Sunday, January 28, 2007

BPF Gathering for Discussion January 28

Peak Oil presented by Lisa Mann

Sunday, January 28
2:30 pm -4:30 pm
Belmont Library


(Warning- Peak Oil is approached from many different angles, depending on the view of the writer/ researcher. Some writers on the subject are “doomsdayers” who make broad conclusions about the “end of civilization.” Others are working for fossil fuel or other energy industries, or for companies providing alternative energies, who may have financial interests in painting a rosy picture. Keep your thinking cap on, and don’t take everything you find at face value)

our local group, lots of links, articles, and information about Peak Oil. Also learn about the Portland Peak Oil Task Force here.

A draft of the Task Force’s final recommendations can be found at Portland’s Office of Sustainable Development:

Peak Oil news and message boards
a clearing house of the most recent articles and information about Peak Oil and related energy issues.
The Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas website. Scholarly and straightforward, provides many points of view. Highly recommended.
Julian Darley created the “Post Carbon Network” to start making global connections between groups preparing for a post-Peak Oil world. Very positive.


Richard Heinberg: “The Party’s Over” and “Power Down” The seminal works on the crisis.

Julian Darley: “High Noon for Natural Gas: The New Energy Crisis”

Michael T. Klare: “Blood and Oil : The Dangers and Consequences of America’s Growing Dependency on Imported Petroleum”

Paul Roberts: “The End of Oil : On the Edge of a Perilous New World”


BPF Portland said...

Lisa said most of her info came from the resources she provided: many links from Portland Peak Oil.

Some highlights and things we pulled out of her with questions:

Some say we have reached, or are just about to reach, global peak oil. Here comes the downslope.

Author Matt Simmons thinks the Saudi oil fields are about to collapse:

Canadian oil sand fields: difficult to extract, difficult to refine, pollutes a lot of water.

Iraq's erratic oil production comes from the strife there. When US invaded, China and Russia were jockeying in line for that oil. Iraq now has the most reserves? Hmmm. War makes a handy piggy bank for oil...

Important medical products, modern agriculture, well pretty much anything in your house if you walk two feet, are made from oil.

Switching to organic methods, sustainable methods, at the gigantuous level that things are produced today cannot happen overnight. There just won't be enough food.

If we were to replace oil for fuel with bio-fuel, we could not grow enough to meet our current demands if we covered the whole US with fields...never mind food production. (This is already happening! Mentioned on my sangha list: Brazil uses a lot of ethanol...and people are going hungry because the produce is being used for fuel.)

There is no international oil commission, unlike for coffee and tea.

Some like to tout nuclear. Ahem. Half-life? Then there's Peak Uranium.

And there's Peak Natural Gas.

Hydrogen? Uh-uh. Made using natural gas. See previous note.

Bottom line is, our lives will change. Some technologies will help, but we all will have to consume less, live differently, buy locally.

What can we do?
(related to sanghas)
-we could set up carpools in our sanghas
-make our homes more sustainable (rooftop gardens, solar, water conservation, etc.)
-old (is it old?) adage: reduce, reuse, recycle. in that order.
-one attender wants to set up a bike-riding challenge
-Lisa would like to see some positive Buddhist energy at the peak oil gatherings ...this attracts the "survivalist types."
-reach out to our neighbors
-make personal life changes
-reach out to lawmakers: WE NEED TO CHANGE THE INSTITUTIONS
-already done: a survey in the city in Portland looking for "diggable city": empty lots that can become gardens (heartening that our city is looking ahead)
-edible schoolyard
-another attender is a Montessori Middle School teacher: her kids studied their school and the ways they could make it more sustainable. they now have a drainage garden? among other things...
**Teachers and kids are taking the lead**
-transition will be easier for those who grow up with sustainable methods
-we are in a good place here in the Portland area: urban growth boundary keeps us close to farmland; we have hydropower; our water from Bull Run is gravity-fed.
-this also will make us a magnet for people in less sustainable areas...another thing we and our govts need to prepare for
-one attender (what -ist did you say you were?) likes globalism for it's complexity.
-the more complex a system, the more sustainable.

BUT when the global economic system relies heavily on one thing, oil, all could crash, even with the complex connections

local complex economies could sustain us. exists to create those positive global interconnections

Anonymous said...

There's been a wonderful discussion about biofuels in our Dharma Rain Sangha group. At Enji's suggestion, I'll cut and paste some of my comments here:

Biofuels can be wonderful ways to offset oil use, especially when oil
that would otherwise be discarded is used (Sequential uses Kettle
Foods' waste oil).

But there are three major problems with biofuels on a large scale-
monocropping of sugar, palm and canola (and perhaps switchgrass, if
cellulisic ethanol in brought into production) causes deforestation,
rural depopulation and investment in non-food crops in the hungry
third world.

Also, when oil was first dicovered, there was an average 100:1 ratio
of energy required to extract the oil versus the energy the oil
provided. (EROIE- energy return on energy invested). Today it's
around 30:1. The Canadian tar (bitumen) sands? Even its proponents say 3:1. Many biofuels follow the same low energy return profile, and ethanol may be barely in the positive. Less bang for your buck.

And THE major issue: if every square mile of arable land in the United States were converted to growing crops for fuel- forget about eating- it might barely meet our transportation needs, but it would not replace the petroleum products we use. At this point, if every ear of corn grown in the US went only to ethanol, it would replace a mere 15% of our gasoline use.

Here's a great article called the Ethics of Biofuels:

There are two major groups of people interested and educting people on energy depletion- those who want to get rich off the crisis (wolves in sheep's clothing), and those who want to make the world a less energy-dependent place.

here's an article I wrote for Energy Bulletin last year:

There are numerous workshops and conferences about Peak Oil, the most progressive being the one at Amherst in Yellow Springs, OH every year. Hopeful and inspiring, presenters there encourage people to change the way we do business and travel, to change the way we grow and transport food, and to keep our moral center while we do it.

Spokane hosted a conference about a year and a half ago, but the halls
were crowded with guys in expensive suits running around with their
cell phones making deals, and presenters included someone trying to restart Washington's nuke program and "Twilight in the Desert" author Matt Simmons- advisor to the notorious Cheney task force.

Sorry I'm so long winded! It's one of those long-winded types of
subjects, very convoluted. Please check out, really wonderful, forward-thinking and

Enji said...

A neat article comes to my attention by Lisa. She said, "Check this out There's a way to produce algae oil AND eliminate carbon emissions from power plants at the same time..."