Talking Energy in Corcaigh (or "Cork" as you probably know it)

Well it was raining in Cork this morning, site of this week's ASPO conference, but by this afternoon it turned out to be somewhat nicer, and so I meandered over to the The Lifetime Lab where the evening welcome reception was to take place. (Irish descriptions tend to be “at the top of the road”, “meet in the City Center”, “within walking distance”, and so I wanted to be sure I got there). What those who showed up at the reception missed was that this is a recent addition to the Cork Landscape (open just over a year) and is a teaching tool for the community with several thousand school kids a year coming to learn about energy, the alternatives and the issues that will dominate their lives. The staff at the Lab were very kind, as well as informative about what they were doing with geothermal, as well as solar energy (20 sq m of panels on the roof) and, more to the point, took pity on a relatively geriatric case who took nearly an hour to make the “easy 20-minute” stroll out, and drove me back to the hotel.

I will leave each of you to write your own caption to the photo I thought most memorable from the reception. You should know, however, that the "victim" is Dr Campbell who was welcoming us to the reception, and yes the hawk was alive.

The reception itself was actually a whole lot more fun than I had expected. After Nate dragged me over to meet Luis, and we then bumped into Chris, and Euan and . . . (well you get the idea). For those of you who have not lived this site, you may not be aware that the band of dedicated folk who write here have, in many cases, not ever met. We send e-mails, read each other’s posts, and it was therefore, I hope, too great a let down when they all got to discover who I am (grin). The food and wine were a great lubricant to get conversations started (Secretary Schlesinger was there and easily accessible). And for those who wonder about the initial photo Dr Campbell was not only on hand to greet us all, but had arranged that a couple of Falconers bring their birds to join in the welcome. Customs are different in Ireland (where the birds are domestically raised) than they are in the United States (where the birds are taken from the wild, trained and ultimately released back) but many of the regulations and restrictions are common – it is not a hobby for the faint-at-heart.

And so, after a fine start (there were somewhat more than a hundred at this reception) we headed back for a “family dinner” of the TOD contributors (and if we missed dragging you along it was my fault – except I wasn’t sure who all was here). (And Prof G - we drank a toast to absent friends, with you very much in mind). I won’t share those photos with you (grin – just remember that I have them), but there is a synergetic boost that comes from meeting others as informed and committed as yourself to an idea that has to be experienced – it was a great start. Now if I could just survive the wine, tomorrow should be even better.

The Beak is already behind us.

This totally gave me a coffee-through-the-nose moment. Or I suppose, a Guinness-the-nose-moment. Very good!


Hello HO,

Great start to ASPO-Cork! Looking forward to more info as your time allows.

I hope all the TODers are shouting out 'Peakoil' whenever their favorite container of grog reaches half-empty. I am constantly trying to make this a new cultural ritual as we go postPeak. Have fun!

EDIT: It is also a kind of buddy-check sobriety test. If your friends catch you emptying your glass without shouting Peakoil: you are obviously too soused, thus cutoff from having your tankard refilled. Demand Destruction of the worst kind!

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Haha, Peak Beer. I'm going to have to remember that =D

When it comes out as Beak Peer, they cut you off :-).

Peak Beer Upside:
"But there's an upside. At the end of his analysis of the problem of complexity in The Collapse of Complex Societies, Joseph Tainter includes a very brief explanation of why "undevelopment" that is, voluntary regression of society to lower levels of consumption and complexity is bound to failure. He argues,
Here is the reasons why proposals for economic undevelopment, for living in balance on a small planet, will not work. Given the close link between economic and military power, unilateral economic deceleration would be equivalent to, and as foolhardy as, unilateral disarmament. We simply do not have the option to return to a lower economic level, at least not a rational option. Peer polity competition drives increased complexity and resource consumption regardless of costs, human or ecological.
(Tainter, 214).
Now Tainter's central argument is that complexity, and the diminishing returns of maintaining it, is what drives societies towards a crisis point, and we can certainly see diminishing returns in our own society. The very fact that bottom feeding and cleaning up after ultimately economically destructive events like war and disaster is being seen as growth industry points out that we truly have no place left to go economically. Having built a tower to the moon that has fallen short, we are now picking up the bottom items, pulling them out one by one, and using them to lengthen the tower, giving us the illusion we get where we are going without actually falling over. But as anyone old enough to have seen a Wiley Coyote cartoon knows, at some point, you look down and see the absence of any solid base.

Why should this be even remotely refreshing? Because Tainter is right - we probably won't ever stop the growth machine voluntarily - we *can't* - but once things fall apart, we have no choice but to start again. And as difficult as that will be, and as little as I relish it, I believe my children's future is more secure in a world where can't afford to burn as much fossil fuel as we like, and where we have to leave some resources in the ground for future generations. That may seem a small hope, but it is actually a vast one. I do not propose that peak oil will make us better people - hardly. But since we appear entirely unable to put the brakes on ourselves, I have come, reluctantly, to the conclusion that better now than later.

And the reality is this - we actually need very few fossil fuels. There is little question that human beings pee out enough nitrogen to keep us fed, along with judicious use of land. Our basic needs - and I mean very basic ones - are for food, shelter, water. We can get along with considerably less of everything than we presently use by changing our diets, making do with our existing housing, learning to live comfortably where we are, using water much more carefully. The vast majority of what we use fossil fuels for are comfort and convenience, and we may find that without them, we do surprisingly well.

There is no doubt that we can manage this better or worse, that our life with minimal resource use could be bleak and horrible, or comparatively graceful, and it is this distinction that concerns me - not "how do we keep the trains running on time and the job market for lit professors healthy" - because while I might prefer a life of trains running and Shakespeareans, we all have a solid bit of historical evidence for that fact that neither is essential to human life; but "how do we keep lifespans long, infant mortality low, literacy high and community ties strong?" And the best possible answer I can come up with right now is that the first step to making those things happen is to acknowledge all the other things that we are never going to do."
From Sharon A

I tend to agree. Permaculture can be pee-driven :-)

Link to the original Sharon A:

- Jay

"If we lose the forests, we lose everything"
- Bill Mollison

After the PO snake has had it's meal those left will either consider themselves lucky to be alive and fasting or unlucky to be alive and starving. It will be a matter of attitude.

Gandhi said, "Civilization?... Yes that would be a good idea." I doubt that what we have now can be considered as civilized no matter how technologically advanced, or materially resplendent.

Rather than attempting to mitigate what is unavoidable I think seeding a new orientation for 'after the snake' is what should be considered. I think that developing healthier attitudes about living on this planet would be central and for this we need new myths. Storytellers, it is your turn.

Hello HO,
Thanks for posting this update on what's going on in CORCAIGH aka Cork! Dunno where Corragh came from! (Corcaigh is pronounced, roughly, "kur-ky", for those of you not familiar with Ireland's native tongue.


Hello Headingout!

It is great to get these reports! I was sorry I could not go back to Cork for the conference and your reports remind me of Ireland and meeting people in Boston last year! I have fond memories of dinner with Colin and Bobbins - it is great to see his picture.

Perhaps we should plan ahead and have a meet up board for people going to the Houston in October. We could post something either at the ASPO-USA conference site, at or here. Please let me know via reply!

Jealous and Looking forward to seeing people in Houston!

I was trying to be cute. Of course, it would help if I spelled it right...but Corragh was the spelling I'd seen.

Of course, after checking other sources, it is bad.

EDITED: Corragh is east of Kildare. I knew I'd seen that spelling somewhere! That makes me feel better about least I didn't imagine it.

Hi HO —

Great to see that you're in Ireland and I'm sure we'll meet up in Houston.

best wishes,