Making the Best of Our Situation Now

Most of us think our situation 10, 20 or 50 years from now will not be as good as today, in one or more ways--less oil, reduced wealth in general, and the possibility of many other negative changes as well--loss of electricity; rapid population decline; and perhaps climate change.

My question is, "How can we keep ourselves from feeling discouraged, even though we strongly suspect our future situation will not be as good as today?" Below the fold, I give a few ideas.

1. Count your blessings.

No matter how badly things are going, there are always some things that are going well. I have heard that some Jewish people give thanks for each body part that is working in their prayers each day. We can be thankful for the sunshine, and fresh air, and the birds flying by. We can be thankful for our friends and family members. If we focus on the good, it leaves less room for our mind to dwell on the not-so-good.

2. Spend time with family and friends.

Anything seems worse, if you are going through it alone. Surround yourself with loved ones.

3. Learn some cheerful, uplifting songs.

If you sing regularly, you will often find songs running through your mind. Joint a singing group, or attend church or temple and learn some hymns or other music. I am sure there is music you can download from the Internet too, and CDs you can buy. In some cultures, dancing is important, too.

4. Keep yourself busy.

Even if you don't have a job, find something worthwhile to do--studying something worthwhile, or helping someone in more need than yourself, or planting a garden, or attending a community planning meeting.

5. Take care of your health.

If you don't feel well, everything will seem much worse. To me, the big part of taking care of your health is proper diet, exercise, and avoiding substances which are harmful to your health. Getting proper dental care is probably helpful as well. Visiting health care providers may be necessary at times as well.

6. Focus as much as possible on the here and now.

What happened yesterday, even if it is the loss of a family member, is past. We have less control over the future than we would like. But we do have at least some control over the here and now, and there are always likely to be at least a few things that are going right. Focus on those things. Leave worrying about what you should have done, or what might happen in the future, to someone else.

7. Join a church or other religious group.

I am sure joining a religious group is not for everyone, but some may find it helpful. There are multiple benefits--a network of friends, some hope for help in facing current difficulties, and the possibility of hope for the future. Even if you don't believe in any possibility of an afterlife, you may find enough worthwhile in a church to justify joining. (I do recommend staying away from fundamentalist groups of any religion, however. Stick with more liberal groups that don't take their scriptures too literally.)

8. Get your priorities straight.

If your first priority is amassing great wealth, you are likely to be disappointed. If your first priority is advancing in your company, there is a good chance this may not happen--you may get laid off instead. Try to find appropriate alternative priorities--for example, helping those less fortunate than yourself, or working on a way to make the future for yourself or your community better.

Life is a wonderful adventure. I personally have found that a Buddhist view on our world has made me a happier person.

How I love The Oil Drum! What a great topic. I often refrain to myself that the only thing I truely own is my health and that health is a measure of my wealth and that no possesion other than health is worthy of measuring..... Yes the greatness of The Oil Drum lies in the breadth of the topics as they pertain to Peak Oil....

Regards TG80 sends

TG80 refers to health, but when I read the intro to the discussion I thought of life and aging...

Most of us think our situation 10, 20 or 50 years from now will not be as good as today, in one or more ways

Even if energy and the economy experience no problems at all, on a personal level we will all be older and more frail (or gone) in 10, 20, 50 years - and Gail's list of suggestions work just as well for somebody facing up to eventual mortality as they do for somebody facing societal troubles.

its true, when i first found about peak oil i was one of those who happily ignored my own mortality (i kind of hopped for medicine to create a cures so when i got old to be saved from death, even thought about cryogenics as a way to bridge the gap).the peak oil is best cure for such delusional thinking, since then i learned to accept reality as is, become far more humble and in the end more happier than before.its strange that only when you find out you will die you learn to live.


(raling against the grim reaper?)

Most people figure out they are going to die somewhere between ages 3 years old and 10, depending on IQ. Then the rest of life is spent in developing sophisticated denial mechanisms. The usual route is that of doing the religious afterlife thing. Yours (cryogenics) is simply a more sophisticated self delusion, namely, thinking people of the future are going to waste energy keeping your cryo cell cool, and then in some super-overpopulated future, the first thing that comes to their minds is to bring good old great gandpapa back to life. Good luck with that one.

In the end, we are what we are: just a bunch of hairless apes bouncing around in our cage and slinging mud at each other.

In the end, we are what we are: just a bunch of hairless apes bouncing around in our cage and slinging mud at each other.

If you've ever worked with apes, you know it ain't mud they're slinging :-0. I used to deliver feed to Yerkes Primate Center. We had to wear raincoats when working around the pens.
I agree, we're not much different.

The apes are a lot friendlier if you share with them (this would apply to the human ape as well, I suppose). I was at Yerkes once and was amused to see a worker sharing his cigarette with an ape.

"If you teach a child that he is nothing but an ape with a gun, he grows up to act like an ape with a gun"
Thomas Merton

No truer words have ever been spoken.

Humans are not a lot differenct than the apes it can be said, but the differences are at the margins. And the margins make all the difference. Now I will listen to Beethoven's 5th Symphony, read a bit of poetry, and look at some photos of Gothic cathedrals, and picture the apes creating it all...:-)
"Human dignity is more than a new pair of shoes." Albert Camus
Thank you God for even a cheap and crappy liberal arts education! Totally worthless in the so called "real" productive benefits, but worth more than all the technology education one can ever have in the REAL benefits.



The "mud" is of course a euphemism for the insults, blamings and other verbal and physical things that we humans throw at each other both here on the Internet as well as in first life.

The "cage" is that of the laws of physics, thermodynamics and evolution. Few appreciate how caged in we are by our own genes and the evolutionary pathways that brought us to where we are today.

I don't see any reason why long term this would not be possible. Peak Oil does not mean the end of the world nor a complete regression to 1910.

Actually, 1910 wouldn't be a bad place to be. Now that I think about it 1910 would be a damned good place to be.

1910 would be a nice place to be if we had the same 1910 population.

otherwise..., it's a smaller pie with more mouths.

1910 would be a damned good place to be

yes and no...when I think about the environmental damage we've seen since then, the exponential rise in population, and the loss of basic agricultural and living skills, definitely 1910 was a better place, in the condition of the planet and the people on it.

On the other hand, human rights were in worse shape almost everywhere, and the social movements at the time (socialism, anarchism, communism, etc) were born from the hopeless misery of way too many people enslaved in the abuses of early industrialism. Tuchman's "Proud Tower" is an excellent read about that - the first third of the book or so covers the conditions of the top and bottom ends at that time.

The movie Vanilla Sky. Leading guy is a playboy and heir to his fathers corporation and accompanying fortune. He gets mangled in an accident and goes into cryo to stay until surgical techniques advance enough to patch him up like new. I suppose the medical advances don't advance quickly enough and his money runs out while in cryo storage so he is awoken. Its now sometime in the future and he doesn't know anyone, he's physically mangled, and his money is gone. I can't figure out why but every one else I've talked to thinks it has a happy ending.

well I am aware of it,now, but back then i thought it held some promises. when i think about the idea now i understand not just the silliness of it in technological and sociological sense but much more deeper one. my idea back then of meaning of life was to have stuff and do stuff, it was only to please my ego. now is, to be part of complex Eco system and to understand that every moment on this world is a treasure. far more rewarding than idioticy of my past.i have a garden and i am joyful every time i see a insect flying by knowing full well it would not have been here if i was not there to prepare the soil for it, neither would i be here if he(his ancestors) hasn't done the same for me to.

I know a couple who have paid for cryogenic chambers/pods/tanks/barrels (whatever they are called). You have to give them 10 out of 10 for optimism though.

I have heard that some Jewish people give thanks for each body part that is working in their prayers each day.

Gail, you owe me a new keyboard! I spurted coffee all over this one, through my nose, I might add.

Disclaimer: My ex wife is Jewish!

Still ROFL!!

Well, if laughter as they say, is the best medicine, you should be giving out prescriptions.

So you're telling us you gave thanks for your nose, and its continued ability to spurt?

Mazel Tov!

Mazel Tov!

Yeah, that and the fact that I still manage to have a functional sense of humor ;-)

Though I'm still ROFLING! You should meet my Yiddish, ex mother in law and you'd understand why!

Oy. Your mother-in-law you want to share with use do you? What's next? Some sort of commutable disease? All your teeth should fall out except one and in that last one you should have a tooth ache. G'valt. ;-)

FMagyar, I was in Rome a few years back in St. Peter's cathedral. One of the Apses is lined with confessionals, each with a language sign above it for the language the confession would be taken in. I got a kick out of telling my Hungarian mother that the line in front of the Hungarian confessional was by far the longest. She enjoyed that one. Laughing is even better for the soul than confessing!

Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present. --Meditations of Marcus Aureleus 200AD

Get passionate about something besides work (and TOD). Get a hobby or get involved in service to others. Get a dog. I ususally don't have much use for people that don't like dogs.

we only have 10; & yes they are indoors most of the time, & as we speak- unless they are at one of their jobs like they are guarding the garden- great pyrennes does that.

amazing how they connect to us 'humans', & will take on roles with/for us.

I like this one the best. I suggest get involved in politics. I don't care whether it is Democratic or Republican, or Independent of some sort. PO is an issue that all parties need to learn and it needs to be learned as a place for true bipartisanship! There is nothing like a common enemy to draw people together - that is the premise of the wars we are fighting today, I guess. PO is a foe of a different sort... one that can devastate the economy, and the individual in fairly short order. No one party should be its champion, and each should insist that it be addressed comperhensively.

If there is to be any hope for the future, this is where TOD must shine! "All politics is local." I will be a clerk at the precinct where I vote on March 2, for the primary elections. I espouse my position with friends, and urge them to take those ideas to their representatives in elective office. It does keep me busy and off the street, so it can't be all bad!

Also, for a day I won't be bothering ya'all...


Getting involved with politics is extremely depressing, local or national. You ever run for office, Craig? I have and I am very glad to have given it up.

Agreed. Politician is not a job I'm interested in at all. People can be really nasty and almost never think that one is actually doing one's best under the circumstances. All motives are questioned.

You don't have to run for office to get involved. I've gotten involved on a few campaigns (both local and national) as a volunteer. I find knocking on doors to be a lot easier than cold calling on phones (yes, I've been one of those annoying people). It helps if you don't have high expectations for changing the world -- based on some stuff I read, the 9 weekends of canvassing and 4 nights of phone banking that I put in on one campaign probably swayed 9 voters.

But there was the one guy I talked to on election day who didn't know he was registered. When I told him he had to be, because he was on my list, and told him where his polling place was, he headed out to vote right away.

The most interesting part has been working the polling place, handing out flyers for my candidates. I've met and talked to a lot of people and gotten to know a lot more about how my little town worked than I knew before.

Actually, the world id finally catching up to the reality I have been living for quite some time.
Leave the cubicle and corporation, and come into the garden.
Hey, it will be messy, but survival is not necessary or even a possibility.
Actually, surviving by your own wits, and getting beyond the feudal walls of corporations and bureaucrats will make you stronger.

Hey, it will be messy, but survival is not necessary or even a possibility.

Yeah, I have to agree!

For those of you who wouldn't understand my comment without some background first:

Caetano Emanuel Vianna Telles Velloso (born August 7, 1942), better known as Caetano Veloso, is a composer, singer, guitarist, writer, and political activist. He has been called "one of the greatest songwriters of the century"[1] and is sometimes considered to be the Bob Dylan of Brazil.

He wrote the lyrics to a song in which he incorporated a phrase used by the great Brazilian Poet, Fernando Pessoa:

Navegar é Preciso, Viver Não é Preciso

Which roughly translated means "It is necessary to chart a course, it is not necessary to go on living"

I interpret this to mean that life without goals is just not worth living.

Unfortunately as I look around I see a vast mindless herd of listless zombies trying to grasp at the flotsam
and jetson of the consumerist wreck that our captains have caused by sailing us right up on to the rocks.

My goal at this point is to save myself only. As a rescue diver I was taught that the only way you can save someone else, is if you don't drown yourself. That's a hard lesson to learn.

Which roughly translated means "It is necessary to chart a course, it is not necessary to go on living"

I interpret this to mean that life without goals is just not worth living.

I disagree. I think setting a direction is the key not goals.

I always say that setting goals is setting limits.

There is no end point.

I disagree. I think setting a direction is the key not goals.

I think we're really saying the same thing, in my view setting a goal is the same as setting a direction or charting a course, e.g. my goal is to reach a certain port so I set my direction in such a way so that I may reach it. That of course does not mean that that particular port is my absolute final destination.

Navegar really means to navigate or chart a course, i.e. set a direction and sail it, it's not intended to be a limit since you are always free to change course as is often needed due to unforeseen circumstance, say having to navigate around a rocky shoal or to avoid a storm.

Happy sailing!

The context that I am referring to is "life goals".
Far too often I have seen people set goals too low and only shoot for the goal instead of seeing the opportunity for much more development and stepping up their efforts.
That is what I mean by setting goals is setting limits.

Yeah, I hear you. The only limits I respect are the ones that are set by nature. I recommend not setting goals that conflict with those. Other than that go for it!

I disagree. I think setting a direction is the key not goals.

I always say that setting goals is setting limits.

There is no end point.

porge, this is analogous to my saying that "there are no solutions, only strategies." Solutions are far to inflexible.

I like that but mine sounds more macho;)

The problem is after you've been to church, sung a song and worked in the garden you want to use oil. Like driving your V8 car or SUV downtown, eating a steak, buying drinks for high maintenance gals and buying stuff you don't need on the plastic card. Such as a gift for that interstate wedding invitation you booked a flight to even though you barely know the people.

I think PO enforced frugality will hit Generation Y the hardest. I can see them growing three tomatoes and putting it up on Facebook. Instead of taking their kids to soccer those kids will have to hang around the street. Gen Y will carry the memory of what good times were like and will be bitter.

Personally, I take comfort that in 50 years, it may be a dark time, but in 100 years, after the die-off, it will be all right again.

Just as long as the die-off doesn't involve nukes.

All right?
I thought it was going to be all left.

"How can we keep ourselves from feeling discouraged, even though we strongly suspect our future situation will not be as good as today?"

My question is:

How can we be absolutely sure that the future which TOD'ers have forecast, using the various fragments of information which we currently possess, is indeed the actual future that will unfold? After all, humankind's consciousness has not yet been fully alerted to the various crises that we face. If it were fully alerted to the scale of the problem, intellectual and spiritual energy would be diverted towards the cause, and novel ideas, inventions and alternatives which are currently unfathomable may begin cropping up.

But if no energy has so far been spared towards the cause, mostly for lack of knowledge on what the hec is going on, how can one possibly claim that all the possible avenues that mankind could possibly take have been thoroughly investigated and exhausted, and that collapse is the absolutely inevitable outcome?

The aftermath of PO will be the first inflection point which will wake the world up. It remains to be seen what will come after several wake up calls.

You are right, of course; we can't be absolutely sure. I give it only about a 95% possibility of coming out the way you've read on here.

With oil production projections, we in a sense have a form of a radar telling us of incoming enemy bombers. We can ignore them or call them something else in order to stay in our high-consumptive lifestyle, but the odds are overwhelming that they will get here.

"I give it only about a 95% possibility of coming out the way you've read on here."


Well, if confidence boosts morale, anyone who believes ANY scenario to have a 95% "possibility" of being correct should be absolutely elated!

I have almost never made a projection that I thought was 95% probable (with the exception of aging and death, which are 100%), hell, 95% is essentially the definition of certainty! I don't even think the cornucopians (at least the clever ones) as cocky as they may seem to be, would claim 95% certainty to their projections!

Keep in mind the lessons of history...Karl Benz' wife was out joy riding in the Benz patent wagon while newspaper and "science" writers were claimng that a self propelled road vehicle was a technical impossibility, stop whining and take the horse and train, and weeks after the Wright brothers flew, newspaper columns still claimed that heavier than air flight was impossible.

Since my childhood in the 1970's, almost no projections for the following quarter of a century has been correct. Only a handful of weirdos predicted things like the collapse of communism, the stunning revolution in computer and communications technology, the wars in Iraq and Iran (of course some folks roundly predicted war everywhere to cover their bets, but that doesn't count as valid), the current worry over carbon release, the stunning rise of India and China (again, some folks predicted every nation EXCEPT the U.S. would do well, but they always bet against America), on and on...we were supposed to be on Mars by now if you believed the projections made in the 1970's.

95%!!!!! I would be surprised if the projections on TOD have a 35% probability of being even 40% correct, but don't feel hurt, I would probably not give my own guesses (or those of Dan Yergin, etc.) even that high of a probability!

I would be more likely to bet that the world 25 years from now looks so different from what ANYONE here expects that it will be almost to the point of causing the aging population complete and utter disorientation. Even the young and savvy will have a very hard time keeping up. I will talk more about why later but right now I must be offline.


Many outcomes are possible with energy subsidy to create diverse future scenarios. Once energy subsidy is removed though, the future looks a lot more certain. The first world today will almost surely look like the third world tomorrow as resource constraints start to bite in. Human ingenuity does not create energy. Rather, energy is a feedstock for ingenuity.


Awareness of this point is very limited within industrialized society.

Since consumption lifestyle (dare I say it) is 95% likely to decline, the stories that individuals tell themselves within those cultures become very important to the health of same.

Energy awareness would mean that Enviros, the Arabs, POTUS, the Chinese, the meltdown or Big Oil will NOT be the focus, hence the target of 'mitigation'.

95% they will be. If peak energy awareness were to come to the fore that's a bet I'd be happy to lose.

Personally, co-existing with consumptive lifestyle while trying to chart a course to conservation is very tricky within a framework dominated by forces which do not want to acknowlege energy accounts as the primary feedstock. My idea is to maintain physical health if possible as a hedge against the future however it unfolds.

Hot digity.
It is in my nature to slaughter sacred cows. Even oily ones.

The way I see it is that reality is undergoing a major bifurcation.

There are two asymptotes occurring right now.
One path leads to Collapse; and the other to Ray Kursweiler's Singularity.

My understanding of quantum physics is that as the Observer you get to choose which way your quantum wave function is collapsed.

Unfortunately, the choice is not made consciously. Or we split and go down both paths.

I wonder if my Singularity-self will be able to help my Collapse-self?

Climate change from humans burning fuel and emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere has been predicted since the late 1800's.

Given how rabid some of the religious right are I would expect them to become more rampant when things begin to get dicey. In fact I expect the way down to look just like the way up only faster. That means a return to violent religious persecution. Thus affiliating with a church of the dominant theology in your country now might end up being a lifesaver.

The world has always been an "Us" or "Them" proposition.

Religions are survival machines.Of course as Oxidated Gem points out, you must join yourself to the machine for it to help YOU survive.Such machimes work to nsure the survival of the people sing them in order to band to gether, to create a cooperative working group.This enhanced survival is of course at the relative expense of those NOT part of the group.

People don't need a religion to persecute each other-they do need some sort of organizational framework in order to act together of course, and religion works just fine in this respect, no doubt about it..

But lack of a religion will not change this old story , known back in my day as INTRASPECIFIC COMPETITION in biology classes-they may have some fancy new name for it now.

I invite anyone with doubts as to the truth of this to spend a few hours reading up on the lives of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Dear Leader whatizname of North Korea.....

I have lived in intimate but not continiuus contact with this so called rabid right most of my life, and I find it rather amusing that it is capable of inspiring such fear and awe in those who know very little about it.

For instance, I have stated here in this forum several times that our current little military adventures in the sand countries are all about oil.Now according to the loony left(surely this term is no more incedinary that than "rabid right") this is all part and parcel of a rabid right world view.No civilized ,educated, sophisticated person could concievably be so dumb as to believe in such twaddle.

But unless my memory is failing faster than I realize, it seem to me that the loony left, with solid majorities in both houses of congress and control of the White House to boot, has been pursueing an "even more of the same" policy in managing this little adventure, and that they have actually outdone themselves and the rabid right in terms of giving away the keys to the mint-all the while stonewalling the public when anyone asks where a TRILLION DOLLARS has gotten to.

I'm sure that since my moral superiors and intellectual betters have assured me that thought of this sort are signs of dangerous hallucinations I must be thoroughly confused.Perhaps I forgot to take my meds today-surely that's the problem.

The real problem is that the loony left is "po" ed because the majority of the country refuses to listen to thier betters self righteous and condescending lectures in regard to thier moral degeneracy , cultural backwardness, and undoubted inbred congenital stupidity.

And as somebody pointed out recently, these people are actally ALLOWED TO VOTE!

Now since most of the readership here in spite of what I estimate is Mensa level on the average cannot recognize sarcasm served up with a shovel-HEAR THIS

I'm only having a little fun trying my hand at James Carville's and -what's the skinny blonde broads name that writes best rabid right wing best sellers?- style of writing.

Suggestions are hereby solicited for a title to this original work which cost me an hour of my life.I wouldn't want anybody to think I'm not OPEN MINDED, and I wrote this to prove it.

Percannce I die before my time,
I wish to leave this little rhyme.

There is no god my soul to take,
No devil there to maje knees quake.

Mr Darwin has explained it all.
There was no paradise, no fall.

Truly we emerged from slime.
Back we go .....given time.

We long for peace,
We sing this hymn.

But it's always been
US or ....Them.

Nature's red in tooth and claw,
Life takes life into it's maw.

Read my friends Kipling's songs,
Seek there the understanding ..for which you long.

The Law of the Jungle is not long.
Nature can do no wrong.

Good and evil are in our heads.
The hound seeks out the rabbits bed.

Tail awagging, eyes agleaming,
Baby rabbits die ascreaming.

Now I wish it weren't this way,
But in this matter I have no say.

God offered me a gift to choose,
I took no time for to muse.

Thinking that I was smart,
I opted for-understanding heart.

The moral of this story friend-
Be careful what you wish for.
You get it in the end.

Once my faith meant peace of mind,
Now I search for what I cannot find.

Any person attempting to find meaning in this doggerel OUGHT to be if not shot at least committed for observation.

If you, Dear Reader, find this either amusing or infuriating , I will know that I have put my hour to good use, and shall try my hand at playing court jester again at your pleasure.

Godspeed OFM...

It's the Law of The Doggerel.

Thank you Lee.

The law of the Doggerel

It shall be.

These poems are free
As life and soul were meant to be.

If I can grow a smile,
That makes Old Farmer Mac's life worthwhile.

If you please , laugh with me.
Just overlook my simple style.

Buried within these random musings,
You will find ideas well worth perusing.

If they make no sense , seem no fire all smoke
The problem is yer intellectual ENVELOPE.

The first thing one must realize
Is that he wants his thoughts to reach the skies,

He must remove the blinkers from his eyes,
In order to see things-true size.

Here I swear my sacred vows,
I'm here to butcher all sacred cows.

If you wish to keep yours whole,
Protect them with your very soul,

Keep them off the commons here,
Else I'll serve'em up with beer
And all at court will laugh and cheer.


when i read u'r religious discussions i remember a book i heard of. i thought the title was 'Jesus was an Agnostic' by leslie weatherhead. a little projection on my part i reckon.

i looked it up; The Christian Agnostic

might be worth reading.

Thanks creg,

I believe in a historcal Jesus and am open to the idea that he spent a considerable bit of time in India or thereabout, learnung something of Eastern philosophy, and I have studied the KJB version of the Scriptures closely.

I can see the argument-I may even have read the book, or more probably either a discussion or review of it someplace, or a similar book.I'm not sold , but I'm not hostile to the idea either.

I can't remember chapter and verse any more, but many words attributed to Jesus can be reasonably interpreted in this way.BTY, any body interested in a non technical , literary introduction in novel form to Eastern philosophy can do no better than Hesse's Siddharta.

Readable, enjoyable, enlightening.

yeah re the eastern influence.

it gives the gospel acc. to john a whole new feel; & ironically it is the one taken so literally often, & used evangelistically.

The Birth of Christianity: Reality and Myth (Joel Carmichael)

To me this makes more sense considering the historical context. You will see the same view point from many scholars like Marvin Harris (Cows, pigs, wars & witches; the riddles of culture).

Or for a controversial take on the matter:

The Holy Blood + The Holy Grail, by Baigent, Lincoln + Leigh

Antoinetta III

You are right Old Farmer, it is us or them and that can take many forms. I just strongly suspect that in the US and in many Muslim countries it will take the form of religious us. Even if you choose the dominant religion to align with for safety they are many subsets and you might not choose the subset that ends up dominating. It is not a strategy that would work for myself because I would rather be true to my unbelief than gain a few years and join some group out to purge the world.

But as far as rabid right vs looney left - those categories are perhaps too broad. When trying to write a short post one resorts to such simplifications. I guess I should have said the religious righteous. Such a group can be right or left, believe in god or science etc. The characteristic is the righteousness, the assurance that they are right and that their view should be held by all and that any who don't hold it should be eliminated. As things stand in the US right now I expect that to unfold out of the fundamentalist christian movement. Different elsewhere no doubt. I expect lynchings and even witch burning to resurface on the way down. Heck we already have the Inquisition back with waterboarding and other tortures of people more often than not only guilty of a different ethnic background and religion.

Hi Gem

I doubt very seriously if thre is anything oxidated about your intellect-It shines like Ben Franklins oft used key.

I always enjoy your comments, and I donr't actually have a quarrel with you or Bicycle Dave or anyone else as to the possible net negative effects of religion in the modern day world.

I'm just trying to get everybody to see religion as part and parcel of humanity, something that can not be exterminated-it just pops up somewhere else , whackamole style, in a new form.

Now as to the possibility that one particular faction taking over in the event of a collapse here in the states-I suppose that's possible, but I doubt very seriously that it would happen within the lifetimes of most of us here tonight.

A little church group where you know everybody's name, bury your dead together,watch the little kids learn to walk together, have a meal together occasionally, and have a PLAN for coexisting, with AGREED UPON RULES, with your fellow members -that's a small ,local,nieghborhood church.
Even if the rules and the plan are not of the best, thier very existence makes them priceless in a crisis.
Of course there will be dimwits in it who take everything in dogma literally, but there will be people like you,if you join one, who interpret things flexibly.Local churches although very hard core in some ways do not hold it against someone who works on Sunday as a matter of necessity, as a watchman, fireman, doctor , farmer, or a store clerk if called upon to do so-it is recognized that the small sin of working on Sunday is negated by the larger good of providing for one's family.

If you have a real good little church, the people in it will look in on you if you are sick, give you a ride to the doctor, visit you in the hospital, make sure you have a place to go to be among friends on holidays if you are all alone.This is community, no more no less.

This is the only and last egalitarian community most of us will ever have a chance to know.Junior faculty members must show deference to old tenured deot chairmen, but in such a church, everybody is on close to equal terms, socially.The richest member eats at the same table as the poorest at a church supper at a small local church.

Now if course this is an idealized version of a hypothetical church, but I have been in a dozen where it is a reality..

Hi Old Farmer, thanks, I also enjoy your comments. Yes I know a lot of churches that are are warm and welcoming and attend to the needs of members. My fear is that humans will act as they have historically acted if the crash is swift and steep (as I think it will be). Such conditions bring out the worst in people. Many of these good people in local small churches also regularly listen to Glen Beck (who is Mormon but I bet most people don't know that), Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson etc. Don't forget all those good church people who got their pictures taken as they stood around the latest lynched black man, and even bought postcards of the lynchings to send to their friends Heck it was good church people who burned the Salem Witches. As the fear was hyped neighbor would turn on neighbor for self protection. The good breaks down all to easily when things get dicey.

If you like to watch movies (while we can) see this excellent movie La lengua de las mariposas

At any rate I cannot pretend to believe what I don't for the benefits of a group. But others may find a church group as good support group for those who are "in", how long into decline they care about anyone who is "out" is another matter. Few church groups achieve that state of grace.

And here I thought you were just an old country farmer! He's a poet and we didn't know it.


"I will know that I have put my hour to good use, and shall try my hand at playing court jester again at your pleasure."

oldfarmermac, Only if you enjoy doing it. They don't by the word here, but the good news is they don't charge you for the words either (thank goodness). :-)

Have at it.


My view is that the world is grossly over populated. The international economy is now in an accelerating collapse due to excessive debt. Petroleum and other resources such as water are in decline. We will soon (if not already) experience a die off of massive numbers of the excess population.

Rather than allowing the horror that I fore see depress me, I have resolved to do all possible to increase the probability that my four grandchildren (ages 16 – 23) will survive that die off and participation in the establishment of a new order. Along with caring for my eighty year old wife with incurable late stage multiple myeloma, my life is devoted to promoting a community that is aware and in various stages of preparation for the unfolding of these events. Accordingly, I am more challenged than at any previous time in my life.

Following are a couple of recent interchanges that gave me great satisfaction. A few weeks ago at our regular Saturday evening family dinner, I asked my 19 year old granddaughter why she and the young man she plans to marry this summer do not go to movies, concerts, etc? Her response was that they did not have the money for such things. When challenged by her mother, she said that for the price of one movie ticket they bought a full set of stainless table ware at Goodwill and then listed other purchases that they had made at Goodwill. She was with me at the local drug store recently and as we passed the women’s hygiene product rack, I asked her to select products for the family store room. She picked up a product and said Mom uses these but I use rags and wash them and reuse them. I was shocked and asked why? She said that in one of my monthly letters I had advised women to think about laying in a supply and she decided to see what would work if commercial products were unavailable. Last week she called me in a panic to say that she had just bought two milk goats and did not have a place to house them. Needless to say Grandpa made a space in the barn for her milk goats. By the way she is 5’ 10’’, 115 pounds, blonde, and beautiful.

The three grandsons are also taking similar actions in their areas of interest. For example today my oldest grandson reformatted my laptop and replaced a neutral start switch in my 1977 Ford pickup. As a family we are developing a lifestyle of “use up, wear out, make do, or do without”.

In summary I live each day filled with joy by focusing on family and community welfare rather than my gout.

Cute story TGN...thanks. Made me think of something a TODer said a while back: the world isn't overpopulated. It's underpopulated...with smart people.

2. Spend time with family and friends.

Anything seems worse, if you are going through it alone. Surround yourself with loved ones.

Dogs are our best friends, but even they can be annoying.

Dogs have value, but keep in mind that an average size dog has the same annual carbon footprint as driving an SUV 30,000 miles.

I guess the people who have dogs of this sort send them to doggie college in the suv as commuter students.

It costs less than three hundred dollars a year to keep a medium size hound in good quality dry chow.That could not concievably be anywhere near the co2 equilalent of fifteen hundred gallons of gasoline.

Incidentally my hound sleeps in his own easy chair, so if I allot his twelve square feet of spapce out of our two thousand plus square feet of house, his upkeep in terms of electricity, water sewer, etc, is miniscule.

Now he does get a few treats that should by strict accounting go to the chickens or pigs-so add on another few dozen eggs or a smal ham or something to his total costs.

I call bs. My 70 pound dog eats about 7 large bags of dog food a year, and that's about it for carbon footprint. I guess she drives less than the average.

I think #8 sums up my thoughts and covers some of the things on the list. Peak Oil has brought me to all sorts or realizations in my life about what truly is important and has given me a true purpose that keeps me busy and appreciate all the bounties I have around me. If you told me five years ago I'd be writing about simple bounties I would have laughed in your face but I'm incredibly happy to be where I am now.

Peak Oil has created a set of positive feeback loops in how I view the world and thusly act in my life. First, it was that I would have to move to a place where I could provide for myself as much as I could. I went from knowing zero about plants and gardening to giving my first presentation in my new community next month. This last sentence about sums up my transition. I've realized that my old city was unsustainable (as I say this the public transportation I used to value as apart of my city life was just drastically cut). My time there with pursuits that though were not materialistic they brought no actual value into the world. Now I find myself truly busy planning for this upcoming growing season.

I can say that my priorites have evolved into doing something for your neighbors, having skills I can share and teach. This year I'm working on cutting out my digital stimulants and focusing on "the now" as cliche as that sounds. Simplicity is bliss. It's what our human minds can handle. The complexity of today's civilization sends the mind into so many directions based on simulcrums of actual life necessities.

Yes, I worry that I will experience things: starvation, violent acts, disease, etc but then there's nothing I can do about that, when it's your time it's time. I will not, however, sit around be wait for the dice to decide my fate. Life is part luck but it's also part what you do with it. Peak Oil has allowed me to find my path and freed me from the omnipresent burden of living in this civlization.

Thanks for your story! It sounds like you are finding your way. Not all of us are as willing to make changes as it sounds like you were.

I was fortunate that I am younger (sub-30), lucked out with a well paying job that I can still work in my new location, and was never heavily invested stocks or condo life so the decision was easier.

I still think that there's a lot people can do in their current situations and by no way put yourself into a perfect situation but we all have to make steps to prepare. Hopefully the "wake-up" calls will occur with enough resources left for us to transition to something livable.

For me, I find that it helps to actually be doing something to prepare, rather than just fretting about it. I've been practicing vegetable gardening, increasing the insulation in my house, and paying down debt, for three examples. In the next year or so I plan to convert a bicycle to battery-assist and install a couple solar panels. With so many of the people I to whom I talk about PO, they just say it's hopeless so they won't do anything. I don't understand that attitude. I have a long ways to go and I doubt if I'll ever be fully prepared, but I have started. Having started and having a plan of what I can do next helps me keep my spirits up.

I think numbers 2 (family and friends) and 8 (church) are also important at any time. But in the context of PO, it will be important to know whom one can trust.

My first posting, BTW. Hope I did it right.

You did fine on your first post. Thanks!

Thanks for the question, Gail. In the best of worlds, our partners give us strength. In other words, relationships. I could fall in to a deep pit filled with burning oil, if on the way down, my love was in my arms. We'd smile at each other going down.

Our mortality, and the other "end of" scenarios, have always been just under the surface for most of us. big deal.

I'm also not relegating myself to "Boomer Doomer" status, just yet. Go to

and start looking at all of the positive things happening in the world. Pay attention to the positive....create a balance.....I'm a Libra.

Nice link, Robin!

While, without doubt the best things in life are all free, people don't need to give in to despair about peak resources and stupid government decisions. You can take up arms against a sea of troubles and collectively those can be defeated.

The best things for peak oil look to me like the work being done by EEStor of Texas, Nanosolar of California, Silex of Australia, Eden Energy of Australia and finally Lanza Tech of New Zealand.

Don't ever bet against the ingenuity of man.

kind regards

I guess we can never know for sure what is ahead. Maybe ingenuity will do more than we think. It doesn't hurt to hope.

The EEStor supercapacitors and Nanosolar printed PV collectors are particularly interesting.

LOL. If EESTOR is our best hope - we are indeed in deep trouble.

"Don't ever bet against the ingenuity of man."

Maybe...but man's ingenuity is a double-edged sword, to be sure-just ask the survivors of Hiroshima

the best things in life are all free

Graffiti scrawled on the wall of a local shopping mall: "The best things in life are not things"

If you are concerned Do Something to help yourself.
The action itself is a balm for worry.

I'm not at the acceptance stage just yet...

Excellent suggestions, Gail. I am a strong believer in keeping positively active, both physically and mentally. That does not exclude remaining informed regarding energy, environmental, economic and related issues. The not-too-distant future is likely to be significantly different and more challenging than what most have come to consider as normal. When living with Alaska Natives many years ago I found them to be fatalistic in a positive way. Experience had taught them that tough times were a natural part of life. However, they enjoyed life and loved to laugh, even at adversity. Their attitude could be described as being happy pessimists.

Nanook of the North filmed on Hudson bay in 1922 of the Inuit shows the characteristic you mention quite clearly. Still available on DVD and a good documentary to show how people survive in very challenging conditions.

I'm really surprised at the negativism here. I would have expected the number 1 item on the list would have been prepping for the future.

My question is, "How can we keep ourselves from feeling discouraged, even though we strongly suspect our future situation will not be as good as today?"

How about trying social activism as in alerting people that the future can be friendly, it is only a matter of agreement?
I can see how it is that people are discouraged or if not discouraged just plain fearful or desiring some hope or some alternative plan.

I still do not get at all how it would be that a group which is pretty much dedicated to Peak Oil and its manifestation does not take up the theme of what may have been the most creative idea of the 20th. century which M. King Hubbert was a co-founder of, the Technocracy technate design.

All the feeding around the fringes of 'debt' and 'value' and such has me wondering if many people here are interested in exploring actual alternative ideas at all or just set in their ways of thinking about culture in the current debt based template.
Energy accounting anyone????. Getting out of the destructive Price System anyone?
Maybe I should not let the cat out of the bag, but I guess I can tell you... god was a technocrat or at least he would have been one if 'he' had existed.
Oh my.
Is this really a science related site?
What happened to creative thought and American know how?
Did it 'die off' between 1938 and 1948?

John Carter - I think you will find that there are quite a few here at TOD who share your interest in a more science based supersystem of organizing humanity. The problem lies not in the lack of science or technology but a lack of humanity.

Our current Supersystem under which we are organized is unfortunately optimized to bring out the worst in human behavior but because it also marginally allows for the best in human behavior we put up with it and indeed convince ourselves that there is no other choice.

I think it is fairly well understood that due to a multitude of reasons, primarily biological, we just can't get there from here.

But some of us keep trying.


To eeyores enigma

There was a large scale social movement in the 1930's that thought maybe we could get there from here. It was partially led by M. King Hubbert among other notables.
There were 18 card carrying technocrats connected to F.D.R.'s cabinet... and there would not be a Social Security Admin. if not for their influence at that time.
F.D.R. could not take it to the next level.
It could have been done at that time though.
It still can be done.
It is not too late... yet, but the window is closing.
North America would be the logical place to start a survivable model for the world to look toward since it contains about 52% of earths resources.
We have:
The installed technology.
The trained persons.
And the resource base.
Lets not throw in the towel and assume the worst yet and focus on such petty things as stealing vegetables or solar panels and losing 'value' of home improvements.
Investigate the Technocracy technate design.
Your Peak Oil guy... Hubbert would approve.

Hi eeyores, I tend to think you are onto something , but I'm not climbing on board yet, not having yet had time to look into this thoroughly.

But even so , I would argue that the problem is most assuredly not a shortage of humanity, but rather an EXCESS. And I'm not talking about the actual 6.7 billion count.

Your neocortex is not your boss. :)

It could be though with a different education and social system.

If people understand their base drives then they will have a better chance to deal with them.

It is hard to make individual prepping work as well as one would like. It works best for the young and the strong. Even there, there is a question whether someone will come and steal your garden products, if food becomes scarce, or if you will find you have to move (without selling your house) after you have made expensive upgrades.

It is hard to make individual prepping work as well as one would like. It works best for the young and the strong. Even there, there is a question whether someone will come and steal your garden products, if food becomes scarce, or if you will find you have to move (without selling your house) after you have made expensive upgrades.

I guess you and people in general that post on this site assume the very worst case scenario, a collapsed Price System with no possibility of social activism changing our debt based and narrowly focused way of viewing life... the environment, the future etc.

Like attracts like, so I suppose that is how it is that so many believers in our standard dysfunctional operating procedure, gather here to paw the ground without discussing alternative societal structures like what I have brought up previously Technate Design: An idea For Now

Pity, America used to be a creative place that had thoughtful people.
Now it is about arguing over how much an upgrade to private property is lost in a collapse and stealing garden vegetables..??. Ugh.
The 'box' does look a lot like a cultural coffin by the look of most responses here.
It does not occur or cross connect with people that other options of changing society are available?
Hubbert the originator of what people are discussing here had a lot to say about a future society and as the window of change closes, perpetuating the same old business as usual seems almost.... sad.
PEAK OIL is ONLY an issue in a Price System, because our current political Price System is strangling change and creativity.

We will have to talk about that some time. I know Gav had a related post a while back.

Yes, I agree.
I think these ideas time has come.

wonderful common sense topic gail thanks.

facing PO has led to an incredible enrichment...overall. intellectually it challenged me to come to my own conclusions- since the stakes were/are so high- on topics in arenas i knew little or nothing about. i didn't type or know much about using a computer when i climbed down the PO rabbit hole in 05.

like TGN i am determined to help my family- adult kids & grandson prepare as best as possible.i set up for us to meet next month to focus on PO & expect a fair amount of reluctance but that is my challenge- to overcome such if possible so we begin deciding our future more as the extended family that we are. i may do the newsletter thing TGN described.

i am now--that i have gotten most basics i think are needed in place for PO-- determined to also move back to focusing on doing things that give me moments of joy, that i have pushed aside due to impending PO/$ crisis.

reading The Automatic Earth the other day a couple of older folk commented they were 'fortunate to be old- given the horror to come. i think i must resonate some with this; even though it flies in the face of my typical response. so mixed feelings at times. whatever my response means- i know i feel ok about what i've done & what i'm doing & i am committed to enjoying moments whatever my/our circumstances.

I think those of us with grown children are in many ways fortunate. We have already lived fairly full lives. While we may have long life expectancies under normal circumstances, we have already had a chance to experience a lot of things (like raising our families, and having careers), and have seen a lot of our classmates die of things like heart disease and breast cancer. So if we won't quite live out our full life expectancy, it doesn't seem quite so unfair.

Hi Gail,

Thanks for a post and question on the basics.

A few weeks ago, I happened to catch a re-play on the radio of a talk by the Vietnamese Buddhist Monk

I found it surprisingly practical and helpful, actually. Highly recommended. (I'd previously looked at some of his writing, and didn't especially like it, but the talk had a different impact.)

re: point 6, One of the things Hanh spoke about was what so-called ancestor worship really means - I so much wish I could just say it the way he did! In any case, it gave me a completely different way to think about identity, about family members no longer living and many other things.

So, perhaps I have a slightly different take on your first sentence there. I'd already been thinking a lot about a close family member (no longer living) and eventually had the thought I wanted to be more like this person who was so spontaneously honest and compassionate. As much as it seems impossible, in a way, to actually follow an example, perhaps, in another way, not so impossible, if one can do one's own genuine "version" of a qualities like these.

re: Speaking of practical, I'll share a couple of references I've posted before:

re: Back to point 6: "Leave worrying about what you should have done, or what might happen in the future, to someone else."

Sometimes - again, just a thought - it can be liberating to experience genuine regret (well, once you get through it), especially if one can absorb and somehow incorporate the perspective gained. Easier said than done, of course.

Above all keep a sense of humor since, as the great Yanqui philosopher Yogi Berra once said, "It's really hard to predict things, especially in the future." The way I get through daily life in the face of a bleak looking future is to recognize that my own life is relatively insignificant in the larger scale of things and that it is still amazing to be here watching as history unfolds...

Keeping a Sense of Humor is something I should have included. It is not my strong point, but my husband and sons are great that way!

All your eight suggestions are perfectly reasonable Gail, but I somehow feel they are not entirely in touch with the real world as she is lived, and will be lived. In the sense that there are a number of other things that need to be in place prior to yours being genuinely effective.

So I would offer the following dozen - not as alternatives, nor as sufficient - but in my view necessary:

1. Decide how you will be paid in the future; if you're still young, then that is your career path, but if a Boomer etc, then it is critical to decide how your retirement will be funded. What are the safe stores of your accumulated assets? Shares, property, bonds, cash, gold, other?

2. Make sure the capital is as safe as possible - even if the annual real return is lessened.

3. Have a good plan that cares for your ageing parents - ranging from yourself being effectively their carers, through to a range of other options that will cost money - and may or may not tie you to living in the same area. A toughie.

4. Decide where you are going to live (10-20 year horizon) - whether inner city, suburbs, small town or city, beachside, out on a rural block, etc. This is critical it seems to me - whether it involves being near employment, or in retirement.

5. Re-evaluate your relationship with automobiles (especially when deciding No4) - can you envisage a place where a car is not necessary - or at least very rarely used. In fact one of the turn-offs of the farm, veggies and solar panels out on 20 acres, is that every time you want to do anything you have to jump in a car or truck.

6. Pay down all the debt you can - mortgages, and of course all credit card balances - and never grow such a balance again.

7. Get interested in a range of sports/activities that effectively cost nothing (walking, hiking, surfing, cycling, swimming, photography, painting, even golf at cheap courses).

8. Get interested in the Internet - it provides a wealth of information, stimulation, and even entertainment, for low cost (so far).

9. Learn to cook - not fussy faddish foods - but really delicious basics, including the capacity to make foods that will last a long time in storage.

10. Don't be scared of the world (in other words, HTFU) - reject the Mainstream and Fox media and all their hysteria about crime waves, things that will kill you, and all the rest. Be a deep, deep cynic.

11. Understand the medical industry as well as you can - don't be ripped off mercilessly by all the hype, hoopla, and opacity associated with it.

12. Learn a really good practical skill that you can be proud of (sewing, preserving, pottery, diesel mechanic, nuclear physics), and can maybe use in a community if push comes to shove. Encourage your kids to do likewise - turn your daughters into carpenters and plumbers and electricians - at least in their spare time.

Have a great day!

There is at this time and under the circumstances likely to prevail for the next few decades only one reasonably sure way to look after elderly loved ones.

We will have to do it personally.

Honor thy Father and thy Mother.

Barring bad luck, it's off to the community college for me to learn how to look after people as well as I can.

I served as my father in law’s personal in home nurse during his last six months of life and for shorter times earlier. My wife and her sister kept their mother in our homes for about eight years prior to her death at 101. I can tell you it ain’t easy, but rewarding.

My two children and four grandchildren expect to take care of me and my wife if need be. When I tell people that I teach this conduct to my family, they sometimes say that I am selfish. That may be but my desire is that when my 16 year old grandson is 85, he is surrounded by a caring family rather than stored away with strangers. To increase that desired outcome, I am trying to establish a family code that includes “We take care of our own”.

Honor thy Father and thy Mother.


Thankyou for your suggestions. It is true that we will have to find more traditional ways of organising our communities, where family, friends and neighbors are placed at a much greater level of importance.

My generation seems to have gone a long way to sever the traditional ties, a process that has been fuelled by the desire for financial gain.

In my own case, I left home at 18, initially to study, moved to the city in pursuit of a career and for 20 years saw my family far too infrequently. It was only my mother's terminal illness in 2005, that brought the family closer together.

Now in my mid 40's, my wife and I have lost 3 out of 4 of our parents, and a stepfather in a period of just 6 years. That begins to focus your mind on your own mortality, and it is time for a change in direction.

It is true that the western world is going through turbulent times, and there are many social problems to contend with in the modern world, such as unemployment, poverty, loss of a home, rise in crime.

These are problems that the world has faced before - such as in the Depression years - but the efforts of strong government leadership and collective work schemes managed to rectify these problems within a few years.

This time, however, I suspect it is going to be different. We have the same set of problems as before, but compounded by the fact that we are facing a future of energy shortages, water shortages, food shortages and a world population that is now three times what it was in 1930. We have also lost a lot of our self-reliance and our suburban communities no longer support the wide range of skills needed to maintain the basics of a more community based life.

Gone are the local farmers, village doctors, storekeepers, mechanics, builders, carpenters, teachers, nurses and other professionals and trades people needed to keep a small community running.

If we are going to experience a major energy shock, and accompanying financial meltdown, modern society will be hit very hard. It will take time for us to regroup and reorganise ourselves into self-functioning communities again. This transition time will be very difficult for many, and again it will need a strong government to keep law and order, and prevent a total collapse into anarchy.

So in the meantime, there have been many practical suggestions in earlier comments about how best to prepare yourself and your families for a possible oil crunch. My advice would be to think about who you would need in your community to assist in the future, because you can't do everything yourself, and go out and form strong bonds with these people. In otherwords, commence the social reorganisation now - rather than later. "Be Prepared", was the motto I learnt in the Scouts 30 years ago.

In my situation, I have invested in property and a little land. Within 5 years, I will be un-mortgaged and the additional property will provide a rental income. The land is sufficient for growing a few vegetables, and the accompanying woodland can be coppiced for firewood.

I have put together a combined heat and power system which will run my property using wood fuel alone, and invested in woodstove heating. I now have an appreciation of how much effort is needed to collect and prepare wood fuel - just to keep a modest suburban house running - about 1 ton of wood per month.

In the early 1990s, I worked on electric vehicle projects and built a number of scratch built EVs and conversions. I understand the mechanics and learnt the energy requirements of EVs from practical driving experience. I am studying wood gasification and building a wood gasifier system. If necessary I could construct a wood gas powered truck, for post-oil light hauling duties.

I have also invested in solar water heating, and a small amount of pV. These will provide small amounts of energy during bright days.

I have been a home-worker for the last 5 years, and so know how to organise my time and keep busy. I have learned the homeworker's need for regular social interaction, and how to punctuate the working day, so that it's not all staring into the screen of a PC.

I think our biggest unknown will be whether we face the loss of modern communications. Will the internet infrastructure survive even the first series of power outages? Mobile phone communications are likely to suffer too. How ruggedised are our telecommunications systems really. We've come a long way since the 1930's - our telephone system is now just a series of interconnected computers, rather than operators sitting at switchboards.

We have been through a turbulent couple of years. We have seen how our finance system has become self-serving and motivated purely by greed - the tail is now wagging the dog, and our respective governments have bailed them out, further exasperating the financial uncertainties for the average citizen. We have seen once great industries face bankruptcy, and enforced redundancy for their workforce.

Some countries, not only blighted by huge levels of Government debt, are now entering into a new crisis, as their indigenous primary energy resources become rapidly depleted. The UK has seen 25 years of relative prosperity, propped up with export payments for North Sea oil and gas. These fields are nearly dry and before the end of this decade, the UK will be importing more than 50% of its primary energy - with little or no industry to help pay for it.

Despite all this doom-saying, as Gail said, Count Your Blessings, and learn to adapt to rapidly changing times.


2020 surmise your from the UK. I have seen a good bit of information about your Prince Charles and his interest in organic gardening and permaculture. Does he have a plan for widespread dispersion of his information and knowledge in a timely manner? Seems a potential Monarch could have great positive influence when the sustainability issue becomes critical. Bout the only positive leadership in this areat here in the USA is a kitchen garden at the White House. gotta start somewhere though. Prince Charles reminds me of Darcy in the Jane Austen novel, Pride and Prejudice. Does not make a good first impression, but there may be some substance there. First Impressions" was the original title of this classic, by the way, I think, What is your impression of his success in this important area? We need leaders who have at least some understanding of the basics. At some point all this banking and finance is likely to become less important and we will be back to the basics.

Use the wealth and cheap energy of today to build a new way of life for you and your descendants.

What is there to be discouraged about? After all, we are at the peak of civilization, correct? At no time in the past has such a change in the basic fabric of society been so obvious, so far in advance, with so many resources and so much knowledge available to create a new way forward.

Pops' Five Rules for PO prep:
Don't Buy
Don't Borrow
Don't Specialize
Don't go Hungry
Don't be Dependent

It seems to me that if you can do those things, with your family and church, while singing, and making it enjoyable, you will have gotten a good start on Gail's list.

I think I have done pretty well on that front, despite my second divorce, last year, and am working on Number 5, the health part. Having spent the biggest part of the last 25 years doing hard work, I am mostly good on that front. Well, except for the two fingers, one broken several times, which aren't straight. Even at that, the last ex-wife never noticed it.

The thing I do have a concern about is the lack of respect for (my) property rights by others, even now, and in a small community. I do see that getting more difficult, and I don't have all that much, at least not compared to a lot of folks. I can see that getting worse, at least until family makes their moves into what they have said they want.

I would like to recommend my book "Sacred Demise: Walking The Spiritual Path of Industrial Civilization's Collapse" which is a manual of emotional and spiritual preparation for navigating the unprecedented changes of the present and future. It will soon be offered as an online course at Post Peak Living ( may be ordered at: It may also be ordered at my website at It has been very positively reviewed by Mike Ruppert, John Michael Greer, Sharon Astyk, and Keith Farnish.--Carolyn Baker

Thanks for your suggestion. I see that the book was published about a year ago and has quite a few favorable reviews at Amazon. I am afraid I haven't read it myself, but people who are interested might check out the reviews at Amazon.

I read the book and thought it was very good, which is why we're creating the course around it (mostly Carolyn's work with a bit of input by me).

This isn't knocking the book at all but I do think the course is going to be more effective than the book because it is structured over four weeks and people have homework between sessions. This gets people to look in specific places and gives them some mulling time. And of course Carolyn will be directing the inquiry, and having someone with her skill and experience available isn't commonplace.

I know it took me a long time to get to the mental place that I am now, perhaps because I didn't have a structure designed from the start to move me through the necessary spaces.

I remember at one point a year ago thinking to myself, "You know, you can slow down now. You're pretty well set up and are in action with the remaining items." I suddenly saw how much I was coming from scarcity. I don't exactly know what triggered this insight and reassessment. It might have been the fifteenth indoor light I had purchased! (for blackouts) I had kept telling myself I needed to buy "just one more" model for "research purposes." How easily we fool ourselves.

In any case, we'll be officially launching the course within the next couple weeks. For those interested in getting into the first class, be sure to sign up for the newsletter. We're likely going to have people from all around the world participating (eight countries and counting), and it's always fascinating to hear what's happening in other countries.

Not so sure—
There is a negative correlation between religion and societal health:
This may be that societies with high societal health tend to be less religious, or religion created less healthy societies. Either way, it does not take religion in a positive light.

It appears spirituality has a correlation with brain damage:

Religious institutions do bring one into close (though often superstitious) communities in which provides community.

Do you understand that Carolyn isn't talking about religion?

I am. However, as someone who has a meditation practice, and often travels in "spiritual" circles, one must be honest and examine what is really happening.
It seems many have "root religion" issues, and gravitate toward New Age and Eastern Traditions for a solution to a wounded psyche, and this often compounds the problem, and power and abuse problems arise.
I'm someone who needs wilderness and solitude, but we are social animals.

For about three years, up until two years ago, I let the full horror of negative possibilities into my mind, heart and soul. I embraced it completely - energy collapse, economic collapse, ecological collapse, social collapse - in the interest of awakening to the Truth. While my goal was noble, the process was flawed and the outcome was almost disastrous.

Like an alcoholic I'm recovering day by day (but there are still days...). My goal in the last two years has been to hold the awareness of these possibilities in one hand, the possibility for hope in the other, and give them both equal space in my thoughts and feelings. Some of my advice to myself as I do this is:

0. Remember that the future is fundamentally unknowable.

Bad stuff will happen (as it always has), but good stuff will also happen (as it always has). Becoming attached to any outcome, whether good or bad, is a sure path to disappointment and suffering.

1. Live as fully as possible in the present moment.

Strive to be aware of what's going on around you and inside you. Don't cling to the good stuff and reject the bad stuff, simply be aware of it.

2. Pay more attention to the little voice inside you that tells you what's right with you.

Pay much less attention to those inner voices that tell you what's wrong with you. The "shoulds and oughts" they beat you with are defensive lies laid down in your past. They bind you to that past and keep you from being fully present to the life you're living right now.

3. Develop your ability to feel empathy and compassion.

Life without these qualities is dark, cold and hard. With them life becomes luminous, warm and easy.

4. Be of service to others.

There is a good reason that selfless service (also called seva) is the cornerstone of various eastern philosophies and religions. It focuses our attention outside ourselves, and reminds us that there is a greater arena than our ego. Joining one of the countless small local environmental or social justice groups that are springing up all around us is a great way to start.

5. Take time to honour and serve yourself.

Balance your outward attention with inward attention. Have compassion for your own mistakes and shortcomings, recognize your own intrinsic worth.

6. Remember that it's not stuff that makes us happy, it's our connections.

Nurture your connections with other people, with animals and nature, with organizations, with ideas larger than yourself. Strive to see yourself as one node in the enormous, majestic web of reality, a web that unfolds through the countless interactions that its connections embody. It would be a different web if you weren't a part if it.

7. Develop your capacity for awe and reverence.

A writer named Paul Woodruff says this: Reverence begins in a deep understanding of human limitations; from this grows the capacity to be in awe of whatever we believe lies outside our control. The capacity for awe brings with it the capacity for respecting fellow human beings, flaws and all. Simply put, reverence is the virtue that keeps human beings from trying to act like gods.

If religion is your thing, follow that path. If it's science, use that as your springboard. If you're secular yet spiritual, find a teaching like Buddhism or one of its modern developments like The Diamond Approach.

If religion is your thing, follow that path.

It's not mine, but I try to live my life by the following:

1/ "Don't do to others what you wouldn't want them to do to you".... the Rabbi said, in relation to the commandments....if you do that "..all else is commentary".

2/ Do the best you can.

There are probably a fair number of simple insights that make sense, regardless of religion.

1. The Golden or silver rule, which you quoted a version of as #1.

2. Don't hold grudges/forgive one another. If you don't, you will suffer more than the one you hold the grudge against.

3. Chasing after wealth and power is, in the end, not what life is all about. You will die, and it will all be gone, and probably even before then.

4. Always be thankful for the many good things you have. (This helps cancel out some of the things that are there as well.)

2. Don't hold grudges/forgive one another. If you don't, you will suffer more than the one you hold the grudge against.

Being generous with other people, not just materially but in thought too will make all our lives much smoother. I'm watching the anger grow. Mish, for instance, has a bee in his bonnet about public unions and seems to think they are evil incarnate.

I have seen references to this "Mish" here before.Who is he?

I would politely suggest that we all need a bee in our bonnet about public unions.

Remember General Motors?

The idea is that govt should be our servant, rather than our master.

I have worked for govt, and know many people who do so,at menial to mid level jobs.

Any body who thinks govt employees are not coddled and over paid in relation to thier responsibilities is totally out of touch with reality.

We hear all the self serving tripe about how the lawman puts his life on the line-but I know a bunch of "law" and all the gunfights are on tv.They ride around all day in nice enough cars, bs on the radio, and actually DO SOMETHING MAYBE once a year.
A gas station clerk on third shift is in a hell of a lot more danger than a cop, who invariably these days has has a couple more carloads show up to help him arrest a drunk driver or a high school girl smoking a joint.

I know a FEW teachers who are talented and work really hard.Most don't.Anyone who believes otherwise has been at the pr koolaid.Why are our schools the mess that they are?

If you ever stop to wonder why the turnover among school janitors or rural mail carriers is so low, well , it's because they are over paid , over insured,over coddled, and underworked in relation to thier actual responsibilities.

And in way too many places the govt makes up a too large chunk of total employees.

They are in a very dangerous -to the rest of us-position when unionized, or even when they aren't.

Every time taxes go up, they increase thier share of the pie at the expense of everybody else.

But they don't make much pie.

Seriously folks.Mexico is turning fast into a narco state.

Now just why do you think it is so hard to reform drug laws in this country?

Suppose it might have SOMETHING to do with all the millions of people with a VESTED INTEREST in the drug law status quo?

I don't agree with a lot of this guy's stuff.
IMO he thinks he knows more than he really does.
He is a one tracked mind Libertarian type. He is missing a lot of clues to a lot of things.

In short....he is just another blogger.

We hear all the self serving tripe about how the lawman puts his life on the line-but I know a bunch of "law" and all the gunfights are on tv.They ride around all day in nice enough cars, bs on the radio, and actually DO SOMETHING MAYBE once a year.

I consistently see more cruisers at the Dunkin Donut Shop that I pass than at the station.

I guess they are serving and protecting the coffee and donuts.
And most of them are fat slobs.

1. Get to know your neighbors
2. Go Camping (I love this one)
Become in tune with the natural world
3. Be happy with less (easy for me, I'm not all that materialistic)
4. If all else fails, build an ARK.

Go backpacking for extended periods. It makes one aware of how little is needed if you have the skills, and how fragile everything is on another level.
If you do it solo, the voice in the head quiets down, but that takes a while.

Plant trees.

I want to add to many of the good reflections on this topic that planting trees is great medicine for the spirit-sick. With a shovel, a piece of ground and the movement of your own good muscles you can give a gift that will last long beyond your passing. Birds, squirrels, deer, bears, humans -- anyone in your neighborhood -- will surely eat from the tree, enjoy of its shade, offer it secrets and prayers. The tree will grow strong and bear for many years. What a gift to give!

Ecosystems work on the basis of Gift Economies. Giving gifts from the heart is healing practice. When we give gifts, we participate in the meandering flow of life. Practicing this is a blessing.

Resource depletion
Climate Chaos
Mass Extinction
Ocean acidification
Everything is screaming POWER DOWN!

Powering down is the quickest path to insolvency and falling off the economic ladder, lowering the chances of survival for family and self.

I am certain that many will argue this point but I promise you it is true for the majority of those living in the modern world. In the developing world power down means death.

Most of the talk about simplifying, Self-sufficiency, go to church more, etc. is basically telling people to accept their fate. They are not wealthy enough to last long enough to be a part of what ever comes after. Nearly everyone instinctively understands this. If you feel like you have any chance of accumulating wealth or holding to the wealth you have, that is exactly what you will focus on. If you don"t have that option you make up other stories and excuses.

We have two options;

Maintain the existing money system which everyone operates in, which will be the mechanism we will continue to use to decide who lives and who dies.

Acknowledge the inhumanity of that system and initiate an emergency, fair and equitable, POWER DOWN economic structure to bring the world back from the precipice of Global Resource Wars and design a better system.

Do not underestimate the potential for mankind to do the worst within a system that demands and rewards that kind of behavior.

Economic survival is not equivalent to the survival of persons. I think we can engineer a slow collapse of our total economic output (much of which is wasteful activity anyway) in a future of reduced energy supplies. So long as we pour resources into the means to provide a sustainable living for ourselves into the future, invest in our communities and the infrastructure we need to stay healthy, well-educated, and fed, then we'll be alright.

We'll lose many of the trappings of modernity: our cars, easy access to credit, a lifestyle of conspicuous and voracious consumption. We'll have to work later in life, produce more of our own goods, and use materials more efficiently. But, considering how our old lifestyle doesn't appear to be financially viable anyway, much less ecologically sustainable, we'll likely have to adjust it regardless. Considering how hard we have to work just to maintain our financial obligations, perhaps it'd be for the best if that labor was instead focused on our communities, rather than our own selfish and endless consumption.

So it will be an adjustment, but it doesn't have to be catastrophic.

Wonderful post Gail.

It may seem ironic to some, but the points that you make are more important for survival than bank accounts, barrels of oil or gardening plots.

In my reading on survival (e.g. manuals from the armed forces), they say much the same thing that you do: morale is the main factor.

As far as peak oil, etc. I've found that the Transition Movement has the most productive, most comprehensive approach.

Bart Anderson
Co-editor Energy Bulletin
Transition Palo Alto

I'm with Transition Mill Valley, a bit North of you. I agree, peak oil is taken seriously, and it one of the few groups I can get to listen and learn.

Thanks, Bart!

One thing that I recommended on another thread, for us rural dwellers, look at the possibility of joining a local volunteer fire dept. Chances are they will have periodic EMT courses for those interested in being first responders.

There is nothing better to enhancing your value and respect in a rural community than helping someone save their home, or even more, saving someone's life by giving them CPR.

Cultivate cheerfulness.

Choose to acknowledge or focus on the upside of any situation. We need a shared objective reality for communication, but we are free to create the reality we choose for our internal consumption.

Some things in life are bad, they really make you mad ... other things just make you swear and curse / when you're chewing on life's gristle / don't grumble ...

etc etc

To me these eight suggestions sound like something out of a second-rate 1970s-vintage self-help course .... something to make people feel good about themselves and their situation when they very well might have absolutely no reason to do so.

Sometimes I think stuff like this can do more harm than good, as it tends to encourage people to i) make the best of a bad situation when they should be changing the situation, and ii) to tolerate things that should not be tolerated.

As someone whose grandparents were immigrants from Europe, I can tell you that the motivation of most of the poor immigrants that came to America was not optimism, but rather desperation - the compulsion to flee a bad situation and to no longer have to tolerate the intolerable. To leave your family and village for a strange country where you couldn't even speak the language must have taken a desperate mindset. However, the poor of Europe who stayed behind and eventually found themselves and their children still living in oppression and poverty were the ones willing to tolerate the status quo. No doubt some of these eight suggestions would have encouraged them to stay, even though their lives were utter shite.

Angst, anger, and dissatisfaction have gotten a bad name. For it is the anxious, angry, and dissatisfied people that cause change to happen (for better or for worse).

My intention is not to make light of a tragedy, but here's my little fantasy conversation between two Jewish men in Nazi Germany, circa 1936.

Positive-thinking Jewish man - Don't worry: count your blessings, learn cheerful songs, go to temple more often, keep busy. Hitler-Schmitler, the little schmuck will be back hanging wallpaper before you know it and then everything will be back to normal, You'll see.

Negative-thinking Jewish man - Our country has been taking over by a band of delusional psychotic racists who will start another world war and then try to exterminate us all. You'll see. Flee, before it is too late!

Now tell me: is a positive cheerful attitude always a good thing?

You can prepare and enjoy yourself at the same time. Gardening can be fun, so can shooting firearms. Both can help you prepare for possible Peak Oil related problems.

Hello all.

First of all, this is my first post here. I apologize if I am writing mistakes. French is my native language and one of my priority is to write clearly without mistakes. I actually live in Montreal, Canada.

So, I am a lurker for the last 18 months. I have discovered TOD during the summer of 2008. I felt like I hit the wall. One of the strongest feeling I had to deal with was the denial. The denial of losing any possibility of a future for my daughter. My wife was 7 months pregnant.

Then, I red a lot of sites explaining PO. I concluded that the only option was to move from the city to somewhere where we could by self-sustainable. I tried to explain that to my wife, but she refused. In her situation, I could understand. However, one of the thoughts that came all the time in my mind was that I shouldn't have a child if I knew about PO before...

Then, for 6 months, I stopped following the site, because I became discouraged. This "denial" helped me to cheer again about life. However, I felt that I was postponing something so important, I should get back on TOD to read and keep me informed.

For the last month, my thoughts are gearing now to what Oldfarmermac, Darwinian and some others that the collapse and dieoff will occur sooner or latter (more sooner...). I look at my daughter and strongly believe that she has nearly no possible bright future. She is wonderful and joyful. Last week, I awaked my wife by saying that we have no future. She looked at me and understood what I was saying. She finally agreed that we are in deep troubles. I concluded that there is no way that we can do so that our daughter could live a decent way.

I don't know what to do and the darkiest thoughts are coming in my mind. However, some people could tell : "there is your daughter, ..." or "You should go see a psychologist and share your feelings", but to say what ??? To explain PO and what are the big probabilities of the outcome ? To go back farming when I have no rural background and don't know how to deal with a hammer ? What if the crime increase and people who are starving steal what I tried to grow?

I would like to thank all of the bright and clever discussions on this forum. There are really few places where people can have high quality of the arguments. Thank you for reading and I hope I was coherent.



Canada will probably fare better than say, Southern California. Worst case scenario, Canada stops exporting their oil to the U.S. and practices resource nationalism. Canada should be able to keep everyone fed.

Actually, we can't practice resource nationalism with the NAFTA. We "forgot" to put a restriction on how much oil we could export to US. Therefore, if USA needs all of our oil, technically, we should export all of our oil.

Thank you for your response.

Hello JBobFromMtl

If it's any consolation most of us have gone through the same gut wrenching with regard to peak oil as you seem to be. I'm sure non PO aware folks are getting concerned too but having a little more trouble putting their finger on the problem. Maybe it's akin to grieving for an expected outcome we now sense has changed. Many of us have children and understand the anguish associated with concern for their future in light of the changes that are likely in the offing. They deserve as much care and guidance as we can give them and what they can achieve in spite of what they have to face will likely surprise us.

Ours are making their way in the world now living in tough urban areas but doing pretty well. I do not know how long this will continue, but they are PO aware, I have not hid the information, but they don't seem to need to have it continuosly reinforced either. In some sense they seem to understand things intuitively as though they are preparing themselves to live with likely outcomes. They are hard working but also highly oriented to friends and social capital. Perhaps those are some good post peak values.

If anyone tells you that they are sure of the future course and timing of all changes they aren't. Keep an open mind and do your own thinking. I have learned a ton on this site but none of it is gospel. There is a possibility that industrialized society can adjust on the decline. There is after all an awful lot of 'fat' in the system. A depression era lifestyle for many could occur. Cuba might be a template. Haiti would be worse but we are not there yet. Much of the world survives on a tiny fraction of what most of us consume presently. Corporations and government are in the mix but projections of power may change with reduced FF. This could mean a lot more self reliance for goods and services. What I believe is coming is likely not the end of the world but the end of the world as we know it. Some form of business as usual may hold for awhile affording us time to do some additional prep.

Anyway all of the good advice available here is still good IMHO and I think would be good in any event. Gaining skills, reducing consumption, reducing debt, staying employed if possible and prioritizing options (like what is really important) are all pretty good goals anyway. When I ask myself 'what shall I do' many times the answer comes back LESS. (as Jokuhl might say) On the other hand how to do that LESS is the challenge. There are some things we can control and that's probably worthy of most of our efforts.

NAFTA will get torn up about 8 seconds after gas rationing starts.

wish Darwinsdog would chime in on this post. Trust he is well. i miss his wisdom.

yup, they will try to isolate. But those distressed populations to the south will make life very difficult. remember state and national boundaries are just lines on a map. this time we are all in the same boat.

JR, your daughter does have a future, it is just going to look very different than it might have looked had she been born two decades ago.

I do not want to minimize the consequences we all face. I often put in a word on this blog to point them out. However, our minds when looking forward often bring the future closer than it will likely arrive so that events that will happen many decades from now look like they are just around the corner. Be careful of this phenomenon. I have been caught by it more than once.

The worst is not guaranteed to happen where you live and if it does your community will reorganize to provide security. History has shown us that people learn how to cope with thieves and such. It will be wavering at first, but eventually people will learn how to look out for each other.

Also, it does seem that you are contemplating the future mostly alone (just you and your wife). When you start preparing with others around you bit by bit you will start to see that life will go on. The images coming to your mind now are what is laying around in your head, what is there ready for it to associate with. When you begin to grow food, learn new skills, see neighbor supporting neighbor, I promise that you will see a future for your daughter. She may not go to college and travel to France, but she will grow up and experience the gift that is life and even fall in love.

But now you must do some work or your brain will have nothing else but the images of doom as working material. If you haven't already started, do something. Stock your pantry, plant a garden and some nut trees — even if you don't plan to stay where you are now.

Find the people behind this website:

and go meet them, preferably with some homemade jam in your hands!

Read about how people banded together during the Great Depression:

Living In The U.X.A.

then keep reminding yourself what Peter Drucker has said:
"The best way to predict the future is to create it."

You will have to keeping managing your brain because it is lazy by nature and will quickly go down dark tunnels. If you leave matters up to it, you will become resigned and depressed. So take charge and begin. You are an adult and this is fully within your capacity. Until your daughter is old enough to do it for herself, you must keep creating the future for your family. Don't just let the future happen — be the creator, the designer. Yes, you will have a limited color palette in some ways but in other ways, some of the most important ways, you will find the palette is still infinite.

I know that you did not anticipate having this job when you thought of having a family. Oh well, life is like that.

Now get busy...get out of your head and into the world. Your daughter is counting on you. One day she will turn to you and thank you for the courage you demonstrated when courage was exactly what the world required.


u'r best i've seen!

How can we keep ourselves from feeling discouraged...
try this folks.

I like people, don't give up on us.

But what about those of us in our 20's/30's and younger? I have tried to explain PO and it's effects to my wife/parents/friends and they understand the basic premise of what it means but it doesn't seem to make the situation any better. It's like OK - now what?

Deep down, I still want to have a child because otherwise I feel like we are just sitting around waiting to die and there is no hope for the future. I love my wife and don't want to subject her to many of the things we discuss here on TOD either because it doesn't really do any good to tell someone you care about that we are most likely going to hell in a hand basket. As many of the things discussed here may come to pass, I find that much of the preparation and survivalist talk is no placebo for knowing that you and your children may live in complete poverty in 20 years. That is hardly worth surviving for.

I am part of the millennial generation. I was told to go to college and get a good corporate job working in the digital wealth economy and the future is yours. I now understand that if things don't work out the way I was told they would not to be upset, but I worry for those that will be angry and in denial on the way down, falling into depression and disillusion. In understand that humming away on excel spreadsheets all day moving financial information around and going to meetings to talk about future growth prospects with investors will be an irrelevant skill in a consolidating global economy. Sometimes I sit there when having drinks with close friends and talking about plans for the future - kids, careers, ski trips etc. I think about how depressing it will be when one of them sees their life turned upside down. I have no desire to discuss PO with them and crush their dreams.

My work in the oil and gas world is fine and keeps me busy but it is not my life. I have a small garden I maintain on my 1/2 acre suburban lot, I also have worked at improving some additional skills like carpentry and amateur gunsmithing. My free time for this is still few and far between however as I still must maintain a BAU presence at my corp job.

But really at the end of the day how the hell can we effectively plan for one of the most painful adjustments in human history? We can only pray that our wits and resourcefulness will carry us through and otherwise adjust accordingly and accept what future we meet.


You have done me a favor in giving me an excuse to write about some of the things I promised to discuss upstring. Your concerns will help me structure the points I wanted to make a bit better.

You speak of being in your 20's or 30's. I am 50 years old. It is futile for me to wish I could be back in my 20's, but I am trying to teach myself to think as if I were indeed a younger man, or at least younger at heart.

You should know, and if you do not I will tell you now, there is something in the world much, much, MUCH more valuable than oil or even energy. In fact, energy unfolds itself in the universe using this most valuable of all things: This thing is TIME.

You have something (but not for long, and baring ill health or accident) that we middle aged boomers do not, and that is about two to three decades of time we do not have. It is a FANTASTICALLY valuable thing.

I was exactly where you are now in about 1980, and wasted so much...not energy (due to economics I was never a heavy user anyway by comparison to my peers), not money (same situation, I didn't have much to waste), but I had the same amount of TIME as Warren Buffet or Bill Gates or Ted Turner. Twenty four hours a day is given to the rich and the poor equally. The time I have wasted is my single greatest regret.

But in 1980 I was a doomer at heart. I actually believed to the core of my being that the future would be absolutely nothing but bleak, that we were essentially out of oil, essentially bankrupt as a nation (anyone here old enough to remember William Simon's book "A Time For Truth"? He essentially made the case in the 1970's that if America went over 1 trillion dollars in debt, it could not sustain it's policing, health services and military services and would be reduced to a status similiar to Namibia or Nigeria within a decade or so). In my 20's I was pretty certain that I would never have to confront the problems of middle age...I was sure that my culture and/or myself would be dead by then. I am now living on borrowed time. We all are.

In the late 1970's it was said by our President, and backed up by reports from the CIA that the world was essentially out of oil to find and produce, and that we would soon see gasoline prices at the pump over $5, then on into infinity until it would be unaffordable. The airlines were going bankrupt left and right, Chrysler was bought by the government, and predictions of General Motors soon to be demise, and the demise of the EU, NATO, and discussion of collapse of the World Bank were everywhere, with terms such as "Euro Bubble, "Kabuki Currency" and "hyper inflation" were common. We were certain that if anyone was driving after the year 2000, they would certainly NOT be using gasoline to get where they were going!

This is the world we knew in the years just before you were born sir.
I was "bought in" to collapse, absolutely convinced that the possibility of wealth and enjoying the great experiences of travel, nice homes, comfortable nice cars, money, a prosperous living and a family were absolutly OUT OF THE QUESTION.

And then the 1980's and 1990's. We must admit it: At street level the world of the two decades following the 1970's absolutely DESTROYED all projection made in the 1970's. It is still astounding to me to look back and see that not one, not some, but every single so called mainstream expert, forecaster, and thinker (excepting just a small handfull of real thinkers, but those are VERY RARE) completely, not partially, but completely BLEW IT. The business press, the science press, the think tanks all completely BLEW IT.

And now we are here...again. What to do, what to do? I have learned little, but a few things...

First, allow me to say that I REJOICE at the ever increasing piling on now of doomer predictions, I absolutely rejoice!!

The mainstream press now looks exactly like TOD did a couple of years ago. The financial experts are telling people they can just forget their hopes, forget the ideas of having enough resources or money to travel, to have families to send their children to college (and what a filthy waste education would be anyway!!) The so called "doomers" and the radicals now are in almost complete confluence with the mainstream, and ALL THE NEWS IS BAD. America and the modern world are FINISHED! Anyone who thinks otherwise is a dope! And I don't want to hear, won't hear any other view, they are DENIERS, nothing but deluded deniers if they believe for ONE SECOND that human thought, human effort, real education, and a co-operative effort can have any effect.

And yet...the above listed things (human thought, human effort, real education, and a co-operative effort) are the only things that ever, in all of history, had ANY EFFECT.

I could go into charts showing he amount of energy falling upon and flowing around the earth not related to oil, I could make the case that population projections in the developed world are already changing (if you take out the effect of immigration and the children they produce, the natives of the developed world are rapidly falling net negative population, a trend that is and will continue to expand throughout the world with birth control and the liberation of the world's women), or point out the incredible amount of resources that are simply WASTED, benefitting the living standard of NO ONE, but simply vapored into thin air, but why? This is not the place for that, no one here wants to hear it, these are trends that in the current bathing in self pity and doom are all but invisible, just as the trends of idiotic excess, speculation and waste were invisible in the 1980's and 1990's. When the herd begins to run, the thunder of the hooves drowns out anything the herd does not want to hear.

And the winners, the real winners, will bet against the herd. It is the only real path forward, the only way to come out ahead. Bet against the herd, and develop the life you want as an individual...then hedge, and build in insurances, because the herd will change direction again, at the next panic, the next "boom", the next speculative bubble, and you can bet against them again...this is THE LESSSON of history. It is the assured cycle of history...only the timing is in doubt.

Betting against the herd right now means betting on the value of human thought and effort, betting that the opportunities for a better life (and remember that most people on earth have no fear of losing the things we talk about here because they have NEVER HAD THEM), and betting that the people of the world are more than just a group of creatures who must be fed but also a collection of minds and souls to be allowed to help the world build a new and creative and potentially beautiful culture for the first time in their history).

As for you, Wildcatter, if you want a child, have it. Your child may see a world so grand that we would weep to see the things they will know, the things they will see. On the other hand, they may not, there is no way to know...the lifetime of a human is short in comparison to history, and if we make the wrong choices, we may see all the catastrophic outcomes we have discussed and worse. But we were born into the same situation, the cold war era of nuclear fear, the "decline of the west" envisioned by Spengler and the ecological nightmare that was envisioned by our parents (I remember the ads on TV of a father outdoors with his child discussing trees, by then non existant, and the father and child both wearing oxygen masks, this world we were told we would live in NOW)...being born implies death...that is the way things are, sorry.

If you want a house, buy it, but try to choose well, try to hedge, look at ways to reduce waste without reducing lifestyle, if you want a car, buy it and drive it, but try to choose well, again, good performance and comfort for the amount of energy used, you can feel guilty about your level of consumption if you enjoy that, but remember that it is a piss in the sea compared to what is wasted through poor design and the level of excess of some of your peers.

And one last thing: Bet against the crowd. You will be surprised, ASTOUNDED, how often the so called "thinkers" have stopped thinking long ago...they are simply regurgitating news, puking up doom because right now doom is selling like beer at a summer fair.

Keep working your garden. I would absolutely love to have a good garden spot, I envy you that already (moving around keeps a person from being able to develop a good garden. I do not pretend that I can feed myself from a garden, but the quality of the food is so much better, and they are fun and pretty to have around), and enjoy your wife (not everyone has a mate, as Saul Bellow said, "More die of heartbreak" than from most of our other wild fears. Also quoting Bellow, "People can lose their lives in libraries. They ought to be warned." Being informed is good, but remember that just because someone got their book published does not mean they might not be an idiot.

And just because I am willing to think out loud, effectively, on TOD, does not mean I may not be one. But it has been said that being able to write your thoughts make them more rational, more sensible. Thank you for the opportunity to "re-think" my own thoughts, and make me THINK. I am still going with the trend of history and betting against the crowd...and still shopping for that perfect bargain Porsche Cayman (how unpopular can that be right now) and hedging and investing to make sure I can afford the fuel to drive the little art piece at least for awhile no matter the fuel cost...:-)


Very well said RC. If you read this my hat is off to you man.

Your 50. Live in L'ville I believe. I am 71 and live in far west Ky..the land time forgot.

Your attitude about the future parallels mine very closely.

On TOD we need to be about 'rescuing the future' for our offspring and friends who are younger.

We need to be serious about passing on what ever wisdom we have garnered from our years of waste and woe on this planet as well as remembering what is was like when times were good. Like for me that was my childhood on a 100 acre sharecropped farm with my grandparents and all my kinfolks.

My kinfolks loved children wildly. They made over them and played with them but never never spoiled them. Todays youth have been spoiled beyond belief.

Yet a new generation can overcome this. I wish that right now I had a youngster about the place but my son is 48 and will never marry nor have children. My daughter got lost in the feminist movement and has gone far astray and out of sight.

I live alone but try to revel in what is left. Nature at my doorstep. My garden. My Jack Russels. Yes even my Harley Low Rider and 2 jeeps. My life is here where all my kin are buried and they are expiring at the same rate as I am.

Family is what it is all about. I am sad to read of those who have not children nor wish none. Without our offspring to carry on and to bring up righteously....and to teach them survival skills...we are doomed for sure.

There are still enough to overcome the stupidity of the MSM. Of the trashyness of Television and the junk food. All that has invaded and stolen us away from what we need to be doing. The politicians who create chaos. The stupid government that listens to no one. All the ignorance that the befuddled middle class is so involved in.

Our scientists are speaking out boldly. We are on 'borrowed time' for here on out. Chaos is coming. We have little time to pass on beliefs that have value and what does and does not work.

Time is marching on. We have seen at least two worthless generations of youth so far. The music and culture they espouse is sick and dying.Yuppies and Gen X. Playing twitch games. Sexting on cell phones. Much more that leads to no where but SELF and wasted time lost.

I saw a guy yesterday with a hog ring in his nose. What we used to staple in the nose of hogs to keep them from rooting too much. A hog ring for cripes sake?

Does todays youth have a vision? I think not.DO they care about the future? I think not. Do they have a CLUE? I think not.

I think they are lost. Much as Wylies "Generation of Vipers".

I will get some flack for this post. I really don't care.

Airdale-I am trying to shut up and not post but yours spoke to my inner man.

it is cayenne as in hot pepper.

No, it's Cayman as in the islands, the sports car (do an image search and you will quickly see the difference)...I wouldn't be caught dead in that SUV crap Porsche is selling (the Cayenne), so out of character for what they do best.


Consider yourself lucky that you don't have children. Seriously. I have three and, knowing what I now know, it breaks my heart to think of what they will see in their lifetimes as young adults - PO, and beyond that, climate change disruptions. Huge numbers of displaced starving refugees that will destabilize civilization all over the world - there will be no safe haven.

As long as they are not starving and displaced they shouldn't be too sad, it is not their fault third world populations exploded.

Why wait to have a pity party about PO. Obama might be shutting down the power early as he stated we must cut 17% of our carbon emissions by 2020:

If Obama cuts the carbon emissions by 17 percent within 10 years he will not only have to count coal emissions, but oil and natural gas carbon emissions too. By rough calculation natural gas has 50% the carbon emissions of coal for the same BTU's produced, and oil 75% percent the emissions of coal per BTU produced.

Oil is 37 percent of our total energy mix. Natural gas is 24 percent of our total energy mix. Coal is 23 percent of our total energy mix (wiki).

To cut 17 percent of carbon emissions, one would need to cut 47 percent of coal generated power, or 38 percent of our oil consumption, or 89 percent of our natural gas consumption. A forced compromise might take from all three sources.

The federal deficit is over ten percent of GDP. At this rate the national debt might double within seven years and this without government healthcare and govt. guaranteed income for health insurance companies.

In 2006 the US had 336 GW of coal electric capacity and in 2009 35 GW of wind capacity. Since wind is never constant, wind power might only reach 20-40% of its nominal capacity, thus there may be about 10 GW of wind electric generation occuring after years of building windmills.

Chinese coal electric capacity is nearly double that of the US and growing rapidly. Cutting us off from fuel to advance Chinese competitiveness in world markets is not the path to prosperity. Doing nothing creates problems same as doing the wrong thing.

Sorry, I had the wrong equation.

Coal is 53% of total emissions, but 23% of total energy.
Oil is 33%% of total emissions, but 37% of total energy.
NG is 14% of total emissions, but 24% of total energy.

If you cut 17% of emissions by shutting coal plants, you will cut 32% of coal energy. That would be to cut over 100 GW of electricity in a country where construction is not cheap.

If you can refine this equation please do so.


Your points are very well taken. If I may be so bold, your points also make the point I have been trying to make here on TOD (with no success it must be said), this being the fact that if current carbon release targets were actually enforced right down to the household level, it really won't matter whether additional fossil fuel resources can be found, they would be effectively illegal to use!

Of course at this time the targets are just that, targets. Until they are enforced with regulation they have no teeth, but I would not bet the day will not come (and soon) that we do not begin to actually start setting law to enforce these targets.

Can it be done? In theory, yes. Insulation of homes and more effective conservation appliances and electronics (EnergyStar type household appliances) could have a big effect, but it will not come without costs.

Businesses, at least the smart ones, are already acting on their own,reducing energy waste wherever possible, if for no other reason than to cut their costs of operation. Co-generation and CHP (combined heat and power) in hotels, hospitals and prisons even office complexes can cut carbon release and energy costs. In the sunbelt, solar PV and passive solar lighting and climate control will work, the problem is that many buildings were built with no thought to energy consumption, and can be difficult to retrofit.

Walmart is already setting the standard high on their transportation costs and carbon release, with plans for a new truck fleet to reduce Diesel consumption some 50%. This will occur as their older trucks need replacing, but if Walmart pulls it off, it will put enormous pressure on all companies, proving that it can be done, but again, not for free. Walmart has the resources, but in the currect economic circumstances not every firm does.

We are crossing a "tipping point" however: No one foresees oil or coal as the fuel that can drive American growth. Your point about China however creates a real issue, not only for carbon reduction but for oil and gas conservation in general. Many Americans are clever enough to know that we are essentially conserving to assure our competitors have enough fuel to decimate us in international competition. Just because we conserve doesn't mean anyone else in the world has to. However, if we assume the fossil fuels are going to get more expensive and harder to get, we can assume that Chinese and Indian balance of trade will suffer. We in the U.S. may be taking the smart path to suffer the reduction now than to wait for later, and have the advanced energy system we should have had since the 1970's.

Europe seems to be taking exactly this path forward: Go ahead and bear the costs of implementing advanced low carbon and renewable technology, and be ahead in the outlying years. Only time will tell whether this is the correct path forward.

We do know this: The move away from fossil and high carbon fuels MUST occur, the only question is how long we or anyone else can put it off. My view is we have already put it off too long and made it more difficult for ourselves in the U.S. than it should have been. If President Obama does attempt to make the targets as he describes them, it will be at great political risk to himself and his party. There will be many who will make exactly the argument that he is actually assisting the Chinese and Indians be assured of plenty of energy to fuel their growth while we suffer. This really should be a truly international effort, and to this date it has not been.

All statistical evidence point us to a very interesting set of facts: As a percent of world oil consumption, the current "wealthy nations", i.e., Europe, Japan and the U.S. are already falling and set to fall further and faster.

As a percent of carbon release in the world, the wealthy nations, i.e., Europe, Japan and the U.S are already falling and set to fall further and faster, all the more so if European efforts and Obama's targets are actually enforced. So essentially, the Americans will soon be able to make little difference regarding the effects of either climate change or peak oil. We are and soon will be even more so, too small an energy growth nation to make a difference. The future is now in the hands of the developing and poorer (but hoping to get richer) nations of the world.

At an individual level, it is important to plan for a carbon limited future. I have relocated to reduce gasoline consumption to an almost marginal part of my budget. I live in an apartment, so the carbon release from my apartment is very small, and the problem of updating belong to someone else, but I do want a house. In buying the home and choosing my appliences it will pay me to shop for low energy consumption and low heating and cooling costs in the assumption that carbon release will soon be limited at the household level. I would advise all my friends to do the same, and look into the "darling" technologies, i.e., solar (at least hot water if not PV), ground coupled heat pumps and good insulation and low "Energy Star" appliances. We may soon be forced to take this path whether we now choose it or not.

It is very possible that our fossil fuel consumption may drop based more on the driving engine of low carbon legislation than from any real fear of immediate peak oil, but the results will still be to the good, i.e., reduced oil, coal, and finally gas consumption (we may soon see a "dash to gas" like none in our history creating a short term blip in natural gas consumption, as gas buys us time on peak oil and is lower carbon) and developments in methane recapture will become darling technology.

Right now, electrification of transportation, trains, conservation technology and some wind and solar (although solar and wind are slow to scale, expanded natural gas use in transport and use of recaptured waste methane are the paths forward to reduce carbon and reduce high carbon emissions. Even nuclear would take too long now, but may be a path forward in the longer term. We live in interesting times.

Roger Conner Jr.


If you switch a hydrocarbon fuel to another hydrocarbon fuel you get carbon emissions and the government has declared a 17 percent reduction is mandatory. Kyoto set an 80 percent carbon reduction goal. Europe tries to go towards a 20 percent reduction then 30 percent with countries teetering on insolvency across Europe. A letter from an iron and steelmaking industry council in Europe expressed sorrow that they might not be able to survive as an industry in the current carbon reduction climate. Without iron and steel there goes the auto industry, the pipe industry, and bridge replacements. If you switch to wind you need to create a backup system as one day this winter there was very little wind in Europe and the windmill power dropped precipitously. The cost of creating dual power systems is outrageous. People might tell you they would like to cut carbon until you show them the costs. If a state that already made progress with clean air legislation was asked to reduce 18 percent of its emissions, where would they get the money? California liked to drive and that create huge clouds of invisible carbon. California's credit rating has been lowered because they went on a shopping binge and might not be able to pay for all they spent in days gone by. If they put a carbon tax on the electric bill, the natural gas bill, and at the gas pumps people might think this is a worse problem than a non-toxic gas. The government does not know how to keep its own spending levels down and you have to pay for their lives of luxury.

"If you switch a hydrocarbon fuel to another hydrocarbon fuel you get carbon emissions and the government has declared a 17 percent reduction is mandatory."

That is true if you change over at the same level of efficiency we have been using over the last half centuries. That is why I have put such importance on the conservation side as well.

If you do the comparison using compressed natural gas combined with plug hybrid the carbon reduction would be huge, but the problem is how fast you could get enough of them in the replacement mix on the highway...if we hope to do it would have to start big and start NOW.

Recaptured methane from agricultural waste/landfill/sewer gas can also help on both sides of the coin, methane release is a greenhouse gas, and the methane can be used for power production. How much is available? I don't know, I would have to do more research on this.

No doubt the transitions will be very difficult. I don't think impossible, but very difficult.

As for wind, they will have to be linked (grid connected together) over a large area. The European problem has been that most of the windmills are in a rather limited area so that a lull in windspeed creates a real problem. They are working on this, but it remains to be seen whether these programs will materialize. Knowing the Europeans the way we do, unlike us, if they think it should be done, it will be done.

"If a state that already made progress with clean air legislation was asked to reduce 18 percent of its emissions, where would they get the money?" Fascinating question, and it begs another point: Is it fair to begin from "current levels" in setting the targets? This is very unfair to states, businesses, and even households who have already reduced emissions through hard effort. It may pay to wait until the laws are passed to begin to make improvements, thus gettng credit for full improvements.


Although perhaps of value to others, I found the list meaningless. I have already seen the end of the world as I know it, gone through the consequences and seen the beginnings of the recreation on the other side.

Part Deau coming,


Volunteer. For years I helped kids learn to read in a public school in Oakland with the highest per-capita murder rate. The kids were a joy, and I also taught them about gardening. They thought the varieties of lettuce I had going in a small 6 pack the most beautiful plants they'd ever seen, and were amazed that tiny carrot seeds would grow into a carrot. When a butterfly garden was put in, I made finding the the largest rock a competition, and the kids were begging to have a crack at the shovel. And however overwhelming you think your problems and the state of the world are, when you work with a boy covered in sloppy ink blots that are supposed to be like the tattoos of his father in prison, or a girl being raised by her grandparents because both her parents are junkies or dead, well, it puts things in perspective.

Now I work at a nature preserve taking mostly inner city kids on hikes all day, and most of them have never been out in nature before. They are excited and delighted to be outdoors. We have a grand time together, trying to match green paint chips to the green in plants so they look more closely at everything, catch newts, see evolution at work in the different bills birds have to feed in different niches on the mudflats, etc. We tell them that when they go home, to look for birds, insects, flowers, and trees, that nature can be found even back in the city.

But it's getting harder to find schools that will let their classes go on a field trip, even though we pay for the bus, since the time could have been spent preparing to improve test scores, which increases salaries and the reputation of the school.

Thanks Gail for this post. We're not generally good at addressing the "soft stuff" in life, yet ironically it tends to have a higher impact than most other things. Sure we need to understand the hard stuff and the science behind what might bring us down or what might help mitigate the fall. But the real test will be about what we do with ourselves across the days of our lives, in spite of the times we are given to live in.

My own feeling is, regardless how hard PO may hit us (or not), we'd do well to RE-LEARN MUCH OF WHAT WE HAVE GIVEN UP in just a single generation. For thousands of years we've (the average person) known how to make a loaf of bread, plant a garden, catch a fish, make wine, milk a cow, raise chickens, tell a story, invent a game, build a rock wall, improvise a verse or a song, build a fire from nothing, etc, etc. With some exceptions, most people no longer know how to do these things. Giving them up is a luxury that we should never have afforded ourselves and we'd do well to retrieve retrieve an important part of ourselves.

"Making the Best of Our Situation Now"

Given that we are all living in a space/time environment, where dimensions are known from very small ( sub atomic particles ) to very large ( galaxies ) and time from the moment of the big bang to today in billions of years, the occurrence of oil and its PO is only a time limited situation between the Jurassic period and now. Oil has given us a civilization as we have never had before, however with time other variations will certainly develop, that we have not imagined now.
Whereas BAU we have to realize IMHO that it is a dynamic phenomenon too, however with a slow rate of change, in other words 10, 20 or 50 years from now our different civilizations will continue and many of them at the moment have not such a good living condition as a relative small number of people living in the US, Europe or Australia and New Zealand. So there is still a need for well educated engineers, where as the bookkeepers with their short sighted judgment of R&D developments should sing their song less loud.

How about priority #1: find and impliment solutions.

Many are already known and can be implimented on an individual level.

Our buildings use a large portion of our energy

How many people here are accepting defeat while they live in a poorly insulated house and don't even bother to caulk the windows for the winter? A $5 invesment that pays back $50 or more.

The technology for a passivhaus is well understood. Cellulose insulation is not made from oil, its recycled newspaper. All sorts of houses can be retrofitted for a small cost that will be recovered. The secret to keeping the cost down is to do it yourself and do lots of research before you begin. Google terms like "insulation," "passivhaus" and "dense pack cellulose."

In my own life I have experienced some great successes. My attic insulation is R100. My walls are dense packed cellulose. I have cut my energy usage by 75% and I would like to do that again so that I am down to about 7% of original usage. Doing this has not required a lot of money or training. It is within the realm of average people who can read and take action and aren’t afraid to make and correct mistakes.

I live close to work. I have been playing around with an electric motorcycle. I don't buy any gas from March to Novemeber. The electricity comes from a hydro dam but I could also get the energy from adding a small solar collector. The charger only requires 180 watts and I use less than two kilowatt hrs a day to commute. The efficiency of a small electric motorcycle in comparison to car is quite staggering.

I have been working with water capture and cisterns. I know it’s vain but I have the greenest lawn for blocks, all done with compost and waste water.

If we could all drastically cut our heating and transportation energy requirements without using a lot of money, could we not extend our oil & gas for other things including fertilizers by many decades?