What can communities do for peak oil mitigation, in recessionary times?

The question for tonight is

What can communities do for peak oil mitigation, in recessionary times?

Now that local governments have little money and many people have been laid off from work, the question arises as to what we can do locally to mitigate the situation--peak oil and recession in general. People (including myself) have predicted that recession would go with peak oil--whether this particular recession is a result of peak oil can be debated, but we still need to do something, money or no money.

One low budget mitigation idea that comes to mind is setting up a carpool program. Another is finding ways to better reuse products that have already been produced, through something like a planned community "garage sale" program or consignment sale program. Or in the summer, setting up some sort of produce bartering program.

Another issue that has been mentioned at The Oil Drum is the need for more attention to the population issue, and better publicity of the need for family planning. While this idea is not likely to be popular with elected officials, it seems like it might be something volunteers could do through community groups.

Another idea that comes to mind is setting up some sort of program for bartering services--perhaps accounting services in return for baby sitting, or piano lessons for swimming lessons. Or it might be that individuals could offer free lessons on a topic that might be helpful, such as gardening, as a community service.

These are just some of my ideas. What are your ideas? What is really being done in communities, particularly that is low budget and that deals with the real situation we are in now?

Barter Organizations?

I just read about a depression organization that did a point system trade for good and visa versa. It kept a list of points.

here is a place for some news on the current reciprocal trade industry

http://www.u-exchange.com/personal-bartering - nothing is implied that I endorse this site but its active on the web

In a related note if you volunteer for a day then Disney will give you a free day pass for one of its theme parks.


I wonder if we are headed to a world were the cooperate will ask the public to do civic related work in order to keep us busy until a new civic order can be established.

Try to elect people to local office who have some intelligence and education. My favorite question for local candidates is: "How old is planet earth?" Our current batch of commisioners refused to answer this question (and approved new FSPs for law enforcement). Most were elected overwhelmingly!

what is an FSP?

Fuel Sucking Pig (SUV)

A different twist on Ghung' "electing intelligent candidates" can be had by turning the original question upside down, so that...

Now that local governments have little money and many people have been laid off from work, the question arises as to what we can do locally to mitigate the situation--peak oil and recession in general.

becomes a whole different target when you ask...

Now that local governments have little money and many people have been laid off from work, the question arises as to what we stop doing locally to mitigate the situation--peak oil and recession in general.

Perhaps a push to get our elected officials to STOP road expansions, STOP permitting new suburbs, STOP permitting new strip malls, STOP adding parking garages, STOP enforcing old zoning laws, STOP increasing staff levels, etc...

Ha! In our county they would probably tell you to STOP, and go on home. Their mindset is still all out growth.

Interesting point! At least spend the money there is on reasonable things!

Exactly - what can make the biggest impact is what you "stop doing", or a general behavior of not doing, slowing down the frantic pace of consumption.

I live in a fairly slow paced semi-rural community already, and its always a shock to go visit relatives in the city. There's a certain air of desperation to always be doing something, always going somewhere, always any number of distractions to keep the mind and body from ever slowing down or coming to rest...I haven't been down in a year or so, so maybe things are different now, but I know I have slowed things down here even more myself.

One of the skills I would list as being useful is just to be comfortable in your own skin, with nothing going on but the thoughts in your own head, and no hurry about them.

Also - does your community have this?


A peak oil task force report?

a task force report may seem useless - but if does give civic planner an outline of what challenges they face when TSHTF.

Its a language that is being constructed - we need a vocabulary that addresses adaptation efforts

My city does not - but using the SF as an outline I hope to see if there can be one created independently. it may be the only road map your community gets.

Finally - use Google

Most of what is mentioned is being done on some level in your local area

Recycling stuff - Free cycle


Gardening - I entered in "Learn Gardening in Los Angeles" I got this




I am sure family planning networks are on the net and could use help

Sorry about all of the posting - much of what adaptation efforts need to be done are being done - just not on the scale nor scope they need to be in the future.

Imagine a small group of volunteers overwhelmed with a whole bunch people wanting to get involved. Its the human resource-logistics problem in the era of limited resources.

Take a look at the Transition Towns model. Having been burned out on a lot of volunteer activist groups, this is something different and fun, and it could work. The idea is for it to be viral and self-replicating. Give people the tools to organize a Transition Initiative in their own neighborhoods.

You're right about the scale of the efforts. Transition groups are pretty small right now, but we have to start somewhere.


This is why I am not a doomer - I know the problem we face is scaling up the solutions we already have. Some things may not scale but a slower paced, more actively civic minded lifestyle to an aging population is not a hard sell.

I spent a lot of time volunteering in my 20's and early 30's - it was at times hard but it also was rewarding spiritually

The amount of people is not the issue - its the language they speak that needs to be common

What I am talking about is not taking used soda drink cans and making them into more soda cans. I am talking about the many things that our society throws away before they end their useful lifetime--toys, clothes, dishes, etc. Some are given away, but there is still room to go, I expect.

Thats what Freecycle does

Mon Jan 4 10:20:23 2010
(#1898187) WANTED: Table (Echo Park)
See details

Mon Jan 4 09:36:20 2010
(#1897817) 6 Green Plastic Yard Chairs, 2 End Tables (Eagle Rock)
See details

The server they host on is godawful slow and they may not be in your area

Computer Books
Food Processor
Office Furniture
(A LOT of clothes, particularly Kids Clothes)

A quick sampling of the top items on my Freecycle Inbox right now.

Recently, I got an electric Lawn Mower (which I'm scrapping for the motor and batteries), and have done similar with a few Treadmills, which have some terrific hardware on them.

It's a good program, and as you said, could be a lot bigger. There's so much waste, and so many things we have 'just in case' that would be used in someone else's hands.

Also, our Habitat for Humanity has a 'ReStore', which makes money for Habitat by selling Donated Household and construction materials.. there are some AWESOME finds there!

Freecycle and ebay are widely used in my (wealthy) village in the UK to reuse goods that are no longer required by the original owner.

Also, more informal pass-ons are used. My kids get quite a lot of clothes from my daughter's best friend - who is younger be two sizes larger than her. Her parents seem to buy huge number of clothes that she never wears before she outgrows them. We offered her a second hand bike because her new one was already too small when she got it, but it was refused by the parents. Only brand new and shiny paint will do for their daughter. The bike went to a more deserving family in the next village.

My kids are six and seven. They have each had five bikes so far, and not one was bought new. I paid anything for only two of them.

However my two best ($1200 each) bikes were recently stolen from a locked shed.

I saw this article in Drumbeat that is really about the opposite of what is needed (unless the situation has really been fixed):

Unsold clothes destroyed at H&M -- until Twitter roared

According to The New York Times, unsold clothes from the two retailers were found destroyed in garbage bags outside the H&M store on 34th Street east of Sixth Avenue, and in the nearby 35th Street Walmart. At Walmart, unworn clothes had been punched with holes by some sort of machine. At H&M, they'd been slashed by a box cutter, rendering a bunch of fiber-filled coats unwearable.

My rolling stone ways have made me privy to many a quirk of the business community-more than likely two employes had to sign off that the merchandise was unsalable and unsalvageable in order to dispose of it.So a supervisor and a senoir employee took the box cutters to the coats.If they allowed good merchandise to find its way into the dumpster half the merchandise in the store would be written off by employees at nine pm and retrieved from the dumpster at nine fifteen pm.

Fast food places often have a rule that any unsold food must be held until midmorning or later the following day in order to prevent the employees from eating it.The occasional roving supervisor from the district office asks to see the leftovers when he shows up unannounced..Without this inventory control rule the employees would just cook some extra food at closing time and take it home.

I waa once given the job of smashing a large warehouse cart full of toasters, fans, hair dryers, and other assorted electrical goods returned to a store where I worked a few weeks.The boss had to write it off as not worth anything although most of it actually worked or needed only a very minor repair such as reattaching the cord, etc.

You can learn an awful lot about the business world by taking temporary jobs for a week or two just to see what's going on.I look at this as getting paid by a sucker to go to a hands on school for ten days or so.

I have been sent out on such jobs five or six times over the years, collecting a double paycheck, just to see what the other company was up to.This practice is quaintly refered to as industrial spying I believe.Seeing an expensive piece of equipment in actual use is a lot better than seeing it demonstrated under artificial conditions.

In one case the claim was that brand x machine would run on two thirds of the fuel of brand y while doing the same job.It sounded too good to be true but it actually was true-almost.My employeer was impressed enough with my report to rent one of the brand x machines and later he bought a bunch of them.Since they cost over two hundred touusand dollars each even then, a couple of weeks pay to me was less than peanuts to him considering the stakes.

I guess in ten or fifteen years when I put some little tyke on my knee and tell him about the good old days when premium gasoline was thirty five cents a gallon, and you had a car that would lay rubber for a hundred feet with both back wheels and go over a hundred mph in less than a quarter of a mile and you could get a job instantly almost anywhere if you were sober and could say yes sir and no sir in response to a few questions-well I guess the little fellow will think Ole Unca Mac has just totally lost his last few marbles.

I wonder if there is any data on what % of merchandise (stuff) goes to landfills without ever being used? Our transfer station has posted rules about not removing anything, but people still set usable things aside in case someone comes along that may need them. Maybe I'll propose a swap bin where usable stuff can be put up for adoption at the dump.

We have college students living near where we live (near a university). We put things outside with a sign "Free" on them and they disappear.

We have "scavengers" that roam the alleys in pickups, collecting anything left out by the trash bins. Furniture, appliances, bedding, clothing, construction materials, basically anything unwanted, with resale or reuse value.

I had a half a plank of wood, which I inadvertently left outside the garage, collected.

I assume they take it somewhere they can turn it into cash.

That's beside the "grocery-cart" collectors that roam around searching trash bins for anything saleable, such as aluminum cans.

I found a perfectly good tv-table in an alley, one time. Converted it into a base for my grain mill.

I think its partly the mark of an insanely competitive society, where what a store can't make money on must be destroyed lest someone else gain from it, or what a person can't use is locked away, so that its value can't benefit another.

Haven't been able to use freecycle as much as I'd hoped but Craig's List works well for me and is a huge hit in our area. Competition for free wood is especially intense.

We answered an ad for firewood to be collected from a back yard after the local utility was done clearing right-of-way there, and it turned out to be eleven full pickup truck loads, pre-cut. Also we've gotten free windows for remodeling the potting shed and making solar dehydrators, a nice couch, and a huge wooden cabinet for the food storage cellar. I'm now checking daily for a hide-a-bed couch, but they all seem to be full of cigarette smoke ...

Craigs List now has a "barter" section too.

I would like to see a few more good ideas. In my community, it seems like too many activists get sidetracked by issues such as cloud seeding (40 miles away and in a different watershed) chemtrails and flu vaccinations.
One thing I would like to see locally is an ordinance requiring all gas stations and take out restaurants to provide free tap water, and tax bottled water.

Get off the grid ASAP. Grow own food. Stock up on guns and ammo. Build nuclear bomb shelter.

Alternatively, emigrate to Iceland.

The way things are shaping up, the paranoia of Matt Savinar, Jim Kunstler, Michael Ruppert and others might be justified after all.

Buying guns and ammo cost money, and it is questionable how helpful they might be. How do you work in a garden with a gun? Does someone who is going to arm you come up with a label on themselves? What happens when you run short of ammunition?

Things aren't going well, but I would hope there would be more positive things we could do.

The idea is to not run out of ammo. Deterence can go a long way toward keeping folks from stealing your asparagus. I had a problem with people stealing building materials. Somehow (I won't say how) the word got out: " He's kinda crazy! Don't go up there stealin' stuff. He'll blow your head off, but I hear if you just go ask he'll trade what you need for a couple hours work."

We trade labor alot around here. I installed a PV system for a guy and he did some great trim work on my house. No money ever traded hands, just lunch. We now trade time getting in firewood and hay. He knows if he ever needs anything he just has to call. His labor credit is good.

We trade labor alot around here. I installed a PV system for a guy and he did some great trim work on my house. No money ever traded hands, just lunch. We now trade time getting in firewood and hay. He knows if he ever needs anything he just has to call. His labor credit is good.

I like this approach very much and am in the process of expanding my network of people with whom I can do this myself.

Another thing I'm involved with, and this is in the beginning stages, is starting a co-op for people involved in the PV and solar business in my area, there are a group of us all with different professional skill sets that we could possibly pool, share and help each other out.

I'm not much in favor of guns and arming myself, I have a very short fuse if directly confronted or if I catch someone stealing from me. I have been held up at gun point and been mugged as well, I still don't think that works for me.


"A man has to know his limitations" - Dirty Harry

RE co-ops are becoming more popular. The dec/jan Homepower did a spread on that sort of thing:


Tks! I happen to have a digital subscription to Homepower I'll go and look it up.

Running out of ammo should never be a problem- I have been using out of the same box for many years as far as deterence goes, having fired off only a handful of rounds to convince people they would be better off elsewhere-as out of my sight if I caught them doing donuts in my field with a 4wd truck.I didn't actually shoot AT them but they had no way of knowing that of course.

One thing about being way out in the boonies is that you may find it necessary to take care of an occasional "security issue" personally.Mostly all that is necessary is to fire a few shots in the general direction of any midnight visitor who you find slipping around your place-you are not likely to be honored with another such caller for ten years or more, as the word has a way of getting around.Some fool shot his own wife for a prowler inside thier own house a while back -but several other fools killed thier wives the same day by handling an automoblie carelessly.

Make sure of your target - even though you are deliberately shooting to miss.If you can't shoot well enough to miss on purpose you should move back to town.;-)

A gun is a tool.Hitting a target might be moderately difficult depending on the circumstances, but missing on purpose is as easy as not hitting a tree with your car.

Exactly Mac, a few well misplaced shots is enough to deter most scoundrels. If it doesn't, it's good to be able to hit your target. Rock salt has saved many a melon patch. There was a story that Hershel Walker learned to run the ball dodging rock salt blasts. I always dismissed it as a racist myth, but when asked, he just smiled and said there may be some truth to it.

Security is an unfortunate reality. Ignore it at your own peril.

Morning Gail

Quite right, you only have to look at Canada, less gun ownership equals less people getting shot.

There is a 'success story' in my local city.

Personally I think it is a trivial nonsence, that said so are my attempts to set up community power and forest garden projects.

The important thing is to do something IMHO even if you fall flat on your face or achieve nothing.

Reasons, it might give someone else with more ability or clout the idea to do it better or different.

Plus flogging the Peak everything EROI theory will have more weight if you are seen to be spending your time doing community work on a Peak rationale.

The most dreadful reality that everyone will have to face up to is food shortages and declining population. That scenario is frightening to contemplate. One will have to cling tight for dear life. Food and personal security come first. Then we can engage with the greater whole in orchestrating solutions.

I know that ideas around of guns, ammo, and militias are not particular popular on this board, but the idea of a 'freeman militia' goes way back in Anglo history. And there is more than a grain a truth in the concept that an armed man is a free man.

If centralized Federal power weakens drastically, armed villages may be able to defend themselves against gangs and pillagers. Look at Iraq. Look at Afghanistan. Look at what happens when central authority is lost; security collapses.

"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

I don't see permaculture enthusiasts running out and joining their local militias. But security is a necessary condition for the production of everything.

Consider the lessons offered in The Seven Samurai.


Along those lines, there are often volunteer 'Search and Rescues' teams you can join or support in the West. Volunteer Fire Departments. Local Red Cross training and certifications. Auxiliaries of different sorts. Different local government agencies which could use a new hand or support, which can offer some level of training and organization.

I think Dmitry Orlav has suggested that young men may sell "security" on a monthly basis to residents--sort of replacing local police, and making a profit for themselves. If this could be organized in such a way that it would work as intended--not a shakedown--that would be best.

gail re dmitry's hiring security- he believes we better hire some of our vets because they will do what they 'know'; hired or not. one of russia's worst problems per dmitry.

in his

[i don't think it is still available w/o subscription]
he give a satire scenario of letting security live in u'r house while u move to u'r garage. it will be a shakedown unless a comparable force determines otherwise.

as said in this thread, & in keeping with u'r[& my & dmitry's] beliefs, a financial collapse will lead to security & food as primary. i had never fired a handgun prior to learning of PO. luckily i hunted as a teen.

i'd like to give u'r name to my sister in u'r area. she is strong fundamentalist christian, & concerned about our economy, etc. we all need to be 'teaming up'!

Well if I remember history right, our fore fathers survived because they had guns and guts. Guns were very helpful and start buying bullets now.

Yes folks do have labels on their forhead when they plan on ripping you off. When you bullets run out you can get more, its called supply and demand. There will always be bullets just make sure you have a common type of gun so bullets will be available.

Do you really think that if the world crashes that it will be easerier for us than it was for your great great grandparents?

Lets realistic we will need to protect our own and work with our neighbors if we are to prosper in the difficult times ahead.

Well if I remember history right, our fore fathers survived because they had guns and guts.

Either that or they had skills and knowledge that made them more valuable alive than what their ammo cache and food stockpile was worth.

Gail -- "run short of ammunition"???? Oh...right...you don't live in Texas, do you? I don't have th4e stats but I wouldn't be surprised if we had more ammo stockpiled here then all the US military reserve units combined. I know of a few wackos that have more than a few hundred thousands rounds stockpiles EACH.

But not me, of course. Don't need that much. NRA 9th level expert. Then again, the eyes are getting old. OK...off to the gun shop...later.

I'd recommend that anyone serious about surviving a real collapse own a 12 gauge. They can be used for hunting, self-defense, and sport. A pump action is probably best, though a double barrel break action has fewer moving parts to replace. Additionally, shotguns hulls can be reloaded fairly cheaply and almost indefinitely (for all practical purposes). As long as you have powder, wading and shot, you'll be in good shape.

A twelve gauge it should be plus a twenty two long rifle.. A bouble barrel side by side with thirty or tirty two inch barrels is adequate for everything from squirrels right on up to bears if loaded corectly and in the hands of a skilled user.Small low power birdshot shells can be safely fired anywhere you can see clearly for two to three hundred feet without endangering other people or property or livestock.The same gun loaded with slugs or buckshot will drop a deer or black bear in its tracks at short range , up to forty to sixty fifty yards depending on the individual gun and the skill of the shooter.My Dad has killed a lot of deer at eighty yards with a shotgun loaded with slugs.

You need the twenty two because you can get small animals with it up to a hundred yards if its a good one and ammo is dirt cheap.You can afford to shoot a hard to catch rooster even if you are in dire straights with cartridges that cost only two or three cents apiece.And the small low speed bullet won't spoil much meat either.And the sound of the shot will not carry very far either.

But you must remember that sligs,buckshot, and any rifle cartridge are dangerous at long ranges.

Any big game rifle cartridge is dangerous out to at least two miles.

If you live in a place where you need a long range weapon to take deer or other large meat animals, the venerable 30 ought six is one of the most popular rifles ever and adequate for any thing smaller than a rhino.The problem with rifles is that there are SO MANY various calibers and cartridges available-after a crash it might be hard to find ammo for a lot of the rifles.Good second choices are the 30 /30 and the 243 winchester, which are very common.

If you buy a break down , bolt action , or pump gun built by any old line well known manufacturer, store it in a dry place, keep it clean, and lube it properly , the odds are at least a thousand to one in your favor that it will fire at least four or five thousand rounds over the next hundred years without needing a single repair of any kind.

Semi automatic weapons are not nearly so reliable but the chances that one from a reputable manufacturer,properly cared for, will let you down is miniscule indeed.

If other consumer goods were so well made as guns, we would never need but one washing machine, one vacuum cleaner, one radio, one car.......

Well said mac. As you can imagine in Texas we have a wide variety of thoughts towards weapon selection. Lots of AR's etc. Even amongst some of the deer hunters. I tried to avoid being in the field with most of those folks. When I did a lot of deer hunting I typically used my Swedish Mauser (6.5 X 55) with a peep sight I added (and yeah...I'm a lot better with a peep than a scope). Still had the long military stock. I always enjoyed watching those high power super optic guys laugh at my little $90 pop gun. The we would check sight-in. They would usually stop laughing when I could put three rounds under an inch at 100 yds. And yes, I did pay a gun smith $110 to accurize it. And like all Swedes it had the production date stamp on the receiver: 1914. Don't do too much deer hunting now (rather pop those pesky feral hogs) but one last ambition is to take one last deer in 2014 on my baby's birth day.
Speaking of being over powered was a little shocked at our company's New Years eve luncheon in the conference our office manager showed off a new .44 mag he was given in case "something happened". We did have a scary but relatively minor incident shortly after we moved in. He proudly explained he also had a box of hollow points in his desk. And that after the holidays he was set to take a training course. Needless to say me and the other shooter almost crapped on ourselves. As soon as our owner returns from holiday I'll try to have a very diplomatic chat with him and explain why it was a very bad idea on so many levels. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.
And yes...nothing superior to a 12 for personal defense in my book too.

Hi Rockman,

Unfortunately a lot of male feel the need to possess and use excessivley powerful weapons-I guess it makes them feel virile, and I suppose the possession and use of such a weapon in a totally Mad Max situation would actually enable one to attract nubile young women -or to capture them, which although morally repugnant to people in this day and time was considered par for the course a few generations back in many places.

If that guy fires his hand cannon in his office because somebody threatens or assualts him the bullet may penetrate three or four partition walls and kill his secretary or boss.Such hand guns are useful in grizzly bear country and maybe in an outright fire fight but they are too big and to heavy to carry, especially concealed.

If somebody needs a personal defense hand gun they should get a small bore short barreled revolver.They never fail to work,they never go off by accident, and they can be safely stored handy and loaded (so long as there are no small children around) with an empty chamber under the hammer.Even an nfl lineman will leave you alone if you point it at him.

If you are attacked by a meth crazed wild man one or two shots, any caliber, even a twenty two, will put any man on the ground in five or ten seconds, usually less.

So true mac. I plan to buy him a blank for the first chamber and some Glasers for the rest. I don't think this fellow understands the mind set needed to take a life. At least the blank will let him drop the hammer the first time. Hopefully a 44 blank going off in someone's direction might end the situation.

I've thought about the prospect of corraling more then one of those nubiles should we enter a Mad Max world. But then I thought...hell...it bad enough dealing with one disappointed woman let alone a pack of them.

If you're going to draw a gun, you might as well have it loaded and ready for use. If you really need to use it there's no point in having a blank cartridge. It's just a handicap that could get you killed. .44 mag will go through walls, but so would .40 S&W and 9mm in a proper self defense load. The FBI recommends at least 12 inches of penetration, they learned that after the FBI Miami shootout. I recently replaced a lower quality AR-15 with a Colt 6920, I wouldn't use anything for self defense that I could not trust my life to. 5.56 will go through walls, but so will most pistol cartridges as well, might as well be able to bring more firepower if you can.

You missed my point Floridian. Putting a loaded weapon in the hands of a person not emotionally ready to take a life is worse then being unarmed. Now the bad guy has the weapon. That's why I would load him a blank first. I have zero confidence he would make a kill shot if it were needed. I'm not even 100% certain he would pop the blank at the right moment. I've refused to train about half the folks who have requested such assitance. Too many folks think it will be like wgat they see in the movies.

It ain't.

I do not understand why anyone would purchase a firearm if they are not emotionally capable of using it. If they are not capable of doing that, they have no business owning firearms as they are only a liability. The last thing you want to do is grapple with someone over your gun because you were too hesitant. If they are capable of using the firearm, I see no reason to handicap them in a time of need.

I agree Fl. I guess you missed my original post. The owner gave the guy the pistol. Essnetially volunteered him. Bottom lne IMO: a very poor move

You should not run out of ammunition, assuming you start with a few thousand rounds that should last you through any sort of civil unrest. If you are getting into gun battles and going through hundreds of rounds of ammunition, you are doing something wrong and probably going to end up dead. A two point sling can reliably carry a rifle tightly against your back. It should not get in the way while gardening.

Sounds like a plan but for most folks that will not be possible so just moving to a small town and growing your own may be a good start.

Get off the grid ASAP. Grow own food. Stock up on guns and ammo. Build nuclear bomb shelter.

  1. Done that.
  2. Doing that.
  3. I got more and bigger than you do so you're in trouble.
  4. Build nuclear bomb shelter

Hmmm. Maybe 3. and 4. aren't such a good idea. If I got a lot of firepower, someone with more'll likely come gunning for me.

I'm reluctant to post this quote I just discovered because the proper place for it is on the post about why governments/people are ignoring peak oil. Nonetheless, the conversation has moved on from there and here is where the action now is. So there you have it.

The masses have never thirsted after truth. They turn aside from evidence that is not to their taste, preferring to deify error, if error seduce them. Whoever can supply them with illusions is easily their master; whoever attempts to destroy their illusions is always their victim.

The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind, Gustave Le Bon

However, in the interest of helping move this conversation forward, I volunteer the following:

  1. Organize community food panty stocking events and say it's "in case we get laid off"
  2. Hold a "How to feed a family of four with $10 and a slow cooker" evening; say it's because you want to experiment with your slow cooker
  3. Hold a bicycle swap; say it's because you're thinking of opening a bike repair shop

You get the drift. But for heaven's sake, do not mention peak oil unless someone has given you the secret handshake first.

If they whisper, "I've got six-months of freeze-dried, how much do you have?" you can also safely discuss gasoline shortages with them.

#1 sounds kinky.

Will probably be oversubscribed!

lol, panty == pantry

Thanks Aangel for the link.

Post more great links to relevant online free books and conserve gasoline and trees.

People are reluctant to visit sometimes, for many reasons.Among people who are self respecting but poor,these reasons may include lack of decent clotheing, physical exhaustion,and reluctance to put a host in the position of having to provide food and drink.

Some of us may remember Huck Finn topping off a compliment to someones hospitality by saying he had all he wanted, the ultimate compliment in times of hardship.My Dad still says that when ever he eats with friends or relatives-the now unconscious retained response of an older child who knows there is not much if anything left in the dinner pot and that the little kids need seconds if there are to be any seconds.I don't think he actually missed any significant number of meals but rowing up with eight brothers and sisters during the depression even on a farm must have taxed my grand parents to the max until the older kids were able to contribute some labor.

Times are hard again for a lot of people who still have automobiles and telephones as these things are now considered necessities in a rural environment.They can still scrape up enough gasoline money for a visit however.

We need to learn how to visit again,it's becoming a lost art.

Any suggestions as to how the social ice can be broken thus getting people to playing cards for matches at home instead of sitting like a stone in front of the boob tube would be very useful.

Community starts where isolation ceases. Real friends are those with whom you spend significant time-or have spent significant time.If you only see people on the job and at the country club or at church you will find out when the chips are down you have no real friends.

Its time to be making some.

Community starts where isolation ceases. Real friends are those with whom you spend significant time-or have spent significant time.If you only see people on the job and at the country club or at church you will find out when the chips are down you have no real friends.

You mean the 693 Facebook friends are not real? Bummer.
It is getting harder and harder for people to communicate without some techno gizmo in between.

However Karaoke nights might be a good way to get people together with a minimum of technology.
Once you have a bunch of people, it could progress to pot luck dinners etc.

We need to learn how to visit again,it's becoming a lost art . . . Community starts where isolation ceases. Real friends are those with whom you spend significant time-or have spent significant time.If you only see people on the job and at the country club or at church you will find out when the chips are down you have no real friends.

Its time to be making some.

Wise words, OFM.

I'm trying to get a community garden started in our neighborhood - partly for food production, partly to build community. Lots of people say they really want this, BUT what with work, taking the kids to lessons, sports activities, etc, they don't feel they have the time to volunteer to help get one started.

Dance lessons, tee-ball, and the like will not teach these kids to feed themselves - one of the primary tasks of parenting for millenia! - and runs them from here to there with different groups rather than developing a cooperative and interdependent community. Many barely know the people in their own neighborhood.


"How to feed a family of four with $10 and a slow solar cooker"

I think that's even better, especially if you make the solar oven out of recycled cardboard and aluminum foil, you know, just to see if it really works ;-)


Two summers ago I built a solar box cooker out of a couple of boxes, with extra cardboard in between for insulation. Painted the inside black (with non-toxic tempera paint), and added a reflective flap on the lid and covered the whole thing with plexiglass. To test it I cooked a whole chicken, with a meat thermometer in it, and in a couple of hours the internal temp of the meat was 180 F. Delicious! Cost of the oven, about $1.50 for paint, since the rest of the materials were things I had lying around.

Last summer I tried out a commercial solar box cooker (a Sun Oven) with highly polished reflectors and it got up to over 300 F! These things are fabulous if you live in a place that gets good sun midday. Not much use in the winter around here (Pennsylvania), but fantastic in the summer.

The one pictured above probably gets higher temps, but it is parabolic model that requires being moved to keep the hot spot on the pot. The box-cookers rely on the greenhouse effect and don't need to be moved as often.

Alternative currencies are a part of Transition. Some towns have an actual local currency like the Totnes pound, but it takes considerable resources and organization to start one up. Time banks and LETS are easier to start up. The idea is to build community, meet your neighbors, and enable people to share and trade without money. Along those lines, even more informal events could work like potlucks and community swap days. Frugal living in general will be back in style.
This is all friendly, neighborly stuff. No need to talk about Peak Oil and TSHTF unless someone gives the secret handshake. Activist talk tends to turn off non-activist people.

Exactly ! - More money = less time, less money = more time

Civic organizations can use up the time people spent shopping

Local currencies are a good way of stopping wealth from being sucked out of the region but if it is too successful and is copied elsewhere you can bet the authorites will crack down on them if they percieve it as a threat to the larger economy.

You could always revert back to a barter economy as the first poster suggested in that case.

Willits, CA has a local food bank program that does exactly that. They use a local currency to barter food. If you haven't read up on it, I suggest finding out about this town. They are more that prepared for PO.

I've been bartering bookkeeping services with a neighborhood vet (holistic).

I've been exploring alternative methods of treatment for myself and my houseful of pets, and the dog got a course of acupuncture, for a hip problem, which would have necessitated extensive treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs, at a regular vet.

There's a lot of vegetable-growing going on around here. We have a local farmer's market garden center, whose owner lives a block or so away from me. In conversation, I suggested he inventory more organic and natural products, and I'd help generate demand, though my newsletter columns.

Last season, he was stocking ladybugs for pest control, as one example, as well as organic seeds, and a lot more vegetable and herb starter plants.

We're starting a "walkability" initiative this week - I've no idea where that's going to go, but a local "shuttle" service stopping at local stores, the library, the community center etc etc could be a good idea, since our regular bus transit caters for people, but not really for loads of goods, or bags.

Edit : we already have a neighborhood garage sale annually. That could expand into a quarterly or even monthly event, where folks trade items they don't want, instead of exchanging for cash.

Edit 2 : I can't take credit for this idea, but what about a tool-share, or equipment-share?

I think at this point in time the most valuable thing you can do is start/join a Transition Town Initiative. Networking with like minded people in your community is inspiring and will relieve some of the isolation and despair that can come with peak oil awareness. Just google Transition Towns and you'll find it. Get a copy of the Transition Handbook or ask your local library to purchase a copy and thoroughly read it.

Our Transition initiative ion our town is just getting started but this is the list that our first get together came up with of things we need to address:

People, networks, resilient communities
Look at skills, which can do what and what skills we are short of
Networking – see what’s already out there – internet searches
Visit other Transition Towns, don’t re-invent the wheel, learn from others
Venues for meetings and for storage of literature and resources
Printing (posters, flyers etc) for disseminating information
Education – areas of education should be near the people - generally located at outskirts of town
Wisdom of the elderly and people from other cultures eg refugees
Make use of local government resources plus other community organisations for venues etc
Use local businesses to advertise Transition Towns, particularly traders interested in the concept
Starting capital - investigate grants via people with connections in local and State government
Fundraising events – self-funded by community
Make this a tangible project – people need to make the choice and contribute

Car-pooling while there’s still fuel
Use trains for local transport between and
Use rail gauge track for running a tram

Provision of land for food-growing
Aboriginal concepts of land division
Ceres in Melbourne useful model - check website for ideas
Lentil as Anything – Melbourne restaurant where you pay what you feel the meal is worth (Ceres)
Community gardens in Melbourne
Stephanie Alexander’s kitchen gardens in the schools
Establish several community gardens
Reverse the trend of big houses and small gardens
Education of children – start them young
Allotments – provision of food-growing area for town residents
Matching up people who have fruit trees who don’t want the fruit with people that can utilise it – simple database
Matching up landholders with available local land with those people who want to farm/utilise it
Different methods of community gardening utilising peoples’ gardens
Rehabilitation of land near city for use producing crops/meat
Education on reducing meat in diets
Domestic preserving- seasonal
Establish local food co-op in area for food swap, production etc
Local farming groups – network with others
Local mowing companies could deposit their clippings near Willowbank Farm
Town planning – need vacant areas of land for growing staple foods
Indigenous communities for bush foods
Allied Mills – working mill in

Water restrictions need to be addressed if growing food in community gardens
Water harvesting and different ways of watering gardens – wick method
Purchase of water tanks or rebate on rates for buying your own tank
Structuring of water pricing – cheaper for less treated water for garden use

As you can see this is quite big list which requires imagination and hard work to bring to reality.
So far we have organised an awareness raising film festival and have a project starting which encorages people to grow food in their backyards, with surplus produce being shared by neighbours and then taken by an emergency relief organisation. We are hoping that neighbourhood co-operatives will form which will allow us to scale things up like bulk purchasing of organic fertilizers, seed sharing and saving but mostly just to build resilience in the neighbourhood.

Many of the people who chose to get involved initially are climate change warriors and have little appreciation of how peak oil will affect them. It has been interesting to see attitudes change when they realise that BAU can't continue and that climate change is not he only game in town.

There are opportunities to move towards sustainability, even with the financial constraints most governments find themselves in. For example, one state was offering "Food Stamps" to recipients which could be redeemed at local farmers markets.

I think there are actually many such opportunities waiting out there. The biggest missing piece is the understanding of the problem and a vision of where we should be headed, both in government as well as the population at large. The food stamps example shows that governments who understand the problem and know what types of economic links will be needed in the future, can do things to encourage and build them.

There is SO MUCH that can be done to live cheaply (and yet confortably).

The key thing is sharing. Have a (small) room for yourself, share (almost) everything else, dining area, bathrooms, computers, even phones. In other words, a commune, or as close to it as you can stand, and with time we'll all have to get used to more of it!

Barter, exchange of goods and services is obvious and necessary.

If possible, be where one can get involved with gardening/agriculture of some sort. Start learn how to do it.

Make peace with all your neighbors and start coming to each other's aid. Rebuild and strengthen family ties. Build a sense of community based on mutual aid and benefit, nothing else.

Argue politics, religion, PO, geopolitics, like cats in a bag -- just never fail to shake hands when all done. Build up community libraries. Get everyone to start reading about what's going on, on how to get past the propaganda.

Especially help those who like working with kids. Make sure all the kids are protected against the worst, and teach them to be better than we are at sharing and cooperating.

Compact communities are better where possible. Work toward making your own community more compact so the cars are less needed. And of course carpool, get shared vans and so forth in the meantime.

In a word, act as if industrial civilization is going to wind down, as if the jobs are not coming back, and as if the resources are depleting, etc. Because that's the case.

There is a huge amount of room for comfortable and even fun retrenchment if only the right attitudes can be achieved. Watch TV once a month for a couple of minutes: it will give you nearly perfect guidance -- just go the opposite direction.

Ad-Hoc Ride Share

One of the projects that has been rattling around my head for a few years is the idea of an ad-hoc car pooling system which combines elements of hitch-hiking with traditional bus routes.

In my town of 50,000 people or so we are very poorly serviced with public transport as we just do not have enough people using it to justify a good bus service. Our local bus company survives on the subsidies provided by the state government to run school bus services and operates an inadequate public service between school hours. There are certainly no late night buses provided.

Fortunately, we are a relatively small city which can be driven from one end to the other in about 10 mins and even less if you can utilise the major national freeway that runs through the town. The natural result is that everyone drives everywhere and the majority of trips are single occupant.

At many of our town forums, the number one complaint from our senior citizens is the appalling lack of public transport. There just does not seem to be any way that we are ever going to get an adequately funded PT system for such low densities and short trips.

At the same time we have thousands of empty seats whizzing around our roads every day, many of them passing close by to the people who need to be moved and going to or nearby the desired destinations. Hmmmmm? How to match the demand with the resource without becoming overly cumbersome? Well I have an idea. It's not perfect and I haven't yet tested it even on a small scale (it's one of my Transition Town projects), but to me it feels like it would work and perhaps with your help, we could reduce the drawbacks and enhance to positives.

This is how it works:

1. Survey the Neighbourhood - In most urban neighbourhoods there are generally no more than a half dozen routes to and from external destinations that the majority of households most commonly use. The common feeder roads into a neighbourhood are also usually pretty easy to identify and points along these roads are usually where bus stops are placed. These stops are generally within walking distance from most homes. The first step is to identify where these stops may be in the neighbourhood that are both safe and quick for a car to stop and pick up a passenger, and doesn’t require the driver to go out of his or her way.

2. Establish Destination Routes- Public transport doesn’t get you door to door so why would we expect ride sharing to do the same. Some destinations like local supermarkets will be popular enough to take you right to the car park but others may only get you close enough to walk the rest of the way, like a CBD. The stops at these destination places also need to be established so that drivers can deposit riders at convenient drop off points and the explicit rules are that the driver has no other obligation than to drop you at the designated point. Each of these established routes should be given a unique identifying number or code for ease of identification as outlined below in point 4.

3. Create a Signalling Sytem- The next step is to have some sort of signal system at each stop which identifies the desired destination of the rider. At the moment the best I have come up with is a pole with a sign on it and you either stand to the left if you want to go into town, or the right if you want to go to the university for example. Whatever this signaling system is, it needs to be easy to understand and easily visible to drivers so that they can quickly judge if they can offer a ride.

4. Security Protocols – The biggest deterrent to both drivers and riders is the stranger factor. Personally, I think we are going to have to get to know our neighbours much better anyway and this will happen naturally, the more this system is patronized. In the beginning however, there needs to be a way for people to establish trust and record who was with who. The way I propose to get around this is to use the SMS capability of the mobile phone network. The standard protocol would be for drivers to have a notification on the dashboards of their cars stating the drivers name, car registration number and mobile phone number. The rider, immediately on entering the car, should send an SMS message stating their own name, the registration number of the car and the route number to the drivers mobile phone. If they want they could also cc this to a friend or parent for extra security. I have avoided the idea of any centralized co-ordinating date base as it is costly and complex and only duplicates the phone companies records, which are available to the police anyway if anything goes really wrong.

5. Establish some basic rules – This is mostly common courtesy but I would insist on no eating, drinking smoking if you are a rider unless invited to do so by the driver. No asking the driver to go out of their way – stick to the designated drop off point. Drivers prerogative to deviate for the riders convenience. Basically the same rules as if you were a guest in anyones private space.

When I was growing up in the 80’s, me and my friends would regularly hitchhike from our suburban homes down town and back again. It usually didn’t take long to get a ride and I never had any trouble. However that is not necessarily always the case and there are plenty of stories about hitch-hiking gone horribly wrong because the people involved are basically evil and the confines and mobility of a car create the ideal circumstances for abductions, rapes and murders. Still the vast majority of riders and drivers are decent people going about their business and would be happy to utilize an otherwise wasted resource.

Closer knit neighbourhoods are one way to weed out the undesirables or help to modify their undesirable behavior. The way most of live suburban lives is to not know our neighbours or only very few of them. I would hope that one of the side benefits of this ad-hoc ride sharing program is that people get to know their neighbours and find other ways to pool resources and create resilient communities.

Great idea, except for one thing: Lawyers. A guy I worked with gave another employee a ride for a while, to/from work. They had an accident and my buddy spent the next couple of years fending off lawsuits. That would have to be addressed (unless we could outlaw lawyers).

Where I work the HR Department made it clear that they really frowned on employees riding together due to the risk of sexual harrassment issues and claims by third party employees that the co-riders were having sex (whether they were or not, the rumor mill would be in overdrive) so the recommendation is do not ride with people you work with due to legal issues, even though the public relations people in the same company were trying to organize a "car pool" to look "green" to the outside world!! It's a complex world we live in...


Different places will have differnt laws of course. In Australia we have compulsory third party injury insurance that must be paid each year to register a car. This covers everyone who gets hurt in an accident except the driver who was at fault. Some insurance companies are now offering at fault policies for drivers too. I am more concerend about any personal libaility as an organiser of such a scheme if a serious crime was committed pursuant to a ride share that goes bad. We might have to organise it through the city council or government so they can accept liability in such cases.

Pat Murphy in "Plan C" has a similar idea.

Cell phones should make it easier to coordinate this kind of thing. You could also keep track of who are reliable drivers and safe passengers...

As everything else contracts, so to will the concept of "Liability." Things like accidents that now result in personal injury claims will at some point again be considered as part of the vagaries of life, or fate, but not something entitling one to "compensation."

How the legal system will be forced to downsize, what types of complaints that are to-day fodder for lawsuits which at some point will need to be resolved between individuals themselves outside the framework of a legal "system" would be a good discussion for Campfire, I think.

Antoinetta III

Another good reason for being this side of the pond (while acknowledging we are complete unsustainable on population density - human burgers anyone) we swear at people as soon as say hello but don't have Saturday night specials at home to get even with.


We have grown into a society that worships safety and we are consequently afraid of our shadows.
I believe this is part and parcel of another one of those sets of converging circumstances that waddles like a duck and quacks like a duck but is NOT ACTUALLY a duck-that is to say , a conspiracy.
But bad news sells nrewspapers and tv, and solutions to problems get politicians elected, and the lawyers win no matter what so long as there are more and more laws.

The result is in my estimation worse than the problem ever was.There seems to be a consensus building here that we must return to simpler, more local, community based forms of social organization-that we need more local personal control and less top down govt control of our day to day business, especially since we will have a hard time in the future producing a surplus to support our bueracratic mast- er, excuse me , servants in the style to which they have become accustomed.

(In this entire nieghborhood I know of only one couple who earn enough to buy an insurance policy as anywhere close to as good as the one supplied to the lowliest full time county employee, of which there are nearly a thousand now.)

I know this will come as a shock to the majority of the gentle readers of this forum but less govt and more local self determination is a bedrock principle of conservatism. ;)

less govt and more local self determination is a bedrock principle of conservatism.

It is also a bedrock principle of a certain variety of very lefty radicalism -- anarchism. Maybe we should just jettison the usual political taxonomy of "liberal vs. conservative" and "left vs. right" and come up with a new set of categories based not on politically loaded and ambiguous weasel words (Reagan was the arch liberal in one understanding of the term, after all) or on where adherents of certain views happened to be sitting in the Assembly of Revolutionary period France.

One attempt at a new taxonomy is here. More dimensions are probably needed, but it's a start.


A very good point, Philosopher!

If were ever have a multi party system , the anarchists and the true conservatives will be very closely allied.

A guy in a small hamlet where I once lived never owned a car but worked about 15 miles away in a town of about 18000. He hitched to work every day till he retired. He would just start out walking and somebody would pick him up before long. The farthest out I ever picked him up was about two miles.

Commuters in Washington DC have been doing something like this (Slugging) for years :

Slugging, also known as casual carpooling, is the practice of forming ad hoc, informal carpools for purposes of commuting, essentially a variation of ride-share commuting and hitchhiking. While the practice is most common and most publicized in the congested Washington, D.C. area(where it is primarily used by commuters who live in Northern Virginia), slugging is also used in San Francisco, Pittsburgh, and other U.S. cities. Sluggers gather at local businesses and at government-run locations, albeit not always with official sanction.

What started it going in DC was the need to have enough riders to use the HOV lanes across the river. (Note that the other two cities they mention also have a river crossing to get to downtown). In DC, the HOV lanes gave the drivers an incentive to pick up passengers, who in turn get a free ride, usually direct, to their destination.

Seems to me with internet and cell phones, we should be able to coordinate ride-sharing and set up the routes as you're proposing. The only caveat I see is that jitney service that parallels an established bus route is generally illegal in most places.

-- Waterplanner (ex-Transitplanner)

EDIT: I just re-read your courtesy rules (#5). Here's the slugging etiquette:

* No talking unless the driver initiates conversation.
* No open windows unless all passengers approve.
* No money will ever be exchanged or requested.
* Smoking and drinking beverages is prohibited, unless the driver permits it.
* The driver has full control of the radio; passengers may not request a station or volume change.
* Drivers are not to pick up sluggers en route to or standing outside the line, a practice referred to as "body-snatching".

Perfect example. Differnt palces will organise to different degrees I think adn in my case I would like to see rides shared beyond the commute so that it could be considered a viable form of transportation around a city for many different purposes. I would be interested to hear from anyone in the DC area who uses slugging and if there are any problems with it that they have overcome?

The Hasidim (Ultra-orthodox Jews) who live near where I once lived in Brooklyn have done something similar since as far back as when I first lived there (mid 1980's). That is, people in the group -- easily identifiable by dress -- would catch rides with other group members by standing at certain spots near the roads leading to Manhattan. I think one thing that helps make hitchhiking (or slugging) safer than it often appears to be is some sense of a common social bond between hitcher and hitchee. Some kind of "official" slugging etiquette seems to serve a similar function of creating a community and helping avoid people taking advantage of each other.

I think Cuba did something like this, when it was short on fuel. My recollection is that it was illegal to pass someone who needed a ride, if you had space available.

Also, customs were different in the US back in the 1960s. College students--especially men--would regularly plan to go to and from college over breaks (a state or two away) by hitchhiking. It is possible that customs will change back somewhat in this direction.

During the early 1970's I used to regularily hitchhike 20 miles to and from work in the UK (Devon). Never was that much problem except in mid-summer when there were too many holidaymakers. Now I live in Exeter and 13 minutes walk from work. Nowadays hitchhiking here is probably more difficult than it was then but things will surely change again when they have to. Perhaps a sort of quasi-hitchhiking where the hitchhiker helps share to cost of the petrol (gas), in effect a sort of car sharing.

In the early 70s hitchhiking was in full swing. I lived in Tucson for a while and they had "Hitching Posts" on the interstate ramps, like bus stops, to keep folks from walking the interstate. People would hold up signs with their destination on it. Mine was in the shape of a big thumb. Many states have outlawed hitchhiking since then. I hitched from Tucson to Atlanta in less than 72 hours once, three rides, sharing the driving. Couldn't have driven it that fast by myself.

My favorite single easy step remains: plant a fruit or nut tree.

While I was in Germany, I noticed a robust local composting system.

Great suggestion! For those with any sort of land, planting a few fruit or nut trees will provide lots of food but only after a few years. I have 4 apple trees, an asian pear, a peach, 6 blueberry bushes, 30 raspberries, etc. on my suburban lot but it'll be a few years before they are fully productive.

From a suburban point of view where people have a bit of green space, educating people about growing their own food seems very important to me.

Asian pears are usually not self-fruitful or at best only partially self-fruitful -- you need a 2nd tree as a pollinator if you want a significant crop.

Ideas are fun and easy, implementation is hard work. WWII measures provide a guide.

Insulation programs to insulate homes, build solar hot air collectors, simple ground source cooling systems, bike lane lobbying, lobbying for showers at work for bikers, community gardens, lobby for neighborhood micropower, modify building codes so that utility costs are factored into every home loan and payed similarly to the way homeowners insurance is now, create local energy efficiency codes for high efficiency construction, promote efficient windows, open-source architectural plans for area-appropriate home designs, promote engineering degrees, find some electric monitors that can be retrofitted to allow simple monitoring of home electric usage, start businesses in any of the above areas.

It will take some development but dynamic ridesharing is necessary and inevitable
http://wiride.org/ or ithumb.org
We need to deploy real-time, trusted ridesharing using GPS/WiFi location tracking. The wireless rideshare services in place today can adopt a standard service that would be interoperational among wireless providers. Government agencies, large companies are starting to actively support ridesharing. The friends tracking using Google Latitude is easy, although the system stores only recent locations, the next step for ridesharing is to plot the route, paths and pick-up points and offer them automatically to trusted riders, all in real time. Then it must scale to larger populations.

Actually is more just a matter of resource sharing and time optimization - but the UI needs to be very friendly and trusted.

When I was mulling over my own ride share scheme (see post above), I consiered how to use the modern technology for security and arranging rides. Ultimatley I rejected the idea of using technology as a means for negotiating rides because it necessitated a more complex negotiation that became cumbersome or invasive, especially for drivers who may feel imposed upon if they keep recieving a stream of requests for pick up (it just becomes spam after a while).

The idea of being tracked is also a big turn off becuase of the implied assumption that you are a bad-ass rapist and therefore need to be monitored.

Driver need a non-cash incentive to pick up riders and a scheme that begins and ends in a neighbourhood gives drivers the chance to get to know their neighbours better so the pay off is social.

What the community should do is make sure they build sufficient Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) filling stations for cars. And individuals should get their cars retrofited (which is a lot cheaper and quicker than buying a new electric, or hybrid) to be bifuel. Transportation fuel redundency is what's going to give a community resiliency and survive better from peak oil.

Behavior changes aren't going to happen until there is a shock to the system. You can plan to start carpools, jitney service, bus service but they won't be used by most people unless they are forced to use them (we don't give up convienence easily). Get your county commissioner/city council going on that, great. But I most want her/him to do is to see to it that if the private sector does not step up, then float a bond to get some stations built (and convert important emergency and government vehicle to be bifuel, maybe all government vehicles). Maybe create some low interest loans for people in the community to retrofit their cars, thus take advantage of the behavior want to save money immediately.

Support the Natural Gas Act of 2009, write your congressperson, its in committee now. The Act will subsidize retrofits 50%, fueling station installations $100K, and allow local government float bonds to build CNG infrastructure. I think this Act can really make a difference, and can empower individual communities with good leadership to take on peak oil.

There really is no reason technically or financially that we can't reduce our oil imports nation wide in by 5 million gallons a day in 3-5 years, and maybe 10 million in 5-10 years, by utilizing CNG as a transportation fuel on a massive scale. Nothing else will get that done that quickly, short of an embargo or economic collapse. What are the other benefits: less CO2, moderated fuel prices, more local jobs and better economy, reduced trade imbalance...

The Pickens Plan, is that the billionaire who lost most of his oil fortune recently.
Might be because the whole plan is a lot of fracked gas.

The Pickens Plan is (was?) to replace nat gas fired electric turbines with wind generation (his) for electricity production and use the nat gas for CNG for vehicles. Because the Pickens Plan has cost and transmission issues does not invalidate the notion that we should displace oil use with nat gas. There's a lot more recoverable gas now than when he conceived of the plan because of fracken. And yea, there's some places that should not be fracked, but we're getting better at fracken, so get cracken fracken (where appropriate).

There is a huge rift in the environmental camp on this, the purists verses the pragmatists imo. and I'm in the pragmatists camp.

My preference is for clean municipally treated drinking water, which is still possible for a while here.
You have been destroying your water table (and poisoning your rural population) with abandon for decades in the good 'ole, fracking yourself is just business as usual.
When most of the population has to rely on your largely very shallow and highly contaminated water supply as the fossil fuels are not there for treatment and pumping...best of luck.

Yes, I do have a MSc in Environmental Assessment and was given the opportunity of a funded research position, which I turned down.

I spent awhile working out how to convert a car I had to CNG awhile back, then decided I basically didn't have enough money to do it. Instead, I bought a $300 bicycle and started to commute to work and run my errands that way. Sooooo much easier, cheaper, more fun...

I thik we are more likely to see this type of mode change to create efficiency before we see a wholesale change to hi-tech alt.cars. Today on teh news was a one seater electric car that can go from Adelaide to Darwin (Aus) for $33 of electricity. They are looking for manufacturing partners. I estimate that their sale price would be around $35K minimum which is a huge amount to spend on moving one person. The rationale is that this car is exclusively for the commuter but how many people only use their car for that and nothing else? Very few would be my guess. We can go a long way down the efficiency track before alt.cars are going to start adding up.

I've seen prices advertised of $2000 to $4000 to retrofit your car to be bi fuel. New car premiums are between $1500 and $6000. With the 50% tax credit in the Nat Gas Act you can cut those prices in half. Depending on how much you drive and the cost of CNG vs gasoline where you live the payback might be 6 months or a couple of years.

If you can live most of the time without a car even better, can't knock that. I made a deliberate choice to live in a community where I can walk to my work, food stores, kids school, 6 hiking /biking trails, library, great shopping, a couple of bars, all within a few blocks. Unfortunately our urban/rural environment (and limited mass transit) in most of the US is not that way, so a lot of people tend to drive, a lot.

If CNG becomes mainsteam I think the economy of scale will make retrofits much less expensive.

If by "mitigating peak oil", we mean reducing energy consumption, there is a bit of conundrum that is almost impossible to overcome, but we can and should still do some sensible things to reduce energy consumption (and in particular energy waste) for the sake not so much to mitigate peak oil, but to make more sensible and humane living conditions...

The conundrum is the one I have pointed to before: We simply cannot conserve our way out of the peak oil crisis by way of conservation, if you accept the consensus scenarios discussed daily here on TOD. The depletion scenarios based on the work of Hubbert, Campbell, Deffeyes and other scenarios discussing so called "Export Land" models would indicate a drop in oil supplies dwarfing any attempt to reduce consumption fast enough to make any difference, in particular in the developed nations. Oil consumption in the U.S is relatively flat, and shows signs of dropping. Oil consumption in Japan has already dropped by noticable amounts even before new technology breakthroughs are introduced, and Europe is on the same path forward. The is means that as a percentage of world oil production and consumption, the developed nations of the world are already declining, and as the developing and third world energy consumption rises, this will become even more pronounced.

At this time, the U.S. is using only about 10% of world oil supply to power it's entire fleet of automobiles and trucks. Even with absolutely no improvement in efficiency, this number will drop in upcoming years due to increased use in developing and third world nations. If even small gains in efficiency and fuel economy are made, the percent of world supply used for American vehicles will fall even faster. The point will come when American vehicles would consume perhaps 5% of world oil supply, and with any effort at all even less. This is surprising to many, but American vehicles are even now only a marginal issue in regard to world oil supply and soon will drop to an area than can only be considered miniscule.

The conundrum then is this: Almost every depletiona and "export land" model discussed on TOD sees a much faster drop than only a few percent in oil production in outlying years. So if we were to stop every vehicle in America and burn it where it stood, it would have a shocking, even devastating effect on the American economy and lifestyle so great as to be hard to describe, but almost no noticable effect on world oil consumption! Or to put it another way, what if we wiped out the American economy and no one noticed (except Americans, that is?) By the way, all the above applies equally to carbon release...the percent contribution by the wealthiest and most developed nations is already dropping as a percentage of world output, a trend set to only speed up in the upcoming years. If we adopt any type of mitigation effort it will only speed the developed nations along the path from marginal to miniscule impact.

So we should do nothing, right? Well, no. We should make efforts to reduce waste not to mitigate peak oil or world carbon release (which we cannot mitigate...it is somewhat as Quixotic (Quixotic defined by Mariom Webster dictionary as "1. foolishly impractical especially in the pursuit of ideals; especially : marked by rash lofty romantic ideas or extravagantly chivalrous action ...") as let us say Liechtenstein deciding to save the world through conservation. The developed world and in particular the United States has a romantic attachment to a belief in it's own importance.

But we can and should make our own nation more humane and livable, and reducing waste can have a real effect on this. Many folks here have discussed the methods, including more walkable and humanely scaled cities, more fresh and healthy locally grown food, less wasteful buildings.

One thing communities could do is to incentivize the use of abandoned buildings in cities to humanely enhance local use. We could put many of these buildings back into service as community centers, local craft and shopping areas, and places for performance and arts activities close to the people they serve, allowing for activities near enough to where people work and live to reduce driving distances. This would not only be cleaner and less energy consumptive, it would reduce unwanted congestion and traffic problems. It would have no real effect on world energy or carbon issues, but hopefully a very positive effect on local lifestyle.

Another issue that must be addressed at the community level is water. Changes in zoning and building law to allow for use of grey water recycling and rain water capture can have real local effects locally.

Do community compost piles make sense? If we believe that locally grown food is safer and provides better nutrition, we could use local grey water and compost to keep the amount of chemical imput low or perhaps none at all. These are things that may work best not when organized at household scale but at neighborhood or community scale. Again the goal is not to save the world, but simply to make your own community more livable and humane.

If we accept locally grown food as a good idea, we simply must address the issue of seed. A huge silent crisis is the destruction of biological food source diversity. If the hobbyist gardener can do ANYTHING meaningful right now, it is to save heirloom seed.
At this time, there is no shortage of food in the developed nations and to try to compete with the commercial agribusinesses on price is hopeless. The needed crusade is to salvage seed variety, this is among the most important things the small gardener can do for the future. When the day comes that food may become short in supply or high in price, the seed sources will be ready and available.

Seed variety, water conservation, local arts and activities...these will make the community a more human and humane place even if they have little or no effect on mitigating peak oil...and have the side benefit of reducing or holding down energy consumption and carbon release as well.

Of course, this is not new...one thinks of Mike and Judy Corbett's "Village Homes" development in Davis CA, built in the 1970's as a low consumption but beautiful and human scale small community

Yellow Springs OH, the home of Antioch College and Community Solutions organization, intellectual home of our old friend Megan Quinn Bachman (and yes, I am greatly troubled by Ms. Bachman's vocal opposition to large scale renewable energy but I won't let that stop me from crediting the important intellectual work she does and the beuty and class of her home base, Yellow Springs OH,

I think we must divorce ourselves from the goal of "saving the world" or "mitigating peak oil", because those are not realistic goals given the changing world. The United States simply no longer has the impact on consumption of world resources we once did, and our impact is declining with each passing day.

Our goal must be to create humane and human environments in our nation for the sake of having decent and enjoyable places to live with good food, clean water, and enjoyable and rewarding artistic and recreational activities. In many ways, peak oil and climate change will have to be handled in other places in the world, if they can be handled at all. All the numbers indicate that we cannot hope to conserve our way out of this problem unless we are willing to consign billions of people to horrific suffering. All we can hope to do is provide decent living communities at the local level, and allow the technicians to do their work. If we value anything like the world we live in, we must pray they succeed. If we disavow and renounce the world we have known for our whole lives, we can simply let the future develop as it will and refuse to support any alternatives. But either way, the bigger trends and issues are out of the hands of the Americans...we can only attempt to look out for our communities and make them as civilized as possible and let things fall where they may.


The number one thing for reducing energy use is probably voluntary reduction of population, and no one wants to touch that issue.

Using things longer is also a big part of reducing energy use. Grouping together in homes--sharing resources--is another.

It certainly is un-PC to talk about population, but one way to get people thinking about it is to talk about getting your dogs and cats fixed. It's so frustrating to hear about another neighbor with another litter of puppies or kittens.

Yes, I have idly speculated and cats are at least useful. They will have to hunt more to stay alive and population numbers may crash, then so may ours.

"Think about it."

I think our two cats are *terrific* mouse and other rodent hunters, and could probably bring some birds down for food as well if we'd let them. I think our dog was an *outstanding* guard and protection dog. When we're past our period of mourning for his loss, I'm hoping to convince my wife to let us get another dog. I don't feel as safe without him. (And yes, they are/were fixed as soon as they were old enough, as I am now.)

I'm betting that wasn't what you had in mind when you wrote that though.

Hi kjmclark,

When we're past our period of mourning for his loss

We recently lost our 11 yr old Irish Terrier to a sudden autoimmune disease (she should have lived to 14+). Our grief is really, really painful. New puppy is coming soon.

I realize there are lots of very well meaning folks who would like to see the end of pet ownership and use the money to feed other humans. I'm not trying to criticize good intentions. But, I think people should limit their own breeding and support other species. I think a small pet can take away much of the urge to have more children. A small dog or cat certainly has a much lower environmental footprint than another human in a western country. Of course, pet breeding should be limited in the same fashion as humans - one pet/kid per family (farmers excluded for working dogs and cats). I know - save the keystrokes - one child thing is never going to fly.

The idea that humans are exceptional and should multiply at the expense of every other creature is just not something I subscribe to. I understand that it is wired into our DNA to breed and dominate. I also think that it is time for humans to evolve beyond simple breeding urges.

First by way of full disclosure, I have no dogs, no cats, and no kids.
I love all three of the above, kids most, probably cats and dogs equally. I simply do not have the financial, schedule or space allowences to make for dependants of any kind.

To kjmclark and bicycle dave: No, I absolutely would not outlaw pets (or kids). When I said "think about it" I just want people to realize that consumption is a complex subject...we all have our pet whipping posts....the guy with a big house...the gal with the SUV...the fellow who jets around on expensive vacations...the fellow with the rocket fast boat on the lake...the suburban couple with the vast always green carpet of expensive lawn...the rural couple who have 5 children...the guy who enjoys NASCAR on the weekends...

Remember that these people often enjoy these vices just as much as you may value your dearly believed Spanial or kitty...and everything humans do consumes something, including owning pets in vast numbers.

If I were to refraim from recommending that your dear dog be outlawed unless it was proven as absolutely the last option for human survival, would you be so forgiving of my vices?

How often have serious studies been done about what the biggest comsumers of energy, water and other resources been completed and published? How many resources in water, energy and minerals go to lawns? To golf courses? To automobiles? To houses? To office parks and corporate buildings? To pets? We should be careful of mixing our aesthetic disdain of certain activities with using consumption as a big stick to whip our favorite disdains over the head with.

I suffer from the opposite problem, what I call the "anti-Kunstler" problem: I am too catholic in my love of so much of the American lifestyle...I love the cars, the lawns, the pets, the nice homes, the soaring skyscrapers,the fancy restaurants, the women in the stylish expensive clothes, car racing,the Super Bowl, the whole ball of wax.

I realize that we must restrain our consumption, but I hate the thought of giving up any of it...and as to pets, when I broke up with my last girlfriend, we were both as heartbroken by the thought that I would be seperated from her adorable and adoring little fat bottomed half blind black dog as the fact that we were breaking up...and I still miss her terribly sometimes...the dog I mean.


(P.S. I also love bicycles, but I am still working to try to make them a part of my life again...as I write this it is 15 degrees and several inches of snow on the ground...so slick out that walking is a bit scary. In the summer I think of the fast moving blasts of thunderstorms we have around here with lighting that can be almost blinding and constant tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings a an almost daily ritual...we do have days that are bicycle friendly, but many of our days require a person of great nerve and fortitude to attempt bicycling for anything other than optional recreation. It is a challenge indeed but with some thought and planning, it possibly could be made to work, I just don't know how yet...

Hi RC,

love bicycles, but I am still working to try to make them a part of my life again

I find that there are some very real limits to our cycling (ice on road, very cold, snowstorm, etc) that limit our biking time to about 9 months here in WI. However, I have young friends that tough it out almost all year.

However, for the great majority of the year, it is just a matter of mindset. Any temperatures above freezing with winds below 30mph and less than very heavy rain (but watch that lightning) should not prevent cycling. It is just a matter of having the proper bike/trike/HPV and clothing.

The real issue for most of us is motor vehicle traffic. Even the nicest day can be deadly if you try to mix it up with road raged folks on busy, crowded roads. We are fortunate to have some quiet roads and bike trails. However, there are many places where I make no attempt to bike.

Until our car culture changes, serious cycling is not so much a matter of weather or physical fittness - it is mostly a matter of safety.

RC - studded tires help immensely. I swear by Nokians. They are rock solid on ice and give much better traction than most boots do on anything less than two inches or so of loose, wet snow. Basically they work fine until there's so much snow that I can XC ski to work. I'd much rather ride my bike on ice than try to walk on it. I don't bike in heavy rain or when there's an overnight, fresh snowfall of more that four inches or so that the road crews haven't had a chance to deal with.

Cold is really not a concern. I'd much rather bike in 10F than at 40F with drizzle. In SE Michigan, we get similar conditions to Dave in WI, but with a bit more precipitation and more of it falling as a snow/sleet/ice mix.

I agree with Dave, motorist attitudes are a much bigger problem.

Agreed but as Bicccle Dave is wont to point out, slowing down popularion growth and eventually reversing it is a slow process.It will not help at all in the very short term , say the next decade.

My take is that the only general approach that is likely to work over the long term and on the world wide scale is westernization in the broad sense of literacy, women's rights, mechanization, and at least a bare bones welfare state.

When women are able to work outside the home and the couple can watch tv and see people with small families on screen, when they can read a newspaper or a book, when they are reasonably sure they won't starve in thier old age because they had only one or two children instead of five or six or more, then they will quietly ignore the Pope and the Iman or the nationalist selling the idea that more bodies are needed.

Incidentally I have never personally heard a protestant preacher preach the doctrine of going forth and multiplying although I have attended hundreds of fumdamentalist services in dozens of individual churches over the last forty years.(And no I'm not religious, but my family friends and nieghbors are for the most part.)

As a matter of fact it is very very common for the women in my community to have thier "tubes tied " while delivering thier second child.I guess this permanent birth control option falls almost exclusively on the women because we men are scared silly of any one getting near our precious little carrots with a knife, plus lingering sexism , maybe more sexism than fear.Anyway two kids seems to be the limit these days among the local Baptists.

Hi Mac,

My take is that the only general approach that is likely to work over the long term and on the world wide scale is westernization in the broad sense of literacy, women's rights, mechanization, and at least a bare bones welfare state.

Yes, and it would not hurt to send a few bucks to http://www.populationconnection.org/site/PageServer
to get our politicians to actually support literacy, women's rights, and enlightened sex education.

Incidentally I have never personally heard a protestant preacher preach the doctrine of going forth and multiplying although I have attended hundreds of fumdamentalist services in dozens of individual churches over the last forty years.(And no I'm not religious, but my family friends and nieghbors are for the most part.)

You don't see the fervent anti-abortion folks (fundamentalists) as pushing a pro-natalist agenda?


Hi RC,

we can and should make our own nation more humane and livable

I was a bicycle advocate long before I understood PO, GW or all the other related issues.

I think the car culture is an unhealthy, wasteful, brutish, dangerous, and dehumanizing method of personal transportation. It is nearly impossible for me to convey the benefits of cycling within our current culture. I can only offer my observation: it is a great way to move about (expect for the danger from motor vehicles).

Absolutely. The easiest, most obvious first thing anyone can do to reduce their fuel consumption, help the environment, become healthier and happier, and take some of the bite out of high energy costs is this simple:


I designed this T shirt graphic when the price of gas was at $4.00 last year...not many people got it.

Ride a bike or take a hike

Hi FMagyar,

WOW! I really like that. So, did you actually get some made?


And yet I was so grateful when the ambulance came to my farm after I took a nasty fall. It also helps transport my organic, locally grown food from our farm to the farmers market and food shelf- which helps provide healthy foods for one of the poorest counties in my state.

The Transition Town model seems to me a very good way at the moment. See what you can do in a very short time: http://transitionculture.org/2009/12/04/what-it-looks-like-when-a-local-...

It's funny that so many people mentioned "transition towns" and so few people mentioned transit. But 2/3 of our oil is used in transportation. Here are some zero-budget (as in "free") things that communities could do:

1. Fix the pro-auto laws to promote walking, biking, and transit instead. This doesn't cost anything. If we slowly moved our motor vehicle laws closer to those of the UK or other countries that don't cater to single-occupant commutes, we would be weaning our transportation system off of oil at the same time. Require pedestrian signals to give pedestrians higher priority. Make sure all laws/ordinances use the current "stop and remain stop" wording for crosswalks. Change all of the passing laws to require a minimum 3' passing distance (5' for trucks) from a cyclist like some states have done. Make it a misdemeanor to drive in bike lanes. Require insurance companies to pay into hazard funds for larger vehicles. Increase the fines and penalties when a vulnerable road user is injured. Explicitly allow cyclists to treat any signal that doesn't explicitly detect cyclists as a stop sign. Give buses priority at signs and signals. Increase fines for traffic violations. etc.

2. Change federal gas tax sharing laws WRT toll roads, then turn more roads into toll roads. Just take an existing interstate, bid it out as a toll-road, and hand over operation/maintenance to the toll operator. This would save the state money, though it might slightly deter lower utility trips. The gas tax bit is because any state that does this loses a share of federal gas tax revenue when they do it. They shouldn't.

3. Don't require so much parking. Most zoning ordinances require enough off-street parking to ensure that motorists won't park in adjacent residential areas. Often, the developers don't want so much parking, and can make a case that it won't be needed, but the zoning ordinance requires it anyway.

4. Tax parking lots at the rate of their adjacent developed land. In MI at least, parking lots are taxed at their developed value. In the case of a parking lot, that's the value of the land plus the cost of the asphalt. The parking lot may be next to a multi-million dollar building, but the parking lot is assessed at the land plus pavement. If we assessed that valuable land at its alternative use, developers would be less inclined to build expansive parking lots, and would be encouraged to put in denser development, transit stops, and bike parking instead.

5. Require the provision of transit accommodations and bike parking in new developments.

6. Ban the use of cellphones by the driver of a moving vehicle and the sale or use of any device that visually distracts the driver while the vehicle is in motion. I would include visual GPS navigation units in this ban. This seems small, but it improves driving safety, improves safety for other road users, and slightly discourages solo driving.

7. Require planning organizations to demonstrate current need for expanded roadways before they can plan for expansion. Now they use projections to determine future need, and plan and often build before there is congestion. This is a key transportation planning support for sprawl development.

8. Change annexation laws to allow cities to annex significant developments within a mile of their borders. Now development often happens just outside cities, in townships where taxes are lower. Allowing cities to immediately annex any such developments would discourage sprawl based on property taxes.

9. Require all land/transportation planning organizations to have representation by population, not by jurisdiction. Right now, in many places, these organizations have representation on their decision-making boards by jurisdiction. So each jurisdiction gets one vote, even if one of the jurisdictions has 90% of the population. That tends to allow small jurisdictions, usually rural/suburban townships, to control the organization and direct funding to their areas, at the expense of the population center.

10. Allow private maintenance agreements of public roads. Many areas are facing cut-backs in road maintenance from their road commission or municipality. Right now, for legal and union reasons, most places just have to deal with reduced maintenance. But there's no reason people who can afford it couldn't pay someone to do a better maintenance job. It would just require that the government extend their liability protection to the company doing the maintenance. If the government unit set the standards for the road work, and the company demonstrates that they meet them, the local residents should be allowed to pay for better service. This simultaneously reduces funding problems, taxes willing residents more, improves road safety, and discourages sprawl.

Hi kjmclark,

+10 right on!

The Obama administration is helping. From today's Detroit Free Press:

Chances rose today for an infusion of federal money for transit projects in Michigan after the Obama administration signaled a change in how it will fund major public transportation initiatives.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said new transit funding guidelines will place a greater emphasis on “livability issues,” including whether projects provide economic development and environmental benefits. LaHood said the projects’ costs and the commuting time they save will still be considered, but those two factors will no longer be the primary criteria, a restriction enacted under former President George Bush.

Ignore the Michigan part. This is actually bad news for most people in Michigan, since most people here seem to think transit is some kind of communist plot. But it's good news for peak oil mitigation.

Everybody garden like mad. It all helps. Check out chickens and if they aren't legal, work on that.

For an example of a thriving local exchange system, check out the Fourth Corner Exchange: fourthcornerexchange.com

Support local transportation networks. Municipalities are having to cut back bus service. They need to hear that the buses are important, and voters are willing to let some roads be returned to gravel instead giving up buses on the arterials.

Support local small producers: farmers and food processors. They are just hangng on by their fingernails and yes, they need customers to give up that Chinese take out and boxed pizzas so that real food fits in the budget.

Jeez! I'm glad you reminded me. Gotta go water the chickens....

Certainly many fine ideas here - but I suspect we need to think more basic. Speaking with friends living in Ireland where they are having extremely unusual weather - very cold with snow and ice - rarely seen in Ireland and not for such long periods of time. While things have slowed down - they are still getting by because for many in Ireland old ways still survive. My friends gas line froze hence no heat but the majority of homes have fireplaces or stoves. His wood pile also froze making it almost impossible to pry wood but he can burn peat to keep warm. Homes are much smaller too so a good peat fire can warm most of the house.

Most American homes do not have fireplaces or wood burning stoves. Most people live in apartments - multiple dwelling buildings. It seems to me that very basic needs - such as the ability to keep your home warm in the event of power or fuel disruptions is a priority. Perhaps retrofitting and financial aid to assist in such or even changes in building codes to require an alternative heating system would be an important step in preparing for the future.

Barter and chickens are helpful too - but - when the power shuts off and it is freezing outside - one needs heat.

Incidentally - he told me that Irish farmers - expecting typical Irish weather - have a potato crop in the ground now - which has frozen. Thousands of tons of potatoes and other root crops grown at this time of year have been destroyed. A good foretaste of what climate change may bring to us in the future.

Please elaborate on the comment "Another issue that has been mentioned at The Oil Drum is the need for more attention to the population issue . . ."

What exactly are you advocating here?

Discussion of a much avoided issue, I would imagine.

We discuss population often here. It's a very hot-button issue among the magical thinkers. I have seen few proposals that have a snowball's chance in hell of being implemented. TPTB won't touch it. IMHO, population reduction will be mostly involuntary.

Sorry but I don't frequently this site on a daily basis so I'm unaware as to what is being proposed on the "population" topic. Is this where Peak Oil and Health care bill intersect?

Somehow, we need to get to a lower population, as resources deplete. Our population is in "overshoot" now.

One child families are an idea, if people would agree to the idea voluntarily. "Mother nature bats last," so if we can't do it voluntarily, there is concern that the reduction will come through a higher death rate.

It probably wouldn't hurt to cut down on the many huge feedlot cattle and hog operations as well. Cows and pigs use up resources too, especially when raised in feedlots and shipped long distances. If people ate less meat, they would probably be healthier too.

True, its not so much avoided here specifically, as it is generally everywhere. Honestly, I'd discuss it more and bring it up more if I had any ideas or solutions. Most of my input on "population problems" would tend to be on what doesn't work, and what's the wrong way to look at it.

Hi daxr,

I had any ideas or solutions

I'm convined that human population "overshoot" is our most critical issue. Sure, western style consumption is a huge problem - but, the fact remains that there is no way that our planet can sustain 9-10B folks (as is currently projected).

I'm also convinced that a "soft" approach is the best. I also don't think it is very useful for your or me to try to come up with brilliant solutions - others have done lots of work on this problem.

My solution is simple: support http://www.populationconnection.org/site/PageServer and sleep well knowing that you taking a positive action (even if we admit it is very small action).

Take the energy away and the problem will take care of itself, equations balance.