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Despair? Determination? Delight? — Let’s Discuss Options
John Edward Mercier
#1 Posted : Friday, May 16, 2008 3:15:13 PM
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Are you kidding me? I started working toward this when gas was only 86 cents.

I would continue down the path of less consumerism and more efficiency regardless of what the price of oil is.

 

Mike in McMurdo
#2 Posted : Friday, May 16, 2008 4:43:11 PM
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I think we are all  thinking along those lines. I'm in a little end of the line community on the west coast. Cheap gas is now 4.10 a gallon and still going up. We moved here in part because the coastal climate is mild and natural reduces fuel needed.
davisonh
#3 Posted : Saturday, May 17, 2008 1:24:00 AM
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Exactly John,many dont know that there are quite a few of us already doing this.Where we wont say but as for me personally I  am 30% or so self sufficient and working towards more.As for how much wood from one acre sustainably 1/4 cord can be had from a deep forest every year,far from enough to keep one warm the winter.I can manage with 4-6 cord.For me I'd do an electric vehicle or an engine fired from homemade fuel,they've been doing that in Europe for years.Can't do peaches up here,too cold sorry.Do I despair,no.Do I think this this is the kick in the butt this country's needed in the last 70-80 years YES!We've had it too easy too long IMO.

Now we have competition.We've sold off the industries that gave us cheap gas overseas and now we pay a premium for it.You heard the Saudis,they hit the nail right on the head.Why should they increase production for us?There is no gas shortage,if you'll pay $4.10/gal then thats what they're going to sell it for,simple as that.Too bad is what they;re saying and we have no clout with them anymore,they have better customers now.This is why I've been saying over and over again,stop using oil!!!Its too bad we've lost a lot of the ways of how we used to do things 70 years ago before OPEC,etc.Many wont survive this I dont think,many will move to warmer climates I am going to guess because up here fuel oil it going to be $4.50-5.50/gal this winter.Many are already going broke up here,many 'for sale' signs.

As far as roving gangs,well thats the chance one takes,good that one can still protect what he/she owns.I would have no hesitation of using a gun to protect what I owned,but I am not a nut in the woods with a gun,I use it only if I have to.

practicalman45
#4 Posted : Saturday, May 17, 2008 6:12:21 PM
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I think that we should not look at rising prices and think that the price of this or that commodity is going up. The reality is that our money, our currency, or means of exchange is being devalued.  This is being done intentionally. This is what we get for allowing our various (a worldwide problem..) means of exchanges to be created from nothing by a few ultra rich foreigners or world-based bankers.  To use a currency that can be debased,  most of us will pay the price of having less and less. A very few will wind up with more...it is NOT by coincidence, it is by design. The only real solution to that problem is a move to currencies that they can not do that to (barter is one way).  Monies based on and tied or pegged to limited supply commodities would be much harder to debase than our old debt-based paper nothings that we now allow them to create in unlimited amounts and at virtually no cost to them. Why should WE pay interest on something to someone who created that currency from nothing and then lends it to US?? We need to wake up and see that that system allows them to make us progressively more and more their slaves. Rather than just shoulder an increasingly heavier and heavier burden for our masters, don't you think it might be a wiser choice to work towards shifting our means of exchange towards one that cannot be artificially and continually declined in value? 

As far as living greener, using less energy,  consuming less, recycling,  polluting less, growing our own food? YES, I am all for all of those things!  Having been actively working in that direction for a long time.  Heck, I've been reading Mother's magazine since I was in high school (that was a long time ago...)

Incidently, regarding the "energy shortage":  The north slope of Alaska contains untapped oil fields that exceed the volume of the reserves of the middle east. Estimates are that just this one untapped "Gull Island" reserve could meet the petroleum energy needs of America for the next 200 years and free us from having to import petroleum entirely. We need to ask Atlantic Richfield and the other companies involved why they are not tapping into these reserves that were discovered in the late 1960s-early 1970s and then made classified information out of. We could be paying less than $1.50/gallon for gas in less than one year, and be on our way to having a strong economy once again.    Don't take my word on this, research it yourself:  Google  "Gull Island Reserves"

It seems that the current "petroleum energy shortage" is more political than it is geological.

John Edward Mercier
#5 Posted : Sunday, May 18, 2008 12:12:09 AM
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Any medium of exchange has a cost paid to its 'owner'... even those developed by free enterprise.

Oil prices include the cost of recovery and transport to the refinery. The demand is near what the pipelines and tankers can supply. Refining locations and capacity are also limited.

 

Its just for some... they ride the wave up and down. Demand will fall the next few years in the US as our economy ages... but the price will climb as the US$ continues to fall.

 

 

martingr
#6 Posted : Sunday, May 18, 2008 1:02:02 AM
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  I refused to be roped into a doomsday line of thought, the future is always uncertain and our way of life could be changed forever, it becomes a question of our collective ability to change also. Americans before the United States as well as since have faced great challanges and have always raised to the occassion. We are not facing a threat of the collaspe of our money system and facing world war on two fronts,  nor the aftermath and reconstruction of a civil war. What we are facing is the dying of a petrolum industry and the beginning of alterative enegry, we are facing climate change and must do things differently, we are facing food shortage for most of the world, (I collected for the poor back in fifties) inspite of these and other social problems I believe that we can over come this. My responsibilty is to make my foot print smaller by putting into practice use, reuse, use again, reuse again ect. grow some of my food, buy local, its your responsibity also. I'm now going to chop up the soapbox and put into outdoor furnace, a least will get a few BTU's .

                                                                       Gary

HockeyFan
#7 Posted : Sunday, May 18, 2008 4:32:05 PM
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I am not participating.  God will supply all my needs.  I have done due diligence in preparing, and am confident that whatever I have not thought of, will be taken care of just the same.  It always has been.  I have no reason to doubt this now.

The main thing I think today's American has an issue that is a tremendous stumbling block, is that they are too much in the consumer mode, and not enough in a mode of doing things for themselves.  Katrina came along and people just sat and waited for "someone else" to do something.  We found out the hard way that the government wasn't going to do it.  We're seeing that in Myanmar(sp?)(formerly known as Burma).  The Chinese government seems to be doing as good as can be expected with the huge earthquakes they've had lately, but even still, there are hundreds of thousands of suffering people out there that the government hasn't been able to help.

So in the end, people are expecting "someone else" to "do something".  Today's citizen; today's society, expects "someone else" to be responsible.  We have to anticipate and do a certain amount of things for ourselves.  This society wasn't built by pure consumers.  This society was built by pioneers, willing to do for themselves, because there was no one there to do it for them.  They braved the uncharted seas; the undriven paths.  They conquered the land.  They didn't just sit around and wait for it all to be done for them.

So we have to take on the responsibility for ourselves.  Unfortunately, apart from a few on forums like this, I see most people either clueless that catastrophy isn't just something seen on tv (halfway around the world), but that it could happen to them tomorrow; or I see people complaining about how the government (or someone else) isn't doing enough.


Earth Home Project:
www.freewebs.com/stocktonunderground

 

John Edward Mercier
#8 Posted : Sunday, May 18, 2008 7:37:35 PM
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I don't think anyone is suggesting the collapse of the monetary system... just a continuation of the devaluation.

Since most of the MEN forum participants are proactive, rather than reactive, we may wish to center the discussion around what changes we expect to see...

I am seeing an increase in wood/pellet use locally... and many more gardens. My uncle was even upset last Christmas when his organic farm saw a drop in consumers. I had to explain that more people are recognizing their ability to garden for themselves. Also see the Park'n'Rides (used for carpooling) with more vehicles in them.

But beyond that I'm seeing the sale of more landscape tools and snowblowers as people decide to forgo the lawn care and snowplowing services and do it themselves.

The changes in each region should be pretty interesting, as we all pay roughly the same for energy... but have a dramatically different local economy.

 

 

davisonh
#9 Posted : Monday, May 19, 2008 12:49:01 AM
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My next door neighbors' expressed some interest in doing a small 2 family garden and I'm setting up a barn  for equipment and a few chickens.Its a start,hopefully in the right direction,our gardens pretty much planted;I need to acquire a freezer also.So yes me personally I am setting up for a 'long haul';we are seeing a slow demise of petroleum,we know now as a society that one fuel source in the hands of a few is a dangerous combination and must be dealt with foremost.Getting the mindset that this is indeed going to be the case from now on is no easy pill to swallow but a neccesary one.Thing is there are vast reserves of oil and gas untapped and untouched,more than we've ever seen;North Slope is just one.Getting to those reserves is a whole other story.North  Slope of AK is normally -60 with the wind blowing 100 mph constantly and the middle of the ocean is 10-25,000 feet deep,making oil recovery a far riskier business than it is close to shore.We've realized we've crossed the 'worth it' line and now its time to find or do something else.We've run the reciprocating engine past its engineering lifespan,we're way overdue to do something else.

John Edward Mercier
#10 Posted : Monday, May 19, 2008 3:52:26 AM
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John Rockhold wrote:

What steps would you take to prepare if you knew that five years from now everything would cost 10 times what it costs now — gas, food, electricity, solar panels, hybrid cars — everything, but your income would not change? What would you do now to be in a better place to cope?

To stay on target, I started with a quote.

I have reduced the miles of travel to 7000 per annum... might even be able to go lower. But my major concern in this area would be the maintenance of roads. Road maintenance within this region is highly energy consumptive... and the weather sporadic and unwielding. I would guess that snow removal would be limited to out-of-the-picture... and the underlying surface not much better than some of the secondary roads in the area (asphalt-rough, dirt-muddy/rutted). My guess is large corporations in an attempt to survive would go to trains... or at least ponder seriously that direction.

Not sure exactly what cuts I would make in electricity (8kW/daily), but I'm sure I would find some... always room for improvement. Site isn't really conducive to production, but maybe at that economic level it may be worth it. As for food, cut back to the basics...


practicalman45
#11 Posted : Tuesday, May 20, 2008 1:30:16 AM
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I'm planting my garden now. It is my 23rd annual at this spot. My hot water is free (solar and woodstove coils). The car I'm driving still only gets 20-23mpg and it burns premium ($3.91/gal. for best price in county today). But it does have a cavernous trunk and serves well for my shopping and travelling needs for now. It gets driven seldom, because my work is at home and business comes to me. Between the car and the one ton pickup, both, the mileage last year was under 5000 total. They are both paid for long ago, and need little for upkeep, so investment in a thriftier ride is not cost effective...yet.... My home is solely wood heat, and two cords a year does me for heat and winter hot water. Usually the wood is bartered for my welding, or I cut it myself. I prefer to barter for it because my time is better spent welding. I have around 3-4 years supply of wood ahead, and need to increase my woodshed space so I can long-term store more. Self-reliance? yes, I've been working on that for a long time here. I've been stocking up my business supplies such as nuts and bolts and welding supplies for years. Whenever a good bulk deal comes up on ebay I buy. I shop a lot on ebay or online because it avoids driving. We're a-ways from town, and many local folks come here to my shop because its closer than the store in town. People ride bicycles around here more and more. Cars drive less and less. Town is dead-looking in the evenings, and even slower-looking in the daytime also, since the dollar is falling. Thankfully, for now, my cottage industry manufacturing gig is still doing well, even growing! I wholesale to a customer who markets retail online the fabricated products I produce.  Thats just one customer,  I also have a walk-in retail fabrication shop with many other customers. I have a lot to give thanks for, and I do it often. To God, and with the work I do for all of my customers, who continue to bless me with their business and referrals.

 

Just had to share all that lest some might think that I'm just a doom-and-gloom negative kind of guy.

 

Awareness of reality, however, is a very good thing in my book. Sometimes reality is not pretty. That doesn't mean I'm negative, just trying to help other's awareness....

 

Here's a good poem about awareness a friend turned me on to. It is a link to an online video at youtube, so you'll need high-speed internet to view:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P01ZxSb3SZM&feature=related

Mike in McMurdo
#12 Posted : Tuesday, May 20, 2008 2:53:20 AM
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We've turned our thermostat to 52 degrees at night and raise it to 60 when we are in the house. If we want to be warmer we fire up the woodstove.

The heater is a kerosene monitor heater and can run on an inverter if needed. It only needs to power the fan.

We bought next years firewood already. Cheaper to buy it green at this time of year and let it season.

Starting tomorrow I'm riding a bicycle to work. It's a short hop. My wife is thinking as well. She would have to ride 3 miles on a main highway, so we are going to do a test run one weekend to check it out.

Our newly purchased fixer upper is in town and has a small lot. We haven't put in raised beds yet but will soon and if we don't provide all our veggies, we will at least provide some.

It's a fixer upper, so to save money, I'm learning to be a carpenter, plumber, landscaper etc. I'm calling myself an urban homesteader.

John Edward Mercier
#13 Posted : Tuesday, May 20, 2008 4:03:08 PM
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Under the scenerio projected, gasoline would be $30 per gallon... that  major highway would be just a unmaintained ribbon of asphalt with hardly a sole on it.

I've split firewood with an axe before, but sawing and transporting it without fuel would really be a new experience.

Barbara Pleasant
#14 Posted : Thursday, May 22, 2008 9:35:20 PM
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Hey John,

Regardless of what happens with fuel or food, 10 years from now I want to start transitioning toward retirement. We already grow most of our vegetables, and have room to expand to grow grain, so when time is not in such short supply we'll get some poultry and maybe a few goats. 

I'm only partially thinking about survival, though. Instead of looking into the swirling pot of fear to see what I might not have, I look forward to what I will have. The fuel crisis will continue to unfold as it's been doing for 35 years, but it won't change the fact that you only get one life. I think I'll live it more wisely with chickens.

Barbara

http://www.barbarapleasant.com  

martingr
#15 Posted : Thursday, May 22, 2008 10:18:34 PM
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Barbra,

   Like your slant, fear is not the issue change is. Body by Fisher were in the carriage business in the horse era, when all business assoicated with horses were folding up and going out of business because of the automobile, they didn't, they simply change to making car bodies. We will have to change also to a different engry source, I would guess electric as there are many means to generate. I do think we will be buying food closer to home and maybe small mom and pop farms could fill a niche? Transportation is always the big problem, has been since the beginning and will always be a challange. The Victory gardens of WW2 will start springing up, read in one of the posts about some neighbors working together.

                                                             Gary 

davisonh
#16 Posted : Saturday, May 24, 2008 12:20:31 AM
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Barbra,exactly what Gary said,though I may add also that for people of our age group(45 and younger)the real realization is that there is going to be no 'retirement' per se for us because by the time we get to your age the 'cost of life' will be so prohibitive that any 401k savings or investments will be gobbled up by the tiny value of our currency by that time.So for us who are 45 and younger getting to know how to get by with nearly nothing is going to be very important.

Making and buying food,drying clothes outside,very rarely driving anywhere, making our own power( because in 20 years the cost could be .50/kwh or much higher)will be necessary.The large majority of us will be extremely poor,many crushed under debt loads ten times our iuncome.

Now its all in the way one looks at it.I'm not roped into a doomsday projection either,though the world is changing right now rapidly,and not in our favor on this side of the world.Europe and Japan have been dealing with the same issues we have had crop up for generations.

Darlene Goff
#17 Posted : Saturday, May 24, 2008 3:05:24 AM
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Hi, I'm new to the forums but not to Mother Earth as we were some of her earliest subscribers (1971).   We subscribed for quite a few years,  left off and on, and we are once again subscribers. 

I refuse to think doomsday or think of myself as a survivalist, but rather to try and absorb the message TMEN has always taught of simplicity, growing our own food,, no debt, and reasonable food storage.  To me, that is the ideal life regardless of what is happening in the world.  We have pared our expenses down to where we easily live on our Social Security, but who knows if it will always be there so being as self-sufficient as possible seems reasonable.  We lived on less than we made for many years and have savings, but, again, who knows what it will buy or if it even will be available in the future.  But we do take comfort that it is there. 

I retired six months ago.  We are 62 and 69.   I took early Social Security and I get a small pension that mostly pays our health care costs.   We sold our second car.  Our small car gets good gas mileage and our current gas bill is only $30 a month.  We are close to everything and combine our shopping trips.  We have bicycles, but heavy traffic impedes us there unless we want to ride to the corner convenience store, which we could easily walk to.  We are on the busline but must transfer to get many places we might want to go.   We could, however,  take the bus to the grocery store or to our doctor's.  I am just hoping the city gets into light rail to make it easier to get around the city without a car.   We have a small paid-for home in the older suburbs with good neighbors and we have like-minded friends.  Our taxes are frozen.  My neighbor to the back of us is an accomplished gardener and fruit grower; however, she is not an organic gardener.  We do have our own tangerines, figs, and loquats.  

I am just getting back into organic gardening.  That is my weakness.  That I was not better prepared there and got off-track and abandoned gardening for a decade or so.  Regardless of the economy, I am tired of buying veggies and fruit that might be exposed to pesticides or bacteria.  I am reading everything I can about building up my soil and composting.  We are plagued by ants here and that is a big challenge I am working on.  I did not have a compost pile and did not have time to prepare my garden soil in my raised bed and our soil is thin topsoil over limestone, so I used containers this year.  With the exception of two tomato plants doing well, the rest of my container garden is only so-so.  The bugs and ants did a number on the plants, but much of that could have been avoided.    I am learning from my mistakes.

Goals for the future - I am interested in some sort of rainwater capture.   I think we could, if we had to, absorb many winter days without heat and use the AC less in the summer as we live in a warm climate with a lot of mature trees in the yard.  Perhaps we could make our fireplace more energy efficient.   I expect everything to get more expensive as time goes by so I am buying extra rice, beans, and canned veggies, but not to an extreme degree. I keep many basic food ingredients on hand and I have many spices for a variety of recipes.  I just have to shop very carefully and substitute items that increase greatly in price when that is possible.  We do eat less meat and more veggies and brown rice.   We eat out less and we generally order one item and split it.  Entertainment is our many books, our computers, and our DVD collection. We have bicycles and cameras.   We can always go to a nearby little city lake for a picnic or to the zoo.  We love to thrift store shop and we buy much of our clothes there.  We don't feel at all poor as this is how we intended to live in retirement all along, the voluntary simplicity way of life.  But the future is uncertain for all of us.

One additional thing is I don't feel we should turn our back on the world and its needs.  We still contribute to organizations that we feel do good work and in bad times if anyone knocked on our door hungry, we would share our food.   Peace, social justice, and protecting the environment are still very important to us.  I retired from work, not the world. 

Mare Owner
#18 Posted : Saturday, May 24, 2008 5:37:03 AM
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It is hard to imagine things costing 10x more, five years from now.  All I can do is what I can do today.  I am only on year 2 of having a veggie garden, and I am slowly learning to cook from scratch (very slowly!).  Making a transition to consume less is not easy and not quick.  I feel I am heading the right direction, toward being more self sufficient and more efficient.  My timeline goes far beyond 5 years.

 

HockeyFan
#19 Posted : Wednesday, May 28, 2008 2:36:54 PM
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Garden.  Get a garden going.  Also, adjust your diet now.  Find meals that are less expensive, and if at all possible, learn to cook at home and use real food, not processed and packaged foods (easy meals, the microwavable kind).  Those easy meals are much more expensive than the raw foods that someone can prepare, cook and eat, saving a lot in a month; especially if you're cooking for a family.

You need a dog or two to keep people from pilfering your garden, but the dogs eat too, so you'll need to get dogs capable of running people off, but not so large that they cost a bunch to feed.  Train them to stay out of the garden, but situate the garden so that they can protect it.

Set your thermostat up in the summer and a little bit down in the winter.  This will let your body to adjust to termperature so that if electricity is even more expensive in a few years (and it will be), then it wont cost you so much to be comfortable.  I can tell you that when I was growing up, we didn't even have A/C and I don't recall being that uncomfortable.  It has only been since I have become spoiled to A/C that I notice when I don't have it.  So learn to be comfortable without it, or at least with it used a little bit less than now.

I hate to sound like a greeny (although I have many of the same sentiments), but changing your household light bulbs (over a period of time) to compact flourescents will save a bundle on the electric bill.  My wife and I did this several years ago, and I can tell you that this is true.

In addition, go to a wholehouse demand water heater.  We bought one after a hot water tank burst and flooded our house (and ruined carpet, etc).  The demand water heater has no tank, so it only uses fuel to heat water, when there's an immediate demand for hot water.  So while you're off at work (or on vacation) no fuel is being used, because no hot water is needed at that time.  We saved a bundle on natural gas, and noticed this the first month or two.  It was also a good selling point when we sold the house, because the buyers liked the idea.

In our house we've built in the country, we installed another whole house water heater (this one runs on propane) and we are grateful to have it.  We hardly use any of the propane at all.  It's very efficient.  We only use propane for cooking and for this water heater, and in a year's time, our propane tank has never dropped below 50% capacity.  And it's only a 250 gallon tank, so our propane usage is minimal thanks to not having to heat water all the time (even when it's not being used).

There are nother money saving measures that can be taken, but these are the big ones to start with.


Earth Home Project:
www.freewebs.com/stocktonunderground

 

John Edward Mercier
#20 Posted : Thursday, May 29, 2008 1:51:56 AM
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I think everyone is missing the scope of what is being suggested. There will be no road maintenance. Road maintenance is mostly paid for through gas taxes... 

Employment will be hard to come by, and anything transported distance will be exhorbitant in price.

 

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