[permaculture] permaculture - Biofuel Illusion

Scott Pittman pci at permaculture-inst.org
Sun Jul 9 14:50:08 EDT 2006

I think that it should be made clear in every conversation about 
alternative fuel, and other alternative energies that none of them will 
supplant petroleum products in quantity.  In petroleum products we are 
looking at 500 million years of accumulated sunlight stored deep in the 
Earth that has been, at minimum, half burned up in the past 100 years, 
think about it!  So biofuels should be thought of in terms of a maximum 
conservation measure ie for lighting, running essential industrial 
processes ie iron smelting.  We should think of a future without 
airlines, without individual automobiles, without farm equipment etc.  
Time to support those rare breeds of horses and oxen for future 
survival.  The only problem I had with Gore's movie was his dependence 
on ethanol for a solution.  The solution is to change our lifestyle, I 
think that we should be looking to the Amish for direction and for 

As far as Lovelock's idea of nuclear, my understanding is that we 
currently have about 80 years worth of uranium if used at current 
rates.  The uranium source that is most available right now is from the 
Former Soviet Unions' old nuclear weapons - it wouldn't hurt a thing if 
we would deconstruct our own to fuel what nuclear plants exist right 
now, but we are looking at a fuel source that is scarcer than oil when 
we talk nuclear.

Why is it that no one wants to talk about moving to a more simple life 
style?  People had it pretty good in the 18th and 19th century without 
all the petroleum, the problem then, as now, was political ineptitude 
and greed leading to nationalistic war over territory and natural 
resources.  As we seem hell bent on destroying natural resources, 
perhaps the ultimate outcome will be less reason to fight each other.  
Self sustaining would seem to lead one to the idea that if we can't 
provide for our needs for fuel then we shouldn't be using it - or is 
that permaculture idea too radical for consideration.

Scott Pittman

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