We Have Much Work to Do, People...

A couple of interesting things emerged in the comment thread of the previous post. You might have seen us play with blogpulse in past posts. Well now, google has a new tool (posted by stiffpicken and expanded on by Mike A) that looks at trends in google searches. Here's a link to the 'peak oil' search, and here's a link to the 'peak oil' versus 'gas prices' search. Click around between the two, and you will notice a few things.

Stiffpicken says rightly: "I punched in "peak oil" ... search volume appears to have hit its own plateau but news volume is on the rise." Then Mike A notices: "What is really SOBERING though, is to compare search and news volumes between 'peak oil' and 'gas prices'. 'Peak oil' hardly shows a blip compared to 'gas prices', which implies to me that most people are still not making the connection. [...] Again, check the distribution of languages - in English 'gas prices' have far, far more results, but the Europeans seem to "get it", with 'peak oil' having more responses in Swedish, Finnish, Dutch & German (in that volume order)."

Then I was playing around and made a couple more observations: 1) Portland seems to be the most peak aware city via google, followed by Austin and Seattle. 2) BUT, even more interestingly, look at the regions tab. New Zealand and Australia have more raw numbers of people (i.e., not percentages folks) searching for "peak oil" than in the United States! What's the population proportion between the US and those two countries? 20m-ish for Australia and 4m-ish for New Zealand, compared to 300m-ish for the US!

We have much work to do in the US folks. Much much work. And good on you New Zealand and Oz!


I seriously doubt that "peak oil", at least as the term is understood by the majority of folks on this board will NEVER get into mainstream American consciousness.

It will be "gas prices are high, let's go get (insert scapegoat here)." It was that way at $2 per gallon, it's still that way at $3 per gallon and I strongly suspect it will be that way at $6 and $9 per gallon.

There will still be enough of a niche that sites like TOD, FTW, LATOC, PO.com, etc enjoy healthy streams of traffic but I doubt it will ever be in the mainstream consciousness the way gas prices or even gay marriage is.

PG, you have to ask yourself, "do I really want people to understand what is going on?" I don't know what your personal "plan" is or if you even have one outlined yet but I'm going to go out on a limb and assumme that plan would be severely impinged upon by either the loss of your job or a serious drop in salary.

If people understood what is happening, you can pretty much kiss the social sciences at the universtiy level goodbye. Those disciplines (and college level ed. in general) will be severely contracting, which would put you in a not-very favorable position.

That's just an example. Most of us are similarly situated and are thus probably better off with this issue remaining somewhat on the fringe.  Sorry, but it's true.



One quick example: what do you think would happend to everything from the price of hybrid cars to the price of solar panels to the price of arable farmland to the price of gold if the number of peak oil aware people/institutions quadrupled in the next few months?

Is that something the average reader of TOD can personbally afford to see happen?



That would be an interesting bind, wouldn't it. It would be fantastically good for society as a whole, but bad for us here individually. Does that make us hypocrites to a degree?
Depends.  I've got a 100 acres in Maine and a good amount of Gold ETF shares.  Of course at some point the market oscillates beyond its tolerances and explodes.  Hopefully I get lucky with market timing one more time and sink it into some more land.
I'm not so sure it would be fantastic for society as widespread awareness of the permanence of this crisis could trigger a self-perpetuating panic. How many of us have endured some degree of panic upon realizing the nature of our predicament? Imagine if that became widespread. Market crash, hoarding, shortages etc, . . . I think would ensue.

It does put us, particularly those of us who make a living from these issues, in a weird position though. On the one hand a little bit of awareness is great as it generates more traffic, more revenue, book/dvd sales, etc.

But a lot of awareness might push things towards the panic stage in which case people such as myself are likely as screwed as anybody.



Not that I'm an NRA nut or anything, but I'm planning to take some shooting lessons and buy a rifle.  It sounds apocolyptic, but living in Washington, DC as I do, I want to be ready.  Sure, it's possible to think that the Feds will keep order, it being the Capitol and all, but I'm not sure I buy it.  New Orleans was a good reminder of how thin the veneer really is.

I've probably been Amazon's best customer over the last few months.  First I read up on Peak Oil.  Now I'm ordering books on all kinds of subjects from canning and food storage to permaculture and hay bale home construction.  The combination of Peak Oil and a soon-to-be-worthless dollar makes me want to get the info I need before I can't.

I'll tell you what will happen to me - I'll be in deep existential thought wondering "do I even want to live in this brave new world?" at which point I will be shot when not looking.
Yea, so that definently gets an award for the darkest humor ever.  Don't worry, that sounds like me too.

Here's your gold star.

Considering what you chose as your namesake....
I wouldn't read much into that.  I've used this sobriquet online for about 6 or 7 years now, when I was first reading the Ender's Game series, and it sounded neat and unusual, and it was generally an unregistered name.  I've noticed more recently, however, that the competition for this name is increasing.  I think there could perhaps be a Bizzaro Descolada somewhere out there. =D

Although, I will admit that there is definently at least a dash of darkness in it.

Sites like this stoke my fear and at the same time serve as an outlet for it. Thus dark comments like the one I made. Although I would call it "gallows humor" instead of dark humor.
Mainer, please consider checking the various gun threads at the peakoil.com forums before you go buying any guns.  You may also want to take Deffeyes advice and buy gold or silver coins instead, and in addition to your ETF.  At least then if things don't turn out so bad, you made a good investment.
you are, of course, correct.  demand for those things will go up the more people become aware.  I am simply stunned at the proportions at the country level though.  It makes for a whole new perspective on this.

I guess the reason I see our sites as being vital is that they aggregate brain/thought power on the subject in a collective; they facilitate learning and thinking.  

Perhaps it is a naive goal, but it has always seemed to me that, if we can get all the smart people to come together in an energized manner, we can make the kinds of change we need to soften the landing enough happen.

I know you and I don't agree on that possibility.  I don't even think it's a likelihood.  However, I have felt from the very beginning that a try was in order.

Still, I do agree with you that every second that passes without change and awareness, you're more likely to be right.

That's right, save the intelligentsia.

That's how I felt the first year. If I remember correctly, you got "peak oil bitchslapped" a little more than a year and a half ago, correct?

My bet is another 6-to-9 months and you'll be in the Jay Hanson brigade with me and TheLastSasquatch.  



yeah, about a year and a half.  
there's nothing quite like your first peak oil bitchslap.
seeing as this is an empirical question, let's see how we are in nine months, eh?
(if it's anything like those winning peak oil scenarios over at beyondpeak.org, we're foooked.)
"There's nothing like your first peak oil bitchslap."

Right you are.  Last year, at my spouse's suggestion, I did a few sessions with a psychologist to work through my own post-bitchslap depression.  The shrink knew, of course, nothing about the peak oil concept, but after a half-dozen sessions I felt I had him pretty well educated.  At our last visit, I suggested he do some marketing in this soon-to-be-booming niche.  Could be a strong growth sector for psychologists!

Did you charge a good fee for the education given? Or did he?

But I agree, there is a growing demand for healing...

There seems to be a common theme here.
My spouse also recommended that I need to see a shrink.
The Tree of Knowledge is a depressing thing, especially once you grasp the visceral impacts of peak oil and rapid climate change.

Lately, I've been catching my once-doubting spouse start to mention the "oil problem" to her friends every now and then. Something has penetrated. We may have a miracle conversion in the making here. Maybe it's the current gasoline prices and the dawning realization that we can't keep going this way. But something is penetrating.

Maybe I won't need to see a shrink after all.
Maybe I'm not the one who is "crazy".
Maybe I'm depressingly sane.

Maybe life is just a bitchslap.

Be careful if you get your spouse agree with you.  My wife and I are right in step on these issues, as well as our concerns about the political and economic situation.  I consider it a great advantage, as we can work together in preparations, BUT.... it does tend to feed on itself!  We have to work to keep from getting too far out.  Or maybe we shouldn't. Or....hell, I don't know!

Always a battle between what you think you see coming, and what actions you take in response.  As we've all said before, there are big risks in both under and over reacting.

I can very much relate to the issue of how strongly to react/prepare for the coming problems.  I think "Bitchsplap" is a potent way to describe the disorietation-like quality I felt after reading Kuntsler's book and my subsequent web research. Life is made all the stranger by the apparent blissful ignorance of the vast majority of even the well-educated public.  Even the gas price spike has only resulted in the usual out-pouring of reassurance from the CERA's that all is well, and David Brooks today in the NYT assures us that the "Smartest People" in both the Republican and Democratic parties are setting a tone to "NOT WORRY, BE HAPPY".  Indeed, if PO is here or at the door WE ARE COMPLTETELY F**KED.
A feeling of "disorientation", my comments:

Everything from one's notion of right and wrong, their model of the world, their idea of the future, their own identity, etc. is shaped by what I call their "tribal affliations."

In the environment in which we evoloved, your tribal affliations were incredibly important to your survival. Thus the human brain evolved to delete, deny, or downplay anything that threatend them.

Here in the states, most of are affliated with the "technology and progress is good, the future will be better than the present" tribe.

The feeling of "disorientation" results from having your tribal affliations threatened, more so than being nervous about your future economic prospects.



Regarding "tribal affiliation,"

I think this is compounded when you have a family to consider.  I certainly want my kids' futures to be as good as or better than the current state, so the notion that there may/will be a major economic/societal/political reversal is a practically inescapable depressant.  Other future-shaping Big Issues like GW compound this.

My shrink was mildly helpful, but the thing that put real closure to my "depression phase" was my decision to do everything I could to prepare my family.  These include a range of things-- stuff like buy a hybrid; bike & walk whenever possible; join a local farm's CSA; educate the kids on food, gardening, reuse/renew/recycle, and where things come from; get in good physical and mental shape.  Many other things too, but none of them rocket science-- this is really all just common sense.  It's a lifestyle adjustment that feels good, and as I've said before I haven't made any changes that I would regret even if the S doesn't HTF.

Also, my attitude toward many things has of course shifted.  What once seemed normal now seems absurd.  This is sometimes a source of tension with the spouse, but I try to be as patient as possible.

Is this a break from the "tribal affiliation," as you call it?  Maybe.  I think it probably is and will be a pretty common path for a lot of people.

I have come to the belief that depression is your body's signal that whatever you are doing is not likely to maximize your chances of survival/personal EROEI.

In my experience, most people report that action is the antedote to their peak oil related depression. This gels with my belief that happiness/joy is evolution's carrot. Fear exists to keep you safe when you're threatened. Depression exists to shut you down when you're wasting your energy/time. Happiness exists to get you moving in the correct direction.

When the "genetic-subconscious axis" senses that you are doing something that will improve your chances of survival/personal EROEI, it releases the dopamine to get you to do it again.



"Here in the states, most of are affliated with the "technology and progress is good, the future will be better than the present" tribe."

Which, of course, is not a tribe or anything like one. I agree  that tribal affiliation is now and will increasingly be of great importance. Race is like spades (the suit) in spades (the card game): always trump. The fundamental lie of 20th century liberal thought was that race is unreal or unimportant. If you believe this lie, actually believe it (as opposed to bullying or lying to other people to make them act as though it were true), then it isn't hard to guess which race you in fact belong to. Wake up, ma cherie sheeple.

Certainly - I belong to the human race.  Which one do you belong to?
I come from perhaps the second most ethnically and culturally homogenous country in the world, where 99% of people of are white and not very economically diversified either. It's OK, but sucks in many respects compared to living in the SF Bay Area with its fantastic diversity of people.

I believe race should be unimportant and that it's unfortunate that it still has the weight it does. There is hope, since it's a cultural construct (we don't talk about the Irish Race so much nowadays, do we?)

So, which race do I "in fact belong to"?


Your words hit so true on the mark.
I had to "drive" one of my kids to the doctor this morning and then had to "drive" to the pharmacy to pick the quickly needed medicine. Without aid of a car, my kid would be up infection canal without a paddle.

While driving, I observed store after store on the avenue devoted to our car-centered tribal way of life: Joe's Auto Body Fixit Shop, Roy's Drive-through Restaurant, Guss's Gas Station, and so on. Meanwhile all around me, other folk were hurrying inside their personalized transport robots going from here to there while yakking on their cell phones (we can do that in California). There were dozens of delivery trucks and service trucks whizzing back and forth. My gosh what would all these people do if the gasoline stopped flowing tomorrow? I think 99% of them are oblivious to the impending disaster.

But my main point is this. The Doctor's livelihood depends on my driving to his office. The pharamacist's livelihood depends on my driving to his store and also on the delivery trucks bringing in fresh stock every week. Pretty much every service person we depend on and every retailer we depend on has a counterpart dependance on us, the customers being able to get to them  by car and for fresh supplies to be trucked to them.

The next time you are driving down Main Street, think about how every business on that boulevard depends on the automobile for bringing customers and supplies to them. It's a shocker. We are fish swimming in an ocean of fossil fuel dependency to the point where we cannot see it any quicker than a real fish sees the water.

(And of course what good would all those billboard ads be if no one is driving by to look at them? Just some random thoughts from the boulevard.)

Mat, I can recognize that you are familiar with evolutionary psychology as am I and professionally so (I am a psychiatrist at an academic medical center).  I agree with you in the sense that the disorientation I experienced was related to my basic investment in a social frame (most clearly a tribal context for our ancestors)is now under major threat.  However, I am pretty well trained to be self aware and make a minimal use of simple avoidance, denial, etc.  So, am aware of ongoing disconnects between present life context and possibly rapidly approaching future conditions.  For ancestors this would have been time to migrate or splt the tribe (or at least consider it).  
Doctor Dave,

In your professional opinion, do you think Peak Oil can lead to families splitting up (i.e divorces) as one spouse goes permaculture route and the other toward high tech solutions?

Yes, it would make sense that such splits would be likely to occur.  I think divorces are typically precipitated by fundamental differences in values, expectations and approaches to life problems and certainly different means of dealing with scarcity are lkely to be included in those differences.  And, consistent with Matt's discription of problems with "Tribal Affiliations", significant differences in material culture are typical between tribe differences and breed conflict and, by extension, could bear upon couples.  D
"For ancestors this would have been time to migrate or splt the tribe (or at least consider it)."


Exactly, hence the anguish. It becomes very difficult to reconcile your new found knowledge with your lifelong tribal affliations. But what is one to do, realistically speaking? Where else are you going to go and who else are you going to affliate yourself with when most everyone around you is fully invested (emotionally, financially, etc) in a "business as usual" (BAU) scneario?

Sure, I suppose some folks could join an eco-village or something along those lines but (assumming that is even a wise choice) if your lifelong tribal affliations lay squarely with people who are invested in BAU how successful is such an endeavor likely to be?



That is most exactly the dilemma.  D
These "tribal affiliations" obviously include our education (this is where I see the link with our technology obsessions). But also there's what the preacher told us and what society wanted us to be like.

But from what I've learned and experienced, the root of our conceptions and illusions come from our parents (the most direct genetical link anyway). From the moment we're born we have to make sure our parents love and accept us in order to survive. But since they'r also people, with their own parents, they only do so if we behave the way they want (and still, they did the best they could).

If dad says you can't love your mother, because he already does (or whatever, Oedipus has many faces) - this brings a major conflict to our little, open and fragile childrens' heart. These hearts know all about love, but nothing about conditional love. So hence we flex it, deceive ourselves, tighten it with muscles and become angry for the rest of our lives - projecting this anger and frustration on anyone who even faintly echoes mam's or dad's voices from the early days of our lives.

This third and last year of my "personal development" training only addressed my (our) relationship with mom and dad, and my manouvring in this triangle. Very, very unsettling and simply heart breaking to be confronted with the behaviour and neurotics I've apparantly build on this. Everybody in my group has been hopelessly lost in the sight of this (and got the opportunity to correct these things - rocketing them into authenticy afterward)

My major PO bitchslap (an almost nonstop 3 days & nights of reading, clicking, breathing, puking and crying) happened about 3 months ago. I can rattle about the details in lenght, but it fully fitted in my process of accepting my mother and opening for the sorrow of abuse and surpressed female love. I've always had a good relationship with my parents, enjoyed a happy youth but to the extend earth is like a mother: I still feel good about being in touch with all of that.

I don't have kids, nor a blond hotty to grow 'm in, but the more I respect those who struggle to give their kids all needed to find their place in this world. Goodluck, keep grounded and follow your heart :)

I had some "deal with shock and trauma" type tapes on my site last year.  They never sold, even though I found them quite helpful. Perhaps  I should put them back up.

Some folks at the NYC conference said they had seen shrinks also.

I really, really hope they put the talks on the net. I discussed the reason why this is depressing in a way unlike any other topic. I think it has a lot to do with how our brains got wired over the last few million years.




I'm always fascinated and entertained by the way in which one's profession/education shapes their thinking.

Note that you are an academic. Note that up top you mentioned something about "aggregating thought", which sounds like a very academic type thing.

Note that while I am not practicing, I did spent 3 years in law school, got my bar card, plus 1 year temping and doing odd jobs. Note that I've taken a decidely more mercenary position at this point.

From a standpoint of inclusive fitness, I think it better you stay where you are currently. If you were to join the Jay Hanson brigade it might interfere with your ability to exploit this for your own benefit in your current environment (the academy).

Put it another way: let's say I have a relative who is a physics professor. He is both comfortable and successful in the professorial niche.  If he joins the "middle of the road" brigade he may be able to use this information to get more research grants, author a book that is acceptable to his academic circles, etc. IE, exploit it for his own benefit.

On the other hand, if he joins the Jay Hanson brigade, exploiting it for his own benefit in his niche would be next to impossible. So far as I know, I'm the only person in the brigade who has managed to exploit it. (I'm not sure exactly where Heinberg stands on Jay's writings)

Hope that makes sense. It's the reason I told my sister (a high school english teacher with a masters) not to read anything other than Leeb's most recent book except perhaps the Rainwater/Fortune piece with yours truly's handsome picture in it. Read it and use it to plan your finances but DO NOT and I repeat DO NOT read anything beyond that I told her. In so far as I can tell, there is no benefit to her from understanding beyond that point.




Hello Matt,

Your correct--I cannot encourage newbies enough to study, study, study Dieoff.com, and anything else written by Jay Hanson--He is all over the WWWeb.  I am terribly sorry he has withdrawn from the public, but I understand his reasons why, yet his legacy of thought remains for all to read.

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

And how do you categorize people who remember 'energy crisis' in terms of America's oil production peaking, before the Alaska pipeline fixed that problem?

Or about people who live in other places, where the planning for dealing with that ongoing energy crisis has been part of the social/political matrix for a generation. Whether that planning is realistic, adequate, whistling in the dark, or simply going through the motions is another debate, but it is truly a fact based one - and yes, I have tried to be as restrained as possible concerning war, because war would certainly cause all of the problems you feel inevitable. But again, that same sort of war was equally likely in the late 1970s - and equally due to Soviet and America oil production peaking, leading to a war in the Gulf (Iraq I was Carter's war, by the way, using Carter era strategies to retain control of the oil, with stealth technology, prepositioned equipment, and cruise missiles.)

Or people who looked around America between 1976 and 1986, and could see the writing on the old historical blackboard? (There is some Bismarck quote about God protecting drunks, fools, and America, but likely even Bismarck couldn't imagine the drunken fools running America in the name of God these days.)

This is one of the reasons I find so much of this debate a problem - what happens when you have considered this issue part of your entire adult life, change where you live to reflect that fact, and try, as much as possible (and very imperfectly), to live morally? (Yes, I find the profit impulse so more often on display here human - earning large amounts of money for listening to Simmons about American NG around 2000-1 seems to be much more part the problem of an attitude about getting something for nothing, but now, we are in Kunstler territory.)

I will admit, one reason to read all of these comments is to get some sort of feel for what will happen to America.

Before peak oil awareness - drive car, flip switches. After peak oil awareness - chop wood, carry water. I don't know whether that will catch on - but it is already a false statement. Most people living in the world today do not drive a car, and I would bet the majority have no switches to flip. And from your persepective, the chop wood part will be false for most people too.

A large number of people (most non-Americans) think climate change much bigger than peak oil - not that the issues aren't connected, but truly, Cat 5 hurricanes hitting the Eastern Seaboard every summer as a regular occurence is much more likely to make an impact on people than oil production at 'only' 40 mbd.

In a way, that peak oil is so important in America, while the rest of the world seems much more concerned about the weather is just another sign of how uniquely Americans live. Most of humanity actually experiences the weather around them, unlike Americans living in their seemingly perfected cocoons. (All of the public schools I attended lacked air conditioning - these days, I would assume that would be worth an instant lawsuit, to keep the students from dying like flies in the unbearable heat.)

The ones I was in in my younger years too - while crayons left on the concrete outside literally melted into puddles in the nice hot sun. Cooling methods for kids then were sweating, which we were good at after a recess running around, and plentiful water fountains. We walked to and from school too, and walked everywhere else closer than a couple of miles.
In Germany, 'Hitzefrei' is sort of a local joke, at least in the past (the rules were being abused, it seems) - if the temperature got up somewwere in the 90s, school was out.

The rules I remember from Fairfax County, early to mid 1970s - schools was closed if the temperature was 100° F before noon. (I can't remember if the 100° was in the building, and when writing this, 10am also appears as a cut-off time). What I do very concretely remember, is we only had one day off for heat during my 12 years as a student.

One thing which still strikes me is reading so many people complaining about heat and how essential air conditioning is. Personally, to me it is just a symptom of a certain attitude in America, which seems to have overwhelmed all alternate frameworks.

I don't really like -20° and I don't really like 100° with 95% humidity either, but they are both part of the normal range of weather in Northern Virginia when I grew up. And sure, other places are much harder (like Winnipeg, from my wife's description) which is why Virginia has always been is considered a fairly reasonable place to live, for a southern state.

Well.. it's perspective.

If there was a similiar 100 degree limit here in South Texas, kids couldn't go to school from probably late April until late September, which would shave about two months off the school calender.  

Also, people dieing from heat stroke because they were walking for long periods of time outside is not unusual, not to mention the annual fatalities at football practices.  

I'm not saying that we couldn't survive without A/C, but just that our numbers would be thinned.  It's like saying the North can survive the winter without heating.

But what is interesting is that people have lived there for quite a while, and at a time like 1920, without air conditioning. There seems to be a certain shifting of the goalposts in terms of how Americans live - what before was utterly normal (if very unpleasant) is now considered extreme.

This is a point where the die-off crowd could pick up some points, in my view - a number of humans are currently living in places where they couldn't survive without constant inputs of fossil fuels. What happens to those people when the inputs stall, even if only for a couple of months?

But none of the old Confederate States of America fit into that category at all - and as I said, Virginia is pretty nice for a sourthern state. I liked the occasional 36" snows too.

I like to think of it as a reality-slap from "the invisible hand."
To me, the PO issue was just one more view of the political, economic, and climate change issues I was already studying constantly.  It was the piece that was missing, and tied them all together into a "unified theory" of the collapsing of our culture I'm observing.  It was not as shocking to me as the "election" of 2000.  

I was not naive, but I had been distracted for some years in starting a family and having children, especially during the 1990's - which may end up being the peak of US luxury, wealth, and power.  Damn - I turn my back for a couple of years and everything goes to hell!

The combination of these 4 issues causes stress when I try to decide how to respond, amplified by my responsibilities to my family.  It's all in trying to guess the rate at which change will occur, because meaningful actions will require significant changes in lifestyle.  Making such moves at the wrong time could be a real problem, which in turn can lead to paralysis.  

I'm presently fascinated by the speed in which cultural institutions that seem so unassailable can disappear.  The Roman period in Britain (and the centuries afterward) is a good example.  Partly it is because what we recognize as the symbols of those institutions are just the external veneer - we don't see the foundation crumbling underneath.  And we don't like change.  Also, we tend to think of times in the past as periods when things were constant, but this was rarely true.  So we fool ourselves into thinking that change is unusual, when in fact it is the norm, and we cannot imagine the things we've grown used to being swept away.

I believe that if one were to live for a few more decades; in looking back one will see massive changes in the world, beginning about now.  We cannot know how it will play out, but I believe that most important thing to "do" is to keep an open mind, be alert, and be ready to embrace change.

Dear Prof. Goose.

I want to thank you for running this site, for devoting so much of your time and energy, etc. to it.  This is one of the finest blogs on the net, and increasingly it's the primary blog I visit.

I "got it" back in 1972, in high school in L.A., when I read a review of the Club of Rome Report in the conservative Orange County Register. The reason I "got it" was that I was stuck in the largest suburb on earth, with no access to a car.

People slip in and out of awareness as to the unsustainability of the way we live, but for the most part people are too tied in to it to make a switch. And face it, changing one's lifestyle is difficult.

However, personal change is possible, and so is social change. And my wife and I have certainly made that change.

After years of getting blank stares when telling people about peak oil, my wife and I got a modest inheritance, bought some land with the extended family on the edge of the small town we live in, built a paper adobe house, planted a permaculture garden, etc. etc. etc.  It's been a whole lot of fun, and though I'm 50, I feel great and am now in excellent shape.

We figured the future is in being subsistance farmers, so we're seeing how we can do it in style. And so far it's working.

Our house is tiny (250 square feet), but it's hand-sculpted qualities are something everyone falls in love with. (Except perhaps my Mom, but that's another story...)

We are trying to see how much we can do without (like refrigeration), we have three lights, a lap top (for this, and for DVDs,) and a small solar set up that gives us so much extra juice, we're going to buy an electric scooter.

From this perspective, it is astounding how much "waste" can be wrung out of the system. For instance, Tucson and Phoenix for the most part forbid people to use clotheslines. Almost everybody uses a drier, which roughly resembles the outside atmosphere most of the year.

Americans, even "poor" ones, live far better than most aristocrats did a few centuries ago. And yet few people are content.

The vast majority are in denial, and I doubt they will wake up until peak oil is so far in the rear view mirror that only the truly blind can't see it. Then the tide will change, and so will our society.

How will it change? That's up to us. There is nothing set in stone about Kunstler's projections. As Jared Diamond put it, in the subtitle of his book Collapse, it's "how societies CHOOSE to succeed or fail.

Success depends on the choices our society makes, and that is predicated on the quality of the information they have, and the range of choices people feel are acceptable.

This site is absolutely vital to the coming transformation. It is by far the best thing of it's kind I am aware of on Earth. (and I don't say that lightly.)

We absolutely need an information and discussion outlet like this; and since it's by far the best one of it's kind (if not the only one), you should be proud and invigorated by your role in making this possible.

Again, thank you for your role in making this possible.

Jim Burke  

"This site is absolutely vital to the coming transformation. It is by far the best thing of it's kind I am aware of on Earth."


I would agree in terms of the overall quality, but would have to disagree in terms of overall impact. In the context of a society where http://www.wwe.com (professional choreographed bitchslapping, formerly the World Wrestling Federation) gets up to 50 times the traffic of the top peak oil sites, we have to be realistic about the degree of impact even the most heroic of our efforts are likely to have.

How many of the world's 6.5 billion people can even access this type of info?



>How many of the world's 6.5 billion people can even access this type of info?

Approximately 1/6 www.internetworldstats.com
I would like to amend my remarks somewhat.

People respond to price. They might bitch about the reason for the prices (peak oil vs. "corporate greed"), but once they realize the prices are going to continue climbing, they will wring the waste out of their own personal budgets.

Much depends on how quickly the transformations take place, and what people perceive their options to be. But when the price of energy starts to skyrocket, I guarantee that people will begin making major changes.

I go back and forth between being slightly optimistic, and quite pessistic about the larger scheme of things (I'm presently studying Joseph Tainter's "The Collapse of Complex Societies.")  But even if our most optimistic projections come true, I fear we'll spend the rest of our lives hearing people bitch and moan constantly about how they miss "the good old days"

Jim, thanks for your kind words.  We're doing what we can...

Also remember, it's not just me, it's all of my colleagues and the social network that we have formed here--it's you folks who make this happen.

  More props to you, prof!  There's no shame or foolishness in people trying get their truth out, or to try to help in bad times.

There's a story about the Buddha, teaching some students by a stream, and while he talks, a scorpion has gotten too close to the edge and fallen into the water.  Seeing this, Buddha reaches in and lifts the insect to safety again, but in doing this gets a sting.  A student asks 'Why did he sting you, when you saved him?'.. Buddha answers, 'That is what he does.'
  Later during the lesson, the scorpion gets in trouble again, and again, Buddha dips his hand into the water to help him out, and gets stung again.. The student says, 'Knowing he would sting you, why did you help the scorpion out again?'.. To which the Buddha answers, 'Because that is what I do..'

Thanks for what you do.

Bob Fiske

"Boddhisattva, won't you take me by the hand?"
     Steely Dan

Many beautiful words again. Feeling this warm and painful cocktail of joy and sorrow flooding from my heart is just so essentially right.

It's my accepting thing again. Will I see the "thanks for your contribution, rest in peace now" inscripted on the bullet before it spreads my guts on the street? Is a goal to get energized people together naieve? (I feel energized and connected here, nothing naieve about that).
Save the intelligentsia? Think not, but anyone who wants some of it, it's "served here for free". Do people actually become aware or are they made aware? (would be nice hey, if we could force that!)

I'll tell you a story which will take you on a journey of the soul if you wish to come along.

I'm gonna husband my garden again, building up and practising some discipline...

BTW: Living next to the stadion, last night made me wonder when we will get the beers for free instead of paying for the tickets? The terribly effective way the UEFA and local government managed a drunk 35.000+ crowd throughout the whole city for multiple days might come in handy somewhere in the future...

Being half your age, I suppose I am where you are when you started. Now the potatoes are planted, as are the peas. The squash will be ready to plant in a couple of weeks, and then it's carrots, melons and tomatoes. Me and my wife, we're not terrified of peak oil, really, we just keep it in the back of our heads while enjoying a new, very labour-intensive hobby.

"Working the land" gives an academic like me some new perspectives. You start to see how much easier it is to move a big rock when you are many. Just as an experiment, we wondered if we should switch off the power for a week or so, just to see how we managed.

Although we have also come to appreciate just how important specialisation and comparative advantage is, aiming for some degree of self-sufficiency is great fun, great excercise, and profoundly meaningful in itself. It's a cure for depression if there ever was one.

But then again, we live in the country, own plenty of land, have a very nice neighbour of 80+ who grew up in a traditional farm, and who is a skilled gardener. Our other neighbour is a fisherman... If I lived in a big city, I might be more worried.

  You and I have little in common other than optimism.  Forget optimism and compare ourselves to cockroaches.  Humans a resilient and pesky.  We are hard to eradicate.  But well before eradication we thrive in every enviornment on the surface of the planet and inhabit many alien ones (Deep sea, space) Peak Oil won't finish us.  It may set us back and change lifestyles but what is a good lifestyle?  Indians in the amazon don't have cellphones but they have about 10 leisure hours a day.  We maybe have 1. Even counting our extended lifespan they get more time off.  I say don't fret.  Have a meaningful peak oil conversation every chance you get and spread the word. Set short term and long term goals for conservation and self preservation but continue life like it is worth living.  I am an arrogant right wing conservitave asshole and my best friend is a hippie.
Doom and Gloom is for Losers.

Be a winner plant a tree for tommorrow.  Put PV panels on your roof. Be part of the solution and education of the world.

Of course, don't plant a tall shade tree where it will eventually shade your PV setup!  Ideally, follow Westexas' advice and be a producer: plant dwarf fruit trees as well as putting in your solar panels.  You get food for years, they are just beautiful in the spring, and fruitwood makes  excellent firewood.  It's hard to beat a yard full of flowering fruit trees for giving you hope.
Especially cherry trees (bought dwarf cherry tree last year). I also bought some strawberry plants last year amongst many other fruit and veg plants and seeds, potted the many runners and they are flowering in great numbers at the moment. Pity I don't like Wimbledon... I have orders from neighbours and relatives for tomato plants this year which are growing nicely inside at the moment.
Matt, you may be right in some ways.

But I think some significant number of people might think: "we are going about this all wrong...being lied to....most of us being strung along for the benefit of a few...meanwhile wrecking everything for the next generation..." and other such thoughts.

This "peak oil" movement is running parallel to other movements transforming culture, and "prophecy is a difficult art, especially with regards to the future." (Was that Mark Twain?)

Also, "it ain't over until the fat lady sings."  (Marx Brothers?)  Our collective goose is cooked, our collective frog's fanny has been sitting in the ever-warming bath of our "Greenhouse" Brand Sauna, and yet there may be twists and turns to suprise us all.  The people most suprised are generally those who depend on the staus quo, yes.  Poetic justice and the the many stories related to "pride goes before a fall" will come into play.

My own guestimate is that I need to make my life as positive as I can where I am, and to embrace the absolute vulnerability we face.  Real wealth will not come from guns or gold, but from learning to grow food and harvest water and wind and solar energy sustainably, all while building community amoung like0minded folks.

Will it save my ass?  Not likely, and I don't much care.  "Relative fitness" and "survival of the fittest" are now meaningless terms, unless one is talking about the ability to engage fellow humans in community to understand and respond to waves of chaos.

Above all, the notion that any of us can survive -- alone or in community -- is sheer nonsense, and ought to be jettisoned.  To care about a small tribe and about the creation we are one with is a way of living that we will accept or reject on its own merits.  We are collectively so far from wisdom's path that we are unlikely to find our way to it.  

Learning to live sustainably is for me at once an act of faith, and act of rebellion, and an act of prophetic absurdity.  I'm not particularly good at it, but that's part of the deal.

I could respond to peak oil, other resource depletion issues, and global climate change by saying "What the Hell!  Why should I care?" or by saying, "Oh-my-God, I need to survive, I need to buy gold and silver and guns and such...!" but I choose to do this other thing.

Widespread awareness of peak oil in the USA?  I say, "Bring it on!"  The real suprises are already on the way, awareness or not.  I will pedal my tricycle into the whirlwind, and be as safe and as vulnerable as those who trust in bunkers or guns and gold.

We do have much work to do.  One task is to create more peak oil awareness.  another task is to get ourselves ready to give up all of the guarantees we thought our so-called "civilisation" brought to us.  Commodities, treasury bills, pensions, social security -- all will be swept away by the coming tide of ecological change. If one understands the magnitude of peak oil alone -- let alone combined with global climate change and other ecological issues -- one can see that the whole edifice of civilisation is a house of cards.  Awareness invites response, but lack of awareness will create as unpredictable a set of catastrophes as widespread awareness could.

Ignorance will not protect us, and awareness only asks us who we really are.  We are absolutely vulnerable.  So what will we do between now and whenever we die?  That is the only question we face.

what do you think would happend to everything from the price of hybrid cars to the price of solar panels to the price of arable farmland to the price of gold if the number of peak oil aware people/institutions quadrupled in the next few months?
The price of those things would rise, but that's not necessarily that bad. The prices of hybrid cars and solar panels would rise, making them harder to reach for consumers, but stimulating the economy to move some resources from ridiculous crap that we don't even really need (you can come up with your own examples) into the production of solar panels and hybrid cars.  Hybrid cars and solar panels are not going to solve Peak Oil -- not by a long shot. But they will mitigate the energy deficiencies we're going to be facing.  So stimulating investment in these areas is a good thing.  

As for gold? A lot of people in the currently PO-aware crowd have probably already invested in that, so they will be happy if its price goes up.  It's sort of a reward for being an early believer.

As for arable land, the more expensive farmland is, the less likely it is to be converted into more exurban subdivisions. This would probably the best thing to happen to the United States because of Peak Oil.

Personbally, I agree 100% Matt.

I listen to right-wing and left-wing radio, then wingnut (ham) radio, and across the whole spectrum, in 'murrika, the belief is it's those damn (fill in the blank, usually the oil co's) fault, we have an infinate supply of the stuff, it's just those so and so's restricting shipments into the US and keeping the price up.

I hung out a bit with the guy who fills up the gas station on the corner, and he says the consumption of gas hasn't changed even with the price heading way up. Not changed at all. I was interested in seeing this filling process going on, so walked over from the coffee shop with coffee in hand to hang out and observe the process, maybe ask a question or two. Before parking at the coffee shop, I was driving back from doing my daily rounds and was right behind the gas truck guy while going around the corner, and I had to go slow because the gas truck ahead of me has to go slow, the maneuver its two tanks (with a hinge in the middle) and cab etc through a tight, technical left-right section there and end up over the filler lids at the gas station. A car behind me was honking its horn, I was going slow, damn hybrid! No awareness at all that there was a two-tank truck full of gasoline maneuvering through the intersection, right ahead of me, huge thing! And I was a half a Prius-length behind him, I literally could not do more to get through the intersection faster and get out of the way.

Hybrid Hate is growing.

I was gliding my HCH toward a red light 1/2 block ahead yesterday with a chebby pickup on my a$$, when he gunned it & flew past me, only to have to stop abruptly in front of me for the red light.

That isn't new. Back in the 1980s, the Washington Post started a Dr Gridlock column to discuss traffic woes. One very long, heated discussion concerned "people who rolled into red lights" vs "people who wanted them to go faster, then brake." Seems fairly stupid, doesn't it?

As I recall, there was also a pre-internet troll who provoked people by claiming he should have the right to pull into the left lane whenever he wanted no matter who was overtaking him. It was amazing how many angry letters they got.

While cycling home Tuesday, I got the "clown who honks just as they're going by" routine.  This is vastly preferable to the "clown who throws a bottle just as they're going by" which I used to get on rural roads in the 1970s.

interesting that you frame yourself in just "the next few months."  of course there would be rapid price changes ... but most people would, if they were properly educated on peak oil recognize that they had decades to complete the change.

short term demand would drive increased production of the good stuff.

really, are we getting back to a false timeline, and does your fear of population response rely on giving them the wrong message ... that we will be "out" of oil next Thursday?

I don't agree. It got this far (i.e. a lot farther than it was). What will stop it? At a certain point, there'll be no other excuse or explanation for what's happening to people.

What will happen is that it will be used to rally people around the flag: look people, there's a certain amount of oil left in the world -- who get's it? them or us? I have already seen this reaction.

The oil companies themselves will proclain peak or past peak when the public starts banging down their doors.

I don't think it will take too long either. We as a country are prepared and preparing for nothing but the military option.

i think, in the long historical sense, we can thank our lucky stars that iraq ii did not work.

it is a great tragedy for those who had to live it (or die it) but it definitely took the sharp edge off american militarism.

... i really see your post as a signpost on an alternate history, one in which iraq had clicked, and the powers that be (the 3rd bush prsident?) were out there looking for "who's next?"

I have to disagree - I don't think it's taken "the sharp edge off American militarism".  People have tunred against Iraq only because they don't perceive that we are winning (whatever that would mean), but it does not mean they have no appetite for war.  They just have no patience for losers.  

I think in the big picture, America will choose militarism over all other forms of action.  Certainly if you look at where the effort and money is going - lots and lots of it - it is the military "solution" that we've chosen.  

Will we change direction?  I see no sign of it yet, and IMO if it doesn't show up by this November, it won't.

we could probably back all the way up in the analysis to the point before the current war, when the president was questioned on the need for a draft.  perhaps he would have preferred one, had the question come up later.  unfortunately he was caught on the horns of a dilemma.  he could have his war, only if he said no draft.

american militarism might have really died in that moment.  he said no draft, and that guaranteed the manpower shortage that in turn guaranteed iraqi disintegration.

now, maybe you have a different meaning, but when people worry about resource wars of the future, i really doubt that americans would be so enamored of war that they would draft their children for global conquest.

if you are going to secure oil infrastructure (which insurgents have found to be unsurprisingly flammable), you will need a lot of boots on the ground.

you say you haven't seen a change ... in a different way, i'm making the same observation.  as much as the necons (are they still there?) wanted to run a cheap war ... i haven't seen a change that would give us wars that work (immoral as they might be).

I don't think Americans will choose to send their kids to global energy wars, but I think they will choose to accept whatever is presented as allowing them to continue the present status quo.  And in doing so, I think we will loose the ability to make those choices.

I don't think those wars will "work".

Oh - and yes, the Neocons are most certainly still there, and they do not much care about the public opinion of them.  Their plans do not seem to have changed.

put another way, we have been educated on the differnce between our ability to break stuff, and our ability to put it back togheter again.

Great quote, I'mm going to borrow it.



no problem, i think it is only a minor compression of what i hear on cable news anyway.
I think that we believers need to do our best to spread the meme of peak oil, even if it does seem to make our local planning more difficult.   It is a case of getting what you expect.  With limited awareness in the populace, then the Government and the Market (if you believe these exist) are not going to have any chance at implementing proactive solutions, and we clever folk are probably going to get a chance to try out that kit-built AK47 that we fabricated in the garage.

While I am concerned about my personal welfare, and know that this society of ours is going to change in a huge way no matter what, I believe that we must  maintain some sense of continuity, avoiding  chaos.  With continuity, society will have a coherent memory, and future archaeologists will not need to piece together an incomplete picture of what we are currently about.
Future generations will have the chance to explore different avenues, making their own mistakes, and not needlessly and disasterously  repeating ours.  I am hoping that a society, maybe our society, can learn and change and become better suited to living.  Giving up fossil fuels would be like when an individual gives up smoking.

There is so much exclusion these days.  I have had it with cabals, conspiracies, and closed door meetings. If we have any sense of community at all, we have to be as inclusive and open as we can.  Really, peak oil is probably the most important issue our generation will face.  It is a bit arrogant to think our understanding of peak oil issues within our small circle is the definitive word, some valuable nugget to be hidden from the masses.  

On a more pragmatic note, think of the newly peak-aware as 'followers'.  Followers  buy the stocks that you buy, upping the price.  Sort of an enlightened pump and dump. I am sure that there are other helpful things made possible by followers.

When people percieve that hardships are being borne by all then they cooperate on finding solutions i.e.WWII. When they percieve that a fraction of society is profiteering from the hardships of others then things get nasty i.e. French Revolution.  We have a situation where the MSM, Hollywood, and Madison Ave. keep showing that an elite group is not sharing the burdens of the many. All those ads for SUVs and stock brokers are salt in the wounds of working families. Every sitcom shows families living lives that show how bad off most viewers are. On top of it all the GOP preaches that tax cuts for the rich create jobs and Dems are baby killing homosexuals. We are closer to French Revolution chaos than WWII cooperation.
I wonder how much electricity could be redirected to electric cars if we pulled the plug on all TV stations, cable networks, and sattelite TV systems?
i think peak oil has a solution.  that solution may involve more power-down than many people would like or expect, but that is indeterminate at this point.  the future will be some combination of changed lifestyle, decreased energy use, and (the over-used phrase) althernate energy sources.

what is certain to me is that you have to be very, very, sure there is no solution (not even power-down) if you are actually going to block progress.

Venezuela's Electronic News :
Iran's euro-denominated oil bourse to open in March; US$ crash imminent
" establish multiple US military bases before the onset of global 'Peak Oil "


someone is listening ...

Arch, I'm curious.  Are you a fan of "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly", or is your name really Arch Stanton?

It's an incredible coincidence either way as I just watched the movie with my two boys at the weekend.

I'm going to try and introduce the boys to "The magnificent seven" this weekend.

a fine fine flick.  you're doing right by your boys.
Actually I just noticed that "The Magnificent Seven" has a rating of only 7.8 over at IMDB and does not make the top 250.

"The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" rated 8.8 and is # 11 in their top 250.

Am I remembering magnificent with rose-coloured glasses?

Anybody got some good recommendations for classic westerns? (while we're in a movie mood)

No, Magnificent Seven is quality, imho.  But, hey, I'll come clean: I freaking love westerns.  Used to sit and watch them with my dad.  

On my shelf (in chronological order):

High Noon (1952)
Hondo (1953)
Shane (1953)
Rio Bravo (1959)
Ride Lonesome (1959)
The Magnificent Seven (1960)
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
The Wild Bunch (1968)
High Plains Drifter (1972)

Then, of course, Unforgiven too.  But, that's just not the same.

Good list, but I'd add Will Penny (1968). First of all, look at the cast:

Charlton Heston
Joan Hackett
Donald Pleasence
Lee Majors
Bruce Dern
Ben Johnson
Slim Pickens
Clifton James
Anthony Zerbe
G.D. Spradlin

And I won't spoil it, but there is a very sobering, practical ending that I consider relevant to life after PO.

I'd also add a few Jimmy Stewart westerns.:-)

You have to put THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES and THE PROFESSIONALS on that shelf.
High Plains Drifter was cool in a super creepy sort of way. All the spaghetti westerns were great.



My fav is THE PROFESSIONALS. You can't beat Lee Marvin.
Show 'em Seven Samurai also, or instead.  Roving bandits, desperate farmers, swords for hired  AND Toshiro Mifune, the baddest mother*&#@er to ever strap on a sword.
I second the motion.
  If you're gonna take the boys west, take em WAY out west!  

Great Film, and great to compare with the also great 'Magnificent 7'


 yes , that is where i got this name ....
was using it long before i gound out about PO . but it does seem to fit the situation in a way .  im a country boy , in a fairly survivable spot . small town with less than 10k people , 60 plus acres thats a had a garden for 130 years nonstop in my family , pretty much raised in the field and stream ....congrats to you , your the first one here to catch that ..hehe
"every time Bush opens his mouth the price of oil goes up"-Chavez.  Good God I'm not the only one who thinks he is a moron.  Hello!  Are the wire taps working?  Pay attention!  You get us into a war that we don't have the rescources to fight and win(?) You will make your mark in history--probably as the 3rd antichrist.  "Shock and awe"(say what?)Like Hitler's "Blitzkrieg".  You run around the world acting like you own it and piss everyone off.  Pease shut up and that goes for Dicky boy too.
JC and I voted for the idiot(1st time not the second).
While there may still be a lot of people here in NZ who don't 'get it', I have noticed recently that many people I talk to about Peak Oil either already know about it, or are at least receptive to the concepts.

And on the 18th of April, during a post-cabinet-meeting press de-brief, our Prime Minister, Helen Clark, came out and said that Peak World Production was either soon or had just occurred.

I attended a talk on Tuesday night for the local branch of the Royal Society, where a local speaker on Peak Oil and Climate Change (Peter Lloyd) presented a talk on how Peak Oil, Global Warming and Population increases are converging for the 'perfect storm'. Peter reads us here at TOD so I'll say a big "Well done, Peter!".

The meeting was standing room only which completely threw the Royal Society bods who had to scramble around for more chairs.  But what really struck me was that there was no evidence of denial, or even bargaining in the questions at the end.  No "Yes, but ..." type questions.

One of Peter's big messages which I whole-heartedly agree with, is that we cannot rely on politicians to do the right thing and we need to force a change from the bottom up.

DuncanK -- here in the middle of the northern part of the USA -- I talk with a number of people about peak oil.  Some respond with abject fear, and say they know that it is real, but feel completely disempowered about it.  Even small steps seem meaningless to many people who seem to be aware of it.

Another question regarding the google searches about "peak oil" and "gas prices" is this:  who uses these search engines?  How many people are selected out of this measure of peak oil awareness?  and are we to assume that all of these people are ignorant about peak oil, or are doing nothing about it?

Some people I know would never bother to google about the topic because they are already fully engaged in trying to live in harmony with the earth, and already see the Pandora's Box of problems -- from peak oil to overpopulation to peak water, and so on.  They do not google much about these problems because they are engaged with survival in the context of our city in the USA while also slowly trying to develop life and community that is sustainable.

There is a significant number of people have been making the needed changes all along. Increased awareness of peak oil could bring more focus, more energy, more resources into the process of change.  There is a slim chance of that.

Even so  -- see my post above -- many of us choose to work toward sustainability because it is a matter of deep conviction, peak oil or no peak oil.  The outcomes are out of my hands, so I do what I can, and pray.  As I become aware of our absolute vulnerability, I see our species as a species of ephemeral clowns.

There may be something more to it than that, and I suspect that there is a cosmic comedy to balance the tragedy.  Our role may be in foreshadowing the birthing of the a new paradigm....or in making fools of ourselves thinking that we might be doing so.

But we all run the risk of being fools in here in the Chaos Casino.

Another point to consider:

I've been reading on Peak Oil for about a year now, and I haven't hit Google for at least 8 months.  It's easier just to link crawl around websites, as the community does a pretty damn good job of deep linking.  So, I haven't found it necessary to search for awhile, and I bet it's pretty similiar for most of us.

OTOH, your average person searching for "gas prices" are just looking for some MSM analysis, and once they read one, they search again.  There probably isn't much link crawling there.

I'm sure the statistical impact of that is negligible, but it's still part of it.

I google quite a bit; about things that I don't know where to begin. But I have never googled "peak oil," and it's quite likely that most other TOD readers haven't either. Once you've found the first link, you never have to google again.
Regarding New Zealand, during the 2005 general election campaign, two parties (Green, Maori) were pushing peak oil awareness.  Another psychological factor is that this is an island nation.  No town is far from the ocean.  People here are aware of limits.  Also, this far flung OECD outpost doesn't have any major corporations headquartered here trying to deny peak oil and distort the politics.  While there are many clueless people pushing for more freeways, there is a growing awareness in some circles that eventually NZ will have to become a self sufficient Pacific island.
Hi guys,

I've just made available the french report I told you about last week.

I presented it to the mayor and the Roberval city general manager.  I also did a presentation to our Chamber of commerce (of wich I'm the general manager)

The report is named Le Déclin de l'économie pétrolière

I also made an introduction, less hard to read.  Parts of it are direct translation of a presentation made by Philip Fairly, presented in february 27.  Sorry, I dont remember the link.

The intro is named : Introduction au déclin de l'économie pétrolière

Those two documents are intended for making my local government (well, I'm so involved here that I'm almost part of it) do something about it.

Right now I'm translating the Portland and the San Fransisco resolution to show them what other cities did.  I will put foward a resolution to be passed as soon as I can do it.

I will let you know.


Pascal Gagnon

Way to go, Pascal!  Let us know what kind of responses you get.  What questions, interpretations, and planning discussions are generated.

Will Roberval follow San Fransisco and Portland?

The dollar is indeed in trouble.

Putin says sell oil in Rubles:



NZ search gives me:

"Your terms - peak oil - do not have enough search volume to show graphs."

Is there some arcana I am missing?

A.P.  in CHCH

There is something suspicious about the results of Google Trends.

If you search for peak oil under New Zealand, as opposed to viewing it under the regions tab of an All Regions search, you get the message I posted above.

Using a more reliable test, I searched for "rugby" for All Regions and for New Zealand both.

In the All Regions result, under the Cities Tab, Auckland and North Shore were #'s 1 and 2.

But when one search just New Zealand, the results are quite different.  Auckland and Northshore are 5 and 7 respectively.  

Unless the other cities are not included from All Regions reports, how can Auckland and Northshore be #1 and 2 in the world but numbers 5 and 7 in their own country.

I'd say there was something wrong with the IP-->geo region mapping but why would it vary from report to report?  And this is easy technology to do now.

Needs some work but compelling nonetheless.

ah, rugby.  the best sport on earth...

I will do some digging on this.  It is in beta testing, so it may not be quite right yet...

I wrote to tech support but was cautioned to expect little joy.  The group google-lab-trends has several comments on similar anomalies:

Hungarian is the #1 language for Harry Potter  while English is #1 when the word Wizard is added.

Still, very interesting and possibly very exciting.

 Using New Zealand to compare Peak Oil to Angelina Jolie, I feel for a moment there is still hope for the human race (even if only a little).  Mispell her name and it you can even pretend as if the Oil Drum is set to replace Entertainment Tonight as the main source of news for Americans.

I can dream at least.

well - that depends on which rugby you're talking about.

It's 'silky crude' or 'heavy sour' - whichever code you prefer.

If we do oil-crash back several decades I quite fancy a bit of "bottle-kicking" - no link. poor IT skills.


I also noticed some odd things when playing with various tags while trending 'peak oil'. Looking at the languages tab it appears there are about twice as many searches in English as in Swedish. However the summed regional results for NZ + Aus + US + Ireland + Canada + UK would appear to much, much more than twice that of Sweden  (at least 10 times more it would appear).

Definitely something strange going on, I too would appreciate a better understanding of how google come up with their graphs.

Here in Australia, we call gas 'petrol'. To see the comparison between 'peak' oil' and 'gas prices' in the world besides Canada and the US, change the 'gas' to 'petrol'. It appears that we are making the link a little bit better here.
I noticed that aswell Hans and posted about it the European Tribune:

"there were about it on were approx 10 times more results for 'gas prices' than 'peak oil' in the US and Canada, indicating that these countries don't really "get it" yet. For 'petrol prices' vs 'peak oil', Australia & Ireland have about twice as many results for 'petrol prices', NZ about 1.5 times and the UK about 5 times, showing that the UK still has some way to go with regards to education about peak oil. Other European countries had more results for 'peak oil' than 'petrol prices', but again this could be an artifact of language"

So again, NZ is out there in front. I think we in Australia will be some way behind them due to the sheer size of our country making people not really think about limits to growth, and the fact we have a lot of domestic oil & gas production. Not to mention the fact that the liberal party is in power which I fear takes its cues from the republicans in the US...

Hi folks. I've decided to put my money where my mouth is and take out an add in the local paper. The add will be the familiar bell curve, with "Peak Oil" below, and "(you are here") above the top.

My trouble is trying to get my drawing program to make a bell curve. I also googled "clip art" and "bell curve" and didn't have much luck.

I found that this is very similar to the "peak oil aware" tee shirt people; but I can't seem to drag and drop their graphics and I can't take a mouse pad or tee shirt to the advertising department.

Cut to the chase: does anybody have a clip art I can use, download and give to the newspaper people to get this thing where people can read it?

I really appreciate this.

Jim Burke

Jim, Elizabeth Frankish at peakoilaware has some "big" cliparts that may be of use (click on them for big .png's:


(these are free...she's done a lot over the years...)

I just tried the link, and got a "bandwidth exceeded" error message.  


which is strange, because the legacy links still work:


I have an email into her.  She's quite nice, and probably wouldn't mind folks emailing her for specific png's.  Click on the Wake UP! button at the bottom of the blogroll.

That doesn't work for me, either.  

I've never understood the algorithm Geocities uses to throttle bandwidth.

All the Kiwis who read and post on TOD would agree: New Zealand still has a lot to do in building awareness of peak oil. That being said, we're ahead of the US (in the opinion of this American transplant).

However, the factors that are working to build latent peak awareness in NZ don't translate to the US.

NZ has mainstream media that is more receptive to peak oil. Campbell Live, a daily news analysis show with good journalism, devoted about 15 minutes to peak oil, with the main speaker being Dr. Rick Sibson, a very peak-aware geology professor. The biggest newspaper has had responsible reportage as well.

Our political climate is very liberal, and more willing to talk openly about difficult issues. In this environment, both The Green Party and the Maori Party have spoken forcefully and correctly about peak oil during the elections.

The NZ populace is more travelled, and less insular than the average American. Our petrol prices are at a record level here as well, but I don't hear a lot of conspiracy theories that the oil companies are shafting consumers. There is much more awareness that geopolitical tension, supply issues, and currency fluctuations are affecting prices.

External energy circumstances add to the peak oil drumbeat as well. We've had drought issues, leading to national electricity conservation drives when the hydro reservoirs were low. We're also facing an imminent natural gas shortage for industrial users (though homes, using only about 5% of our NG, should be fine). Traffic congestion issues lead to awareness of the need for mass transit.

The peak oil education process takes years, and lots of non-contradictory exposures to the main ideas. As Pavlov pointed out, you can cause extinction of the response if you provide contradictory information.

This issue of misleading, wrong, or dis-information is a real problem for the US that NZ doesn't have: trumpet enough about the hydrogen economy, or ethanol, or tar sands, or oil shale, or any other cornucopian idea and you'll wipe out months or years of good and accurate information. Unless the "iron triangle" gets weakened, this problem will be tough for America to address.

New Zealand are probably the best in the world at rugby too!
Just thought I'd post an example of how I've been promoting Peak Oil awareness. I post on several electronic music forums in Australia & the UK, and on a games forum read by all nationalities, so that makes a wide cross section of mainly younger people. I've posted on this topic today asking the question of how Peak Oil was seen in each country so it will be interesting to see the results when people start replying.

Civfanatics forum (worldwide audience)
Teknoscape (mainly Perth, Australia)
The Scene (Australia wide, Melbourne focused)
In The Mix(Australia wide, Sydney focused)
Tribal Gathering (North-west England, Manchester focused)

I don't know how many times I have ask this question but if everybody is worried about other knowing about peak oil, I have to ask what are you doing personally to spread the word??

Besides talking to every person I meet on the road about peak oil(I'm a truck driver) I have started to post at another forum at the DesMoinesRegister.com and something interesting has taken place. They have devoted a page of "Fueling Iowa's future"  . With this quote:

Sometime this century, world oil production likely will reach its peak as developing economies gulp a finite supply at an ever-increasing rate. Some experts think the Iowa could be a leader in producing the world's next generation of fuels, transforming the state's abundant natural and agricultural resources into fossil-fuel replacements. In "Fueling Iowa's Future," an occasional series of special reports during 2006, the Register's editorial-page staff will examine the potential for Iowa to lead the renewable-fuels revolution and address the public-policy questions that such an undertaking would pose.

Not I know they all believe that ethanol will somehow win the day over oil, I have only just begun to talk about how ethanol is a waste of time and money and is not the "alternative" to oil they believe it is..

saw this yesterday on the WSJ

Venezuela To Buy 18 Oil Tankers From China For $1.3B
CARACAS (AP)--Venezuela has signed a $1.3 billion deal with China to buy 18 oil tankers to help the world's fifth-largest petroleum exporter increase crude shipments to rapidly growing Asian markets.

We don't any more "work to do" to convince Chavez!

This is rather worrisome.  Most of Venezuela's oil exports go to the US, and the volume has been decreasing.  If the Venezuelans are opening up a "Pacific Pipeline" to Asia, how much crude will be left for the US market?

Do you have a link to the story?


Here is some more from the same story:

"Venezuela exports about 15% of its crude and other oil products to Asia but seeks to raise that to 45% by 2012, PdVSA said."

"China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC.YY) signed a one-year supply contract with PdVSA for 160,000 barrels a day in late 2005.

It is also helping quantify and certify heavy crude reserves in Venezuela's oil-rich Orinoco tar belt and has signed a preliminary agreement to jointly develop the Zumano oil and gas fields in eastern Venezuela.

PdVSA announced last year that it would spend $2.2 billion to more than triple its fleet of tankers to 58 by 2012 so that it can ship more oil and gas to Asian and other markets.

PDVSA said Wednesday it has agreements with Brazil for 10 tankers and with Argentina for two more."

wstephens -

A worrisome development for the US, to be sure! I guess after Iraq is pacified and we liberate Iran, we better hurry up and then also liberate Venezuela.

I couldn't help but observe what $1.3 billion buys you these days: 18 new super tankers or about one week's worth of US occupation of Iraq.

 I also read that the US is also planning to replace its fleet of Air Force One helicopters with 23 larger top-of-line helicopters to be fully equipped with the latest luxuries, electronics, and anti-missile technology. No expense is to be spared. Evidently, the President and his entourage have found the existing Air Force One helicopters a bit cramped. Price tag is supposed to be several $billion.

There couldn't be a better illustration of the contrast between what China thinks important and what the Bush regime thinks important.

I had a conversation with an owner of a small office supply store the other day.  Nice fellow, but he was convinced that "big oil" still controls the price of crude.  

When the public finds out what situation the U.S. is in, they are going to go nuts!

Yikes...put on the seat belts...today could be a bumpy ride along the plateau!!!



COPPER FUTURE           387.900   19.100    05.18   08:39
SILVER FUTURE            14.760   0.480     03.36   08:39
LME ALUM HG FUTURE    3088.500   83.500    02.78   05/10
LME NICKEL FUTURE    20805.000   550.000   02.72   05/10
GOLD 100 OZ FUTR        716.000   10.300    01.46   08:39
CRUDE OIL FUTR           72.810   0.680     00.94   08:37

I'm reminded of a scene in a movie where a guy goes back to his foreclosed home to rip the wiring out of the walls for scrap.
I think this is the culprit:

Russian foreign reserves surge to record 231.1 bln usd as of April 28

"On Thursday, official creditors in the Paris Club gave preliminary backing to plans by Russia, one of the group's largest borrowers, to make early debt repayments that could total 22 bln usd"

http://futures.fxstreet.com/Futures/news/afx/singleNew.asp?menu=economicnews&pv_noticia=11473543 39-50950f08-32247

Russia is breaking free of USD debt.  There was an article yesterday stating Russia would like to trade energy in rubles.  The above is the first step....pay off your debt.


The movie, i believe, is Jesus' Son and the actor is Denis Leary (a personal favorite). Significantly, if i remember correctly, the character is an addict/alcoholic. How much of our own societies "addiction to oil" is fueling this kind of "burn the furniture to keep warm" attitude?

This new tool from Google is really amazing!

No wonder people are not PO aware, look who has the most access to MSM!


Other combinations:

gas prices

oil prices
peak oil

Or for reference on peak oil vs the important stuff

Blue is Britney Spears, red is peak oil

And let's take a look on what cars people are interested in:
 blue: volvo xc90      red: ford explorer      orange: toyota prius      green: honda fit

So the Ford Explorer is most popular, Prius popularity is falling, Honda Fit is rising and the Volvo XC90 SUV has a constant interest.

Useful tool, this.

you are measuring curiosity more than popularity.

(i have my prius, and so i search on it much less often.)

Yeah, sure, it's a measure of curiosity. Curiosity for many peakoil-related things , like the Prius, peaked around Katrina and Rita. But the curiosity for the Ford Explorer remains, even though we now have hight oil price than after the hurricanes.

Lesson learned: You need a sharp spike in energy during a high coverage media event to get any effect. If the price just slowly rises, people will still buy their Ford Explorers.

11.2% of cars sold in Sweden during April were "environmental" cars, 490% more then April 2005. That is ethanol, biogas, hybrid and extremely fuel efficient diesel cars. But our car market is small so it was only 2888 cars.


The most popular biofuel in my home town Linköping is biogas, unfortunately I do not have exact statistics. The number of busses, trucks and cars run on biogas is around 1000 and the gas sales are somewhere between 5-10% of the total fuel sales.

(rant warning)

one of my first thoughts, when i saw the graphs pointed to at the top of the page, was that the idea might be out even without "peak oil" as its label.

completing the page, i think maybe that is a good thing.

peak oil does have its survivalist contingent, people frankly who are unsuccessful in this world, and build a fantasy of success in the next (post oil) one.

let the peak oilers go off to their cabins in the woods (unibomber style) and let the world evolve and respond without them.

the words "lead, follow, or get out of the way" apply.

(rants are, by their nature, fractionally true ... it is left to the reader to determine what fraction.)

odograph -

I too have been somewhat dismayed by a certain doomsday, apocalyptic, survivalist strain amongst a number of people who post comments on TOD. I must confess that when I get depressed about the future,  I sometimes slip a bit in that general direction.

While the doomsters are certainly entitled to their opinion, my concern is that people just becoming aware of our energy problems will get the impression that peak oil is some sort of cult, an accusation that has already been made by the anti-peak oil crowd.

In a very real sense we are engaged in a protracted PR compaign whether we like it or not. Seeing comments about how to live in a Mad Max world does not enhance the pursuasiveness of our general message.

I can see why people new to this site would think peak oil is a cult of sorts. The other day a guy posted that "true peak oilers don't eat meat". I personally visit this site in an attempt to educate myself. A lot of the postings show original thought, which is very unusual in the media. Don't consider myself a Peak Oiler, don't want to become one.  
The word should be peaknik.

Not eating meat is plain stupid. Regionally up to 90% of all farmland is only useful for grazing or growing animal fodder (ie grass). Not eating meat will just waste good pasture.

And pasture is very energy-efficient - the animals does the harvest and the fertilizing. Especially diary products are highly efficient, but once the diary cow reaches a certain age, it will become meat. Why waste it? Also, to produce milk, the cows need to give birth to calves, why waste them and not eat them?

Also pasture is low-tech or even no-tech. It will work post peak-oil, regardless of energy availability, especially if you're in a location where the animals can graze all year.

A true peaknik goes forth into the world and procreates.

If he or she doesn't get children, all children will be from uninformed and clueless parents that won't teach their children the skills and attitudes they need for the post-carbon world. And as you are informed, your children will have a competitive advantage.

Go forth and bring little peakniks into the world! At least 2.1 for each family.

I agree that a certain "doomsday" strain is present.  However, if you take the arguements seriously, PO does challenge the "Busisness as Usual" range of investments (both financial as well as social and lifestyle)that people routinely make resulting in discomfort.  Such can be preceived as threatening to most people and potentially dangerous.  D
I'm far from ready to head out to the woods with a supply of ammo (it's not the approach I'd take anyway)!  Your point is well taken though.  If one is convinced that the house is about to fall down, one is not likely to fix the hole in the roof.  But if you're wrong, that hole in the roof may cause the house to fall down.

Having said that, I do see some very ominous signs of very real problems in our future.  It appears that our society is not going to pursue some of the viable things that we could/should be doing right now.  I don't pretend to know just how long we would have to deal with the PO thing before it causes huge problems in and of itself - but I do think that the societal responses that seem to be brewing may be a big problem very soon.  To ignore that would also be foolish.

For me, it's not so much that I've been unsuccessful; I'm doing fine in that regard, but I find much about how our society has evolved to be unrewarding and unfulfilling.  My response is to change my lifestyle so that it suits me better.  And therefore the changes I make in regards to the problems we face get tested against those interests.  I won't be moving to the city to be closer to a job, I'll adapt to make a living in the rural area I love.  I'm sure there are urban strategies that would be viable too, they're just not for me.  This dissatisfaction with the status quo makes me somewhat vulnerable to doomer ideas, but I must look out for my kids, so that pulls me back.  

We need to keep focusing on the technical issues related to PO, but keep your eye on the other symptoms - they will force us to deal with them.

The magnitude of the possible problems associate with peak oil can lead to exercises of the immagination - some will obviously come true, to some degree, depending on your location.  The best of us has to admit that we cannot predict the future(beyond higher fuel prices).
I have a picture of an Eastern Oregon wheat farm being combined with a team of horses.  For the non-farmers combines cut("harvest") the wheat stalks and seperate("threshing") the wheat grains from the chaff (stalks and hulls).  This process was done seperatly before the combine(the combination).
This combine was drawn (pulled) by a team of almost 30 horses!
This simple picture has some economic and energy insights.  Old time farmers created thier own fuel(hay) to run thier machinery(the horse) and were (energy) independant.   Obviously a certain ammount of land and rescources were needed to maintain the farm(farmer and horses) and the extra was all that could be sold (exported?).  As we debate ethanol to power farm tractors I would wonder if the powers that be (large distributors and refiners - the oil men) see this as a threat to thier existance?  I for the life of me cannot see where individual distillerys do not become a critical part of future agriculture. This of course depends on whether it is better to feed horses or tractors.