Peak Oil Interview with Nate Hagens and Art Berman

Attached is the recent interview by Nate Hagens with Arthur Berman, “Peak Oil – The Hedonic Adjustment.”  You may or may not be familiar with the term peak oil.  Regardless, this interview is a must.  Many have debunked peak oil or at the very least kicked the peak oil can down the road. My definition for peak oil is the half way of oil reserves in a country or globally. Obviously, the remaining half of the oil will be depleted much more rapidly than the first half due to the increase in population and the additional uses for oil.

I always say that if they are trying to get oil out of tar sands, the end of oil is not that far away.  If you are not familiar with tar sands, look up Alberta Tar Sands. And, as clearly stated in the interview, oil runs the whole global economy.  Art Berman discovers some important and disturbing facts while getting ready for this interview.  Spend some time and watch this.  It is important that people know these things and are prepared.  Please share it.  Thank you.

So, Sorry . . . Industrialization Has to Go

There is nothing scarier to the majority of scientists . . . and me . . . than geoengineering.  For anyone that is unfamiliar with that term, it is the process of spraying sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere to keep the sun from warming the planet.  Shannon Osaka wrote an article in the Washington Post on January 9, 2023, called, “This firm is working to control the climate.  Should the world let it?”

Osaka reports that regardless of the risks, Luke Iseman, the founder and CEO of Make Sunsets, is acting on his own without any world decision to go ahead with geoengineering experiments.  He is going to make that call for the whole world?  Granted he is doing it on a small scale but that is not some decision I personally want him trying out on the planet.  He will then encourage others to do the same.

That turn at the Industrial Revolution created this climate crisis.  Should we trust some geoengineering technology to fix it?

No one knows how this will turn out.  Industrialized nations are pushing to do something drastic, as levels of CO2 continue to rise, and geoengineering is looking like their solution.  I will tell you what drastic is but guaranteed to work to keep CO2 from rising . . . shut down the consumer economy for starters.  What geoengineering says as a solution is the fossil fuel industry and the consumer economy have no intention of shutting down.  Their solution is to keep business as usual.

During March through May 2020, here in the US, a big portion of the economy was shut down because of COVID.  Everything from retail, restaurants, schools, theaters, etc. were closed.  The only exceptions were grocery and hardware stores, and of course hospitals.  Emissions declined not immensely but noticeably.  Big Box Grocery stores remained open, so that meant the 30% of emissions from our food system kept rolling out.  Those stores have a big portion of retail in them, as well.

Sure, shutting down most of the consumer economy will create massive job losses.  But you know, we will just have to figure that out.  The future of humanity is at stake.  Everything we rely on to keep us alive is at stake, oh by the way.  We need to envision a new way to live, like growing our own food, canning fruits and vegetables, sharing tools, and creating more efficient dwellings that don’t rely on fossil fuels to heat and cool them.

Here in the US, we don’t need 40 different cereals to choose from.  Let’s all eat oatmeal for breakfast.  We also don’t need to grow tomatoes in Mexico that hitchhike on ocean freight to China to become tomato sauce to then hitchhike back via ocean freight to the US to be transported via semi-truck to distribution centers and finally your local Big Box Grocery store shelves all across the nation. We can grow our own tomatoes.

Stop the insanity of industrialization that is creating the climate crisis and extreme weather, soil depletion, droughts, massive flooding, land disruption, warming oceans, methane release from thawing permafrost, mowing down the Amazon for more food for animal agriculture, mining, resource depletion, and biodiversity loss that will push humanity off the cliff.

Civilizations have collapsed before, . . . and, we are on our way.  Can we lessen the blow?

Osaka, Shannon, The Washington Post, January 9, 2023, “This firm is working to control the climate. Should the world let it?”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2023/01/09/make-sunsets-solar-geoengineering-climate/

Kindling – It’s a Primal Thing

On occasion, I have written about this feeling before.  Perhaps more so when I first moved into my little cabin.  But, every time I go out to gather kindling . . . I get the feeling again.

To me . . . it is something intrinsic to our nature.  It is primal.  And, we have lost it.  It has been replaced by fluorescent lighting, piped in music, and shelves upon shelves of fossil fuel laden food and products.

Yes, I still have to go into the big box grocery store and drive a car . . . the fossil fuel list goes on.  But, yesterday, as I was gathering kindling, that grocery store, etc., felt so unnatural . . . I am caught in between.

I carry on with my goal . . . to be as self sustaining as possible.  Even when I hear people say . . . there is no way you can grow all your own food . . . or it is so much work.  I say . . . the planet depends on me succeeding . . . and . . . my survival is at stake . . . not to mention the reconnecting of my inner being to what it knows is real . . . Nature, it is home. People have done this in the past . . . and are doing it today.

With persistence, I will learn how to grow my food.  Last year, so much went wrong in that garden that will teach me what to do better this year.  Yes, the cabbage heads didn’t show up, the potatoes were tiny, the pole beans didn’t come up, onions were too small, carrots and beets are so much trouble, and let’s add broccoli and brussel sprouts to that list, too.

But . . . I got 19 pint jars of canned tomatoes . . . and . . . that meant everything to me.

So, kindling . . . it helps start my fires in the wood stove . . . so I can survive the -40 that Nature dishes out.  It is a hand to mouth thing.  It is not covered in plastic wrap that I need scissors to get into.

My boots sunk into the foot of snow, as I trudged through to an area of trees . . . and watched a rabbit scamper through the field to the other side of the woods . . . heard the snap of each dry branch as I added them to my pile . . . felt the falling snow on my face . . . wondered what kind of shelter I could build in the nook of some trees . . . heard the silence of the gray day . . . enveloped in a milky winter sky . . . felt the knowing eyes of the ancestors guiding me.

Kindling . . . it’s a primal thing.

The Power of Community:  How Cuba Survived Peak Oil

If you haven’t see this documentary, get it on your list.  The film was directed by Faith Morgan and released by The Community Solution in 2006.  It is very inspirational, and it is a great guide to navigating collapse.  Believe me, we are going to need it because the collapse is starting to rear its ugly head big time and will only accelerate.

Back in 1991 when the Soviet Union was falling apart, Cuba lost oil imports from them.  There was no shooting and chaos because of it, as many here in the US fear will take place when collapse happens.  Instead, the power of community shone brightly, and everyone came together.  Without oil, the country stopped.  Buses ran intermittently.  They said the average Cuban lost 20 lbs.  Eventually, everyone was growing food everywhere.  Oxen were used to plow fields.  Very little fertilizers or pesticides were used if any.  I highly recommend watching it.

A little note here about the reference to peak oil in the title of the documentary for people who are not familiar with that term.  Peak oil is when a country or globally the half way point of oil is reached.  The US reached peak oil in the 1970s.  Well, then, horizontal fracking was invented, and the oil that was unreachable was extracted.  I ran into a site on the history of oil, and the US stopped exporting oil when it reached peak oil to protect reserves.  That lasted for 40 years until fracking came along. 

A big oil boom happened around 2005 or so.  Back then, everyone was moving to North Dakota to get an oil job at the Bakken Oil field.  Fracking for natural gas happens in many states but there are about only four major oil fields in the US that use fracking.  Michael Patrick Flanagan Smith wrote a great article on what that oil boom was like when he worked there from 2013 to 2014.  People were living in their cars because the town had no place to house everyone.  The peak oil term got kicked down the field because everyone thinks we will always find ways to extract more oil, even though we can’t afford to burn another drop.  Since then, those oil fields are running dry. 

I always say, if they are spending money to extract oil from Alberta tar sands, which is gunk, the end of oil is not far away.  And, as Cuba witnessed, oil runs everything.

While Cuba had no warning that crisis was coming, the climate crisis alarm has been blaring finally for the last three years.  Countries have been coming together since 1992 to address the climate crisis but it really didn’t hit center stage until Greta Thunberg showed up shortly before COVID lambasting world leaders at the COP24 meeting in Poland in December 2018 for doing nothing.  Just listening to her again in the link below brought tears to my eyes.

The climate crisis has moved at a snail’s pace.  So where is the urgency?  Well, things are starting to ramp up.  

I am wondering if there are any more forests in the US left to burn?  Every season millions of acres go up in smoke.  Because of drought, the Danube River in Germany was so low this summer that they couldn’t use it for exporting goods.  China closed factories this past summer because of drought and heat.  The Colorado River in the Southwest US is in the 23rd year of a major drought.  Seven states depend on water from the Colorado, and 70% of it is used for agriculture.  Farmers are letting fields go fallow because a lack of irrigation.  Places like Portland and Denver that don’t normally get summer temperatures in the 90s and 100 got hit again this summer.  Hurricane Ian slammed Florida.  These are just a sampling of how the climate crisis is playing out.  There are countless other examples worldwide, of course.

Where does this leave us?  What does this film tell us?  What can we do?

It is clear that the US and other countries are hell bent on squeezing the last dollar from the economy and pillaging the resources until the planet is ravaged of the last thriving ecosystem.  The CEOs and politicians will be safely tucked away in elaborate bunkers stocked to the hilt to watch us fend for ourselves knowing they have sold us enough misinformation, fear, and guns.

Hmmm.  Perhaps the power of community that Cuba exhibited will radiantly emerge.

We can hope.

The Power of Community:  How Cuba Survived Peak Oil

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Power_of_Community:_How_Cuba_Survived_Peak_Oil#:~:text=The%20Power%20of%20Community%3A%20How%20Cuba%20Survived%20Peak%20Oil%20is,the%20Soviet%20Union%20in%201991

Greta Thunberg speaks at COP24 Poland December 2018

Smith, Michael Patrick Flanagan, “I joined the oil rush to an American boomtown.  Guess who got rich?” June 6, 2021, The Guardian

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jun/06/boomtown-oil-williston-north-dakota

Degrowth – Not a Common Topic

Never heard of it?  You are not alone.  It is anything but Mainstream.  Google doesn’t even send me anything on it, and it is really good at sending me climate crisis news.  Well, and, it is a pretty radical solution to the climate crisis, but . . . the most realistic. I have written about it before . . . but let’s go here again.

Degrowth needs some serious PR right now.  People need to be talking about this.  It won’t be an easy transition but it is doable.  And, did I mention, we will need some new kind of economy . . . or maybe no economy.  The people up at the top, the corporations and politicians, well, and also small businesses, are not going to go for this.  They are not addressing the climate crisis at all now, anyway.  They are too busy taking humanity off the cliff.

Yes, everyone can switch to renewable energy, but . . . I am sorry to tell you, that has its own issues environmentally.  Right now, we are basically focusing on our own energy needs and forgetting about the big emission producer, and, that is . . . what we consume in the way of products and FOOD every day!

So what is Degrowth all about?  When you start counting all the CO2 a product produces, meaning all the embodied energy, you are on your way to understanding why Degrowth makes sense.  By that time, when you go into the Big Box Grocery store, your head will want to explode seeing all that CO2 on the shelf.

If you are not quite there yet, let’s take a walk through the cereal aisle.  That innocent raisin bran sitting on the shelf had a big diesel tractor plant the wheat and harvest it, took it to a flour mill, trees were cut down for the box, oil was extracted for the plastic sleeve, raisins were grown and harvested, the box went to a printer to have the graphics printed, and all of it ended up at the raisin bran factory so it could be shipped to your local store.  That took a lot of CO2. 

Now, look at every product on the shelf and go through that same process.  It takes oil to transport and electricity, heat, and AC for those manufacturing plants.  Do we really need 40 different cereals?  How about oatmeal for breakfast out of a bin reusing your own bag.  Ah, now, we are getting somewhere.  Remember, when you pick a tomato from your garden, there is no CO2 emitted.   Don’t have a garden? Get a garden plot.

Maybe you are thinking about all the jobs that will have to go.  I don’t know about you, but I want to live.  That is what this whole thing is about . . . surviving.  And, at this point, if you are watching the game, we are very close to losing.  Maybe we will just reduce the suffering that is headed our way.

A debt jubilee, universal income, not to mention garden plots everywhere, are all many of the ways we can do Degrowth.  Just think of all the things that emit CO2 or use lots of water that we can live without and still be happy.  Think about it . . . talk about it at the dinner table . . . and, pass it on.  Degrowth.

Let’s Talk About the Elephant in the Room – The Consumer Economy

Yes, the consumer economy.  It doesn’t get mentioned at all when discussing the solutions to the climate crisis.  Well, in some ways it does in the form of reducing personal consumption.  And, truthfully, it wasn’t always in my mind either.  I was still focusing on changing our lifestyle as a way to avert the climate crisis after the college class, Environmental Sociology, that I took in 2009.  The main culprit is burning all those fossil fuels, and we use that for all of our energy needs.  I say oil runs everything . . . and it does.

The main climate crisis solution is the focus on switching to renewable energy in the form of solar, wind, geothermal, etc.  That is a major step in the right direction.  Using energy to create solar panels that soak up sun for some 30 years beats out endlessly digging up coal and fracking for naturel gas to burn for electricity hands down.  Although, everything has its environmental cost.

Jason Hickel, wrote the article “The Limits of Clean Energy,” in Foreign Policy, September 6, 2019.  Let’s think again before we dig another big hole for renewable energy.  It is a better source of energy but it is not without its consequences.  I highly recommend reading it.  The link is attached below.

The enormity of the climate crisis and how the consumer economy contributes to it would send me sobbing in hysterical grief and hopelessness after that class.  I would envision it as a huge locomotive with CEOs as the engineers with profits and endless growth gleaming in their eyes.  We, the consumers, were the passengers screaming “yahoo” at the thought of our next big screen TV, all-inclusive cruise ship vacation, new car, etc.  We were a package deal.  No way was that locomotive going to be stopped . . . and it was flying down a hill at top speed.

I want that vision in everyone’s head.  I hear people whine, “I can’t give up this or that.”  People . . . this is a life and death situation.  And, until Mainstream America gets that . . . they will be watching football, eating barbeque chicken wings, and shopping for that new car, not really understanding how the climate crisis is really an . . . EMERGENCY.

How do we get there?  Hmmm . . . maybe you can tell me.

Somewhere after that class, I had the embodied energy moment.  I don’t think there was a chapter or any mention of it in the class.  I think once you start looking at everything you do and buy as carbon, embodied energy just naturally comes along.  And, if you don’t understand embodied energy, it will be a giant leap to why degrowth is one of the best solutions.  But, as a dear friend says, “There is no silver bullet for the climate crisis, only silver buckshot.”

For a reminder here, infinite growth on a finite planet is not possible.

Embodied energy is all the energy it takes to produce a product, provide a service, etc.  For instance, there may be 8-10 factories or processes to produce a box of raisin bran.  And, all those manufacturing plants and processes are spewing fossil fuels into the air. 

Can’t we all just eat oatmeal?

There are ramifications for all our choices.  Take biofuels for instance.  Do we want to use the land to grow food and eat or fuel our cars?  Solar arrays?  Again, do we want to eat or turn on the lights?  CAFOS, which stands for Confined Animal Feeding Operations, provide about 99% of the meat and dairy consumed.  Regenerative agriculture and open grazing will help our soil but do we have enough land to have some billions of animals openly grazing.  Hmmm.  Possibly, if we get rid of all the corn and soy fields.  I don’t know.

Back to degrowth.  Now that is definitely not brought up at anyone’s dinner table.  It is not even Mainstream anything.  I never get it in my Google news feed . . . and Google does a fine job of sending me everything on the climate crisis.  And, I can’t really say when I took that next step from solar on the house to . . . no, we don’t need raisin bran and most every aisle in the grocery store. 

Yes, solar on the roof is a good solution to address the climate crisis but we get a bigger bang for our buck by reducing all the pollution from eliminating all the stuff we can be happy without.

Richard Smith wrote a great article called, “Climate Crisis, the Deindustrialization Imperative and the Jobs vs. Environment Dilemma,” in Truthout, November 12, 2014, which I have talked about before and have attached below.  I highly recommend reading his article because he gets why we need degrowth.

It really isn’t any wonder why no one brings it up as a climate crisis solution because that would mean dismantling . . . oh, yes . . . capitalism and the consumer economy.  How do you tell X, Y, and Z company you have to go?  How do you tell people they can’t have raisin bran and pet costumes anymore, let alone go on that fabulous cruise ship vacation with the endless food buffets and coconut margaritas?

He also wrote the book “Less is More: How Degrowth will Save the World.”  It is a great book but I think his solutions will take too long.  Some of his ideas are to get rid of planned obsolescence, no more advertising, a debt jubilee, and others.

Hey, that debt jubilee is great because we all have debt . . . we have to work to live.  Along the way, we are convinced to buy shiny objects so we have more debt and have to work even more.  That’s why this is such a sticky mess.  CEOs want more profits, and we have debt and want more stuff.

So, degrowth is a tough one.  Again, how do we get there?  We can’t afford to dig more holes for resources to manufacture more products, even for solar and battery storage.  We need to eat and need the biodiversity we are endlessly destroying.

Remember the movie, The Lorax, where they lived in that bubble with fake trees . . . actually, everything was fake.  We are almost there today, where you have to visit Nature . . . if you live in any type of metro area of any major city.  There is no Nature there.  Ok, you may have some grass.  We haven’t gotten to fake trees yet.  In time.  And those corn and soy fields . . . that isn’t Nature either.

There has to be some kind of monetary incentive to get to degrowth.  And, I have a solution.  Warning, I am going to go down some political rabbit hole here.

Just recently, our US corporate/political machine we call a government passed a close to a trillion-dollar military budget.  Hey, forget about addressing the climate crisis, having decent healthcare, free college, stopping mass incarceration, addressing all the excrement from CAFOs from the billions of animals, etc.  The military machine would rather use our tax dollars to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia and other countries to kill women and children or create more wars to go to.  The US has some 750+ bases around the world, and some 6,000 nuclear warheads that can destroy the world.  Isn’t that enough for them?

The incentive I mentioned for Degrowth could come from divvying up that trillion-dollar military budget to everyone in the US.  I know it is a crazy pipe dream . . . but come on . . . can you really argue that it doesn’t sound good?  That money could be used to help the people of the US. There would be some left in that budget to keep the lights on in all those 750 bases.

You can tell me I am full of beans, which I am as a vegetarian, but . . . I think it is an awesome idea!

Degrowth.  Bring it up at the dinner table.

Richard Smith, “Climate Crisis, the Deindustrialization Imperative and the Jobs vs. Environment Dilemma,” Truthout, November 12, 2014.

https://truthout.org/articles/climate-crisis-the-deindustrialization-imperative-and-the-jobs-vs-environment-dilemma/

 

Jason Hickel, “The Limits of Clean Energy,” Foreign Policy, September 6, 2019

 

Jason Hickel, “Less is More:  How Degrowth Will Save the World” London: Penguin Random House, 2021

https://www.jasonhickel.org/less-is-more

Climate Crisis December – And What You Can Do

In a matter of a week and a half, this past December witnessed three climate crisis events.  It started on December 10 where a tornado remained on the ground ravaging almost 227 miles, destroying lives and buildings in its path.  From the Amazon facility in Edwardsville, IL, where the roof collapsed and six people died to the town of Mayfield, KY, at a candle factory and throughout the town, where some 78 people died in its destruction.

The next climate event had wind gusts at 100 mph in some areas of the approximately 660 miles measured on December 15.  This storm was personal as it hit Readstown, WI where I live.  The gusts were at times 69 mph.  The storm rolled in about 9:00 p.m. with the rain slamming my cabin from the south.  Nestled next to the ridge to the west, I usually feel protected.  Not this time.  The gusts raged until 6:00 a.m. shaking my cabin each time.  I never felt scared like that before.

But . . . that was nothing next to the horror that happened in Boulder County CO on December 30.  A grass fire fueled by 100 mph winds burnt 1,000 homes and buildings down to the concrete slabs or basements.  In less than six hours, 30,000 people were evacuated and homeless.  How no one was killed is a miracle.  No one has to convince those people there is a climate crisis.

So what do we do?  We have a major problem at hand with two sides to it.  Actually, there are probably many more sides to it but this is how I have simplified it.

First, we have been fooled into thinking we have a democracy with two parties and a choice.  What we really have is one party run by corporations that pay politicians to do their bidding.  The only goal the corporations have is to make money at all costs.  Along with that, they are doing everything in their power to thwart any solution in the direction of solving the climate crisis.  Keep those fossil fuels burning is their mantra. 

The bottom line is the government is not going to solve the climate crisis.

Second, the media is bought and paid for, too, so it is not going to deliver the real news to anyone.  Mainstream America may know there is a climate crisis but they have no idea what that really means and what they can do about it, as they go about their daily life. 

As covid has taken loved ones from us overnight, the climate crisis moves ever so slowly.  It has been going on since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.  That is when it was discovered that by burning coal and other fossil fuels the atmosphere would warm creating the climate crisis we now have.  Extreme weather is upon us . . . and escalating.

The two solutions I have are longshots . . . but they are all I got.  As depressed or hopeless as I feel at times at what I can actually do about the climate crisis, soldiering on is the only option. 

Somehow, I stumbled onto a presentation a week ago in my email given by two speakers put on by the North County Climate Change Alliance (NCCCA) of North San Diego County.  The two speakers, Ivi Kubica and Cat Russell, covered personal solutions needed to address the climate crisis fairly extensively, I thought.  There are, of course, additions to be made but this is a great starting point.  They also supplied the carbon footprint of the average American and other critical facts about how our lifestyle impacts the Earth.  It is a great overall place to start getting people up to speed, who are too busy to spend time trying to find out on their own with solutions to get them going.  Unless you take a class on this, it is a daunting task, and one can be overwhelmed trying to determine where to start.  Let’s not think about how we got here right now.  Just what we can do.

The bottom line is that we need more people fired up about the climate crisis.  I am betting, sadly, that most everyone has forgotten about those December climate crisis events except the people who have lost friends and family or the people who lost their homes in CO.

Here is the ask.  Most all of you reading this are already knowledgeable about the climate crisis.  What I am asking you to do is send the link to the presentation or this post to a person that may need a little jump start into implementing these solutions in their life and a gaining a greater understanding of what the climate crisis is about.  You are asking one friend or family member to watch the presentation.  After they have watched it, please ask them to send it to another friend or family member.  Ask one person to then ask one more person.  Possibly . . . just possibly . . . this could spread . . . at least a little bit.  It is the ripple effect.  We are the media doing what we need to do to get people on board.  Is this going to solve the climate crisis?  Not by that longshot I mentioned earlier . . . but it is one step closer to free.  Here is the link for the presentation called “Saving the Planet” Event with Ivi Kubica and Cat Russell:

The next longshot is this.  I took a crazy trip to DC and had these banners made with climate messages for the defunct government we have that takes our tax dollars and spends them in horrifying ways.  I took a picture of each one with the Capitol in the background.  Attached is the first one I made into a postcard with a message.  I compiled all the addresses of all the senators and mailed the postcard to each one.  Anyone who would like the first postcard, along with all the addresses, please let me know and I will send them to you.  You can edit the message to your liking if you so desire. 

Again, is this going to solve the climate crisis?  Sometimes we do things even though it seems like spitting in the wind.

Extreme weather is only going to get worse.  Somehow “extreme weather” is not what we felt this December.

We soldier on.

Chest Freezer Fridge Conversion – An Off Grid Cabin Upgrade

Technology has come into my little off grid cabin.  I cannot say I do not have electricity any longer.  It is created by renewable energy though . . . and, it is a little scary.  You know how some of these things go.  I get a taste of convenience and pretty soon I will have 20 more solar panels and a big screen TV.  OMG!  That is a frightening thought!

So, after four years of ice and a cooler, I now have a chest freezer that has been converted into a refrigerator.  Friends of mine introduced me to this magic about a year ago.  My friend said one solar panel would run it.  I was sold on that, and I bought two 360 watt solar panels so I could add some lights . . . and possibly watch a movie on my laptop.  Now that is living large.

I like starting with no power and building up.  That way I know what the solar panels and batteries are powering.  Mind you, I don’t have a very good understanding of load to number of solar panels to the number of batteries.  There are eight 6-volt golf cart batteries that the solar panels charge, which was installed back at the beginning of October.  Along the way, I will get a better understanding of how the ratio of panels to batteries work with load.

Along this journey, I have found out this chest freezer to fridge conversion is nothing new.  Countless people I have talked to have done the same thing and most live off grid.  I didn’t want to get a fridge and power it with propane, and some of the very energy efficient refrigerators on solar are expensive.  This chest freezer was about $200.  My friend gave me their old gadget that the freezer plugs into that enables it to be changed to a temperature of a fridge.  Nice.

I purchased it from Backwoods Solar.  The guys there have been great.  One of them said I could have done it with only four batteries but I like the extra cushion of eight.  In addition to the solar system, I did buy a battery charger for the cloudy days in the winter when the solar panels don’t get enough sun. 

It is definitely a learning thing.  Actually, the installation was the biggest challenge.  After a few roadblocks with a few local installers, I realized that this installation was on me.  I asked a friend of mine who cleans out my stove pipe and has done some solar installations to help me.  I didn’t really do much of the installation except find out how it all goes together.  That was enough.  It may be a piece of cake for the guys where I purchased it but it was Greek to me. 

I dug a trench for the PVC with the wiring from the solar panels to the batteries, along with building a wooden enclosure for the batteries.  The fact that the batteries are explosive made me nervous.  But, it is all installed and working fine.  Eventually I will need to check the batteries to add water to them, which I am not looking forward to because they are lead acid batteries.  For now, I will just enjoy this moment of calm.

My new fridge is so nice.  I can’t believe I went four years on a cooler.  Some new kitchen lights and two in the living room have been added.  The lights are LED and each one is about 4 watts each to run.  I am going to admit that I bought some LED Christmas lights, too.  I do feel like a stepped over a line though . . . back into the familiar world of light switches and total convenience.

Have no fear . . . no way am I caving and getting some big screen TV.

Kindling – It’s a Primal Thing

On occasion, I have written about this feeling before.  Perhaps more so when I first moved into my little cabin.  But, every time I go out to gather kindling . . . I get the feeling again.

To me . . . it is something intrinsic to our nature.  It is primal.  And, we have lost it.  It has been replaced by fluorescent lighting, piped in music, and shelves upon shelves of fossil fuel laden food and products.

Yes, I still have to go into the big box grocery store and drive a car . . . the fossil fuel list goes on.  But, yesterday, as I was gathering kindling, that grocery store, etc., felt so unnatural . . . I am caught in between.

I carry on with my goal . . . to be as self sustaining as possible.  Even when I hear people say . . . there is no way you can grow all your own food . . . or it is so much work.  I say . . . the planet depends on me succeeding . . . and . . . my survival is at stake . . . not to mention the reconnecting of my inner being to what it knows is real . . . it is home. People have done this in the past . . . and are doing it today.

With persistence, I will learn how to grow my food.  Last year, so much went wrong in that garden that will teach me what to do better this year.  Yes, the cabbage heads didn’t show up, the potatoes were tiny, the pole beans didn’t come up, onions were too small, carrots and beets are so much trouble, and let’s add broccoli and brussel sprouts to that list, too.

But . . . I got 19 pint jars of canned tomatoes . . . and . . . that meant everything to me.

So, kindling . . . it helps start my fires in the wood stove . . . so I can survive the -40 that Nature dishes out.  It is a hand to mouth thing.  It is not covered in plastic wrap that I need scissors to get into.

My boots sunk into the foot of snow, as I trudged through to an area of trees . . . and watched a rabbit scamper through the field to the other side of the woods . . . heard the snap of each dry branch as I added them to my pile . . . felt the falling snow on my face . . . wondered what kind of shelter I could build in the nook of some trees . . . heard the silence of the gray day . . . enveloped in a milky winter sky . . . felt the knowing eyes of the ancestors guiding me.

Kindling . . . it’s a primal thing.

A COP26 Message to Biden and the World Leaders

Do they even realize this?  Apparently not.  They are doing something behind those doors . . . keeping as close to business as usual.  The fossil fuel industries have the most delegates attending . . . so you know that can’t be good.

Perhaps they weren’t paying attention in school.  This is quite difficult to dispute, even if they want to skirt the whole climate warming issue.

Heaven forbid we mess with the almighty ECONOMY.  I say “Take your marbles and go home.  The rest of us want to live.”

Do they know they are messing with the food system?  I suppose their bunkers are well equipped with years and years of dried food to eat.

This is called degrowth. Sure we can slap some solar panels up and get an electric car but do we really want any solar panels going up to support the cookie, snack, processed food, and any other aisle in the grocery store that is not real food, not to mention pet costumes and the rest of the consumer economy?

I think we can figure a new way to live. There were and still are egalitarian systems that took care of everyone, especially Mother Nature.

I always hesitate to bring up the obvious reduction or elimination of meat and dairy. It seems like a religion in a way. People feel threatened if you take away their meat. So, let’s just raise the price and make it a luxury.

Is anything really going to be done at COP? All of humanity hopes so. This is our last chance.