likely to be different
        from the others, and that's a very good thing -- it's how evolution
        works.

        Here an Illichville, there an Arcosanti, over there an implementation
        of the Reference Design... We need to try it all.

        As for hanging together, I'm afraid that hanging with the dominant
        culture means that we will all *choke* together -- in our own wastes.


        -Doug



        "Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do."

        -Ronald Wilson Reagan, 1981


        ---
        Doug Salzmann
        Kalliergo
        Post Office Box 307
        Corte Madera, CA 94976 USA

        <doug@...>
      • Simon Baddeley
        But excuse me - what s this idea that you can somehow survive separately. In the European dark Ages the Monasteries preserved a literary and spiritual
        Message 3 of 20 , Jun 19, 2004
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          But excuse me - what's this idea that you can somehow survive separately. In
          the European dark Ages the Monasteries preserved a literary and spiritual
          tradition. During the world wars of the 20th C. some countries managed to
          remain neutral. The character of the catastrophe we are discussing allows no
          refuges of this kind. It's more like The Flood, only without the Ark. This
          isn't about removing yourself from the mainstream of a society you don't
          like. There will be no place to go.

          I thought everyone know this the moment that first photo of earth from space
          - from the Mercury satellite in the late 1960s - entered general
          circulation.

          Simon

          On 19/6/04 9:09 pm, "Doug Salzmann" <doug@...> wrote:

          >
          > Ken wrote:
          >
          >>> Simon Baddeley said:
          >>>
          >>> "To some it's like being on the Titanic"
          >>>
          >>> It definately seems that way to me. I really doubt there's a way to change
          >>> course or to reverse the engines. I think a better plan is to make ready
          >>> the
          >>> lifeboats and prepare to abandon ship.
          >
          > To which Simon responded:
          >
          > On Sat, 19 Jun 2004, Simon Baddeley wrote:
          >
          >> Trouble with the Titanic metaphor is that although it was risky there was at
          >> least a place to bale out to. Barring planetary colonisation there's nowhere
          >> else for us - sinners and saints alike - to go.
          >>
          >> We all hang together or we all hang separately.
          >
          > I think Ken means that the prospects for altering the course of
          > mainstream culture seem remote, and that those of us who clearly
          > see the looming iceberg can most usefully focus our energies, at this
          > late date, on strategies for survival and rescue.
          >
        • Doug Salzmann
          ... I would say, rather, a hope that some of civilization can survive (especially the arts and music that, in my view, distinguish us from other species, like
          Message 4 of 20 , Jun 19, 2004
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            On Sat, 19 Jun 2004, Simon Baddeley wrote:

            > But excuse me - what's this idea that you can somehow survive separately.

            I would say, rather, a hope that some of civilization can survive
            (especially the arts and music that, in my view, distinguish us from
            other species, like squirrels, that are otherwise more attractive)
            -- a longshot, to be sure.

            > The character of the catastrophe we are discussing allows no
            > refuges of this kind. It's more like The Flood, only without the Ark. This
            > isn't about removing yourself from the mainstream of a society you don't
            > like. There will be no place to go.

            That may be true. It depends, mostly, on the specific forces
            unleashed during the death throes of the mainstream culture. If it
            goes out with a whimper, collapsing and crumbling rather than
            exploding, there may remain pockets of survival and cultural
            persistence.

            If, instead, global industrial capitalism exits with a bang, humans
            may be reduced to a Mad Max caricature of our former "glory" -- at
            best.

            Either way, it appears overwhelmingly probable that the dominant
            culture *will* fail catastrophically, most likely sooner rather than
            later. Having observed the trends, signs and portents with some care
            and attention for nearly four decades, I very much doubt that such
            failure can now be avoided.

            > I thought everyone know this the moment that first photo of earth from space
            > - from the Mercury satellite in the late 1960s - entered general
            > circulation.

            Yes, I think we have all felt that way from that time, Simon. For me,
            the changed analysis arises from the growing realization that we have
            *already* failed in our efforts to save the whole, that the best we
            can now, perhaps, achieve is the preservation of parts, pieces and
            fragments -- along with, one hopes, a thimble of wisdom -- much as
            happened during the Dark Ages in Europe.

            I really don't believe we can do more at this late date, which is why
            the subject header, "Illichville or Else," seemed appropriate to a
            recent message.

            I hope I'm wrong, but I don't think I am.


            -Doug



            --

            "Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do."

            -Ronald Wilson Reagan, 1981


            ---
            Doug Salzmann
            Kalliergo
            Post Office Box 307
            Corte Madera, CA 94976 USA

            <doug@...>
          • Richard Risemberg
            ... The initial effects will be economic, and those who have the power will do whatever they can to gather the remains to themselves, resulting in a world of
            Message 5 of 20 , Jun 19, 2004
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              Doug Salzmann wrote:

              > That may be true. It depends, mostly, on the specific forces
              > unleashed during the death throes of the mainstream culture. If it
              > goes out with a whimper, collapsing and crumbling rather than
              > exploding, there may remain pockets of survival and cultural
              > persistence.

              The initial effects will be economic, and those who have the power will
              do whatever they can to gather the remains to themselves, resulting in a
              world of even more widespread poverty than today's. I think that's part
              of the perhaps unconscious program of what I call the New Feudalists: to
              establish a structure that allows for vast hordes of miserable poor to
              support a tiny elite.

              However, if communications remain as cheap as they are now--and there's
              no guarantee that they will, or that structures such as the Internet
              won't be entirely privatized in the end to become the trivialzed and
              consored domains of the remains of the corporate class--but *if*
              communications remain cheap and widespread, it could provide fertile
              soil for a revolution.

              If such a scenario comes about--and part of our goal is to evade that by
              establishing, or at least facilitating the establishment of, a better
              way to live--then our work becomes to try to bring about a peaceful
              Ghandian revolution, rather than the usual mess. Ghandi won by ignoring
              the British Raj, living separately within it, enmeshed with it yet not
              dependent. A revolution of giving rather than taking.

              Richard
              --
              Richard Risemberg
              http://www.living-room.org
              http://www.newcolonist.com

              "Until you stop looking for simple answers, you will not be happy. You
              will not even be human."

              RR
            • Steve Geller
              ... We ll have to change our ways. We don t burn wood or peat like we used to. There s still coal. There might even be some surprise oil formations, or some
              Message 6 of 20 , Jun 19, 2004
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                >The character of the catastrophe we are discussing allows no
                >refuges of this kind. It's more like The Flood, only without the Ark. This
                >isn't about removing yourself from the mainstream of a society you don't
                >like. There will be no place to go.

                We'll have to change our ways. We don't burn wood or peat like we used to.
                There's still coal. There might even be some surprise oil formations,
                or some new technology to cheaply process marginal oil formations.

                If none of this takes place, we're simply going to have to get most
                our energy from something besides oil. There's still wind, geothermal,
                hydro, tides, waves and of course the sun.

                And don't forget nuclear power. Maybe the members of the "nuke club"
                will get together and reprocess spent fuel elements for another
                trip through the reactors, instead of making the stuff into WMDs.
              • Doug Salzmann
                ... Indeed, there s still coal -- The undisputed king of global warming and filthy air. See the recently-circulated article in which we hear the Shell honcho
                Message 7 of 20 , Jun 22, 2004
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                  On Sat, 19 Jun 2004, Steve Geller wrote:
                  >
                  > There's still coal. There might even be some surprise oil formations,
                  > or some new technology to cheaply process marginal oil formations.

                  Indeed, there's still coal -- The undisputed king of global warming
                  and filthy air. See the recently-circulated article in which we hear
                  the Shell honcho proclaim, "I'm really very worried for the planet."

                  <http://www.guardian.co.uk/climatechange/story/0,12374,1240704,00.html>

                  By comparison with coal, oil is clean energy.

                  Considering the history of discoveries over the past three decades
                  (during which exploration technology has improved by orders of
                  magnitude), it seems quite unlikely that surprise formations, of
                  sizes likely to make a long-term difference, are out there to be
                  found.

                  No doubt, recovery processes will improve, but there will always be
                  unavoidable *energy* costs associated with overcoming gravity,
                  friction, etc. Unless those costs are relatively low in comparison
                  with the energy value of the recovered fuel source, that marginal oil
                  is an energy *sink.* Not to mention the environmental damage
                  associated with production of oil from unconventional formations.

                  > If none of this takes place, we're simply going to have to get most
                  > our energy from something besides oil. There's still wind, geothermal,
                  > hydro, tides, waves and of course the sun.

                  Yep. Those, with other renewables, will have to suffice. Just don't
                  imagine that 6-10 billion people are going to use these sources to
                  "enjoy" "standards of living" similar to those currently prevailing in
                  North America and Western Europe.

                  > And don't forget nuclear power. Maybe the members of the "nuke club"
                  > will get together and reprocess spent fuel elements for another
                  > trip through the reactors, instead of making the stuff into WMDs.

                  A fair amount of reprocessing could, of course, take place. It would
                  have to, because, contrary to all of the 1950's nonsense about power
                  too cheap to meter, *fissionable* uranium is actually rather scarce on
                  this planet.

                  We could certainly produce much more nuclear-generated
                  power than we do now, but there is only one way (unless you want
                  to wait for the Fusion Fairy) that it is even conceivable to
                  use it to replace cheap oil: Build a bunch of fast-breeder reactors.

                  Just imagine a world of greedy warmongers and clashing cultures
                  blessed with an unlimited supply of cheap plutonium. Pu-239 is *such*
                  useful stuff and, with a half-life of 24,100 years, so very durable.

                  Of course, even that nightmare scenario depends upon relatively early
                  adoption of a plan for all-out nuclear construction, and widespread
                  commitment to its implementation. It takes a lot of time, money and
                  (ever-scarcer and more expensive) *energy* to build nuke plants. The
                  last round of such building took place in a world of much cheaper and
                  more plentiful oil.

                  I'm afraid that those who expect technology or Fortune to save us from
                  the looming permanent energy crunch have unreasonable and unsupported
                  expectations. It ain't gonna happen.

                  If human civilization is to survive (I think it's a big "if"), it will
                  have to be in communities that use much less energy and many fewer
                  resources, while discharging a tiny fraction of the poisonous waste,
                  we Westerners do now. Consumer culture and endlessly-growing
                  material wealth will be history, or we will be.

                  So, imagine a carfree, post-industrial, sustainable city or town --
                  and go build it. Soon.


                  -Doug


                  --

                  "Is it not a strange blindness on our part
                  to teach publicly the techniques of warfare
                  and to reward with medals those who prove to
                  be the most adroit killers?"

                  -Donatien-Alphonse-Francois de Sade, 1740-1814



                  ---
                  Doug Salzmann
                  Kalliergo
                  Post Office Box 307
                  Corte Madera, CA 94976 USA

                  <doug@...>
                • kplcards
                  The sooner we run out of oil the better . If we are ever going retake our living space for life and not automobiles we need to do more then just talk - what
                  Message 8 of 20 , Jun 23, 2004
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                    The sooner we run out of oil the better .

                    If we are ever going retake our living space for life and not automobiles
                    we need to do more then just talk - what good does talk do if doesn't lead
                    to action ?

                    The auto industry will just find a different poison to replace oil

                    Recent UK Guardian ? article

                    "NO INSULT TO BALTIMORE
                    Baltimore wants to turn itself into a 'clean' energy company, so might want
                    to take a look at algae. Scientits at the University of New Hampshire in
                    the US have discovered that you can make biodiesel, which can run in normal
                    diesel engines, from algae. The fast-growing oil-rich algae can be
                    cultivated in shallow salt water pools in currently barren deserts and fed
                    on human and animal waste, the processing produces useful methanol as a
                    by-product and the waste material is nitrogen-rich fertiliser. To supply
                    the entire US would take up only 9% of one American desert, the Sonora, and
                    the total cost of productIon is half of the amount spent by the US on crude
                    oil alone, never mind oil refinement. Should Baftimore be looking to
                    cultivate pond life after all "




                    Kelly Plastics , 24 Benburb Street , Dublin 7 . Ireland .
                    Tel: 00 353 1 6799234 - Fax: 00 353 1 6799236 - Email kplcards@...

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