Save the Net

Monday, April 18, 2005

Energy Efficiency and National Security

"Some people like to fool themselves by thinking that a larger gas tank is the same as higher gas mileage. But when inevitable shortages occur because of world oil depletion and inadequate gasoline refining capacity, fuel prices will increase, everyone will be subjected to gas rationing, and a larger fuel tank will not help."

Energy efficiency is vital to the success of American Energy Independence. A nationwide improvement in energy efficiency will reduce the negative impact of energy price swings and energy shortages, and in so doing increase economic and national security.

The overall average MPG would be higher for a plug-in hybrid than for a hybrid that is dependent on fuel to re-charge the battery, because a percentage of the vehicle's mileage could be powered by electricity obtained from the grid, rather than only from the car's fuel tank. Plug-in hybrid cars could be the shortest path to freedom from Middle East oil.

If renewable energy is added to the grid and grid energy is used to charge the hybrid battery when it is plugged-in, then renewable energy would indirectly contribute to the highway fuel efficiency of the vehicle. In this way, wind, MOTO (motion-of-the-ocean), and solar energy could help reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

Unprecedented warnings from the scientific community indicate that the planet's ecosystems are stressed near the point of collapse; business as usual is no longer possible, and we have little time left to respond. Civilization is also approaching a nexus of social crises. All of these problems result from the nature of our existing economic system, and we cannot expect solutions from political leaders or corporations.

Which ever way you slice it the message remains clear that Oil Depletion and the Collapse of The American Dream is most probably inescapable at this late stage of the game. In the words of James Howard Kunstler, "We're literally stuck up a cul-de-sac in a cement SUV without a fill-up."

Since World War II North Americans have invested much of their newfound wealth in suburbia. It has promised a sense of space, affordability, family life and upward mobility. As the population of suburban sprawl has exploded in the past 50 years, so too has the suburban way of life become embedded in the American consciousness.

Suburbia, and all it promises, has become the American Dream.

But as we enter the 21st century, serious questions are beginning to emerge about the sustainability of this way of life. With brutal honesty and a touch of irony, The End of Suburbia explores the American Way of Life and its prospects as the planet approaches a critical era, as global demand for fossil fuels begins to outstrip supply. World Oil Peak and the inevitable decline of fossil fuels are upon us now, some scientists and policy makers argue in this documentary.

The consequences of inaction in the face of this global crisis are enormous. What does Oil Peak mean for North America? As energy prices skyrocket in the coming years, how will the populations of suburbia react to the collapse of their dream? Are today's suburbs destined to become the slums of tomorrow? And what can be done NOW, individually and collectively, to avoid The End of Suburbia?

from Energy Efficiency and National Security, Surviving Peak Oil and THE END OF SUBURBIA

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

What Can Be Done?

Many of us were taught long ago that the Earth is God’s creation, and that we have a duty to care for it—to “till and tend the garden.” However, we are not good stewards of the garden if we allow it to be ravaged by the forces of climate change brought by the heedless pursuit of material things. Many of us have worked as conservationists to protect the living landscape of our country—the great American land. If climate change is not addressed with urgency, the consequences will be devastating for America’s natural areas. From the vast wilderness areas to the small community land trust lands, from the noble efforts of Theodore Roosevelt to today’s conservation efforts—our protected areas are now at risk. We are on the brink of the greatest tragedy in American conservation history—if we let it happen. We have not created protected areas across our great land for them to become experimental sites for monitoring the effects of climate change.

President George W. Bush and his administration have shown no interest in giving positive leadership on the climate change challenge. They have opposed the Kyoto Protocol and refused to work with the international community within the framework of the U.N. climate treaty. They have opposed the McCain-Lieberman climate bill as well as efforts to treat carbon dioxide as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act and to strengthen vehicle mileage standards, and they have pursued a wrongheaded energy strategy while resisting international efforts to frame renewable energy goals.

We cannot know how much the positions of the Bush administration will change for the better or if they will change at all. We must hope for the best but plan for the worst. We therefore need a strategy that does not depend on the Bush administration cooperation and one that makes it increasingly difficult for the administration to persist in its opposition.

Changing U.S. energy and climate policies has proven extremely difficult in the face of powerful industry opposition. That is why a powerful popular movement for change is so essential. I am
reminded in this context of Teddy Roosevelt’s words:

“Here is your country—
Do not let anyone take it or its glory away from you
Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skim
Your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.
The world and the future and your very children shall
Judge you according as you deal with this sacred trust.”

President Theodore Roosevelt

Our Sacred Trust is to Care for Earth and Each Other

this is an audio post - click to play

Monday, April 11, 2005

The Long Emergency: World Energy Crisis

What's going to happen as we start running out of cheap gas to guzzle?

It is no exaggeration to state that reliable supplies of cheap oil and natural gas underlie everything we identify as the necessities of modern life -- not to mention all of its comforts and luxuries: central heating, air conditioning, cars, airplanes, electric lights, inexpensive clothing, recorded music, movies, hip-replacement surgery, national defense -- you name it.

The few Americans who are even aware that there is a gathering global-energy predicament usually misunderstand the core of the argument. That argument states that we don't have to run out of oil to start having severe problems with industrial civilization and its dependent systems. We only have to slip over the all-time production peak and begin a slide down the arc of steady depletion.

"The Long Emergency is going to be a tremendous trauma for the human race. We will not believe that this is happening to us; that 200 years of modernity can be brought to its knees by a world-wide power shortage. The survivors will have to cultivate a religion of hope -- that is, a deep and comprehensive belief that humanity is worth carrying on. If there is any positive side to stark changes coming our way, it may be in the benefits of close communal relations, of having to really work intimately (and physically) with our neighbors, to be part of an enterprise that really matters and to be fully engaged in meaningful social enactments instead of being merely entertained to avoid boredom. Years from now, when we hear singing at all, we will hear ourselves, and we will sing with our whole hearts."

- - Adapted from The Long Emergency, 2005, by James Howard Kunstler

Related Links:
Nu Energy® News - Renewable Energy News for a Nu Age
Energy Independence - There has to be a day of reckoning. Many believe it is here already
Village Energy - Get Light Electric Vehicles from Village Energy

Saturday, April 09, 2005


On April 10 th 2005 Discovery Channel will televise Supervolcano, a docudrama which exams what would happen if the volcano at the base of Yellowstone National Park suddenly erupted. And if the resulting super-volcanic eruption would be anything like the last one– which plunged the world into darkness for six years, tipped us into the last Ice Age and reduced the human population to just 2,000 people. To order this exciting new Discovery Channel program on DVD today, simply click on the DVD cover (above).

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