Got a lot of blackberries? Then check out this recipe for Blackberry Mojito Fruit Leather.

I'm not a huge fan of fruit leathers, but this turned out super good! And, really, you can't go wrong with blackberries, mint and rum.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Peak oil and a poll

Gas pricesI usually focus mainly on environmental subjects with the occasional social topic thrown in for good measure. Lately, I've been lightly mentioning peak oil without really going into what it exactly means.

I know a lot of you read Sharon's blog and are either somewhat or well versed in all things peak oil, but I also bet many of you have no idea what I'm talking about or don't really understand much about it. I generally have left the peak oil discussions up to others, but lately I've been doing a lot of reading on the topic and am finding myself better equipped to tackle some of the more salient bits of the conversation.

So, my question for you is, would you like to see me take a more vocal position regarding peak oil on this blog? Would you like some more information on what it is, what is means for us a society and what to expect? Would you like me to debunk some of the colossally ridiculous facts floating around? As usual, I would keep it as entertaining as possible, when it's possible.

Of course, this calls for a poll.

56 comments:

LimeSarah said...

I tend to follow The Oil Drum from time to time and read Sharon's blog, because those are two of the lowest-panic sites I've found. I'd love to hear more people talk about it, but many other specifically peak oil sites tend to have the typical macho Mad Max guns-in-a-bunker mentality. I don't own my home and I have medical issues and lots of friends with far more severe medical issues. So I'm not going to spend my time reading people who smugly insinuate that a) disabled/sick/poor people will all die come TEOTWAWKI, and b) that this will be a good thing.

Sorry, rant over. I know you won't write like that, Crunchy, so I would love to see you talk more about peak oil!

Bobbi said...

At this point, I can use all the info I can get!

Jenn said...

I'd appreciate a few posts here and there. I trust you and the information you provide.

I don't know what TEOTWAWKI stands for, but it sounds like it should be a camp on a lake. Come spend the week at Lake Teotwawki!

maryann said...

wxwyrHonestly I'm as sick of oil as I am of politics. After a while it's just overload for me. I'd prefer discussions on solutions and wahat people are doing to reduce usage and alternatives instead of the problems.

The Purloined Letter said...

Please, Crunchy! I would really love to hear your voice on this issue--especially after reading your comments about Kunstler over in Sharon"s comments. The more sane people talk sanely about this--and the more progressive kind people do--the more what limesarah is complaining about will finally end.

Just for the record, I am a 1 and could be a 3 too in the poll choices.

TEOTWAWKI stands for The End Of The World As We Know It--but I think Jenn and her idea of it being a camp on a lake is both very funny and somehow reassuring.

scifichick said...

I would love to read your take on peak oil and what you do to prepare for it, if anything. And also how you think the world will change with shortage of oil. I read Sharon's blog and I really like it, though I wish there were more things mentioned that apartment dweller can do.

Britta said...

I read Sharon, Automatic Earth, etc. everyday. What I'm really looking for in most of the blogs I read (that aren't friends) is ideas for the future.

How-to stuff. Yes, I know things will change. I'm okay with that. But, how do I adapt? How do I start preparing now?

I love to see book lists.

So, I love your blog for the new ideas, or reinforced ideas. Like the Liquid Gold and other such things. I've heard about them, but you inspire me to try. To say to myself that this is fun and feasible.

I say keep that up. Keep the fun in it. And keep the occasional passionate rant. Peak oil will likely become more of your blog, but if you keep it in that vein, your tone, I'll be a forever reader.

Thanks for you all you do already!

Joyce said...

I'm with Limesarah, the survivalist mode doesn't work for me, but I don't think that's where you are coming from.
And to reassure Limesarah-there are plenty of wonderful people who would not allow the disabled to be marginalized and just die in a crisis. People usually rise to the occasion and do the right thing. Remember the stories of folks helping older workers out of the World Trade Center? That's who we really are.

kimberly said...

i can't really answer any of those options, so i'll just do it here...
i know what peak oil is, and i read about it online, but not on blogs. i don't think i've seen sharon's blog or the oil drum, but i've heard about her by checking out all these blogs and reading the responses. i am interested in it, but i'm not sure i'd be interested in basic info about it. although i think that stuff's important, and people should be informed. i wouldn't really be interested in reading about peak oil, so much as i'd like to hear about people's ideas surrounding a weaning off of oil/solutions/alternatives. otherwise it's just heavy and depressing for no reason...

JenX67 said...

i'd like to know more from you...

anajz said...

I do hope that you offer your opinion and suggestions on the subject of Peak Oil.
We live in a small town in a rural area, which makes me very concerned over our town's ability to furnish basic needs in the near future. Our grocery store here is limited in selection and quantity, with prices often at 75-150% higher than larger chain grocery stores. Many times certain items will be sold out the very next day after delivery. If Peak Oil and oil prices get any worse, I fear that our local food will be more expensive than many are able to afford...or worse yet, we will not be able to get delivery at all. Our nearest Supermarket is 35 miles away.
Our problems/solutions may not be the same, but I feel we can all learn from another educated opinion, such as yours.

Anonymous said...

Your poll missed information from other sources than blogs.
Eva

Bugs and Brooms said...

Clueless. Want to learn more.

Maeve said...

For me, I don't need more info on peak oil, or climate change, what I need is to feel like I'm part of a community of people who are doing what they can (even if it is small symbolic gestures, that's all that some can manage).

I wouldn't mind a sprinkling of peak oil posts in your blog, and I'm pretty sure your irreverent tongue-in-cheek humor would make for entertaining reading on a subject that isn't humorous in the least. :)

Crunchy Chicken said...

Well, shit, Jenn. I think any future posts on coping with Peak Oil will have to be referred to that: Welcome to Camp Teotwawki! That has such a calming vibe to it.

Maybe I'll have to make up a song :) And we all get t-shirts, too!

I'm envisioning a lovely banner that looks like a wood plank with Camp Teotwawki wood-burned into it. Fun!

So, as you can see, I'm not about to do the "Mad Max guns-in-a-bunker" thing. More like "Bad Chicken buns-on-a-bunny" thing.

Michelle said...

I agree with limesarah. I had the end of the world panic stuff. But I would love to read your thoughts on the matter.

abbie said...

I didn't vote... what about the "I know some about it, but my information comes from (gasp) books, and not blogs."
Cause that would be my vote.

And by the way, I'd love to see your take.

Michelle said...

Okay, I meant I HATE the end of the world panic stuff!

Crunchy Chicken said...

Abbie - I hear you. Most of my information has come from books as well. Let's just say that I'm up on my statistics and charts!

Taking the bus and hanging out at the cancer center has allowed a lot of time for reading.

Gina said...

Write on!! So far everything I read about peak oil is...ummm....(yawn)...boring. I'm sorry. I must be entertained while I learn. A "Peak Oil for Dummies Primer", if you will.

Rosa said...

I don't really care about peak oil extraction, because as far as I'm concerned we're past "peak fossil fuel usage without parboiling the planet".

So I think the stuff you're already doing on using less oil & coal & natural gas is great and I would like to see more of that, but the whole "will production drop after 2010 or not until 2050" and bunker prep stuff doesn't really do it for me.

MeadowLark said...

Though I hardly know you, I second (third, fourth) the notion that your voice is one that would be welcome on this topic.

I visit many of these blogs daily (I get paid to surf the internet... don't ask) and cycle between panic and smugness. Neither of which is really called for.

So please... tell us what those of us who aren't prepared enough (and can't convince the spouse we're not a nutcase) can do.

Tara said...

I'm always up for more suggestion on how to prepare/adapt. I do have two primary areas of concern, that don't seem to get addressed enough anywhere. 1) How to talk to people who think you're a complete whackjob, and 2) suggestions for personal finance in a peak oil economy. No one talks much at all about what we are to do with our money.

eco 'burban mom said...

I can't stand the "chicken little the sky is falling, we're all doomed" crapola. I get it already, but what I would like is more information on how to DEAL with the crisis. I appreciated your "stop the drilling" letter writing campaign, which I jumped right on. In a nutsell - I would rather be part of the solution, than the problem.

arduous said...

I agree with limesarah and a few others. The survivalist and panic thing really doesn't work for me, but I have a feeling that that's not at all how you would approach it, so I'm sure I'd enjoy reading your take on peak oil.

I do agree with scifichick, that in terms of the "what can you do" I wish that there was more stuff tailored to apartment dwellers. More and more people are living in urban, compact environments wherein storing six months of food is neither desirable nor possible.

Chile said...

I've finally started talking more about peak oil at my blog, but it took me a while to decide to do that because there are already quite a few sites dealing with it. I try, however, to put peak oil in the context of "this is happening, how can we have a good life in a changing world?"

I think that's what you would bring to the table as well, since you also focus on how to reduce our dependency on various resources. In my humble opinion, the more of us that can offer solutions to the question of how to live with it, the better!

I probably tend to lean more to the doom 'n gloom than some people like, but that's because I see quite a bit of denial still going on. Looking forward to you presenting the less dark version, complete with cool banners!

RC said...

I'm not sure Global Warming due to humans is a fact. Nor am I convinced that Peak Oil is a fact.
But petroleum prices are high and going higher, glaciers are melting for some reason.
I've read all the studies I can digest. What matters is that we have a very big problem with food, energy and economics and very little being done about any of those problems.
I want to know {I don't expect you to do the divining, Crunchy, maybe just pass on any news} how to function as conditions become more precarious.
I lived through the seventies, a period that had some similarities to the present, and the survivalist thing never happened. Also I remember the enormous joke that was Y2K. I couldn't believe at the time that Y2K as a source of panic could be taken seriously, but of course I never operated a computer until 2003, so what do I know?
More than anything else I want to know how bad things will get and when. I'll prepare for that and not something that won't happen.
I read about the Peak Oil and related topics in order to glean information that will help me answer those two questions. There are very few helpful answers.

mudnessa said...

well now i am going to have to go and read sharons blog and figure out what this is. would love to have more info.

Melinda said...

I voted for the first one, but I wish there was an option that went something like this: I followed it religiously in the past, and know all about it, but I'm now focussing on how to create a sustainable life that is easily adaptable to peak oil and climate change, rather than focussing on how it's incrementally getting worse. A bit wordy, but since you're the poll meister, I'm sure you could find a better way of saying it. ; )

Hausfrau said...

I take Peak Oil seriously! I spend about 30% of my non-child/work/sleep time devoted to gardening, food storage, reducing carbon footprint & energy usage, blogging about Peak Oil, etc. Occasionally I drift over into panic mode....I think your voice is always welcome on whatever topic you want to write about!!

Lynnet said...

I would love you to debunk the colossally ridiculous "facts" floating around. And I would love you to bring your own irreverent and entertaining viewpoint on this problem.

When I focus too much on Peak Oil, I tend to go deer-in-the-headlights on it, as I did yesterday, which doesn't do me or anybody else any good.

MeadowLark said...

There's actually a really good article over at the Energy Bulletin about the 5 psychological stages of grief, in relation to peak oil.

http://www.energybulletin.net/node/45935

I vacillate between bargain, depression and acceptance.

Beany said...

How about an option for "I started to dig deeper into Peak Oil and stressed myself out and got shingles". I would click that one.

I read oil drum occasionally, often when Sharon links to something there and I read some other sites on Peak oil, but I'm taking a break right now until I get my sunny disposition back.

DramaMama said...

I voted for the "I want to know what's going on" but I'd like to change the second half of the option. I am not scared, I just am new to all this. Should I be scared? I don't know. Part of me is skeptic about a lot of stuff but I do want to learn. I figure that info from many sources is not bad as long as I cross check them and what not...so yeah, put me down for I'd like to learn about it. Thanks!

Fr. Peter Doodes said...

The more the merrier Cheeky Chicken. I have been banging on about it for a long while and would welcome the company.

We have passed peak oil, we have passed peak food, we are in a world wide depression. I know the facts are not nice, but ignoring them, as the vast majority do, will not make them go away.

The good news is that we will not run out of oil, the bad news is that either the price will keep going up and we will not be able to afford it, or the depression will take hold, and we won't have the money to afford it.

I am in the UK, and when my son started driving 14 years ago he was paying 19p a litre for petrol (gas), the price now is 122p per litre. There are approx 3.8 litres in a US gallon so 1 US gallon = £4.63 a gallon or 9.29 $.

Cut down on your debts, insulate your house well, grow your own food wherever and whenever and harvest, cook and share it with those you love and drive as as though you were on an economy run. It may be a bore for some, but YOU will still have a good life.

katecontinued said...

We can't learn enough about peak-oil and the relationship with the status quo, read: economics. Fear is the weapon being used to manipulate us - even in peak oil. I would love to see more of a connect between the lives we lead and the science of climate, and teh 24/7 false information of what matters.

You have that delicious quality of writing with humor and candor. These Crunchy qualities need to be brought to these bugga-bugga subjects, just as you introduced us all to the taboo subjects of our own bodies and bodily fluids.

We don't need more bunker, survivalist terror. And, I am sick to death of ridiculous corporate media acting like oil is a subject too complicated for us. We are more than consumers, we are citizens.

LimeSarah said...

Yay camp TEOTWAKI!

And thanks, Joyce -- I know there are all sorts of kind and sensible people out there :-) Also, thanks to Sharon, I know that my own dependance on the modern medical system can be duplicated with a good high school chem lab. Or, for that matter, with rather a lot of sheep. But that's a bit riskier.

Becky @ Boys Rule My Life said...

Ok, the truth is I fall in that small percentage of not having a clue. It's sad, but it's true.

I do want to learn more, though, so in answer to your questions, "yes, please".

equa yona(Big Bear) said...

Peak oil, makeup, cups in lieu of tampons, what the hell, i will read whatever you write about. To Joyce: you are a nice pastor, and those are sweet words BUT, while we are good in a crisis(if you are white and like us, think New Orleans) but long term big pain- I aint bettin' on US folks for a long haul. Now THAT is an interesting topic for peak oil considerations.

The Purloined Letter said...

Re: Camp Teotwawki

"Maybe I'll have to make up a song :) And we all get t-shirts, too!"

Oh, we've GOT to have the t-shirts. And some new campfire song that can get that boppy REM sound out of my head would be terrific.

Maybe a logo competition should be in the works?

daharja said...

I'd like to read your take on it, but please try to make it more worldview rather than US-centric. I'm getting a bit sick of hearing Americans whinge about paying $5 a gallon when we've been paying over $7 a gallon (when you convert from litres and dollars) for a while now, and the Europeans are paying quite a bit more. You haven't hit the hard times yet in the US. I hear that in some European countries they're paying over $10 a gallon. Ouch!

All the families I associate with are limiting themselves to spending a set amount on petrol per week (in our case it's $50), and once its gone, we walk. That's how we're dealing with Peak Oil.

Oh, and growing our own veggies when the landlords let us and heckling the council for better public transport!

And mortgagee sales are up. No suprise there.

Vanessa said...

I'm not sure it registered my vote. I feel fairly well versed in peak oil theory, but would LOVE to see you tackle the subject. Greater education can only lead to greater solutions.

Joyce said...

Just to be clear, I'm not a pastor. Not sure how that got out there.

Deann said...

I don't find the concept of Peak Oil nearly as frightening as the heels-dug-into-the-ground corporate, financial, and political leaders attitude that they're going to drain every drop of oil out of the ground before they admit that there's a problem. Denial, denial, until it's so obvious that SOMETHING must be done- mainly because their cupeth hath run dry! I want to see what can be created on the grass roots level to bypass the inevitable fees and scams the BIG GUYS try to implement on the masses to keep themselves in power and wealth. Not that I advocate anarchy or the like. It would just be nice to have an alternative ecomony and delivery system quitely in place so that I could cope in life without having to rely on mega corporations. Can we brainstorm on stuff like that too, Crunchy? I'm all for cooperative/bulk buying clubs, carsharing, etc., things that folks did in the depression and WWII to get through the tough times and live with the rations. There are some mental exercises we can all create and practice now so that we don't give ourselves a head-trip and freakout when/if harder times do come. Those things I'd also like to hear/talk about.

kimberly said...

oh, i totally second arduous' comment there. i rent a bachelor apartment, and lot of what i read in these blogs doesn't apply to me because of that...

Robj98168 said...

Good Gawd- When TEOTWAWKI COmes, am I gonna have to shoot Ballardites? Thats like shootin at my cousins!

Leila said...

I'm with limesarah. I started reading about peak oil quite some time before I was diagnosed with a recurrence of breast cancer, this time metastatic (spread to organs and bone). That was last year. I just finished nine months of chemo. I'm feeling pretty damned good - I took out the recycling today! But most of the stuff the peak oilers are doing to prepare - not going to happen at my house.

I figure that if the doomsayers are right, I'm not going to survive. Heck, my doc thinks things are pretty serious for me although she tries to be kind. She has been keeping patients like me alive for several years now so I have a great deal of hope that I will be around for a while. BUT... all that labor to raise food and be self-sustainable? Ain't gonna happen. I can't do it, and hubby does not really credit any of this. He's a computer guy, a musician, a dreamer, and he just doesn't credit this doom stuff.

A part of me just gets mad and warrior-like at the thought that I am supposed to be expendable. I am not fucking expendable. I may have no hair or eyelashes but I am an extremely valuable human being (as are we all) and I intend to be here, consuming resources.

In the meantime, adding acupuncture, chi gong healing and reiki to my chemo regimen got the illness to recede suddenly ... latest scan showed everything inert, signs of healing in the bone, lung tumor disappeared, liver mets just static, not active or growing. I have more energy. I won't be biking any time soon, and I only walk about two miles at a time, and no longer lug heavy groceries home on foot (but light ones ok). I do a little yard work.

Disaster scenarios just don't sway me anymore. I am still reading here and at Sharon's. But I have a feeling that we don't know what is going to happen - as we don't know what's going to happen with my health. I feel like there's some purpose I have for sticking around (besides that I'm too tough to kill so easily) and maybe part of it is helping my beloved city adapt to whatever is coming. Or if all I do is help my hubby adapt, then there you go.

I did show him where I keep the printout on "survival garden in a hurry" from the Oil Drum. "Just in case you ever need this," I said. He took it in, didn't look skeptical. He knows change is in the air. California is on fire and the salmon just disappeared (as well as the frogs and crickets in my neighborhood). He knows something is up.

Erika said...

I choose "I want to know what's going on," but it frightens me... I read Sharon's blog fairly regularly, but, honestly, feel like I'm way behind the curve... I get the main ideas, but the details are as clear as mud... That said, I'd love to hear more about it in different ways just so I can have a clear understanding... and not panic (too much)...

--Erika

Million Blogger March said...

Electricity, coal, oil, energy are all meaningless finite commodities we have driven ourselves to become Dependant on… Great nations and powers will rise and fall from basic ignorance of what is and what is not infinite.

Yet we historically ignore the obvious things that are vital to existence… clean air & water.

Our current existence is a only “gloomy” because we treat ourselves like a the expendable commodities we have been given and choose to simply throw away.

All the doom and gloom, hate and horror can go away if we just use common sense, care, compassion and treat our finite planet and people with the respect they deserve.

I know it is not popular to talk about but we have ways to produce clean abundant energy for a another century (no not solar, hydrogen, or wind hype and hoaxes).


"Peak Oil" and "Sharon's" site only deal with reality based logic.

It is how we read it that decides how it fills our glass.

"peak oil" will become a "non-issue" in a decade, just like $4 gas.

We need to stop sweating the small stuff and focus on the things we have no answers for.

Clean Water - when it is gone, so are we.

Betsy said...

I read Sharon's blog and the Energy Bulletin daily. Just as others have said, I would LOVE more information about how individuals are preparing and making changes.

equa yona(Big Bear) said...

Joyce: Sorry for the error in terms. I meant you were in a ministering mode, and I apologize for sounding so terribly condescending.

Deann said...

Has anyone heard about the Transition Towns movement in England? (Sorry if you've already blogged about this, Crunchy. I have only been reading your blog for a few weeks and haven't gone through all the archives.) There's a web site which networks all of the individual towns that have signed on to be post-peak oil towns. Go to www.transitiontowns.org

These folks are serious about making a go of living without oil!

MeadowLark said...

Sad to say there's only like 3 US towns on the list. I forwarded the website to my city councilors and they all acted like I was a whack-job.

Oh well, guess that tells me who I won't be counting on to steer my community. GRRRRRR.

saltgirl said...

Hey CC -
How about starting a new challenge? The People's response to Al Gore's challenge to switch to 100% renewable electricity in 10 years. http://gristmill.grist.org/
story/2008/7/17/124755/001
My personal plan is to track the cost of all my lattes and other unnecessary impulse buys, not make the purchase and put the money away in a jar until I can afford solar cells, an electric car or some other thing that will reduce my carbon consumption. Just how much do we all spend on little must-haves that we really don't need? A tall mocha a day: over $1300 a year. What do you think? (Yeah - I'd start it myself but I have like 15 readers - must blog more.

saltgirl said...

And just to be clear - I advocate reduction of use even more than buying alternative sources but I do think a lot of people just can't see how they can afford to change. Add up your incidentals and...

ruralaspirations said...

I don't know which vote to cast. I think there's a lot of chicken little stuff in the Peak Oil movement. I think we aren't actually close to running out, but I have total faith that our love of money will keep us going, if not extracting more expensive sources of oil, or moving on to the next big source of fuel. There is something out there which is too expensive right now but will become economically viable when things start to dry out at the pumps. Whoever comes up with the right technology at the right time stands to make billions so I have no doubt we'll be saved from Peak Oil by market forces.

I just hope its a more sustainable solution.

And yes, I'd love to hear your take on it, Crunchy!

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