Drumbeat: May 8, 2010

Organic farms 'produce less than HALF as much food as conventional ones'

The benefits to wildlife and increases in biodiversity from organic farming are much lower than previously thought, scientists said today.

Organic farms may be seen as wildlife friendly, but the benefits to birds, bees and butterflies do not compensate for the lower yields produced, according to research by the University of Leeds.

Experts from the Faculty of Biological Science carried out detailed, like-for-like comparisons of organic and conventional farming.

The research found organic farms had, on average, 12 per cent more biodiversity in terms of the number and variety of plants, birds, earthworms and insects.

However, the organic farms in the study produced less than half of the yield of their conventional counterparts, according to the results which are published online in Ecology Letters.

Telling porkies: The big fat lie about doubling food production

‘Telling porkies: The big fat lie about doubling food production’, reveals that all those claiming we need to double global food production by 2050, or 50% by 2030, are wrong about the figures, are wrong about what the figures apply to, and are wrong to claim that achieving these figures will mean we will feed the hungry or end starvation.

Pollan and Hurst Debate the Future of Agriculture

Claiming that high-calorie school lunches pose a threat to national security, a group of retired military officers advocated for passage of a nutrition bill that aims to make the cafeteria food healthier.

The officers say 9 million young adults, or 27 percent of all Americans ages 17 to 24, are too fat to join the military. And the group, which calls itself, "Mission Readiness" is calling on Congress to mandate more rigorous nutrition standards for school lunches.

The offensive is just the latest assault on America's food system. Increasingly though, production agriculture is also targeted as "the enemy" in a larger debate. Market to Market recently caught up with two of the protagonists: Michael Pollan, an outspoken critic of America's food system who wrote The Omnivore's Dilemma; and Blake Hurst, a Missouri farmer who countered Pollan with a piece he calls The Omnivore's Delusion.

Steve LeVine: Not So Fast: With Gas Prices Low, A Return To Oil

A tried-and-true method of success is to zig while others are zagging. That explains a move afoot on the energy patch: While attention is focused on gas, a lot of players are quietly turning back to oil.

This may be jarring given BP’s spill in the Gulf of Mexico. But the backdrop is the rush for shale gas properties around the world. Do the math: At current prices, natural gas is selling for about a third the price of oil on the basis of British Thermal Unit content – the equivalent of less than $30 a barrel of oil, compared with about $83 a barrel for oil itself.

Given the rock-bottom price of gas, almost no one has any prospect of meaningful earnings for at least the coming couple of years. Hence, we see the beginning of an attempt to hedge by digging in to oil again.

Iran Steps Up Gas Field Pressure on Foreign Firms

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran plans to replace foreign companies which have "dragged their feet for years" with domestic firms in developing its giant South Pars natural gas field, the oil minister was quoted as saying on Saturday.

CNOOC Parent Aims to Double LNG Imports to China in a Decade

(Bloomberg) -- China National Offshore Oil Corp., the nation’s third-biggest oil company, plans to double purchases of liquefied natural gas from the global market in 10 years as China’s demand for cleaner-burning fuel rises.

Two Sides Battle in Barnett Leasing Hearing

In a courtroom thick with lawyers, 67th state District Court Judge Don Cosby heard arguments Thursday as to whether natural gas producers and leasing firms engaged in an "antitrust conspiracy" to illegally suspend and dramatically drive down lease offers made to Tarrant County property owners in the Barnett Shale drilling boom in fall 2008.

Deepwater Horizon: A Technical Analysis

Rigzone has received information from a reliable source concerning what really happened on the Deepwater Horizon. The following is a technical look at the to-do list and what likely caused the blowout. We encourage the Rigzone readership to respond with their own technical conclusions to this article.

BP oil disaster: how a deadly methane bubble triggered explosion

A deadly bubble of methane that forced its way up from beneath the ocean floor caused last month's oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, according to workers who survived.

No warning of US oil rig blast - survivors

SURVIVORS of the huge oil rig blast in the Gulf of Mexico say alarms designed to warn them of an imminent explosion never sounded.

Oil industry experts meanwhile acknowledged that critical safety equipment failed to prevent the explosion and subsequent oil spill, one of the worst in US history.

"It was chaos," survivor Dwayne Martinez told ABC News: "Nothing went as planned, like it was supposed to."

AP INVESTIGATION: Blowout preventers known to fail

HOUSTON (AP) -- Cutoff valves like the one that failed to stop the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster have repeatedly broken down at other wells in the years since federal regulators weakened testing requirements, according to an Associated Press investigation.

More than 2M gallons of oil-water mix collected

PORT FOURCHON, La. (AP) -- The Coast Guard says about 2.1 million gallons of an oil-water mix has been collected since a spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

BP PLC chief operating officer Doug Suttles has said the mix collected is about 10 percent oil and the rest water.

BP’s Oil-Spill ’Hive’ Buzzes With New Ideas to Stop Leaky Well

(Bloomberg) -- BP Plc continued to work on other ways to seal its leaking oil well as it lowered a containment dome into place on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.

BP, based in London, won’t know until Tuesday whether its plan to contain the leaking oil within a 40-foot-tall steel structure will work as planned, Bob Fryar, a senior BP executive, said. If it works, the container BP calls a dome will capture about 85 percent of the flow, which will be siphoned to the surface by a mile-long pipe.

Another wake-up call for the world’s biggest oil junkie

OK, America, it’s time to get real about energy.

The explosion and destruction of the Horizon deepwater rig and the subsequent oil spill disaster are only the latest in a series of wake-up calls you’ve received. Are you listening now?

Your first warning came in 1956, with the publication of M. King Hubbert’s model of US oil production, which correctly predicted its peak in 1970. When Hubbert updated his model on camera in 1976, he also nailed the peak of worldwide conventional oil production in 2005.

Steve LeVine: Tanking Hard: Why BP's handling of the spill has the entire oil industry panicked

Hayward is not known to be a gruff oilman. Yet his slow and defensive public response to the April 20 rig explosion has dismayed many oil and p.r. industry veterans who say that BP lost control of public perceptions virtually from the outset. Its first corporate statement after the explosion was a link to a press release from Transocean, the Swiss-based operator of the rig from which BP’s Macondo well was being drilled. And then, for almost two weeks, neither Hayward nor any other London-based executives got in front of the cameras on the scene to explain what they were doing and would do about the spill. When Hayward finally did, the British oil executive seemed intent on conveying only one crucial point—that, unlike a string of accidents in BP-run operations going back five years, this one was not inflicted directly by his company’s personnel. He bristled at comparisons with a deadly 2005 explosion at a BP refinery in Texas City, Texas. Yet, given the typically intense oversight exercised by Big Oil over important contractor-run projects such as Macondo, Hayward might as well have suggested that aliens seized control of the rig. The overall impression was that of an out-of-control catastrophe in which the company's CEO was attempting to fob off responsibility to a no-name contractor.

We Need a Permanent Moratorium on Drilling off the Atlantic Coast

Our nation is currently witnessing what could become the largest, most catastrophic environmental disaster in our history - a disaster that I do not want to see repeated along the Mid-Atlantic Coast, possibly threatening Ocean City, Assateague Island National Seashore, the Chesapeake Bay, and the economic health of Maryland.

Fla. Congressman Requests Probe Into BP Waiver

A request from U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, for an investigation into why British Petroleum received a waiver from conducting a detailed environmental impact report at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico was granted Thursday by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Hungry little energy devils

IF ONLY President Obama could channel Jimmy Carter, without the cardigan, to launch a national crusade on energy conservation. It would be a risky act, because Carter’s admonition to Americans to throw on a few extra layers and turn down the heat to deal with the 1970s energy shortage remains the most ridiculed request of national sacrifice in modern times. Just mentioning it gives people, particularly Democrats, the cooties.

Germany starts financing renewable energy projects

ISLAMABAD: Germany has started its financial cooperation and assistance to Pakistan in power generation through renewable energy to meet the present severe energy crisis here.

“Pakistan and Germany have signed two agreements recently for producing power through solar and wind and work on these projects will start before the end of the year,” Dr Michael Koch told reporters here at the National Press Club on Friday.

Pakistan says nuclear safety concerns addressed

(Reuters) - Pakistan reiterated a call on Saturday for the international community to recognize it as a nuclear power, saying it had addressed the world's concerns over the safety and security of its nuclear weapons.

Nuclear power - an option not feasible in Bangladesh

It is alarming to note that a daily newspaper recently quoted foreign minister as telling the IAEA director general that the government is giving high priority to nuclear power generation. It seems a sudden shift in policy as the government not too long ago advocated the use of renewable energy in Bangladesh to manage our energy crisis, particularly with hydro power.

When we say 'hydro power' we do not mean a turbine generated power like the one we have at Kaptai. The government should look into 'other methods' of generating power from hydro based plants. It has been stated that power could be generated from the sea water currents - from the surface waves as well as under water currents. This is a new technology and concept of producing electricity that is fully viable for Bangladesh as the country is located right next to a sea.

China Halts Journal Over Report on State-Owned Power Company

(Bloomberg) -- China halted publication of the journal Business Watch for a month for exposing information meant for “internal” users in an article about a state-owned electricity company, the magazine said.

Business Watch broke “propaganda discipline” in a report on China State Grid Corp. in its March 5 edition, damaging the company’s interests by writing inaccurate information, the magazine said in a statement on its Web site dated May 5, citing a ruling by authorities.

Is Brown the New Green?

When Jim Hyler was inaugurated as president of the U.S. Golf Association in February, he surprised many by speaking out more forcibly than USGA presidents are wont to do on a controversial subject: water usage and the misguided perception that golf courses need to be lush, green and perfect to be good. It is the issue, he said, "that is perhaps of greatest concern to golf's future."

Slouching towards neofeudalism

How is it that we have a politico-economic system in which the government’s explicitly stated goal is to entice people to take out loans for houses and cars they don’t even need? 150 million cars on the road and we must keep buying new ones? Millions of vacant housing units and we need to build new ones? Homes so full of Chinese junk that half of it goes into off-site storage, and we need to shop more? For whose benefit?

Ever heard of debt-slavery? How about feudalism?

Financial Sense Newshour: Peak Oil 2014 - Warning and Precautions (audio)

Jeremy Leggett Founder & Executive Chairman Solarcentury

Dr. Oliver Inderwildi Research Fellow Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford

(Oliver Inderwildi is one of the authors of that paper that claimed oil reserves are exaggerated by one third)

Gulf spill reminds America: The era of 'easy oil' is over

WASHINGTON — To meet the world's boundless thirst for oil, drillers are searching in the sand and mud of remote western Canada, the tough shale rock of North Dakota and more than a mile under the seas off the southern U.S. coast, where a drilling accident has sent hundreds of thousands of gallons of crude spewing into the Gulf of Mexico.

Why are we going nearly to the ends of the earth and the bottom of the seas for oil?

The answer, say many experts, is that we're consuming as much oil as we ever have but the era of "easy oil" is in our rearview mirror and receding fast.

Peak oil? Pfft!

Peak oil theorists have been wrong at least 10 times since the 1970s. We have, maybe, 800 years of supply before we run out if we find no more reserves, an unlikely possibility.

Drilling for oil: the price of our fix

When the Gulf of Mexico oil rig blew, there was probably not a fisherman or fish plant operator in western Nova Scotia, where I live, who didn’t have the same cold flash: an oil rig blows on Georges Bank; the enormous tides of the Bay of Fundy suck half the oil up and down twice a day, polluting everything from Cape Cod to Lockeport and right up to Moncton; while the other half is locked in the "gyre" of currents that goes round and round over one of the world’s best fishing grounds

Oil-Recovery Box Nearing Seafloor Represents BP’s Best ‘Hope’

(Bloomberg) -- BP Plc expects to sink the edges of a 40-foot-tall steel chamber into the mud 5,000 feet (1,524 meters) under the surface of the Gulf of Mexico to capture most of the oil that’s leaking from its Macondo well by this morning.

The containment system, which was lowered yesterday, may begin funneling as much as 85 percent of the leak to an overhead drill ship as early as May 10, Doug Suttles, BP’s chief operating officer for exploration and production, said yesterday in a press conference in Robert, Louisiana.

Timeline of Gulf oil spill, government response

Timeline of the Gulf Coast oil spill and the response by the federal government:

To Some in Australia, U.S. Response Looks Good

As environmentalists in the United States watch the continuing clean up of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico with consternation, some Australian environmentalists say they are feeling, well, jealous.

Environmental groups here initially complained that the response to the Deepwater Horizon spill was slow off the mark. But WWF-Australia says the response of the Obama administration has been swift and substantial compared with what they call the lackluster response of the Australian government to a spill there last year.

Natural Gas Rises First Time in Three Days on Stronger Economy

(Bloomberg) -- Natural gas futures rose for the first time in three days on speculation a recovering U.S. economy will boost demand for the industrial and power-plant fuel.

Michigan: Record amount spent on oil, gas leases

TRAVERSE CITY — A successful oil and gas test well in Missaukee County set off a flurry of interest in the state's underground mineral resources.

Energy companies this week spent $178 million at a single auction to buy oil and gas leases for state-owned land, more than seven times the state's previous auction record of $23.6 million set in 1981.

Ecopetrol Looks to Expand in Brazil, Buys Hess Stake

(Bloomberg) -- Ecopetrol SA, Colombia’s state-run oil company, is looking to expand in Brazil to boost production after buying a 30 percent stake in an offshore block from Hess Corp., said an Ecopetrol official.

Graham Calls for ‘Pause’ in Pursuing Energy Bill

WASHINGTON — Senator Lindsey Graham, one of the chief sponsors of a nascent plan to address energy and climate change in the Senate, said Friday that the proposal had no chance of passage in the near term and called for a “pause” in consideration of the issue.

Senators Kerry, Lieberman to Unveil U.S. Climate Bill

(Bloomberg) -- New legislation to limit U.S. greenhouse gases and boost “clean energy” production will be released May 12, Senators John Kerry and Joseph Lieberman, the authors of the measure, said today.

Bolivian-led indigenous movement presses for role, emissions cuts in climate talks

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Bolivia's president pressed for a greater role Friday for developing nations in global climate talks and deep cuts in rich nations' greenhouse gases, presenting U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with an alternative climate declaration.

The Cochabamba declaration was the fruit of an alternative climate conference uniting 35,000 people including indigenous, environmental and social leaders in Bolivia last month.

Hume: Green and iconic, German bank towers soar
Unlike Canada, Germany has met and exceeded its Kyoto commitments

FRANKFURT—Imagine, if you can, a large Canadian financial institution, say, the Royal Bank, CIBC or BMO, suddenly decides to green its head office. Despite having to spend hundreds of millions, that is not enough to smother the desire to do the right thing.


When it reopens this fall, DB’s headquarters expects to reap impressive benefits from the project including a 67 per cent drop in heating costs, a 55 per cent reduction in electrical power use, 74 per cent less water and an overall cut in CO2 emissions of 89 per cent. These are impressive figures, well beyond anything we see in Canadian bank towers, Given that 40 per cent of global CO2 emissions come from buildings, these are critical considerations.


The backdrop to the scheme is a society that takes the environment seriously. Unlike Canada, Germany has met and exceeded its Kyoto commitments. And as much as the Germans love their cars, they have avoided the kind of abject auto-addiction that prevails in North America. In other words, traffic jams happen routinely, but not the paralyzing gridlock caused by the car-based sprawl that has transformed the landscape around Toronto and most every other city on this continent.

See: http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/article/805450--hume-green-and-icon...

Best hopes for adopting that German drive for efficiency.


Hi Paul,

What chance do Canadians have of meeting any environmental or emission protocols with the domestic press spouting such sterling facts as 800 years of supply left and boasting our first place in production capability? Alan Caplan's article for the Edmonton Sun falls fast on the heals of Andrew Holloway's article, Oil is not the enemy, in The National Post last week. I don't know where they're coming up with the 800 year figure, but it seems to be taking on a life of its own.

Perhaps it's b/c oil is getting such a bad rap - oil slicks can do that - that this drivel in defense of our domestic industry is reaching feverish pitch. But it does appear the public is being softening up for something.

Granted, The National Post is a Conservative biased newspaper and Edmonton is smack dab in the middle of the oil patch and the Conservative Party's support base, so these musings perhaps should be taken with a bit of a grain of salt.

Sniff, sniff. Election anyone?

Paul, I don't have to point out to you that the last time Harper pulled the plug on his own administration and went to the polls (September-October 2008) the world was hit with a financial tsunami. He might want to avoid a repeat performance lest people start to draw really odd-ball conclusions.

It's not helpful, though, to think how much opportunity is being missed (in terms of architecture, engineering, and good will) by narrowly focusing on the need to maintain our riches rather than preparing for a cleaner and energy-efficient future.

Too bad the beaver is being outshone by the piggy (bank).



Hi Tom,

True, there are many lost opportunities, but also some "wins". We need to keep focused on what it is we want to do and not allow ourselves to be distracted or discouraged by failure, to celebrate the victories as they come and to seek inspiration from those we admire.


Just like the new Halifax Farmers' Market, eh?

As long as we do our small part, the rest of the world is bound to catch up.

Here's for a brighter and greener landing.



PS: Re-posted your link to the Farmers' Market just in case any TOD readers missed it last week. Don't wish to steal your thunder, my good friend. ;-)

Looks like we humans are not the only ones rearranging the boreal landscape of northern Alberta. Lo and behold, google earth has uncovered the world's biggest beaver dam in Wood Buffalo National Park, measuring an impressive 850 meters or 2788 feet in length. It is estimated the critters have been hard at work since the 1970s.

Interestingly enough that's about the same time as the Athabaska Tar Sands projects got underway. Obviously, we're not the only ones leaving trailing ponds in our wake (tho ducks would find theirs a tad bit more welcoming than ours!!)

For story see: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8670003.stm

Heads (or is that tails) up to our fine furry friends. Beavers rule!!

I saw a beaver dam nearly as big hiking in the BWCA on the Pow Wow Trail.

I think this is the same dam described in the book "Lost in the Wild". The author of that book wondered how many beavers were involved in it. Wonders of nature like that you don't ever forget.

I haven't measure it, and it might be better described as a series of dams each backing up to the next, but I have permissiom until to hunt on a property near Richmond Va with a giant beaver dam.My guess is that it is over a half a mile long and anywhere from a hundred feet across to three hundred or four hundred feet or so, and even wider in some spots..

It would not show up very clealy on an ariel photograph because there are trees there which thrive in standing water, and humps or hillocks of ground like islands in it.

I suspect that such beaver created swamps ( the term pond or lake really doesn't fit as half as well ) are actually quite common anywhere in beaver country if the land is nearly flat and there are fairly large tracts of woodland owned by people who do not disturb the beavers.

I have watched and listened to couple of does lead a pack of hounds a merry chase for four or five hours in this hundred acre swamp on several occasions from a tree stand.The deer can easily manage a foot or two feet of water which is enough to cause the shorter legged dogs a great deal of difficulty.The deer never run in the swamp and seem to be only mildly bothered by the dogs.

But of course sooner or later they pass within shotgun range.Deer seldom if ever look up.

Yes hunting deer in Eastern Va with dogs is legal, and also necessary, as only shotguns are allowed due to safety concerns..The country side is simply crawling with deer, and there is no way to harvest enough of them otherwise to keep thier numbers under control.

I don't think it's the same one.

This one was discovered by a scientist who was looking at satellite imagery for evidence of climate change. He saw the huge dam, and mentioned it on his web site. Some journalists who were in the park for another reason asked if they could see the dam. The park rangers had never heard of it, but sent out a crew to investigate. They said it took a helicopter ride, then a two-day hike to get to the site. Which is probably why the dam got to be so big.

No, the same dam as the one on Pow Wow trail.

Web, if you don't mind me asking, where is the Pow Wow trail?

Right in the middle of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in N.Minnesota.
No one goes there hiking because it is prime canoeing.

We are a nation of dam builders, Tom.

Hard working and friendly little guys.



Hi Paul,

I cringed watching the beaver on the highway. Not fair to them (and other wildlife) that we build these ribbons of destruction through their habitats. The older I get the more my heart bleeds for the critters who find themselves in the way of our busy lifestyles.

I am very partial to beavers. One of my fondest memories is as a small boy quietly watching in rapt fascination at a beaver pond (and this crew formed a pond not a swamp) behind my uncle's farm. They are very discreet and skittish creatures and difficult to spot if they in any way sense you're there. [The guy on the highway was in a special location -- opportunities for a close up view of beavers are few and far between].

Once saw a couple of them swimming. That joyous sight has since given me a lifetime memory.

There may be a few TOD bloggers who will enjoy this classic (for some nostalgic) Canadian public service announcement:



Hi Tom,

I had a very similar experience as a young boy. There were a couple beavers on the family property in St. Ann's and I would quietly observe them from a distance (Matheson's Lake, off Lewis Mountain Road). They're fascinating animals and I confess I'm rather smitten with them myself.


Hey Paul,

Our beavers were nearby neighbours - about 7 or 8 kilometers as the crow flies with some water in between. Perhaps they were even related.

St. Ann's you say. My uncle's farm was at South Side Boularderie, the first farm past the Victoria County line. The dam itself was on a brook that straddled the Cape Breton Co. and Victoria Co. line.

Mind you the critters wouldn't have visited each other very often. The formidable rip currents of the Great Bras d'Or Channel would have made that a little bit difficult ;-)

Btw, did you see the youtube video that featured a beaver attack, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CF1-DLAzwLM

When the fury guy got his eye on you, watch out. Don't mess with the beaver!

Granted, the cameraman got some superb closeup footage.



When I lived in Calgary (2002-2006) I was on the Elbow River, one of the most beautiful urban rivers you will ever see. There was a beaver lodge in the river not 500yds from where I lived. If I went out for a walk/bile ride along the riverfront path early enough (5am) I would nearly always see a beaver or three. Once saw a mum and two kits swimming in formation. Calgary has over 3000 of them, and the city was talking about doing population control as they were taking down too many of the riverfront trees! Saw beaver stumps up 15" diameter!

Having seen them in action, I can honestly say the phrase "busy as beavers" is an understatement - these guys are the most organised logging operation you will ever see!


Wow! Watching them at work would be something to behold. It would sure make it worthwhile to get up at 5 a.m. just for the show. What a privilege!

Glad to hear that at least Calgary took steps to accommodate a fair number of beavers in the city. Three thousand of the busy critters within a city of over a million is impressive. Other jurisdictions would have chalked them up as a nuisance (which as you point out they can be by doing in the neighbourhood trees) and have them culled.

Mind you, although Calgary sometimes struts a roughneck and redneck image, I found it to be a clean and well-kept city with a big heart. Most residents would likely take the side of the beavers.

You gotta luv this country and its contradictions!! Cheers!


The idea of the ultra early morning walk was given to me by a friend from Edmonton. She is a baker, starts work at 4 am, but would go for a walk along the riverbank at 3:30am (even in winter!). She said on a good day there were dozens of them, the earlier you were out there , the more you got to see.

In calgary they started putting chicken wire around the base of the riverfront trees, because property owners alongside the river complained about losing the trees. So, the ever resourceful beavers started going further away from the bank, and into some of the backyards (they didn't have back fences). Then these same property owners started calling for population control. NOt surprisingly, the city ad most other people gave this little notice. If you live by the bank of a Canadian river, you should expect (hope) to see beavers! One property appraiser did a quick "market survey" and concluded that the riverbank property was worth about another $50k per lot because people would buy there just to get to see the beavers!

Calgary really is a great city. I lived on the Elbow River, (in a rental apt) and could walk off the back lawn into the river, and go for a swim (in summer). 50 yards upstream was a nice swimming hole the size of an olympic pool, complete with a rope swing from a tree! 50 yds downstream it was all shallow gravel bed, and on hot day you could take a few chairs out there and sit in the ankle deep water having a beer. For a couple of weeks in late June, the during freshet, the river was at it's "highest", meaning a bout waist deep most places, and everyone would get out in inner tubes, air beds etc and float down the river. A mate of mine borrowed his Dad's Zodiac, and we went down in a 15' Zodiac, cooler full of beer and a few girls - made all the other guys feel very inadequate on their inner tubes! Must have been hundreds of people out that day, and then went to the Stampede party that night for a charcoal spit roasted steer.

In winter I could walk right over it, we scraped off a hockey rink, and after a snowfall, put on my snow shoes and walk all the way downtown (you could see where the thin ice was). We cut a couple of holes in the ice rink and sank some submersible garden lights in there, and let if re-freeze. Turn them on at night and the skating rink glowed as if it was over a nuclear reactor! Made for a great backdrop to a winter firepit party in the backyard. I'm amazed we never got in trouble from the city for any of it.

Yep, a great city. Your life is not complete until you've been there for Stampede.

Didn't realize that beavers were nocturnal... or maybe they are just first risers. Either way, the early bird does get the worm... or barring that, a good view. And I think it's neat that the critters may be the ideal neighbours to increase property values. Can't beat that.

Besides, the beavers put people to shame with their work ethic.

Been to Calgary twice, once in August 1980 (if memory serves me right, I had just missed the Stampede by a few days) and the second time in October 1997 (at the beginning of fire pit season). One of these days I'll get to see the Stampede and, as you say, complete my life.

Calgary is a great city. Ideal for the adventuresome, the young, and the young at heart.


Hi Tom,

They could very well have been related (as would be true of three-quarters of the local population !).

I wouldn't want to cross paths with an angry beaver, and you sure as hell don't want to p*ss off a Canadian beaver: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUqsF8vbR_Q


Hey Paul,

That's what makes the beaver such a well loved national symbol. It's an animal that works hard, keeps its nose clean (literally), lives in peaceful coexistence with most of its neighbours, but boy can defend itself if provoked.

Now if only our fellow citizens can continue to maintain its dignity by living up to its reputation. It is a worthwhile aim.

Beavers rule!!



Beavers were a dominant/apex species in North America. Millions and millions and millions of them.

The water table for the entire continent was MUCH higher. Beavers lived in 48 or 49 of our states.

We had 100's of millions of acres of wetlands that no longer exist.

It was an entirely different continent.

See "The History of Water".

We had 100's of millions of acres of wetlands that no longer exist.

Not only did we mess things up - we dried them out, too.

We really have paved paradise to put up a parking lot. For such an allegedly bright creature, we're sometimes too caught up in our narrow world to realize how much we've lost.


In other words, traffic jams happen routinely, but not the paralyzing gridlock caused by the car-based sprawl that has transformed the landscape around Toronto and most every other city on this continent.

I take his contrast of routine traffic jams and gridlock as a distinction without a difference, propaganda. I don't see a dimes's worth of difference between - say - the weekend beach jamups on the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey, and on the Autoroute du Soleil in France (except that the latter is a longer road supporting longer jamups); while I haven't personally observed it, I have little reason to think that summer beach traffic on the appropriate Autobahn would be much different. And insane big-city commuter rush hours seem much the same the world over, just more dangerous to life and limb in places with abundant scooters and not-so-abundant regard for reasonable traffic rules.

Nor are Germany and the rest of the EU by any stretch of the imagination free of suburbs. It's just that the EU is so overcrowded that fewer people have the option of living in pleasantly open surroundings affording a decent level of privacy, rather than in cramped apartments that transmit audio every time the neighbor flushes the toilet, and become stifling ovens in even moderate July and August warmth. So despite the occasional LEED-type flagship skyscraper, it seems mainly like just a lower absolute level of consumption consistent with the constrained surroundings. It's also easier to meet absolute treaty targets over periods of decades if, like Germany, you have zero - actually slightly negative - population growth. Apparently the political correctness that demands limitless immigration into North America holds less sway in Germany.

This all tends to remind me, once again, of a Carter-era American Institute of Physics study on the imagined "energy efficiency" of Japanese housing. Turned out the difference was little else but tiny houses, some 40% less floor space - well, duh. The magic insulation, and so on, that they were looking for in an era when Americans were beginning to become scared over both real and imagined Japanese technical prowess, was nowhere to be found. Since few North American members were looking to go backwards to living that way, the study soon sank quietly below the horizon. And therein, I think, lies much of the crux of these matters.

I don't see a dimes's worth of difference between - say - the weekend beach jamups on the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey, and on the Autoroute du Soleil in France (except that the latter is a longer road supporting longer jamups); while I haven't personally observed it, I have little reason to think that summer beach traffic on the appropriate Autobahn would be much different.

The difference is that the A6 has a TGV running beside. Watching the stopped traffic from a 160 mph train is quite satisfying and relaxing.

Germany has 10.40 tons CO2 emissions/capita whlile the US has 19.78. Certainly Germany's strict building energy efficiency codes, comprehensive transit systems, and high gas taxes explain part of the difference. I think the population density arguement is a red herring, most of US population lives in cities, towns, and suburbs, not in the empty deserts of Nevada and Wyoming. The US eastern seaboard must have comparable population density to Europe, but per capita carbon in the Eastern US states is still double Europe.

In the Inderwildi & Leggett interview up top, Inderwildi talks about (generally transcribed)

1P - proven reserves & highly likely (90% recovery probability)
2P - proven & probable (50% recovery probability)
3P - possible (10% recovery probability)

Should be using 2P reserves as the realistic target, this is currently overstated.

Companies are trying hard to meet to demand by going after 2P/3P reserves, which are risky as the Deepwater accident in the Gulf shows.

Key conclusions of report:
1) Age of cheap liquid fuels is over.
2) Oil data in the public arena is often contradictory.
3) World oil reserves (2P reporting) needs to be revised downward from 1150-1350 GB to 850-900 GB due to OPEC inflation a few decades ago.
4) Supply and Demand is likely to converge between 2010-2015.
5) Capacity to meet liquid fuel demand is contigent on rapid/immediate diversification of liquid fuel mix.

Good overview of current PO situation, nothing hugely new to TOD, but still worth a listen.

In light of today's unsuccessful bid to stop the leak at Deepwater Horizon, perhaps those 2P reserves should be changed to a 25% probability.

Hi, all. We've launched the Transition Drupal project for anyone interested in participating in an open-source (i.e. free) distribution of Drupal specially designed to support communities that are actively transitioning. There are lots of ways to help out. Drupal developers and themers, graphic designers, support people (writing tutorials, making videos, providing forum support) and more are all needed to make this project really fly. People from Transition San Francisco, Transition Silicon Valley, Transition Bristol and Transition Kensale & Kilburn are already involved in this exciting project and you can be, too!

More on the project and how to participate are here:
(TOD runs on Drupal, though it doesn't turn on all the social networking features.)

Thanks Andre-
I emailed the link to all the Transition Mill Valley core members.

TOD should now be shut down. It is not needed anymore.

You see, we have maybe 800 years of oil left in the ground. Phew!

Best advice to TOD staff: archive all the content and website so that future alarmists in the year 2810 can dust it off and continue where you left off.

Perhaps the TOD staff could buy the Hummer brand, and start making Hummers again.

"Professor Goose's Hummer Emporium"

A prayer from an oil patch economist. I wonder why he chose 800? At least he acknowledged that we will run out eventually.

I'll let you know what his answer is. He posted his e-mail address, so I just sent him a note to ask him for his source.

He left his phone number too. I just talked to him. He said that "it was from some research I did. I couldn't remember exactly where". I should have asked him if he remembered what his name was.

The Icelandic ash is again disrupting flights. This is a link to a UK Telegraph report.

Spain closed nine airports and a further six were to be closed later on Saturday afternoon as a cloud of ash from the Icelandic volcano drifts south over western Europe.

Dave Summers also comments on the ash in a short post about his trip home from Ireland called, Flying Around the Icelandic Ash. The post includes some maps showing where increased volcanic activity is taking place.

All we need in the UK now is another closure of the airports. Actually, all we need now is a terrorist event. If I was an aspiring terrorist, keen to please Central Command I would set something off in London just after the airports are closed again. No idea who is leading the country and the nominal government with no mandate all would then have to happen would be for Clegg to spurn Cameron's advances, the markets to open on Monday none the wiser and gilts to blow out. The perfect storm. And as a cheeky bonus BP fails to cap the oil slick.

Why do I have the feeling that things are rapidly falling apart? Time for a beer methinks.

"Why do I have the feeling that things are rapidly falling apart?"

Cuz they are?

It's easier to grow marijuana than it is to grow barley.

It's easier to grow marijuana than it is to grow barley.

Hate drugs. Love beer!

Beer is just another drug. I like both.

Spain closed nine airports and a further six were to be closed later on Saturday afternoon as a cloud of ash from the Icelandic volcano drifts south over western Europe.

I'd just got done reading a sciencedaily article that says no ash deposits have been seen in Spain for the last 40,000 years, i.e. Spain would make a good volcanic-ash free airhub for Europe. Then I see they got ash today.
Of course enough ash to close airspace is much much too little to make a recognizable ash layer in sediment. But the timing sure makes them look foolish.

From link above.

That gives Canada about four times Saudi Arabia’s reserves, although the International Energy Agency hasn’t yet caught on to that fact. It seems to consider only our conventional oil reserves, about 175 billion barrels, and lists us as number two to the Saudis. Nope, we’re number one by a wide margin.

According to Wikipedia, Canada's oil reserves are 179 billion barrels, over 95% of which are in the oil sands. That would leave at the most 9 billion barrels of conventional reserves, not 175 billion.

Peak oil theorists have been wrong at least 10 times since the 1970s. We have, maybe, 800 years of supply before we run out if we find no more reserves, an unlikely possibility


800 years x 27 billion barrels per year = 21.6 trillion barrel of existing reserves. Here I thought the world only has about 1.2 trillion or about 5% of this author's estimate. If I'm correct, we only have around 40 years left.

No one stopped to figure out the cost and timing involved with oil sands extraction. Also, Canada depends on oil imports now--those will likely drop at the same time.

This what you get from the failure of the Canadian (and US) education system. Mathematics is too much of a burden on the minds of the poor little children. We wouldn't want to hurt their all-important self-esteem even if means not teaching them that life is not about handouts but about work. From the sorts of demands/questions that students are making of the profs it is clear that the idiocy has percolated to the university level after decades of "child centered" learning aka dumbed down curriculum.

Why do we need education? We have lotteries! Why do we need books? We have Twitter!

Peak Oil is not about reserves. It is about flow rates from conventional oil wells only. It is based on how conventional oil wells deplete and that is all it includes. It is not about the end of oil.

It is about the peak of conventional oil production. It does not include tar sands, ethanol or other non conventional liquid fuels.

Mark Fiore's latest: Little Green Man


Peak oil about the peaking of petroleum, fossil hydrocarbons.

pe•tro•le•um  –noun
an oily, thick, flammable, usually dark-colored liquid that is a form of bitumen or a mixture of various hydrocarbons, occurring naturally in various parts of the world and commonly obtained by drilling: used in a natural or refined state as fuel, or separated by distillation into gasoline, naphtha, benzene, kerosene, paraffin, etc.

Petroleum is commonly obtained by drilling but it can be obtained from places where it has migrated all the way to the surface where most of the lights have either evaporated or been consumed by bacteria. What is left is bitumen or tar. But it is still fossil hydrocarbons. It is still oil.

Peak oil is the peaking of liquid fossil hydrocarbons that can be turned into gasoline, jet fuel, diesel, bunker fuel, plastics and all the other things that we get from fossil hydrocarbons. Fossil hydrocarbons do not necessarily have to be from "conventional sources". But of course that all depends on your definition of "conventional sources".

The EIA counts oil sands production under "Crude + Condensate". And if or when Venezuela begins to produce oil from the Orinoco Bitumen Belt, they will count that also. And in my opinion this is correct.

Think about it this way. We are concerned about the effects of peak oil and the mitigation to other forms of energy and the time it will take if this is at all possible. If, on the other hand, we had enough oil sands of surface bitumen deposits, and we could extract it cheaply, to take care of all our petroleum needs, then we would not be concerned with peak oil at all. We are concerned with the peaking of the stuff which powers the vast majority of our transportation system and provides us with other great products such as plastics, tires, fertilizer, pharmaceuticals and other such goodies.

Ron P.

Yesterday Randy Udall says Canada plans to increase production from oil sands "about 1 million barrels/day and that's it" - that's all they'll increase it. I wanted to ask him how he knew this, and what their thinking was, but had to leave before Q&A.

It looks like he is saying Canada will be following the New Social Order model of production predicted by CERA.

See Figure 3 in Gail's post here:


I wonder if they might not end up using the Deep Freeze model if the world's financial system continues to buckle and collapse over the next couple years.


The tritium leaked from underground pipes at the plant on April 9, 2009, and has been slowly spreading underground at 1 to 3 feet a day. At the current rate, it would be 14 or 15 years before the tainted water reaches the nearest private or commercial drinking water wells about two miles away.

Fresh Mississippi river water diverted into coastal marshes to flush out oil spill

Louisiana and parish officials have opened six gates through Mississippi River levees to send fresh water into wetlands and try to keep out oil from the Gulf of Mexico spill. ...

Michigan Collingwood-Utica gas play emerging


This is big news for our area of Michigan. The jury is still out on whether this play will make any economic sense and lots of the local O&G folks remain skeptical.

As someone who grew up in northern lower Michigan I'm hoping this development works out. I pay attention to the news and my folks are still around, and it sounds as though many aspects of the local economy are hurting. If this works out it would be a sorely needed piece of positive news.

Here's a little story about how things are changing as we tip-toe down the net energy ladder. In the Summer of 2004 we went to Carmel, CA to see the sights and sounds, including the many Art Galleries, many of which carried bronze sculpture. How many galleries were listed then? 230 in the Summer of 2004. At that time they had lost 34 Art Stores to a slowing economy. We didn't go in every store, but we have the carmel gallery guide that shows the statistics.

We just revisited Carmel, and picked up another gallery guide. Guess how many in this Spring of 2010. 22 art galleries.

Most of what is for sale now is clothing, and most of it is cheap. Aside from clothing is cheap nic-nacs. There use to be antique stores that sold furniture that cost upwards of 10k per piece. Now you can't find any antiques. Maybe they're there, but we couldn't find them.

There is a store there selling estate items. In other words, jewelry pawned by previously local wealthy people. Most of it was gaudy but behind each piece we were sure was a sad story.

There was such a sense of desperation by the shopkeepers. "Where are you from?" was the attentive question asked to us in most stores. Some storekeepers latched onto us like parasites with bright eyed enthusiasm. We left realizing it was no longer the place we remembered, but also understanding it is a reflection of having gone post peak.

California got hit particularly hard by the downturn - where I am in the Mid-Atlantic, the downturn was much less noticeable, and life hasn't changed much at all. Sure some people saw a drop in business, but I know few people who got laid off.

I read stories about what it is like in places like Florida or California, but it is hard to put into any kind of context. I suspect that unless you go there and see it for yourself, it is hard to gain any kind of a real sense of what is really going on.

Perk, interesting observation about downtown Carmel, CA. I grew up in the area and know exactly what it used be like. Nothing but art galleries and shopping for upended noses.

Carmel-by-the-Sea residents would even name themselves Carmelites to set themselves apart from the greater Carmel residents (commoners).

Haven't been there myself in years, but there's zero economy if not for tourism. I'd imagine the Pebble Beach and second home on the water nouveau riche set may be in for some hard times. Difficult to off-load 10 mil. beach homes and Concours d'Elegance type cars when the economy starts it's slide to the abyss.

Used to be a great deli called the Mediterranean Deli, on the corner of ,I believe, Junipero and Ocean. Last time I was there it turned into a furniture shop. I suppose they're selling cheap t-shirt with Carmel logo on it now. "Look of desperation on the shopkeeper's eyes" sounds about right.

Not to be confused with these Carmelites... quite the opposite...

I wonder how many people here are picking up the pace of whatever preparations they have planned for The Transition?

Complacency slips in constantly when you live among people who are not at all aware of the disaster-in-progress.

Then we get a week or three with several "that will never happen" events...

Maybe windows of opportunity start closing sooner than we expected.

Sh!t outta luck happens - alot, to all of us all at the same time.

The behavior of many family, friends and neighbors becomes as unrecognizable as the future.

I wonder what will be on my "Shoulda, woulda, coulda" list.

I wonder what will be on my "Shoulda, woulda, coulda" list.

Our "oh, craaaaap!" purchase was an All-American brand pressure canner. Pricey, yes, but now we can put up low acid foods safely, and no gasket seal to worry about replacing. But I keep not-getting-around to ordering a few spare parts for it to have handy just in case- a spare pressure gage and so forth.

Excellent. I have a canner, but am now looking into the All American brand (I know very little about canning yet... so much to learn, so little time ;).

The one thing I have found to be helpful is to take an approach similar to Archruid blog this week, (paraphrase) " the easiest way to deal with a need or want is to stop needing or wanting it, if biologically possible." I think a lot of us start by trying to figure out how to maintain our current standard of living, and as a result we spend a lot of time trying to plan the impossible.

It is hard trying to determine your own Minimum Operating Level - and worse when you have a family to consider.

My "oh crap" purchase the coming week will be a solar pump system for our house well. Next up, another well with solar pump for irrigation of my "pasture-gone-wild" as a neighboring farmer calls it (I've let the brush etc go the past few year...".

Maybe a good rifle too... I was raised in a hunting family, maybe time to return to my roots so to speak ;)

Link up top: Organic farms 'produce less than HALF as much food as conventional ones'

I have been arguing that same point for years. Yet die-hard organic boosters have always insisted that organic farming can produce as much or more than farms that use chemical fertilizers. If we ever run out of chemical fertilizer then food and fiber production would drop by more than half.

The green revolution was built upon a base of petroleum and petroleum driven farm equipment. This is just another method by which fossil fuels have enabled the population to explode.

Ron P.

"The green revolution was built upon a base of petroleum... fossil fuels have enabled the population to explode."


Ron, we must have been typing at the same time (see below).

"Organic" farming was my last hope for somehow mitigating the worst effects of peak oil. That hope has been snatched away by rational analysis.

die-hard organic boosters have always insisted that organic farming can produce as much or more than farms that use chemical fertilizers. If we ever run out of chemical fertilizer then food and fiber production would drop by more than half.

I agree. And the sad thing is, it is so easy to check those outrageous claims. The U.S. census has been tracking farm acreage, production, population and so forth every ten years since 1790. It's a simple matter to look up the information and divide out non-animal feed acreage by population. For the years prior to widespread use of chemical fertilizers, you come up with an acres per person figure far higher than todays.

As oldfarmermac has mentioned more than once and I also have been puzzling over for quite awhile, phosphorus and potassium are real problematic nutrients. You always end up having to import them from somewhere, even in their 'organic' forms.

Strictly speaking, that's not a valid comparison, VT. To compare accurately you need to adjust for breed improvements, improved soil management, improved irrigation, and improved herbicides and pesticides in the years since synthetic fertilizers were adopted.

"Organic" farming these days is practised by people who care more about ideology than profit. It's reasonable to expect that organic-fertilizer farming could get as much as three-quarters of the productivity of synthetic-fertilizer farming -- with improved breeds, and retaining the use of synthetic pesticides and herbicides.

However, that's just a thought experiment. Long before fossil fuels decline to the point where we can't produce nitrogen fertilizer, or run irrigators, we will have been experiencing major, uh, "disturbances" in the cities. Per-acre productivity will be the least of our problems.

I agree about the P and K. This is an insidious problem that will appear out of nowhere for most people.

There is no "definitive" study and this one will not be the end all and be all over the organic vs conventional debate. In addition to the fact that there are many other factors to consider besides productivity in an area in England, it should also be pointed out that other researchers have reached different conclusions. Some might allege that these other researchers have axes to grind, but on the other hand I don't know enough about the researchers in this study to conclude ax grinding one way or another.

Anyway, here are some conclusions reached in 2006 by Pimental.

Organic farming systems significantly reduce the fossil energy inputs in production and also improve several aspects of agriculture’s environmental performance compared with conventional farming systems.

This SSR reports several key findings:

• Fossil energy inputs in organic corn production were 31 percent lower than conventional corn production, and the energy inputs for organic soybean production were 17 percent lower than conventional soybean production.
• No commercial nitrogen was used in the organic corn and soybean
production systems.
• No synthetic pesticides were used in the organic corn and soybean
production systems.
• Soil erosion was significantly reduced in the organic production
systems compared with the conventional production systems, thus
conserving nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
• Water resources were conserved in the organic production systems
compared with the conventional production systems.
• Corn and soybean organic farming system-yields during drought years
were 30 percent and 50 percent higher than the conventional corn and
soybean-yields, respectively.
• Soil organic matter in the organic farming systems was 54 percent
higher than in the conventional farming systems.
• The organic corn farming system collected 180 percent more solar
energy than the conventional corn farming system.
• The organic beef grass-fed system required 50 percent less fossil
energy than the conventional grain-fed beef system.

Obviously, one has to carefully read the whole report to pick up the nuances, but I think that some are too easily jumping on the organic is dead bandwagon here and should consider some other studies/authors before reaching conclusions. Some people here probably hate Pimental but that is another story.

Whether or not people choose to go conventional or organic, I think society as a whole should minimize all use of oil and natural gas so that what is left can be dribbled out to agriculture.

And then there is the whole debate about our industrialized corn and soy bean based system which opens up a whole nother can of worms, some of which have been killed by pesticides and fertilizers.

See my post below. Go back to the early history of the "organic" movement, and you'll find it is not about short-term yield, it is about long-term conservation of soil and its fertility. It doesn't particularly surprise or trouble me that "organic" underperforms non-organic methods today. The real question is what kind of yields you'll be getting centuries later. We are effectively "mining" our soils, and thus in danger of permanently and substantially reducing our carrying capacity. We can argue about whether or not we are already at overshoot, but population growth is not the only way to overshoot - carrying capacity degradation will do it too.

I understand what you are saying WNC but I think you miss the point. The point is that there is no way organic farming can support almost 7 billion people especially if you revert to non fossil fuel farming machinery. How much wheat can you harvest with a scythe? One farmer today can harvest what it took several hundred to harvest in the days before modern machinery.

Sure organic farming is far more sustainable than farming with chemical fertilizers and chemical pesticides and defoliants. But people crying that all will be okay after fossil fuel because organic farming can support just as many people are full of it.

In 2007, Iowa corn growers harvested an average of 182 bushels per acre.. Back on our farm in Alabama in the 40s and 50s we got nowhere near that yield, not even close. I understand what you are saying WNC but I think you miss the point. The point is that there is no way organic farming can support almost 7 billion people especially if you revert to non fossil fuel farming. The National average soybean yield is hovering around 40 bushels per acre.

Sure organic farming is far more sustainable than farming with chemical fertilizers and chemical pesticides and defoliants. But people crying that all will be okay after fossil fuel because organic farming can support just as many people are full of it.

The yields in 1950 were 37.0 bushels per acre for corn and 17.5 bushels per acre for soybeans. And that was using fertilizer. Imagine what it would have been if you were only using cow manure.

Sure, I agree, we are wearing the land out with the kind of farming we do today. That is the very point. Yes we are deep into overshoot largely because of fossil fuel farming. As I said earlier the green revolution rested on a fossil fuel foundation.

Ron P.

Edit: After thinking about it a bit, and remembering the days when we got 35 bushels per acre with then conventional farming and bag fertilizer, I simply do not believe one can get 182 bushels per acre with organic farming. No, not even half that. Such yields are possible only with hybrid seeds, massive amounts of liquid nitrogen fertilizer, (Urea) and Roundup weed control. Not just no, but hell no, it simply cannot be done with organic only farming.

The only method I can think of that would hold promise to sustainably sustain populations of the current and project sizes would be some sort of GMO algae with recycling of human wastes. Don't know long would it take to develop such a technology. Not sure it would be a good idea anyway, for a variety of reasons.

The point is that there is no way organic farming can support almost 7 billion people especially if you revert to non fossil fuel farming machinery. How much wheat can you harvest with a scythe?

You've went from no FF to a scythe and skipped the part where man can use small elecric motors.

A Sickle Bar rig can be run with 1 horse power.

Plenty of farm operations could be supported with wind power. Too bad the support infrastructure for the big wind turbines needs Fossil Fuels.

There have been many isolated incidents of very high yields with organic methods. However, on average, organic methods have produced lower yields -- about half sounds right -- compared with chemically-enhanced farming. Perhaps in the future, high-yield organic methods will produce much higher yields than the traditional farmers of the 19th century, but it would be a lot to expect that right out of the gate.

The "world" would be "fed" with organic farming primarily by way of vastly reduced meat consumption. You would eat the grain directly, instead of feeding the grain to cows and pigs.

This would at least work for the U.S. It might not cover the needs of the world in general, notably places like India or Bangladesh.

However, there is actually quite a lot of unused farmland in the U.S. and elsewhere in the "grain baskets" of the world such as Ukraine. So, there is potential to put more land into production.

A note on the article "Telling porkies: The big fat lie about doubling food production":

Consider the source: The Soil Association.

Its first President was Lady Eve Balfour, who believed that vital principles were found in manure....But the original inspiration for organic farming came from Rudolph Steiner, ... [who] believed that cosmic forces entered animals like cows or stags through their horns, and he developed the concept of ... "biodynamic cultivation," which involved planting according to the phases of the moon and nourishing the soil with cows' horns stuffed with entrails.

[T]he Soil Association ... regularly dismiss[es] scientific criticism by stressing the need to look beyond science to the spiritual or mystical dimensions.... The Director of The Soil Association, Patrick Holden, has dismissed the idea that the achievements of organic farming could or should be tested, because organic farming is "holistic, integrated and [represents] joined up thinking." The trouble with asking for scientifically-based measurements is that the organic, holistic approach is not "reductionist."

[Here comes the money quote.--MB] He (Holden) has deplored the "obsession with reductionist science...holistic science strays into territory where the current tools of understanding that are available to the scientific community are not sufficiently well developed to measure what is going on." [GOT THAT?]

Quote from The March of Unreason: Science, Democracy, and the New Fundamentalism, by Dick Taverne.

These are the people that are now pretending to lecture us that "all those claiming we need to double global food production by 2050, or 50% by 2030, are wrong about the figures, are wrong about what the figures apply to, and are wrong to claim that achieving these figures will mean we will feed the hungry or end starvation"??

I notice the article is linked through "Energy Bulletin," one of those sites I removed from my bookmarks long ago.

Mike - I think you are being a tad unfair. The Soil Association is a very well respected organisation in the UK, formed in 1946. It is true that the original founders where a bit 'eccentric' but over the years the Association has become very mainstream and well trusted.


The Soil Association is a very well respected organisation in the UK, formed in 1946.

You are right of course, but I wish they deserved that respect more these days. We have just ended our subscription after 27 years. Certainly, their principles and animal welfare would have prevented the disasters to UK agriculture of BSE 'mad cow' and recent(ish) Foot and Mouth disease epidemics, and they could have provided better answers to the excess ('success') of modern agriculture production here and in EU. But times change ... if you are going to need the acres for calories, you cannot use them for renewable N fixation (nitrogen fertilizer via clover or alfalfa/lucerne). Roughly 6M hectares of ploughable land suitable for arable in UK for 60M people. 10 persons per hectare, ~4 per acre. Pretty tight, even with modern cereals and NPK. Even after throwing everything at it in WWII we still needed to import 1/3 of our calories.

HAcland, the sentiments expressed are not mine but of a well-respected philosopher and Member of Parliament, Dick Taverne.

I don't believe in segregation. Farmers are farmers, and they all use methods that work for them in their particular situations.

"Organic" vs. "conventional" thinking needs to end.

Turning to the substance of the article, I see nothing controversial in what Soil and Health said.

We don't need to double food production if we are increasing population by two-sevenths. The "50% by 2030" applied only to meat. And there is no reason to think that doubling production would cause any change in the distribution of food.

Maldistribution, not scarcity, is the cause of malnourishment today, it has been since WWII, and it will continue as the cause of malnourishment, no matter how much we increase production.

Maldistribution, not scarcity, is the cause of malnourishment today, it has been since WWII, and it will continue as the cause of malnourishment, no matter how much we increase production.

"Maldistribution." Ya think?

This is a brilliant red herring that persists because it works.

"Distribution?" To whom, exactly? To one billion people, or to 6.8 billion?

Population increase IS the issue. Problems of distribution, or scarcity, or environmental impact, or quality, whatever the hell you want to call them, only INCREASE along with the number of people.

I'll try to put it in simple terms. Distribution is the pattern of allocation, not just an action of handing stuff out. Think of statistical distributions, not a soup kitchen. "Maldistribution" is a pattern of allocation that produces outcomes that we think of as bad.

People eat only every other day because they don't have the money to buy enough food. And, at the same time, other people have more than enough of both food and money.

It's that simple. At the extreme, people who have no money die of starvation.

Read some accounts of recent famines. You will read of food sitting in warehouses a few tens of miles away from where people are dying of starvation every day, and eating grass roots and mud. The food exists -- production is not the problem. People cannot buy the food. That is a distribution problem.

Changing the amount of food produced will not change who has the money to buy it, and who does not.

Nor will changing the population. I have some sympathy for the view that old white men seize on overpopulation as the cause of our problems because it is the one thing for which they cannot be blamed. It is a sad rationale and easily disproved when you look at consumption.

The reality is that 12 billion people with the income of a western Chinese peasant would have a smaller impact on the world's resources than 2 billion mikeBs and gregvps.

Population increase is not the issue. Globally, population is expected to stop increasing all by itself in about forty years.

The cause of our problem is that we are trying to solve a distribution problem (helping the poor overcome scarcity) by simply increasing production (economic growth). It can not work. It leads to accelerating resource depletion, which is going to make things worse for everybody. We need to change how we produce things, and change how they are allocated. No, I am not advocating communism or whatever your bogeyman is. There are no simple answers -- or if there are, no one's thought of them yet.

Globally, population is expected to stop increasing all by itself in about forty years.

Really? And why will the population stop growing? Nothing happens without a reason, what will be that reason.

Not that I don't believe the population will stop growing, it will because it must. But it will stop for a reason. The population will stop growing in the human population because of the General Adaptive Syndrome.

We need to change how we produce things, and change how they are allocated. No, I am not advocating communism or whatever your bogeyman is. There are no simple answers -- or if there are, no one's thought of them yet.

Okay, so we need to change how we allocate food but if you have any idea how that can be done you are keeping it a secret. The truth is we would have to give food away to those who cannot afford it if we were to feed everyone. Or, we could do what we did in Haiti, sell food at way, way below the market price. That would put local farmers out of business just exactly as it did in Haiti.

If you give food away you will increase the number of people standing in line to get free food. You get what you reward for. You got one thing right, there are no simple answers. In fact as far as overshoot goes, there are no answers, simple or otherwise.

Ron P.

Nothing is simple about farming, the devil is in the details.

What can be demonstrated on a research farm , well, can be demonstrated on a research farm.

The first principle one must remember in evaluating the organic versus conventional system is that you must see all the data, not just the results as published by the in house cheerleading squad..

I have no examined the Rodale data personally, and am not interested in doing so.I have visited several organic operations, and I can say with certainty that in every case the pr is more impressive than the reality.

Yes , they are not using bagged NPK from the local southern states COOP.But they are using something equally or more expensive , such as bone and blood meal , and in potentially even greater danger of running short.They import stable bedding from a nearby conventional farm.Or they haul leaves from town, or use whatever else can be found.

They still spray and till and plow-they just use a different collection of somewhat more " natural" chemicals in thier sprayers.In most cases they are using hybrid seed.

They are still connected to the grid, and irrigate with diesel or with coal fired electricity, and box and bag thier produce in throwaway bags and paper cartons for the most part.They burn ng to dry thier crops, and diesel to deliver to market.When everything is accounted for, the footprint of the organic grower is not that much smaller than the footprint of a comparable conventional grower.

The laws of chemistry and physics still apply.Phosphorus that leaves the farm must be replaced.Potassium that leaves the farm must be replaced.

Most of what the nonfarming public hears about organic farming and accepts as something new and marvelous is simply recycled and repackaged bau from my ancestors days..Most of what the organic grower does which is commendable is also done by small scale conventional growers as well.

I mulch, I use such manure as I can obtain,I maintain good ground cover,I rotate crops, I use legumes for part of my needed nitrogen, and so forth.
I am willing to hazard a guess that the organic matter content of my garden soils is comparable to an organic growers, and that I will do just as well in a dry year, everything else equal..

I use some biological controls, and except for a early spring oil spray (the same one used by the oh so holy organic orchardists) and a petal fall spray , I do not spray on a schedule, but rather when I have an outbreak.

I use herbicides very sparingly indeed , for example to kill poison ivy or to maintain a foot or two of clear ground in a spot where it really helps, such as around the walls of a shed.We use a tractor mounted sickle bar mower and a hand scythe to keep the grass under control in the orchards, although I am sorely tempted to spray under the trees.

None of these things are unusual;most of my nieghbors do the same more or less.Of course we are not raising a thousand acres of corn or wheat either;the criticisms leveled against the big boys are well deserved in most cases.

But because we source some of our nutrients differently, and use different pesticides-NOT necessarily MORE pesticides-we don't get to wear the organic halo.

Organic growers almost certainly lose a greater percentage of thier crops in the field to various pests or diseases.

Now there can be no doubt whatsoever that bau agriculture is unsustainable over the long term.

But it is also true that that the general trend is toward lower inputs in the form of fuel , fertilizer, and pesticides per unit of output.There can be no doubt that the pesticides used today are safer for the environment that the ones I grew up using.

Fertilizers are very expensive, and as they become even more so, runoff, which equals a pure waste of money will be mostly eliminated if not by costs then by regulation.

Organic operators generally survive because they can get a price premuim which may be justified on environmental grounds.This price premuium is not justified on the basis of nutrition or purity of the food.The public health authorites have repeatedly stated that allowable trace levels of pesticides are not statistically a health risk.

If an organic strawberry tastes better , it is quite safe to assume that since the grower got a lot more money for it, he could use a better tasting but lower yielding variety, and harvest closer to the flavor peak.No body has ever been able to tell one of my conventionally raised apples or peaches from an organic one in an actual bite one, bite the other trial.Certainly some of my apples taste better than others;that's because they grew under different conditions of sun and shade and water, or because they are different varieties that look the same outwardly..

Conventional agriculture is changing all the time, and mostly for the better,and it is changing in the DIRECTION of organics.I have taken a few tricks away and put them to use on our place as a result of talking to organic growers.

But mostly they are doing what my grandparents and great grandparenmts did routinely as a matter of necessity.The old is new again.

Conventional yields are MUCH higher in the real world, where the average guy raising a crop simply cannot put his hands on enough acreage, manure, grass clippings , and blood meal to get the job done.For the time being at least the coop will still send out the fertilizer truck.

To do this subject justice would require a very long book.

The reader is advised to take any and all claims of marvelous new methods and amazing results in ANY field with a generous grain of salt.

Organic growers deserve a lot of credit for moving the art and science forward, but they are not necessarily in possession of all the answers.

You've said it better than just about anyone I've read!

There is nothing wrong per se with methods that have been sanctified "organic" by the ideologues: It's their claims that are messed up.

If people would just shut up about the supposed virtues of "organic" produce--it's "safer, better-tasting, and more nutritious--there would be no controversy. The implications of these claims by the ideologues are harmful: they imply that other produce is not safe, is bad-tasting, and is deficient in nutrients.

People should farm the way they see fit, as you do, ofm, and there wouldn't bet his in-group/out-group problem.

We actually changed very little when we jumped ship and stopped calling ourselves "organic." I still mulch, make tons of compost, hand-dig as well as roto-till, but I no longer guilt-trip about occasional pesticides use, and I've been known to throw down a few handfuls of fertilizer here and there.

Now if people ask if we're "organic," we say, "Sure, we're carbon-based!"

"Distribution?" To whom, exactly? To one billion people, or to 6.8 billion?

Distribution, to 6.8billion cows so that the richest 1billion can eat meat!

HAcland, the sentiments expressed are not mine but of a well-respected philosopher and Member of Parliament, Dick Taverne.

Minor quibble but he is actually a life peer, sitting in the House of Lords, not the Commons, and thus is not a Member of Parliament.

(we have enough confusion right now in the Commons and we don't need to parachute in any more Lib Dems from 'The Other Place' ! ;)

I have an analysis of something like 3 years of continuous hourly wind measurements (courtesy of LenGould) up at my blog:

All I can say is that wind is entirely predictable in its unpredictability. In other words, if you only know an average wind speed, you can calculate the long term probability of any other wind speed occurring.

I need 200kWh next Thursday, can you guarantee delivery?

Any energy system where you can't say "Yes!" is not going to be a primary energy delivery system.

I need 200kWh next Thursday, can you guarantee delivery?

Any energy system where you can't say "Yes!" is not going to be a primary energy delivery system.

Well then you will just have to reschedule what ever it is that you want to do with your 200,000 Watts supplied over one hour until the 200,000 Watts are available.

A bit like a hungry whippet has to wait until her master gets around to opening a sachet of Pedigree's finest rabbit and tripe. Often she is fed on time but there are occasions when she has had to wait over night until I returned from 'hunting' in the monetary world and 'shopping' at the pet-food shop. No harm done; whippets can go for days with out rabbit and tripe, albeit they prefer not to, and I suspect we can structure our society to do without all those watts until we can actually have them if we so chose. Business As Usual? Nope. Humans and Whippets survival.. I reckon.

You misunderstood what I said by wind being predictable in its unpredictability.

Compare it to rainfall which is predictable in its unpredictability in a completely different way.
Yet we rely on rainfall to do all of our farming !

It seems that we can reconcile these distinctions w/o much difference. It will just take some imagination.

Re: Slouching towards neofeudalism, up top.

Love it. Describes the American situation exactly. Thanks Leanan for posting it.

Gulf of Mexico oil leak response hampered by frozen crystals clogging containment box

Frozen hydrates have blocked the pipe opening atop the massive containment structure that crews lowered over the Gulf of Mexico oil leak in deep, cold water, temporarily rendering the dome unusable, said Doug Suttles, chief operating officer of BP, at a news conference this afternoon.

The four-story, 78-ton box is now sitting on the sea floor to the side of the oil gushing from an uncontrolled well while crews try to devise solutions to the problem, he said. The setback could take at least two days to resolve.

They were kind of expecting that. They're pumping warm water and some kind of chemical along the pipe to keep hydrates from forming. But I guess that doesn't help for the box itself.

My understanding is that they wouldn't have had the warm water down there until they had a chance to hook up the pipes - initially they would just set the thing down on top of the leak, and let the oil continue to flow out the top. They would connect the pipes a day or so later..

It is a shame that the ROVs don't have a toilet plunger in their toolset :-).

I'm am neither a scientist not engineer, but if this containment box idea fails, which seems to be a good possibility now, the public relations outcome will be not be pleasant - to say the least. Not to metion the size of the oil spill now seems large enough that many ships and tankers would now have to move through at least some oil to get to port.

In the public's eye, the situation is not unlike Thursday's cimputer driven Wall Street meltdown. You don't need a Phd to realize something is wrong here, and it is hurting the average person. BTW - even after having worked in a major Wall Street trading room, I am all for reforms that will diminsh the power of computer trading and breaking up large Wall Street firms before they become to big to fail again.

We have pushed complexity too far; more complexity is actually creating problems instead of solving them.

if this containment box idea fails, which seems to be a good possibility now,

Looks like it is failing right now. I am so disappointed. I live in Pensacola and am dreading the oil on our beaches. I sure hope they can melt the hydrates.

Ron P.

Unfortunately the latest NOAA forecast for the oil spill shows it growing and reaching many areas along the Gulf Coast by Monday.


In addition, it will be moving past the Louisiana Offshore Port and into busy Port Forchon.


My guess is that shipping and tanker operations would not be disrupted much by Monday, but maybe not long afterward.

Does anyone know how long it would take to clean oil off a oil tanker? And how many tankers can be cleaned in one port at at one time?

It does make one wonder just a bit: If it is that quick and easy to accumulate methane hydrates, are we maybe underestimating the future potential for these as an energy resource?

isn't it that the methane hydrates are there because of the burst oil pipe? I'm guessing you can't just lower a few tonnes of metal a mile deep into the ocean and hey presto, there be hydrates...

The hydrates formed when the methane in the mud escaped. One could plow the ocean bottom and get hydrates. You might get enough enough from one acre of ocean bottom to heat one home for one month. Not likely to get an EROEI of above one and it would be an ecological disaster.

Ron P.

Regarding the article "up top"

Organic farms 'produce less than HALF as much food as conventional ones'

If what the article says is true, it is a concern. But it is not the whole story.

There is a second problem as well, in planning for future food production. Organic farms are still quite dependent on our current oil-based approach to food production and transport, and often use irrigation as well, even if they don't use chemical fertilizers and pest control. If we had to do the same steps without oil, I expect organic production would plunge a lot more. The impact of the use of oil doesn't show up in the organic /non-organic comparison.

That's a very good point. I never really know what exactly is meant by "organic farm," and to what degree they depend on BAU.

Whether or not organic farming will be "enough" to get by on will likely depend on the conditions at each specific locale (population vs avaiable land and farming experience), and the amount of time each locale has available for preparation/transition.

And how is it that conventional farming will be "enough" to get by in a fossil fuel starved future? Nothing will be enough to get by, if by get by we are referring to the current standard of living.

I didn't intend to imply conventional farming is the answer, and I agree with you that there simply will not be 'enough" at some point.

I was just making the point that in some areas "organic farming" (w/o fossil fuel inputs) might work well inspite of the lesser yields - that it might be "enough" for some places to get by and/or even prosper.

But it is not likely to be enough for many other places (depends on local environment, population pressures, etc). For many places it might not be enough for current standards of living, and maybe not even enough for much lower standards of living...

There is a second problem as well, in planning for future food production. Organic farms are still quite dependent on our current oil-based approach to food production and transport, and often use irrigation as well, even if they don't use chemical fertilizers and pest control. If we had to do the same steps without oil, I expect organic production would plunge a lot more. The impact of the use of oil doesn't show up in the organic /non-organic comparison.

Gail, I could write a book about this (not literally, of course). I have five years experience working at an "organic" farm. I happen to love the place and the people I work with and for--plus it's LOCAL, which means a lot to me--but I am APPALLED by how much fuel I use to turn compost, haul compost and soil and sand and gravel, to till and mow and lay plastic, to cut trees and run chippers, etc. etc.

I'm also appalled by the sheer LABOR that goes into the place. Most of the actual man-hours of work is performed by VOLUNTEERS.

If the price of oil gets too high, you can kiss organic farming goodbye.

In all seriousness, what else are we going to do with tens of millions of unemployed people?

We will remain in the machine age for decades still, likely to the end of this century, using fossil fuels in decreasing amounts and only where the concentrated power is truly needed.

But as the economy contracts we will have boatloads of unemployed and many jobs performed by machine will revert back to people.

Organic does not equal intelligent. Nor does it equal sustainable. What you describe above is foolish beyond belief, imo, and doesn't deserve the name. If you want to talk about organic, you are wasting your breath if you are not also talking sustainable. Most organic does not appear to be sustainable. Check out the permaculture design philosophy if you want a sense of what "organic" might really look like.

Besides, you are seeming to forget that even now we need jobs for 20 - 30% of people. Growing food is a good use of idle hands.


Yes, as long as YOU get to define what "organic" is, you can rail all you want and say "it doesn't deserve the name," etc.

The farm I work at is CERTIFIED and has been for fifteen years. I don't give a damn about that. I work there because it's local and because it's a good summer job. The certification agency can go suck eggs for all I care.

NO farming method is "sustainable." That is a bloody lie. All farming does is grow populations. It does this by taking over land and drawing down resources. We're screwed, no matter what.

Farming is a practice of biocide. A species wide ethnic cleansing of the enviroment, where a few species colonize and exterminate the rest.
It is not sustainable.

There's a reason Jared Diamond calls agriculture The Worst Mistake In the History of the Human Race.

Unfortunately, we're locked into it now.

My entire, large farm is "organic." Yeah its labor intensive and hard work, farming IS labor intensive and hard work howsoever it is done. If the price of oil climbs fertilizers and pesticides will sky rocket, so us natural farmers may be ahead of the game. I am amazed at the attitude of some TOD'ers on organic farming. Those of us doing our damdest to grow food without the use of pertroleum based chemicals etc. I would have thought would glean a litle support here. Seems extrodinarily hypocritical to me, and baffling.

I am amazed at the attitude of some TOD'ers on organic farming.

I don't think TOD'ers (or in fact many people) are anti organic farming per se (how could a reasonable person so be?). I think there is an adverse reaction to the notion that organic farming is offering (or will offer) an alternative to current FF-based agribusiness in any meaningful quantities, and therefore they are disputing research findings that imply such claims.

I also suspect a lot of TOD'ers believe they have good BS detectors, and therefore react adversely to any hippie oogoo-boogoo mysticism that is sprouted, in terms of organic farming - especially in the face of a really large (and continually hungry) human population, now, and over the next few decades.

I think there is an adverse reaction to the notion that organic farming is offering (or will offer) an alternative to current FF-based agribusiness in any meaningful quantities, and therefore they are disputing research findings that imply such claims.

Actually, my skepticism comes from a couple of decades of experience and a whole lot of reading.

I notice you dichotomize the argument: you imply that one is either pro-"organic" or "pro-FF-based agribusiness."

I'm neither. I'm simply pro-local.

Those of us doing our damdest to grow food without the use of pertroleum based chemicals etc.

What, no plastic? No liquid fuels? No electricity?

I don't believe you.

mikeB, there is a new generation of mains or solar powered production systems coming that will reduce fuel and labour inputs on small intensive horticultural farms check it out here. http://www.heavyequipmentforums.com/Forum/showthread.php?p=232186#post23...

One thing is for sure. Organic agriculture existed well before the age of oil and chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides use a lot of fossil fuels.

Localization doesn't have to mean organic but tends to be. And many who choose to grow as much as possible in their garden or in community gardens also use organic methods.

The main impact of decreased oil and natural gas will be on industrialized agriculture, whether or not organic. Organic agriculture, at least on the small scale level, tends to be more labor intensive.

I don't know if, in the short run, organic agriculture will suffer from decreased oil, but regardless, conventional agriculture will suffer as well.

In the long run, I suspect agriculture will be a lot more local and a lot more organic. Whether or not, this means we can't feed the world, it is going to happen, albeit with perhaps a much decreased world population.

I lived in South Korea during the late 60s and observed the weekly emptying of the honey pots and the subsequent spreading of same on the fields. Maybe it wasn't as productive as chemical, conventional farming, but at least it was a fairly closed loop and was labor as opposed to machine and fossil fuel intensive.

In planning for future food production, are you planning on an abundance of fossil fuels, including oil. Of course not. So I hardly see how conventional, chemical farming is going to be advantageous over the long haul.

And we haven't even gotten into the negative externalities of fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides, not to mention the impact on worker safety. There may also be some benefits of organic agriculture with respect to the health of the soil and its ability to sequester carbon.

Different studies seem to get different results, so we shall see.

Phosphorous shortages , of course, could turn out to be the limiting nutrient, and cause a major problem before the major impacts of peak oil take effect. And, of course, they are related because it takes fossil fuels to do mining.

What people really need to look at: what approach will preserve soil fertility the longest? (Or "sustainably", given any reasonable definition of that term.)

Yes, you can "mine" the soil for a short time and with enough inputs probably achieve amazing yields. All the way up until the soil has blown or washed away, or the inputs are exhausted.

On the other hand, traditional Eash Asian agriculture (which is pretty much the same thing as modern "organic" methods) sustained their societies for 4000 years, according to King's Farmers of Forty Centuries, and given a stable, non-overshoot population could probably have continued to do so indefinitely.

But most of these were in river valleys, that flooded on a yearly basis, replenishing the soil.
It is much harder, and brings different results without this natural replenishing.

When we talk about "organic" there are many definitions to be considered. Each person has their own lexicon. Without NPK in great abundance the question would be; can typical corporate argiculture (or commercial organic) be able to feed the as many people as they do now? Of course not. Now our little organic garden will press on doing quite well without imported NPK because humus and local manuere will do fine though there is a lot of sweat equity involved. There is no way to feed the world this way but we can feed a few on a rather restricted diet of bunnies, chicken, veggies, and some mscl grains. The solar grinder can make flower. We will work on yeast and other necessities. Our efforts will not provide everything we need, we know that, but it will hopefully keep us a bit ahead come dieoff time.

We live in the high desert so not very many will stick around here without a lot of prep and forthought.

Each person here needs to think about what they (and family) may need to live.

Any estimates on when the dieoff begins? My guess is that is past my expiration date. But who knows? I certainly don't.

The key will be what combination of practices will make sense for those on the edge. I am not currently on the edge. So that probably colors my thinking. Long term economics and farming practices will be different than short terms economics and practices.

Russia has been having a slow motion dieoff since the 1990s. Even if due to alcoholism and birth control rather than due to starvation, it is the same thing, what happens to a population when they give up hope. North Korea has been having famines for at least as long. But who knows what the population history of North Korea is? Zimbabwe would be dying off, except people have been flooding into South Africa rather than dying in place.

So the question would be, how major and how widespread does population reduction have to be to count as dieoff? Does it have to be a global population reduction?

One theory is that population with follow oil with about a 20 year lag. My guess is that world population will continue to grow for the rest of this decade, even as the economy shrinks. The 2020s will see a population plateau, with more and more people living in misery. By 2030, the world population will begin a relentless decline, probably for the remainder of the century.

Jay Hanson has said that most people born after 1960 will eventually die due to violence, starvation, or infectious disease. I agree with that. Living into extreme old age, 80+, will become very uncommon again, reserved for the unusually fortunate.

Personally, I would like to live to be aged 65 if I can, and then re-evaluate what the world is like at that point.

The population of Japan went down by 75,000 last year, 30,000 the year before that and 10,000 the year before that. SO it is already in decline. Why??? No one can afford a baby! Food prices are THROUGH THE ROOF!! Gasoline is about $5 a gallon (140 yen/liter) It makes a difference!!


I hope you see this;I always read your comments with great interest as we get very few comments from Japan, and yours are always relevant.

Would you please write a long comment about the social safety nets and day to day living expenses including taxes, as things stand today in japan?

The more women are educated and given social power the lower the population growth will be. It's very simple, because women are quite practical and bearing children is not an easy task. It's dangerous, can maim the women, and painful.

So, I'm thinking that as we get more communications throughout the world, and more women realize that they should have rights, in spite of what many religions and society/cultures tell them, population growth will really slow and start going in reverse.

I'm hoping it will happen before we run out of the fossil fuels, lowering demand and giving us a chance to really get going on the sustainable alternative energy generation sources.