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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Some thoughts on energy



There seem to be two main camps when it comes to energy. Drill baby drill pretty much sums up one of them. The idea is that there is still plenty of oil, gas, and coal out there. We just have to develop them better.

The second camp says we are running out. Put the whole Peak Oil movement into this group. There are arguments that we are actually past peak and already into deep energy decline.

Throw those two groups into a pit and see the fur fly.

Now imagine that the first group is right. On the bright side, we can keep on doing what we’ve been doing. Our cars, houses, and businesses can keep on running the way they always have.

The dark side is that we keep on running the way we’ve always run. The petro chemical industry continues to lay land to waste and pollutes our air and water. Even the cleanest fossil fuel technology does at least some damage. The really dirty ones, like coal plants in China, are foul indeed.

Big energy money continues to spend lavishly to buy political power from the top to the bottom. That has a real negative affect on democracy. The average guy and gal continue to pay ever increasing energy bills. Business as usual has some pretty negative things associated with it.

The running out camp thinking spans the gamut from things are getting bad to things are about to get apocalyptic. Every system that depends on energy, from agriculture to the military will either slowly fall apart of collapse overnight. Wow, things look grim!

What’s an individual to do? The good news is that they don’t have to wait for one group to be proven right to act. Let’s say the drill baby drill group is right. There is plenty of energy still in the ground. Okay, fine, but it’s still a limited resource. It might last 10 years or 100, but eventually it will run out. Even if it’s fine for 100 or even 200 years, why should we use it all up as quickly as possible? Shouldn’t we leave some for our decedents?

Let’s say it’s good for 1000 years. Do we want to be part of 1000 years of slavery to the big energy companies? Downsizing energy use and using sustainable alternatives frees a person from a bad system.

If the running out crowd is right, that same strategy puts a person in position where they still have enough energy to live comfortably.

Having low energy needs that can be mostly met though sustainable alternatives gives a person freedom. The best part is that action can be taken right now. It’s best to not wait to see who’s right as either scenario has big downsides. Individual influence doesn’t mean much. However, a whole lot of people acting for personal freedom can change the world.

But don’t worry about changing the world. Change the way you live and reap the benefits right now, for yourself. No need to hop into the bear pit. Live better right now. Gain independence and freedom. What’s not to like?

-Sixbears




16 comments:

  1. A college professor friend of mine, that I jokingly call "the guru," says there is now evidence that the production of oil by the earth may be an ongoing process. Still, he would be the first to agree with your thoughts on personal behavior about the matter.

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    1. It may be an ongoing process, but is it fast enough? Still locks us into the oil indusrty, which I'm not too keen on.

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  2. This thought...
    Without Carbon based fuels, we will not have the resources to produce alternative means.
    Must do it before the supply runs out !

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    1. Scary thought. We'd best get a move on!

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  3. hi. i'm in my 60's. when i was a kid solar energy was the coming technology. the only thing that has held it back is greed. electric companies were told to buy back any overproduction from private homes and other solar energy banks. they made that impossible by making a regulation of their own--solar producers had to post a 1,000,000 dollar bond each in case there was damage to the electric company's system from solar energy input. the vulture corporations will never go along with technology that may save us- and them, apparently they think they are immortal- until they can think of a way to get both the free energy and a way to get that last penny out of your jeans pocket.
    deb harvey

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    1. That's why we have to take care of ourselves and not wait for governement or businesss to do something.

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  4. The plastic industry uses a big percentage of the oil. Seems almost everything is made of plastic anymore.

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    1. Too bad so much of that plastic stuff is junk. There's a lot use of plastic in the medical field where there are no good substitutes. We should be saving it for the important uses.

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  5. Sometimes I want to look over my shoulder and affirm you aren't listening to my thoughts! This topic was a conversation I just had yesterday.

    I love your last paragraph. I plan to move to the back of my property - there's a big pond - and build a home. It's too far to run electric or water lines. For thousands of years people lived happily without either, why is that not possible now? There are thousands of technological improvements that should make it quite relaxing. And as I'm making the transition, the "traditional" house will still be "on-grid" a half mile down the holler.

    Anytime we depend on someone else for something we need - or think we need - it's an invitation to trouble.

    I have difficulty grasping why anyone would be afraid of a collapse. Our society is rotten through and through. Power by any individual or group ALWAYS leads to abuse of that power. Fearing loss of a rotten system is ludicrous and fearing death is even more ludicrous. Both are inevitable. The sooner an individual embraces that, the less likely to suffer from mental instability (and the inevitable chanting of stupid shit like "Drill baby drill")

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    1. Good luck with the transistion. I've found that even a 30 watt solar panel can make a difference. It runs everything on my little sailboat, but my needs there are small.

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  6. When it comes to energy we are like crackheads we cant seem to get the monkey off our back.The cost to most families is much higher than they relise.Power 250 natural gas propane 100 gas for 2 cars 400 to 600 A month. almost a 1000 a month how many hours of your life is spent working to pay for energy?Sixbear how much life have you gained because of veggie and solar and wood energy?

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    1. If I had to pay for all that stuff I'd have to work for a living. :)

      Rather go sailing.

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  7. Some people may wonder why i price most thing in hours/life.Money is infinate, printed on demand. We only have so many years days and hours in a life.I pace a high value on my short supply.

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    1. All we have in life is time, and we don't know how much. Time is life and why spend it on things you don't love?

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  8. Time is the only thing I have that's still worth anything, so I don't want to waste anymore than needed.

    To me, solar for individual use is the way to go, with maybe a little wind power thrown in for good measure!

    You have the right idea, buddy!

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