Weekend Open Thread...What Have You Done Locally This Week?

We need to hear about people's energy and environmental policy ideas, experiences, and solutions at the local and state level so we can compare notes and learn about policy successes and failures, and learn about how to be better participants in the local political process and better your own situation.

That is what we envision with TOD:Local...a place where you can discuss your experiences and and learn about ideas and insights about local solutions.

Something that we've known for a while is that most of the changes that occur in energy policy are going to occur at the state or local level--that's where a lot of the changes that are going to most affect our daily lives are going to take place--whether they are good policy or bad.

Please send your posts or story ideas to Glenn (click his name) or to the TOD eds box.

And here's an open thread to start things off...what did you learn about this week? any successes? failures?

Put out a flyer announcing two initial meetings for our newly forming town sustainability group- sent also to some 80 interested people on listserves developed last year and this year through events like showing the end of suburbia, the power of community, an inconvenient truth etc.

Hammered out the agenda for the meetings.

Read PO news widely on the internet.

Made my own dogfood, worked on compost, picked tomatoes in my office windows, dried wild mushrooms.

Doing something is the other half of the coin of "getting it."

My husband and I recently purchased 13 acres of "muck" soil just 4 miles from our home (60 miles from New York City). Today we drove nearly 200 miles (one way) to look at some equipment that is used for small, organic vegetable operations. The farm selling it is closing up shop and moving to Vermont. Unfortunately, the equipment was overpriced and not well taken care of. So, it was an entire day spent in futility. On the way back home though, we saw an old high clearance tractor for sale just a few miles from our house. This weekend will be spent picking more tomatoes, pumpkins and butternut squash (still no frost yet) and prep the beds to plant 10 pounds of garlic. My friend is selling tomatoes from her front yard in New Jersey and lining up chefs to purchase from us next year.

In case this is of interest to you.. here are a couple links to sites about converting tractors to electricity, which has the benefit of actually making use of the Deadweights necessary to keep traction, by putting extra battery power where the old stone or steel blocks would have been.

Bob Fiske


http://www.brookssolar.com/pdfs/electrictractor.pdf (same story >?> )

(See this link particularly for the 'Elec-trac', a 70's GE product that is still traded and operating.. tho' no longer mfr'd. A smaller set of wheels, not really a full-fledged field tractor, afaik)

I developed a peak oil primer report that cites government and scientific sources and reports, including TOD. Because Peak Oil is a sensitive topic and hard for some officials to believe, my report is heavy on documentation from credible sources. This report is here: http://www.peakoilassociates.com/POAnalysis.html.
For the past two weeks I have been sending this report to town and city officials in New Hampshire, some of whom were former students in the Master of Public Administration program at the University of New Hampshire (UNH), and some I know from working together on projects or my students internships. I offer free presentations on Peak Oil and how it will impact state and local government. My first presentation will be to the New Hampshire Municipal Managers Association.

I spent a lot of time thinking about business models. I own a retail store and I sell expensive vehicle and home theater toys. My current business is not going to make it in a PO world or even in this current economic climate. I was looking at ways to help home owners transition away for NG and fuel oil heating. I live in upstate NY. Outside coal or wood boilers and run water lines into the current feed lines of existing furnaces. Maybe heat exchangers on forced air systems. Home owners are going to be blind sided this year on winter heating costs and I want to offer solutions. I hope to get this off the ground by summer.

Hi, I have been discussing Peak Oil with some staff in Congressman Bartlett's office for a couple of years. I have learned that the more people who are involved the better chance you have at getting heard. It is hard getting people involved since people seem to not have much time now-a-days. So if you can get a large group to insist to meet with your representative you might have a chance to speak with them personally. Otherwise they will probably think you’re a nut. Bartlett had an energy conference 2 years ago and I was able to get some people from work to go. I was not able to convince our state representatives to come. :( I’m hopeful they will have another energy conference.

I have been posting his talks on the floor of the house on my web site:


Unfortunately my local government representatives believe that the "free market" will solve the coming liquid energy crisis. It is very difficult convincing them (and others) about the problems of Peak Oil. I wish I had more evidence/scientific papers to the effect that the free market will not work well with peak oil.

This summer I took advantage of a state of the Maryland solar grant program and I installed 3kw of grid tied PV on my garage roof. It is working well and produces about 1/2 my power for my passive solar super insulated house. The grant covered 20% of the system. I would like to eventually get the house to zero energy.


I also planted 5 acres of trees on our 56 acre property, 1 year old seedlings the year before. Not doing so well with last year’s drought and deer. This fall I dropped a bunch of acorns and walnuts there to help seed some more.

Posted on the first 'Local' thread,..

I started proposing an application for a HUD Community Development Block Grant which would install PV and Solar Heat equipment on the rooftops of Portland ME's School facilities, with multiple benefits to help create broader incentive to accept the project,

- Development of city-owned power generation (developing Local Resilience to energy cost increases)
- Energy income applied to school power budgets
- Backup use as self-powered community and emergency facilities (& communication spots spread throughout the city).
- School Curriculum and Community Education opportunity.

Early Stages.. will continue to mention progress here.

Bob Fiske

I made 2 attempts to raise the issue of peak oil on the local progressive radio,KPOJ Portland Ore.{the show earlier than} Thom Hartman. The first was Carl Wolfson/Hedi Talbert.They put me on hold for 45 min....then dropped me.I then tried to raise the issue W Thom Hartman national program,thinking that this info from the ASPO and the latest report from "The Energy Group" would be a good question for sen.Bernie Sanders,who is his guest on fri..."anything goes".I was put on hold for the entire hour{I called in the first 2 minutes before of the show]As Thom Hartman has spoke w/me several times on the subject,I had thought him open to help get the word out....Its NOW and this resource depletion issue is going to hit us like a "sledgehammer in the dark"...once again,held for a hour and dropped.I even heard his voice on the line say"put him back"

For a guy who wrote one of the first books "last hours of ancient sunlight"on peak,It seems as if this is not something they want to bring up @ this time.The game is looking clear now,Putin has likened this radar/rocket array in Europe,ect. to the Cuban crisis,a generation ago,with the roles reversed.This is very dangerous.

We are going to war with Iran.Think about that.We have x-weeks until our world changes ,and not for the better.I fear this will be darkfall

I think there has to be a concentrated effort to keep pounding at every media source we can find/use to educate everyone in reach to whats really happening.People are less likely to believe fox news,and other misinformation sources if they hear other small voices asking questions that cant be answered or ignored.I think as the bite from depletion really hurts,scapegoats will be demanded.If the truth is out in the public domain,it will be hard to keep the facts from those who need them .

I had kind of a frustrating week. I had abad flre-up in my diabetes on the 18th as I was driving to the ASPO Conference and had a serious car wreck. Nobody hurt, thank God, but I went into insulin shock and ran into 3 parked cars, then had a trip to the Hospital. Unfortunately, I missed most of ASPO, though. So I worked some on my tertiary redevelopment prospect and daydreamed a little.

I'm trying to raise some money to buy some leases on an old oil and gas field near Houston. Most of the leases have been abandoned, but I think the original structure held about 200 million barrels of oil, but only produced around 25 million barrels.
Nowadays if a field like that were discovered undrilled, with modern techniques the field would produce about 50%-60% of the OOIP, or about 100 million barrels-125 MBO. So the difference between the oil that was originally produced and the oil that could be produced is the target-about 75 to 100 million barrels of oil.

I need a geologist that wants to work with me for part of the production. I've got about $100K raised so far, but figure its going to take about $500 thousand dollars just to buy the leases, plus the operator needs to raise about$60 million to drill the wells and work over the field. So I need a geologist that can work on this part time in exchange for some override on the project.Its going to take at least 6 months to purchase enough leases to sell the project, so the geologist needs to have some money of their own to survive on while I assemble enough of the prospect to make it saleable. Its Texas Gulf Coast Miocene and Frio, with deeper prospects possible in the Vicksberg and Yegua, maybe even Wilcox. So anyrate, I'm shamelessly trying to hustle some poor geologist to help. But, I think we can get very rich and help the poor old USA fatten out the downslope line on the Hubbert's peak chart. Also, if this old field doesn't work out I have a number of other good ideas (maybe) that need working up. My email is my name (Bob Ebersole) lower case and run together two thousand four (written numericially) at yahoo.com. This would be perfect for someone with offshore Louisiana and Texas experience in the Miocene trend.

I bought some gas on the highway, for 1.48 euro/l. That's $8.10 US$/g. Phew.

I drive a very small car, with a 1-ltr 3-cyl engine. It gets about 50 mpg, (1:20) and weights only 715 kg (1700 lbs)

Three kids, me and the wife ...

I drove my car only once this week and that was to go to a customer (i.e., I had no choice). Other than that, I used my bicycle exclusively for transportation and work commuting. That's hard to do in Suburbia, but I have developed a system to do it.

I'm running for the Australian (Federal) Parliament, so as to:

#1. get rail travel back to the Primary Means of Land Transport;

#2. generally start to prepare us locals for That Event Which The Media Dare Not Speak Its Name (hint: it starts with "Peak" and it isn't a mountain)

Most of what i'm going to be doing will be at the local level, but Peak Oil still needs a national voice, here in Australia.

As many may know, I've been riding Organicengines SUVS (Sensible Utility Vehicles) for about 7 years now as my primary transportation.

Lately a variety of factors -- fatgue, aches and pains, and a more hectic schedule -- have caused me to explore some NEV options as an alternative. Is this a step back for me, rather than forward?

I'm considering the Zenncar and the Gemcar right now,



I gave away some chickens instead of wasting them on the raccoons.
I disked some rye into the topsoil of an abused clay field for the 4th time of putting green manure into it.

I combined as many trips as I could. I stayed home and played with the dog.

I watched the stars for a while. I haven't turned on the TV for a long time, (except in the motel during a recent family vacation to study ancient Indian mounds.)
I traded my Crude Awakening movie with a friend for Crude Impact so we didn't both have to buy both movies.
I am working on converting a small tractor to electric for a fellow farmer, who will be charging it with solar panels.
I used my GE Electrak tractor to move equipment around so I didn't have to start one of my others.
I tuned up my diesel truck and put synthetic oil in it so it would run cleaner and I won't have to change the oil for 25000 miles, if ever (if I get the bypass filter installed).
My wife and I decided to keep her car at least another year before getting a new one.
I went to the farmers market and bought some stuff just because I wanted to talk to the people who I didn't sell with this year.
I took my kids to the library instead of the store.
I spent entirely too much time talking about Doom and Gloom on the internet and at home.
I sold some hay to somebody who needed it for their goats.

I have been building a biomass fuelled combined heat and power system (CHP) in my shed.

It provides both heat and power for my home, and uses a mix of renewable fuels - right in the heart of suburban England.

It uses salvaged and 2nd hand equipment wherever possible and runs on waste vegetable oil, solid vegetable fat and shortly it will run on woodgas, made from wood chips and other woody biomass.

This technology was familiar to our Grandfather's generation - who used less and wasted less.

We all have a big lesson to be learned from the generations that went before us.

Details are on my web page:



Organized and had a show and tell of "Alternative Transportation of the Future: Bikes, Electric Bikes, and mopeds". It was great fun, the weather was fantastic and learned alot about electric bikes. The mayor showed up and told of plans in the works to expand bike paths and road widening projects around our small college town(Carrboro, NC).

A play I have wrote and performed "Colossus Stumbles and Falls" which is a series of sketches centered around PO and global warming that is humorous/existential/informative/slapstck/fairytale is being rewritten and had first meeting for a new series of performances.

I own a shallow oilfield in Texas which produces very high gravity crude (it looks the color of British Racing Green paint) and has no sulfur in it. What I am thinking of doing in a worse case senario would be to build a small batch refinery (Any TOD'ers with this kind of experience out there???) and then barter with the farmer to keep his tractor supplied so he could farm and harvesr crops. This barter system should work for other goods and services as well on a local basis.

I would also like to hear from other independent oil producers who are in similar circumstances as to what their thoughts about this are and also shop talk such as what kind of pump gives you the longest run between workovers, have you found any chemicals that really cut paraffin, etc., etc.

For those of you who do not know this - there are thousands of shallow low tech oilfields scattered across many states (many of them abbandoned) where if they were refurbished and a small CoOp refinery started could supply a great deal of fuel for a local rural agrarian economy.

Just my thoughts on the matter