Monday, June 22, 2009

Good Reads

Some good reads well worth the time:

An article on the Transition Initiative in the US which includes an intro to Peak Oil and opinions from several different sources. One of the best articles on the subject that I've read to date.

Sharon Astyk's ruminations on 'where we live' -- the global markets we rely upon and the consequences of long-distance living.

James Kunstler, in his weekly address "Clusterfuck Nation," explains with his typical acerbic wit why we the economy cannot return to 'normal.' We've been borrowing from tomorrow and tomorrow is finally here:
The US economic situation is going to get a lot worse. Many more people are going to lose incomes and chattels and will suffer, and the moment will arrive when they will direct their anger outward. They need to be told two things: that the borrowed-against future is now here, requiring very different behavior; and that those who received lavish payment for looting the American future unlawfully will be subject to due process of law. So far, nobody has even been fired, let alone officially investigated.

And a plug for Greg Craven's book, What's the Worst That Could Happen?, available now for pre-order! What makes Greg's book different from all others out there is that Greg doesn't try to tell you what to think. His book is about looking at the debate on global climate change from the perspective of risk management, and he offers guidelines on how to evaluate for yourself the information that bombards us from every angle. Plus, Greg is funny.:D He has written an easy-to-read alternative to the academic tomes that weigh down the bookstore shelves. Buy a copy for yourself and one for a friend! (Or buy one to donate to your local library . . . !)


Anonymous said...

GD, you can't grow crops underwater and I can't grow crops without water.

My State is using desal, ground water (Aquifers) dams and more desalination. Midwinter and the dams are at 33% capacity, groundwater levels are falling. Winter water restrictions are being introduced (total sprinkler ban)

It seems to be a wet winter but is realy well below average and is not penetrating consistantly into our farmlands.

Regards Tony

gaias daughter said...

Tony, we hit over a hundred degrees several days this month -- record breaking highs for the month of June. And only a sprinkling of rain. I'm trying to grow a few vegetables out back and they are constantly thirsty despite the layers of mulch. I know that where we live is unsustainable in the long run, but DH thinks my fears are silly.

Which is why I spend so much time on the internet -- fantasizing over real estate on higher, cooler, wetter ground (someplace with real dirt as opposed to white sand!) and hanging out with people, like yourself, who are able to read the writing on the wall.

I'm reminded of so many times in history when the 'unimaginable' occurred – the Great Depression in America, the rise of Hitler and fascism in Germany, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the terrorist attacks of 9/11, and even the current economic crisis on Wall Street. Historians look back and ask ‘why didn’t we see it coming?’ The truth is that there are always individuals who do see it coming but who are dismissed as ‘doomsayers.’ Ironically, the larger the looming disaster, the more people cling to the notion that ‘it can’t happen here.’ So now we have the biggest disaster ever on our doorstep and we are obsessing instead over the death of a rock star (I do hope Australian news has better things to report than Michael Jackson’s demise!)

It is also true that if we are to reduce CO2 emissions adequately (as proposed by Hadley Met Centre, James Hansen, etc), we are going to have to make sacrifices; just changing our light bulbs and turning down our thermostats won’t get us there. The only way to reduce emissions far enough is to change our lifestyles – either voluntarily or through government intervention. I can’t speak for the rest of the world, but this is something the American majority is not ready to accept and probably never will be.

gaias daughter said...


We have two main camps here in America that both oppose the degree of sacrifice that is called for. The first are, for the want of a better term, the skeptics. Skeptics run the gamut from those who think ‘warmers’ are misinformed and overreacting to those who are certain that climate change is a hoax being perpetrated by evil conspirators bent on worldwide domination. The skeptics are convinced that any action toward reducing emissions is a waste of resources, a diversion of energy, and a subversion of personal freedom. For them, the idea of voluntary sacrifice is ludicrous. They see it as unnecessary, unpleasant, and a step toward economic suicide. Even worse would be government interference in freedom of choice or in the sacrosanct wheelings and dealings of the free market. Should the government move decisively in that direction, I fear we would risk civil unrest, if not out and out revolution. And they have the guns to do it.

But the other camp, the greenies, are not calling for sacrifice, either. If you listen to Al Gore, President Obama, Joseph Romm, Thomas Friedman or one of the other ‘renewable energy’ proponents, you will hear how transitioning to green energy will help ‘grow the economy’ and make us more competitive in the world market. I know from whence they come. I used to be one of them. They tell us we don’t have to sacrifice our way of life, we just have to put up enough windmills and build enough solar arrays to plug in our soon-to-be-ubiquitous electric cars. We don’t have to slow our consumerism or retreat from globalization, we just need to convert to cradle-to-cradle manufacturing techniques. We don’t have to change our lifestyles, we just have to change our laws.

Windmills are good. Solar energy is good – especially when it is used directly for passive heating, cooking, water purification, etc. Geo-thermal, hydro-electric, energy conservation and efficiency are all great. We should do as much as we can. But unless we drastically change the way we live in this world, it will be too little and too late. Something is better than nothing, but something doesn’t mean enough.

So I continue looking for higher ground and hoping for a hurricane.

Regards, L

Anonymous said...

know what you mean, every time I am on the computer I get "Are you looking at Tasmania again?" Often I am.