Thursday, June 12, 2008

Walk the Earth, 2030


Plato: "Hey man, you got anything to eat?"

Aristotle: "No way dude. I scarfed down the last of those MRE's we found in that cave in Colorado, you know, the place they named "Not-Rad!"

Plato: "No-Rad you dimbus, No-Rad. It was called No-Rad"

Aristotle: "Yeah whatever dude."

Plato: "I guess those guys couldn't skate man. Get it? No-Rad. Ha ha ha. I still think it was sad the General refused to share the food stash with the gangs and they barbequed the whole place! It was amazing they didn't go Hannibal the Cannibal like all those senators and congressmen did in that salt mine in Missouri! I guess putting their own names on "The List" after the PeakCrash didn't work out so swift for them, eh?"

Aristotle: "Yeah man. I tried forever to get one of those black stickers on my smart car before the crash. I was getting so tired of sitting in those gas rationing lines. But you know, once they privatized the Gas Rationing Administration, it just was a lot harder to pay somebody off! It was all porno queens that got the privileges. Man, I would have given anything to get one of the VIP passes they gave out to all the celebrities and politicians! Well, at least it would have been cool before the mobs started workin' over all those "beautiful people" when they tried to cut in line with their little passes. You know, I never really understood that SuperPatriot Act that they passed."


Aristotle: "So, what's the call man? Do ya wanna watch the Mad Max video again or should we go back to that lot with the 50,000 abandoned Prius' and see if we can siphon another gallon like we did when we rode the mopeds from LA to Vegas last winter?"

Plato: "Nah man, that's beat. Those things don't even have fumes in 'em. We probably won't get much and we'll have to pedal all the way back here. How 'bout if we pretend that some hot chicks are texting us?"

Aristotle: "What are you kidding man? What are you, some dinosaur? Texting was ages ago, back in 2015 or whatever when the cell networks crashed! Like, I can't even remember what it was like to send a text. My blackberry callouses wore off years ago dude!"

Plato: "Yeah, You're right. Texting is burnt. I just miss the Chicas now that they evacuated the ones that survived the crash to Costa Rica after that virus got out of control. The good ol' US of Boys Club just doesn't seem the same without 'em. The government probably should have allocated more fuel to the Department of Virology instead of burning it all to protect that Green Zone in Iraq that they lost anyway, huh? Oh, well. At least there's no more government to bug us about growing our own dope!"

Plato: "Oh, oh! I got it man! What say you, we cruise down to that camp in Crawford, in what used to be Texas? Remember where the "bluebloods" and all those agency dudes starved to death after the PeakCrash because they refused to believe that raising beef used too much water? I bet we could find a few pairs of jungle boots for next winter!"

Aristotle: "Hey, that sounds not half-bad Einstein! Maybe on the way we could stop by that PeakFreak compound and do the 'participate-in-the-community-workforce-to-get-a-meal' thing again for a couple days! Maybe they have another batch of those solar spirulina biscuits done up by now. Do you have your PeakFreak-Sustainable-Living-Labor Certification Card where you can find it so we don't have to do that course they make all the newbies do?"

Plato: "Irie mon! I bet we'll run into some more of those Chinese metal scavengers and we can barter them that map of all the oil pipelines. They'll be stoked to find some more rust generating material to hack up and ship home on their little sailboats. I wonder if they have any more of those cases of McDonald's Fries they confiscated after Wall Street crashed and they didn't get paid? Those fries will keep for 20 years! Great road trip rations. Can you believe that people used to spend so much valuable fuel to refrigerate perishables when all they had to do was switch to fries?"

Aristotle: "Hey, don't forget to bring the Ham radio this time, I wanna listen to Hanoi Jane's voice at night when we camp. And remember, it's your turn to work the crank on the dynamo this trip."

Plato: "Sure man. Are you gonna trade some more homebrew to those Indian dudes from the casino before we go? It would be cool to have some travelin' wampum. But make sure to get Roubles this time and not those shitty Euros! At least Sergey and those crazy Gazprom jokers will trade Roubles for some of that biofuel they're cooking. It's too hard to find collectors that want those Euros. Thank God Vladimir Vladimirovich was able to keep the Rouble from crashing when everything else went down the toilet! You gotta admit he made the right call buying up so much gold and diamonds with his oil revenue while everyone else was workin' those worthless derivatives."

Aristotle: " Ok, ok. Roubles. Hey, remember when Sergey tarred and feathered those fools that used to work for the old Currency Authentication Administration? Can you believe that they tried to pass those worthless old US Dollars off on him to pay for what they owed him on those water filters? What a bunch of boneheads!"

Plato: "Oh Lord, won't you buy me, a Mercedes Benz. My friends all drive Porsches.....well, at least they ride Porsches. Hey, you remember when all those trophy wives used to drive the huge Cayenne SUVs before the crash? I bet they wish they had some tanks of gas saved now for their Porsche mopeds down in Costa Rica, huh?"

Aristotle: "Yeah. Maybe we'll get lucky and find one of those babies this trip and we can cut the leather seats out and make us up some badass road-jeans! I bet if we check at one of the abandoned truck stops we'll find a sweet Cayenne that got stalled looking for a last tank. You know those chicks always had a Juanes CD in the stack while they were lead-footing it around town to get their nails done. I think you could trade a Juanes to one of the Indians at the casino for a coyote trap or something else useful."

Plato: "Yeah Buddy! I bet we do find a Cayenne. I'm hoping for a nice light tan interior to give me a new set of rags that won't get so hot in the desert. We should bring the stainless crucibles in case there are any 18 wheelers rolled off the highway and we can poach the tires and cook up some rubber-juice to mix with the biofuel!"

Aristotle: "Do you mind if I borrow your Donald Trump autobiography? I always like daydreaming 'bout how much fuel that dude used to burn flying around in his coche-in-the-sky. Man, wouldn't you like to have just like one flight's worth of  jet-fuel now to run a roto-tiller for about 20 years instead of hacking away with that shitty hand powered hoe we traded from Pedro?"

Plato: "Yeah, the roto-tiller would be sweet, but just imagine what it used to be like with an actual combine to harvest a field, instead of that pathetic scythe we have to use now! I hate that thing. My shoulders get tired after a few days of swinging that thing back and forth all day. It seems like so Stalinistic or something. Retro-Soviet it is!"

Aristotle: "Dude! Instead of Trump we should bring that book on roadkill. I bet I can hit a squirrel again like I did riding those S-curves along the Arkansas river last year!"

Plato: "No way Jackson! That was like an act of God. You ain't gonna hit another one like that. Roadkill is dead man. That would be like winning the lottery three times in a row. There's no more roadkill in the entire world now that everybody is on mopeds!"


Please subscribe to this blog and don't be afraid to read the "older posts" to explore other entertaining Peak Issues of late

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

No more "Drive until you qualify"

Did you feel that? No? Were you paying attention? The US just crossed another invisible line along the path leading to economic collapse. In the real estate biz we have called it "drive until you qualify." 

The idea was simple enough. Many people could not afford housing near urban areas where they worked, so the solution was to drive out of the city far enough for the housing prices to drop to a level where their income from their city job would qualify them for a mortgage. But now fuel prices have risen too high to make the drive until you qualify solution work anymore. The distance you have to go out from the city to get the mortgage low enough to qualify now costs too much for fuel!

Affordable housing has been a problem for longer than I have been alive. A few years ago when I was embroiled in some drama related to the abusive business practices of the airline against our union pilot group I had occasion to re-read the Upton Sinclair classic "The Jungle" about the Chicago meatpacking industry. It is an illuminating description of various abusive practices including some of the stunts the "powers that be" used to pull on the poor laborers. My favorite was the one where they sell the same little shack over and over again. The issue of affordable housing is nothing new. But Peak Oil is causing a more fundamental shift than just mere difficulties with finding affordable housing.

Check out this Bloomberg article titled "Wealth Evaporates as Gas Prices Clobber McMansions  http://www/

This is a fundamental shift in the economics of suburban america.

We have just crossed over the invisible line formed by the boundary between cheap energy and overpriced-energy-inefficient-poorly-designed-housing.

The core concept to understand here is that most of the US is built wrong! Let me say that again because this idea is so radical that many people I talk to about this don't get it or don't believe it. 


Suburbia does not work! The reason is because all the light rail mass transportation was bought up and intentionally excluded from land use planning of all our suburban communities. You can read up on "The Great Streetcar Scandal" on Wikipedia to get a better picture of part of the problem but the inadequacy of the design of american suburbia is deeper still. We have built out the entire country based on the design of suburban living where people move about individually in personal automobiles running on cheap energy from oil. Period. That's it. And that is the problem. The government and land use planners didn't make the slightest effort to build towards sustainable living and transportation based on renewable energy sources. Even after the 1971 Peak in US oil production! Developers of suburban housing tracts were never required to design efficient transportation into the core of the country. Every aspect of the development of suburbia was driven by the short-term profit of the wealthy and their corporations instead of long term sustainability.

And now, things have gone too far. And there is no solution. It is too late to change the entire country full of suburban designed city layouts. For one thing, it takes vast amounts of energy to change the layouts of cities and suburbia. More than the energy we spent to build it. We definitely do not have the energy to re-build the majority of the country and redesign mass transportation into the core of communities. Not to mention the eminent domain issues. We don't have the capital either especially with the global shadow economy and the black iceberg in the form of trillions of dollars of derivatives.

The big illusion that is currently prevailing is that some magical mumbo jumbo "technology" is going to come to the rescue and americans will be permitted to perpetuate the energy impossible lifestyle of suburbia. People think that "they" are working on it. WAKE UP! The only THEY out there is WE, you and me. Perpetuating suburbia is not possible. Stop fooling yourself. 

Dreaming about a bunch of hybrids or plug-in vehicles isn't going to change reality. None of those technologies can be SCALED up big enough to provide a solution. I actually meet people who believe that we are just going to keep buzzing around in 230 million private vehicles while some inventor wizard drops a new hydrogen engine into their SUV over the weekend! What a joke. But the joke is on us.

I have clients who have physically left the US just because of the so-called "Patriot Act." Some have ex-patriated. I have others who just moved to protect their assets. Those are important but fundamentally different issues. But many people are now discussing the long term viability of a country where the fundamental design of the majority of the living and working space is totally unviable.

The dysfunctional impossibility of suburbia is one of the most critical impacts of Peak Oil. No more drive until you qualify my friends.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

What happens in Grand Rapids, Stays

Yawn! Scratch, scratch, scratch.

So, did you catch the International Conference on Peak Oil and Climate Change? No?

Yeah, I didn't think so. Well, I guess what happens in Grand Rapids, stays in Grand Rapids.

Seems like the Peak Oilers need to get some sex, you know, like, sex sells! Obviously the conference should have been held in Vegas. Then maybe they would have gotten some decent media coverage.

Check out this video "promoting" the conference. Wow. Even the people sitting there look like they are falling asleep.

I think maybe it is time to bring in Bruce Willis. Imagine a Peak Oil disaster flick! Bigger than King Kong! Forget about "Die Hard," Peak Oil is going to be way bigger!

In the last week I've seen the "shock jocks" of wall street throwing some gang signs too.

$150.00 per barrel by July is the talk of the town.

I already explained $800.00 per barrel in a previous post "667 reasons Oil is worth $800.00"

I am getting a lot of callbacks from my analysis showing $200.00 per barrel and $6.29 per gallon of gasoline by the end of 2008.

Now I am "upgrading" my BUY signal based on SUPPORT from a young lady I met the other night that works at Starbucks. Are you ready for this? My new number for the value of a barrel of oil is, $987.00.

Yep, that's right. I'm going to show you the math for $987.00 per barrel in a post later this week. Amazing.

I assume you probably aren't ready to hear the analysis for $12,168.00 per barrel today? I didn't think so. Enough reality for one day.

The Oracle has spoken

We used to have a joke in the real estate biz. I'm sure you've heard some version of it. You know, the one that goes, "And if you believe that...I've got some great parcels on the bottom of the ocean that you would be interested in!"

Of course that was only ridiculous BEFORE the invention of offshore drilling and the sale of blocks for millions of dollars. Suddenly that property on the bottom of the ocean had a decent value! Makes you wanna rethink a few things doesn't it?

So, now, in 2008, the Oracle has spoken. And the question pops up again. If you believe that, I've got some parcels on the bottom of the sea for you!

The Oracle in this case is none other than Allen Greenspan himself. AKA- "The Pied Piper." Actually, I've never met the man or heard him speak and do not claim to be any kind of expert on Mr. G. himself. I have great respect for "successful" persons of all flavors and he certainly deserves some high level of respect for his life accomplishments. However....

"The Age of Turbulence," Greenspan's new release, is fascinating to say the least. And there are a myriad of interesting topics and statements made in the book that could be the subjects of many a blog post. But the interesting one I chose to discuss today is found on page 442.

"None of the tight balance between supply and demand is due to any shortage of oil in the ground." So there you have it. The Oracle has spoken.

Now, if you believe that....

This may be the biggest misunderstanding related to geology that I have ever encountered. What planet has this guy been living on? The oil companies have been killing themselves for years trying to find some more boomer fields with easy to get, high grade, go-go juice. And it hasn't happened. Overall, exploration has been pretty disappointing. The whole idea of Peak Oil is that there IS a shortage of oil in the ground. That shortage is a natural result of the geology of Planet Ocean and the natural processes that created, deposited and preserved the oil we have become so dependent on. If there wasn't a shortage, we would still have $3.00 per barrel oil like we used to! Soon, it will be $300.00!

Did you notice that Mr. Bush went to Saudi twice recently? Mr. Hillary even scoffed at him and complained that Dubya shouldn't be "begging" the Saudis. Hmmm. Why not? We are in big trouble. Maybe we should have sent them a better fruitcake in that Christmas gift basket, uh, I mean that Ramadan Gift basket.

I wasn't able to do a complete concordance on The Age of Turbulence, but I fanned the pages pretty good a few times in the bookstore and I am fairly certain that the term "Peak Oil" does not appear in the book at all. It does not show up in the index anyway. If you find it, please send me a comment with the page number.

Isn't that odd? Peak Oil is considered a fairly serious issue. It may be the defining issue of the 21st century. Yet the entire concept is prominently absent from the most recent work of one of the "architects" of the current global economy. Hmmm. What's that smell?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

"Why are we so blind," you ask?

"Why are we so blind," you ask?

Well, what are you spending your mental attention on? Britney? Kobe? Tiger?

I don't own a TV. I grew up as a kid watching Star Trek and I Love Lucy so I have spent the rest of my life un-brainwashing myself. Me and Da Boyz used to watch Kung Fu to get the "right vibration" going before the afternoon surf session. I thought that was a good use of TV, although I admit it squandered the educational potential of the medium itself. But that was when I was a kid, you know, the period when the parents make most of the big decisions. But I found that once I got unleashed, TV just didn't have the same allure as night surfing or riding a dirt bike across the moonlit desert, or whatever.

I sometimes catch some boob tube when I am staying at a hotel, but in general, I hardly ever choose to "zone out." There just is no substitute for reality.

Peak Oil begs the question. Why? Why are we so blind? How could we possibly be using 25% of the daily oil in the world? And what for? What are we accomplishing? A consumer economy? Consumerism is our de facto religion in the USA. Why don't we "see" more of the real world?

Have you been paying attention to the statistics that show that the high school or college graduates don't know their world geography? Don't be shocked. I see it in the business world every day. 

Do you know the capital of Tajikistan? What are the countries that border the Caspian Sea? What about the Persian Gulf? People often spout off their political "opinions" but in the next breath I discover that they don't even know their geography. Is that a valuable opinion then, the one pulled out of a "dittohead" philosophy or fashion mag? What kind of "worldview" is it without a good grasp of geography, much less history and culture? Seems like a cloudy day. Hmmm......maybe that is where the "view" in worldview comes from?

Check out the video below. I like the way Alisa Miller attempts to explain "Why we know less than ever about the world." I think this goes a long way to explaining why Peak Oil Awareness is so low in the USA. And make sure to give yourself a round of applause for having the courage to turn off the tube and explore some cyber news.

Please subscribe to this blog. Until we meet again....

Crossword Puzzle answers: (Dushanbe- Capital of Tajikistan; Kazahkstan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Azerbaijan, Russia- countries bordering the Caspian; Iran, Oman, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq- countries bordering the Persian Gulf)

Extra Credit: OPEC members? Newest OPEC member? Which country is rumored to be considering dropping out of OPEC?

Sniffing for the Peak

My dog used to be able to smell the ocean from one hundred miles away. She would sleep in the back of the truck in relative boredom while we did the ski expedition to Colorado or Utah from California.

But as soon as we started down the Cajon Pass and that salt air from the Pacific was blowing against the mountains of the LA basin, that dog would pop up and start whining and barking like crazy. She knew we were going back to the beach.

That crazy dog used to follow me when I surfed Rincon. I would catch a wave on the outside point and ride it all the way into the bay and she would run along barking and howling the whole way. I don't know how she could tell which surfer was me, but she could.

Just like I still don't understand how that dog could sniff the slightest little bit of salt air and tell that the beach was not far away. She just could.

Lots of people are sniffing for the Peak in oil production right now. The game is on. And it's an interesting question. What pieces of data will be the definitive sign that world production has peaked and entered irreversible decline? Nobody knows.

During my almost daily discussions of Peak Oil with clients, they often ask how they will be able to tell we have reached the Peak? The usual answer is to paint a picture of the graph of world oil production. Go back 150 years to Drake and move forward to 87 million barrels per day in June 2008. Maybe 1.3 Trillion barrels total produced over the last 150 years, maybe about the same left. Plotted on a graph with one year tick marks makes it pretty tough to tell that global production is dropping off at all. As Simmons has pointed out, the numbers are pretty coarse and most are highly political. As a matter of national security, what country is going to release info that reveals a Peak? Nobody!

Hubbert said that it took about 3 years to definitively reveal the Peak in US production back in January 1971. And the global production curve is bigger and therefore by definition more coarse. And everybody knows that statistics are routinely manipulated to support various politics and policies. Maybe a "1987 Black Monday" can be readily identified on a chart but the Peak of global oil production is not expected to be anything so dramatic. That's the problem.

So, we wait. And wonder. Sniffing the air for the first scent.

How about this? When you turn on the evening news, meaning mainstream American propaganda at it's finest, and the talking heads are babbling about a Saudi Aramco executive who has just admitted that production in the Ghawar oilfield has Peaked, then you will know that global production has peaked. Simple. As Saudi goes... so goes the world. Do I expect that to ever happen? No, of course not. There would be a panic.

The follow up question to "How do I tell that oil has Peaked" is, "Will there be an economic crash?" Well, think it through for yourself. Consider the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in the US. Why is there such a thing? Well, the August 2006 US GAO report on the SPR clearly states that "even small disruptions in supply can cause large increases in [oil] price." What the GAO report does not discuss is a permanent "disruption in supply." Like from Peak Oil. The SPR was designed to guard the economy from disruptions like a Hurricane or a closure of the Strait of Hormuz. It cannot possibly guard the economy against a permanent decline in global production! 

Will that lead to an economic collapse? Well, it depends. Do you believe that governments or corporations can implement a scaled-up replacement energy supply in an extremely short time? If you do, then I would have to ask you why we are waiting? Why would any government or corporation take even a slight risk of something as serious as a large scale, perhaps global economic collapse? This is a real life disaster flick that we all are going to having a starring role!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, some of us are sniffing for the Peak. Is that barking that I hear?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

News Flash: Malaysia to Remove Price Controls


Malaysia is planning to remove price controls on oil in August 2008.

Question is, will Iran remove price controls sometime soon?

Monday, June 2, 2008

What is Peak Oil anyway?

"Peak Oil" refers to the developing global crisis caused by the "peak" in the world's oil production. Credible evidence from professional experts suggests that world oil production may have peaked and may now be entering a permanent decline. Many countries already had a peak in their oil production many years ago. The USA peaked in 1971! That is why the US has had to import more and more oil.

Peak Oil does not mean we are "running out." It also does not mean that big bad oil companies are playing mean games. It means we are half-way through the fixed amount of oil in the world and less oil will be available for all countries to share in the future.

This is a huge problem. Demand is expected to exceed available supply.

Unfortunately Peak Oil is happening right at the time in history when countries like China and India are expanding their economies and demanding more oil.

Not only will demand exceed supply, but there are no other sources of energy that can be substituted quickly enough or on a large enough scale to make a significant difference.

Two of the biggest potential dangers from the impact of Peak Oil are scary.

First, Peak Oil may cause a global economic collapse. May. It depends on how fast the world can adapt to the gap between demand and supply.

Second, Peak Oil may cause a "dieoff" of thousands, millions or billions of people. May. It depends on how fast the world can adapt to the shortfall in pesticides and fertilizers made from oil that help feed most of the world. Global food production is directly dependent upon oil.

There are lots of other interesting consequences of Peak Oil.

For example. What happens when transportation costs skyrocket in the near future? If diesel fuel rises to say, $25.00 per gallon, if you can get it at all. How would that impact the business model of say an online bookseller that depends on impulse buying supported by cheap delivery costs? Would people still buy very many books if the cost to ship one book was maybe, $100.00? I don't know. That's what makes it interesting.

What about the "travel" industry or "travel economies"? How many people could continue to afford to fly somewhere for a vacation if the costs were 5 or 10 or 20 times higher? For example, the economies in the Caribbean are 90% dependent upon tourism. What effect will Peak Oil have on them? Will it really work in the long run for Dubai to be dependent upon tourism once their oil runs out?

What about air travel itself? The question is already being asked in academic circles, "Will my grandchildren ever fly on an airplane?" 

One of the key questions that has received little, if any, consideration is the question of the future of the World Wide Web itself. Many people think of the web as merely cyberspace. A virtual world only. But the web has hardware and software and peopleware that make it alive. All that infrastructure is dependent upon cheap energy from oil. Somebody has to lay the fiberoptic cables and maintain the servers and repair the transoceanic cables. How long could the web keep going if a maintenance worker can't earn enough to support his family's energy budget or the company he works for can't afford the fuel costs to power his maintenance van? Who will support the web then?

One of the most critical questions about Peak Oil is how rapid will the decline be? Nobody knows. It might be only about a 3% per year decline. But Mexico has already had a decline of 14 or 15 percent per year in the Cantarell Oilfield. Could that happen to the world. No, not really.
Global supply is too diversified to be effected by the decline of just one  field. 

But what if the world's largest oilfield, The Saudi Ghawar field suddenly enters decline and drops 15% or 20% per year? They are already injecting about 7 million barrels of water a day into Ghawar to keep the reservoir pressure up. And the water cut in Ghawar may be 30% or more in most wells.

What if several of the world's largest oilfields enter decline in a short period? Not only would increasing world demand go unmet but supply would drop even further and more rapidly. Time is the key factor. Nobody knows how much time we have. The EIA is currently conducting a revision of their analysis of the world's 400 largest oilfields' production and reserves. Maybe by November 2008 some better numbers will be available. But don't hold your breath. The world's production statistics and reserves are politically manipulated for many reasons.

We probably won't know that global oil production has peaked until several years afterward. Definitive evidence might not be available for 10 years or so. It took about 3 years to confirm the US peak.

Peak Oil is already affecting everybody. Awareness of Peak Oil is the first step to creating a solution.

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Sunday, June 1, 2008

Missing the Big Picture

The cool thing about Peak Oil is that it makes you think. It makes you ask questions. What am I doing, and why? How do I fit in? What is my "footprint," and I don't mean just carbon.

But we live in a world where many things are compartmentalized, specialized. People tend to focus in on one little part and miss the big picture. As an example, I was recently teaching an 11 year old the "lift equation." The formula that explains the relationship of the factors that make things fly. 

Flight is one of man's greatest achievements and it still amazes me every time I execute a takeoff, or landing. In the course of the discussion about the "four forces," you know, gravity, lift, thrust and drag, we used substitution to explore the magic of one of the natural effects that God hardwired into the universe, lift. The key thing to understand about the lift equation is that lift varies with the square of the velocity. This is an incredible thing, somewhat similar to the power of compound interest.

If you double the velocity (airspeed) from 50 knots to 100 knots you don't just get double the lift. The lift increases from 2500 units to 10,000 units! I think this is very impressive and demonstrates a real world example of the power of an exponent that you just don't get by cranking through your algebra homework and getting an "A" on a typical math exam.

The interesting part was when the 11 year old asked me, "Is this math or science?"

"What a great question," I answered. "What do you think?"

I then realized that the education system this 11 year old was participating in had taught him that things are separate. You take one class for math and another for science. He hadn't really seen the connection between the two before.

Check out this video of Mark Bittman talking about food. He makes an interesting exploration of the US system of "industrialized" food production. And he presents some impressive numbers and even gets you thinking about global warming by proposing that cows (and the associated problems with industrialized food production) are affecting humanity in a similar way to how the threat of nuclear war affected humanity(and still does).

But he doesn't seem to make the connection between food production and Peak Oil. Or food production and sustainability.

This is very typical. Many otherwise intelligent people just aren't making the connection. The awareness of the Peak Oil problem just isn't mainstream. The new media darling is global warming. Not Peak Oil.

Mr. Bittman proposes that "the current health crisis *** is a little more the work of the Evil Empire." This is a veiled comment about the endemic corruption in the US and the system of corporate lobbyists influencing government policies.

The good news, he points out, is that animal products and junk food are not necessary for health. Bravo! And he explains that "marketing has created an unnatural demand(for animal products and junk food)."

Bittman goes on to explain the history of food in the US and effectively reminds us that in 1900 all people ate locally produced food. Interesting. Especially since that is what Peak Oil experts are suggesting will be part of the solution. Producing food locally.

I liked this presentation but it is a good example of the danger of compartmentalization and specialized study causing intelligent people to miss the big picture.

Bittman is right. Global warming could have catastrophic impacts on humans (IF global warming is happening, IF it is caused by men. We don't even know if there is such a thing as a climate!). But he misses the big picture concept that we can't fix global warming if we don't have any ENERGY!!! It is going to take huge amounts of energy to change the systems we use that caused the global warming in the first place. That is why Peak Oil is so important.

This is not a case of picking one football team over the other. Peak Oil and Global Warming are infinitely more complicated. But that is the challenge that America faces. American culture is permeated with a value system that places great emphasis on football, or NBA basketball and intentionally ignores real world things like the asteroid of Peak Oil.

So check out the video of Mr. Bittman. But remember to fill in what is missing. The fact that Peak Oil is the gorilla that is going to overpower other issues like eating "too much" animal products and junk food.

As a matter of fact, Peak Oil will "solve" the problem of eating too many animal products simply because the crash after the Peak will prevent the business as usual continuation of industrialized food production. There will still be some animal food production, probably through channels like Permaculture. But depending on how rapid and severe the oil crash becomes, industrialized food production will change radically and eventually will be forced to sustainability. That will be good in the long run, maybe on the 50 to 100 year scale. The problem is in the medium term with the Peak Oil crash.