[Homestead] Tilting at oil derricks
Clansgian at wmconnect.com
Clansgian at wmconnect.com
Thu Nov 15 14:34:47 EST 2007
> Atomic energy seems an obvious answer. Lovelock, in the terrific
> piece Jerry posted, makes the valid point that the positives far
> outweigh the negatives.
Atomic energy is almost all positives as far as I can see. The negative is
that right now ALL feasible working atomic energy plants use uranium.
Regenerating plutonium (for electric plants) and fussion reactors are ideas. Right
now just ideas. The rub is that uranium is as limited a resource as oil.
There is also a corpus of information on "peak uranium". The end of easily had
reactor grade urnaium is in sight and if we were to accelerate the use of it,
we'd run out much faster.
> Too many words, James.
> Think beyond oil.
It would behoove one to pay some mind to the plethora of words in this case.
You see, I AM thinking beyond oil and I am in the vast minority when I do so.
When I think beyond oil, I look about for how our world will operate. We'll
be OK in such things as plastic containers and such, many plastics don't use
oil at all (cellophane, rayon, nylon, for example).
A tree service often calls me after a job to see if I'd like to do some
cleaning up after them and last week they cut down two massive beech trees. As I
was cutting up the limbs and loading the truck, I kept hearing a noise that I
eventually identified as the heat pump cycling on and off. It was a 5000 sq
ft house and no one was at home. No one is at home regularly during hte week
and yet massive amounts of energy are being expended to heat and cool an empty
We've come to expect such things. When I look beyond oil, I first ask where
this level of energy is going to come from. The answer so far is 'nowhere'.
OK, without this level of energy, how are we going to keep these cavernous
McMansions from deteriorating in the winter freeze and summer blast? Answer: We
aren't. What are these people going to do to occupy themselves when there
isn't gas enough for their two large SUV's they drive about 40 miles to work one
Being cheery and expecting that we will discover dilithium crystals in the
next decade or so is a recipe for disaster.
On our homestead we use very little fossil energy. Very, very little. Gas
going from around $2 a gallon to $3 costs us more for an occasional supply or
business excursion, but it doesn't make that much difference to us. If it goes
to $7 or $12 a gallon, it will only affect us to a certain extent. I only
bring this up to show that we are very familiar with what a life with very
little, or very expensive, or very little expensive oil looks like. We don't mind.
That is what we are cheery about. But we are rare birds indeed.
Speaking of misinformation to Congress, they will have to please themselves.
The more accurate information has been available to them all along. But as
individuals we can be more selective and in depth. I don't need to be up on
foreign exchange rates or the USDA defintion of chocolate or agreements to limit
fishing in the far Pacific. So I can look a little more deeply into oil,
land (and housing), grain supplies and other things that DO touch my farmstead.
So .... Brazil announces that it has discovered a very deep oil field off
shore and if they are lucky and it comes to full fruition, it might hold as much
as 8 billion barrels of oil.
Paul Harvey on the radio repeated the story rolling the "b" in "billion" like
Carl Sagan used to do. Cheery, chipper 8 b-b-billion barrels! First, oil
companies always wildly overestimate such finds (heard any good news from the
Jack 2 well in the gulf that was suppose to save us all??) and the total
estimate doesn't necessarily mean that much could be recovered and the thing is
seven miles deep in the ground!!
OK, setting all that aside, let's fantasize that we could easily get to all
that oil instantly. Let's put the world's oil straw in that field and slurp.
At our current rate of oil consumption, how long would that 8 billion barrels
About three months.
But it's 8 b-b-b-b-b-billion barrels!!
Yes, but the combination of our SUV's, empty houses, long commutes, etc. are
guzzling down the world's oil at a rate that is unbelievable.
Yes, indeed, I'm looking beyond oil. I seem to be one of the only ones
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