free html hit counter Peak Oil Debunked: 425. GOING RURAL FOR PEAK OIL: BAD IDEA

Saturday, September 26, 2009

425. GOING RURAL FOR PEAK OIL: BAD IDEA

I've often thought that moving to the country is one of dumber things you could do in response to peak oil.

My reasoning for this is simple: people in the country have a massive dependence on cars and gasoline. For example, my brother used to live on a ranch in the extreme boondocks of Idaho (the area was only electrified in the 1980s) and he and his wife had to drive about 100 miles to go to the supermarket. That's an extreme case, but the general principle is very true. The country has incredible sprawl, and you have to drive really long distances to take care of your daily business. Urban dwellers like myself, on the other hand, don't have to drive at all. My supermarket is a 3 minute walk from my front door. It seems obvious to me that country people -- at least those who aren't making good money from serious agriculture or some other business -- are the ones who will get it in the neck first from peak oil.

If you think about it, it's just a straightforward extension of Kunstler's logic. If the suburbs/exurbs are going to die because they're too oil dependent, then surely the rural areas will die even quicker because they are even more oil dependent.

Of course, savvy people/companies who are already making money on farm operations will continue to profit from food production, and will have the earning power to remain in the country. They belong there. Likewise, if you don't have to work or you're wealthy, then moving to a rural area may be a great response to peak oil. I'm not talking about such people. Or, if you can be an extremely self-sufficient subsistence farmer, and perhaps squat on some land, then my critique doesn't apply.

But if you're a working person who needs income to live, support a family, or build up a doomstead, it seems to me that going rural is jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

Here's some articles from summer 2008 that spell it out in painful detail:
Rural U.S. Takes Worst Hit as Gas Tops $4 Average
Rural drivers feeling rise in gas prices more than their urban counterparts
High Gas Prices Hit Rural Poor Hardest
Rural Residents Struggle with High Gas Tab
Fuel prices rocket in rural areas

Pops is a rural doomsteader from peakoil.com, and he and I had a little exchange which is relevant this topic:
Pops:
We'll further diversify our meager income by planting some U-Pick berries on a couple acres and going as whole-hog into market gardening as time allows next year, direct selling grass fed beef and eggs and some value added (jams, jellies) and homemade stuff at the farmers markets and roadside.

JD:
Just curious, but how much driving is involved in these businesses? For example, how far would people generally drive for your U-Pick berries? And how far do you and your customers generally drive to a farmers market? Do you keep your beef chilled or frozen? Do you use a generator at the market?

Pops:

I talked to neighbors who have blueberries they are about to retire from and they said people mainly come from the small town about 5 miles away but some come 40 miles from Springfield or Joplin. They bring their kids and grandkids and a picnic lunch and have a "Farm Experience". With the farmers market people show up with their straw hats and organic cotton shopping bags to be seen by their Green peers. I could make a little money today at the little market on our square but to do any good we'll need to drive to one of the bigger towns — our roadside stand can only make $50 or $100 a week and that's only a few weeks per year.
Smallpoxgirl -- another peakoil.com doomer -- talks in a similar vein about driving from Seattle to Olympia (60 miles) for a farmer's market.

But these long drives totally negate the purpose of local food:
We have found that if a customer drives a round trip distance of more than four miles in order to purchase their organic vegetables, their carbon emissions are likely to be greater than the emissions from the system of cold storage, packing, transport to a regional hub and final transport to customer's doorstep used by large-scale vegetable box suppliers.Source
Another study gets the same results:
In the worst scenario, a UK consumer driving six miles to buy Kenyan green beans emits more carbon per bean than flying them from Kenya to the United Kingdom.Source
The same point can be seen another way. Suppose a family buzzes out to Pops' farm and picks 10 pounds of berries. Driving an average US vehicle, they'll burn 4 gallons of gasoline for a round trip of 80 miles. (Incidentally, that gasoline will weigh about 2.5 times more than the berries purchased.) Now, a commercial aircraft gets roughly 70 miles per gallon per passenger, and a passenger would be roughly equivalent to 20 boxes of berries (each containing 10 pounds). So for 4 gallons, you could send a passenger 280 miles, and a passenger is 20 boxes of berries, so you could send a box of berries about 5600 miles by air. In other words, driving 80 miles by car to buy 10 pounds of berries uses the same amount of fuel as shipping them 5600+ miles by air. And it just gets worse the less you buy. With a 5 pound box, you're talking 11,200 miles -- about half the circumference of the earth. In other words, the only thing more fuel intensive than the 3000 mile salad is the 25 mile farmer's market salad.

*****

Doomers really can't help but grant my point...

smallpoxgirl:
I totally agree with you though about the degree to which rural America is dependent on petroleum. People in Montana think nothing of a 100 mile round trip commute or of driving 8 hours round trip to go to the mall. It always impressed me how independent the people where I lived were WRT snow cleanup. It could dump a foot and the next morning everybody would be out with a loader or a snow plow cleaning it all up. In one sense they're very self sufficient, but all that equipment runs off petroleum. Take away the gasoline, and that area would be totally uninhabitable in the winter. To a large extent it's this sort of fake independence. They're more self sufficient in terms of being able to use different technologies and manufactured materials without the aid of a specialist, but they're just as dependent if not more so on the extractive and manufacturing industries in far away places keeping them supplied.
Toby Hemenway, a doomer who went rural and then realized after 10 years that it wasn't such a great idea after all:
Our isolation also meant we were burning a lot of gas. A simple drive for groceries was a 40-minute round trip. Fortunately we both worked at home and had no children, so we could go for days without using the car. But the odometer was whirling to higher numbers than it ever had in the city. A couple of families had moved off our hill because they were exhausted by two to four round trips each day down our steep, potholed gravel road to work, school, soccer practice, music lessons, and shopping.

We cherished our decade-plus in the country, but eventually the realities began to pile up. There wasn’t a local market for the work we did. Community events left us saddened by the gulf between our way of life and theirs. And we were still tethered to the fossil-fuel beast, just by a much longer lifeline of wire, pipe, and pavement. That the beast looked smaller by being farther away no longer fooled us.Source
More real-world info on how rural areas get mauled by high gas prices:
Soaring gas prices are a double-whammy for many rural residents: They often pay more than people who live in cities and suburbs because of the expense of hauling fuel to their communities, and they must drive greater distances for life's necessities: work, groceries, medical care and, of course, gas.

Meanwhile, incomes typically are lower in rural areas, making increasingly high gas prices an especially urgent concern. Rural households also are more likely to have older, less fuel-efficient vehicles such as pickups, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) says. The average age of a vehicle in a rural household: 8.7 years, compared with 7.9 years for an urban vehicle.

Rural residents do more driving, too — an average of 3,100 miles a year more than urban dwellers, the FHWA says.

A May survey by the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS), a fuel analysis company, and Wright Express, a company that collects data on credit card transactions, found that people in rural areas spend as much as 16.02% of their monthly family income on gas, while people in urban areas of New York and New Jersey spend as little as 2.05%.Source
During the last bout of high oil prices, there was some reporting about gas stations closing in rural regions (Fears for rural filling stations, Rural motorists running on empty as pumps close) forcing people to drive long distances for gas. As you would expect, this can turn into a nasty EROEI situation. Here's another report in the same vein...
When the only gas station in Allen, Neb., closed last summer, a gallon of gas cost $2.56, according to prices posted on two abandoned pumps. Since then, Allen's 411 residents have been driving 11 miles to Wakefield or 28 miles to South Sioux City to fill up.

Allen's grocery store went out of business last August, forcing people to shop in South Sioux City or 21 miles away in Wayne. Doctors, dentists and other essentials also require a road trip. The nearest movie theater is in Wayne.

"You have to leave town for about everything," says Jerry Schroeder, an insurance agent who has lived in Allen for all of his 57 years.Source
Still more on people getting savaged by high oil prices in the country (from High Gas Prices Threaten to Drain Small Towns' Populations):
These days, they're also cussing and shaking their heads about the price of that gasoline. People are doing that everywhere, but in small towns such as Leeton, population 619, it's even more of a gut punch because nearly every working adult commutes to jobs elsewhere.

These days, there had better be a really good job on the other end of that trip.

Don Campbell's daily commute to Kansas City - about 100 miles each way - costs him roughly $866 a month at $3.90 per gallon. But he's a union iron worker and says he can make the math work.

Most of his neighbors can't. For them and thousands of other small-town residents across the country who drive long distances to jobs that pay little more than minimum wage, the high cost of gas is making that daily commute cost-prohibitive.

So much so that economists predict that over the next few years, the country could see a migration that would greatly reduce the population of Small Town America - resulting in a painful shift away from lifestyle, family roots, traditions and school ties.
Perhaps the worst threat of all is a vicious cycle of depopulation. High gas prices cause commuting to work/the doctor/school/shopping to be too expensive, so people leave the rural towns/counties and move to larger cities. Govt. revenues decline (people fleeing) while govt. costs rise (gas for the cops, school buses, ambulances, inspectors, garbage collection etc.) Then merchants pull out and gas stations pull out, because there isn't enough population to support them. Govt. services get erratic. More people get fed up and leave etc. etc. Next thing you know, your rural "community" isn't there anymore.
by JD

114 Comments:

At Saturday, September 26, 2009 at 8:51:00 PM PDT, Anonymous OilFinder said...

The main reason why so many doomer/peakers prefer the country is obvious once you talk with them a bit: They hate technological civilization. Cities are the ultimate expression of technological civilization, so they make up any excuse they can come up with to rationalize their preference for the country, no matter how contrary it is to their stated intention of reducing dependence on oil.

 
At Saturday, September 26, 2009 at 10:15:00 PM PDT, Anonymous phil said...

You found about 20 different ways to explain a very obvious point: things are far apart out in Podunkville (revealing a contempt for rural American I wasn't expecting). But your whole argument revolves around oil dependence.
Aren't most doomers going rural to get off the grid, you know, stop using oil?
I've read plenty of optimistic views on renewables in these pages. Where's the love for the country folks? They don't get wind or solar?

 
At Saturday, September 26, 2009 at 11:56:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"We have found that if a customer drives a round trip distance of more than four miles in order to purchase their organic vegetables, their carbon emissions are likely to be greater than the emissions from the system of cold storage, packing, transport to a regional hub and final transport to customer's doorstep used by large-scale vegetable box suppliers."

Misleading. It will always be cheaper to transport food 4 miles than 7 miles. It might be cheaper to sell food from 7 miles away than 4 miles away but that is due to there being more cost factors of production than transport.


~ John Q. Galt ~

 
At Sunday, September 27, 2009 at 3:38:00 AM PDT, Blogger JD said...

Misleading. It will always be cheaper to transport food 4 miles than 7 miles.

You are 100% wrong on this point. The parameter which determines the cheapness of food transport is pounds per gallon, not miles.

A tractor trailer can haul 20 tons over 8 miles, and return, on about 2 gallons of fuel. So you can transport a pack of hotdogs (= 1 pound) for about .00005 gallons.

Compare this to a person driving 4 miles to 7-11 to buy a pack of dogs. That takes .2 gallons per pound, or about 4000 times more fuel per dog than the semi.

This means that transporting a pack of hot dogs 4 miles by car is about 4000 times more expensive in terms of fuel costs than transporting a pack of hot dogs 8 miles by semi.

 
At Sunday, September 27, 2009 at 5:03:00 AM PDT, Blogger JD said...

Aren't most doomers going rural to get off the grid, you know, stop using oil?

In my experience, no. When I raised this issue at peakoil.com, the doomers responded that they don't care that farmer's markets and rural living are extremely oil dependent -- because they're not concerned with being green.

A while back on PO.com, a doomer was wondering how to put a long driveway on a piece of raw land in the country. I gave him a hard time:

"If you've got a doomstead, I presume you're aware that peak oil will cause a rapid collapse of the agricultural system due to lack of fuel. There won't be enough gas to grow/transport food, so why are you worrying about a driveway? You won't be able to afford to drive anywhere. For that matter, gas probably won't be available due to shortages. Put your thinking cap on buddy."

He replied, very earnestly, that he was going to grow biofuel on his doomstead. He simply couldn't wrap his mind around the idea of non-motorized living. As he put it: "While none of us has all the answers, I am sure there are ways I can hold on to my dearly beloved ICEs."

Most of the people who have gone off the grid fall into two categories: rich, or primitive squatter. Everyone else has to work and interact with the real world, which generally implies very heavy driving if you live in a rural area. These are the people I'm trying to reach with this post. They are getting a lot of rosy one-sided info promoting rural living as a solution to peak oil. I'm simply presenting some hard facts to counter that rosy view. People should be aware of those facts if they are going to take a big gamble, and move to the country for peak oil.

 
At Sunday, September 27, 2009 at 7:40:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Josh said...

This post is wrong. I moved to the country to a town population 127. I can get nearly-free eggs from my neighbors, and other food produced around here for really cheap. I don't drive very far to get food even if I grew nothing myself. You don't have to be self sufficient but as a whole a rural community is. I fill up my gas tank every few weeks instead of twice a week! Not only that, I spend way less time driving because all of the 2 lane roads are 65mph speed limit with no traffic lights. Traveling anywhere is on the order of 10 times faster and more gas efficient with no traffic lights or traffic. Where I moved from had stop-and-go traffic, sometimes you had to wait TWICE for a stoplight, and it was 10-30 minutes to get ANYWHERE even a few miles away. The 'express'way had a permanent speed limit of 55, note that is lower than the speed limit of our REGULAR ROADS out here. All I can say is, yall have fun with your enormous property taxes and crime rate.

 
At Sunday, September 27, 2009 at 8:11:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Babun said...

I agree with phil here. If the ones who have moved to the countryside as a solution to peak oil are doing it in a totally incompetent manner is a point in itself. But you're basically using their stupidity as a pretext to generalize (when looking at the title of this post).

I also doubt the rural communities will be dying anytime soon. You may be right that there are lots of people who commute long ways from there and that they will be the first ones to suffer.

Well, maybe some people will have to move. And maybe others will have to change their habits, e.g regarding convenience driving and carpooling. But hell, solutions do also apply in the countryside as they do in the cities.

 
At Sunday, September 27, 2009 at 8:24:00 AM PDT, Blogger Rune said...

I'd just like to ask who is going to pay for the upkeep of all the roads to the small towns around the countryside. Unless these places (in a post Peak Oil world) are producing a surplus which can be transported to bigger cities, it's not going to make sense to use dwindling tax revenues to pay for (very) expensive tarmac. In 20 years those roads are only going to be traversable by a big 4x4. If you look at countries in decline, some of the first things to go are pothole repair. That semi trailer isn't coming to your backwater town of 300+ people when the road is mostly holes, so expect to pay alot more than citi dwellers for "luxuries" like soap and toothpaste. Of course, you can always make your own? Or maybe travelling merchant will become a viable occupation once again? Maybe we will have to actually use horses for transport again? Also, once the road goes, then so does eventually telephone, internet and postal services. Isolation might seem romantic until cabin fever sets in....

 
At Sunday, September 27, 2009 at 8:32:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You are 100% wrong on this point."


I am 100% correct on this point. :p

People will still need to drive to the food, regardless of how far the food was shipped to get to the place it will be sold. If the food was grown where it is sold it will always be cheaper (even if not by much due to the economy of scale in industrial global transport - anti-globalists ignore the "last mile" problem). And that drive to the store could have been a stop on the way to a more important destination.

Anti-globalists: overestimate importance of long-distance transport, ignore last mile problem.
Anti-localists: ignore incremental cost of long-distance transport while assuming last mile problem still isn't the real problem.

Or something like that.


~ John Q. Galt ~

 
At Sunday, September 27, 2009 at 8:56:00 AM PDT, Blogger Irrational Athiest said...

The problem underlying rural people using up so much gas is that they live in the country and want to live like they are in the city. They want to shop at the supermarket for all their plastic wrapped goodies. They want their big screen TVs. They want their acreage, but want a their kids to go to public school. When you are in the middle of nowhere, you have to accommodate that by burning gas.

The job thing sucks, because instead of being able to spend their time making the property they live on and the community they live in self sufficient, they have to make a salary to earn for their mortgages, pay their property taxes, and buy their food. Once things break down enough where there isn't enough gas for officials to drive themselves around to enforce laws, then you will see the rural places behaving in a more self-sufficient manner. Because no one will be able to get to the mall 100 miles away, people will make due and rely on each other. They will make monthly excursions to markets and towns to get what they need for the whole community, just like the way it used to be.

 
At Sunday, September 27, 2009 at 9:13:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The unfortunate truth is that the author of this piece assumes the city/urban setting will remain peaceful and calm when oil production does peak. Peak oil is mainly an economic occurance, not just a shortage of a natural resource. This is where most, if not all, peak oil denier arguments fail. When the price of a barrel of oil exceeds a certain amount, say $150/barrel, the cost of gas will skyrocket. As a result, jobs in mass quantaties will be lost.

If you live in an urban setting, surrounded by unemployed, broke people, and the food is extremely expensive because the oil/gas needed to produce it has shot up in price, what is going to happen? Chaos.

Author makes the following assumptions:

1) Food will always be available at the grocery store, and will not be prohibitively expensive.

2) People will have jobs with sufficient income to purchase food at grocery stores.

3) People in rural settings go to grocery stores frequently.

Point is, in the event of peak oil, economic/societal collapse, where do you want to be in the short term? In the middle of a city full of desperate, hungry people, or in the country hunkered down with food and nonpershiables? Think about it.

 
At Sunday, September 27, 2009 at 10:36:00 AM PDT, Anonymous JEUB said...

Good post - got me thinking about quite a few things. Puting aside the question of whether civilization collapse will occur or not for the thought experiment I see the following situation. There would probably be a gaussian distribution of 'idealness' in where you would live as a function of population density. People in the city centres would certainly have problems from a personal safety point of view- currently where I live in manchester,uk I'm a mile away from one of the highest gun crime areas in the country. Not the safest place to be if the shelves become empty.

On the other hand though this post highlights the flaw in the living in isolation. I don't understand why being in a bunker/totally isolated place is either favourable or advantagous, at least in the long term. If you run into trouble(lets say a medical condition) - the very fact that you have distanced yourself from the chances of getting medical attention is a threat in itself. Additonally being on your own means you have to do everything yourself.

Ideally the place to live would be a medium population area with an active and positive community. That way you can grow food whilst someone else mends your shoes or vice versa.

 
At Sunday, September 27, 2009 at 1:26:00 PM PDT, Anonymous GeorgeJ said...

I have to agree with JEUB. A medium population area (although it should probably be on the lesser end of medium) would make a lot of sense. Like JEUB points out it means that someone can repair shoes while someone else grows food, etc. Before the age of oil not everyone was growing their own food so it wouldn't need to be the same after an oil crash.

One of the best places for this especially if you want locally produced foods is Appalachia. Yes, Appalachia. Recently, I was reading something about Appalachia should be getting more respect with people who are looking for locally produced foods. As you can see this should apply to the peak oil doomsters as well. However, you don't hear about any of them heading to Appalachia. This is more proof that peak oil doomsterism is just about hating America or hating the West or hating technological civilization since if the doomsters believed there was an actual imminent disaster like they claim they would get over their hatred of "hillbillies".

 
At Sunday, September 27, 2009 at 8:28:00 PM PDT, Anonymous goofy said...

"Point is, in the event of peak oil, economic/societal collapse"

you speak as though it is a certainty!

 
At Sunday, September 27, 2009 at 10:00:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Basset Hound said...

Do you rural doomsters think you will be safe in isolation? What will you do when a hundred men ride up, and announce that you are now Lord Basset Hound's serf, and you will move to his village where he can protect you?

Country boy can survive? Not if an army says he can't. And OilFinder is right. A lot of doomers hate the Big Evil City, and the Oooooooooooh So Boring Suburbs (where they were raised) and want to go back to the imaginary days of Walnut Grove and Grover's Corners. (BTB that's my diagnosis of Dismal Jimmy Clusterfuck's disorder. He's seen Our Town too many times and thinks that amusing dramatic experiment corresponds to reality,)

Basset Hound

 
At Monday, September 28, 2009 at 1:14:00 AM PDT, Anonymous SG said...

IMO, the best place to live in a "peak oil" world are the much maligned suburbs. A single family home provides enough roof space for solar panels, and perhaps a wind generator in the backyard. This should be sufficient power (in most areas) to juice up all the home appliances, and the electric car. There should be adequate room in the garage, or perhaps a utility room for a bank of LA batteries. Food, medicine and other critical supplies are usually just a few miles away.

Looking at the bigger picture, I'm starting to think that "peak oil" (like AGW) is completely imaginary. Peak oil proponents have vastly underestimated geological oil supplies, and have overestimated demand. T Rex had it right all along. Oil will be replaced by alternatives long before it has all been pumped from the ground.

SG

 
At Monday, September 28, 2009 at 5:04:00 AM PDT, Blogger joedead said...

Addressing issues:
“1) Food will always be available at the grocery store, and will not be prohibitively expensive.
2) People will have jobs with sufficient income to purchase food at grocery stores.
3) People in rural settings go to grocery stores frequently.”

The last anonymus post was WAAAAY off.

This is doomer porn, and not very well-informed. Let give a great example of why this is BS. In 2002 I was in Mongolia, staying in both the countryside. Ulan Battar (UB) Mongolia’s only city of substance, has suffered tremendously in the previous years. Mongolia’s economy more or less collapsed in 1990 when it lost the massive amounts of subsidiares it was receiving from the USSR (including oil, food, etc.)

The situation was pretty bleak. Power outages plagued the city, there were food shortages, state-run facilities providing medical care closed, etc. Collapse, more or less.

Did social order break down? Did mass riots of unemployed, starving people destroy the city?

No.

You’re proabably going to say, “Well, they just left the city, and went back to herding goats on the steppe!”

This is what I would have expected. I was wrong. Instead, Ulan Bataar’s population GREW. Rural populations SUFFERED MORE. Food might have been tight in the city, but you had a much better chance of getting fed there than in the countryside. As it’s been pointed out, bread lines didn’t form in the countryside during the great depression, only in the cities.

Instead of totally falling into chaos and disorder, the city re-organized, albiet in a much less affluent way. Grass-root democratic organiztions flourished, tons of small entrepeneurs address food shortages, and power structures changed hands. Honestly, UB is still not a totally safe city. There are groups of drunks and thugs at night. But hell, I live in New York City. I’d rather walk through UB at night than the South Bronx during the day.

I think there is a serious mismatch with Doomers/Peak Oil nut perception about cities.

 
At Monday, September 28, 2009 at 5:05:00 AM PDT, Blogger joedead said...

JD is making a valid point. After experiencing rural, “off-the-grid” living and currently residing in Manhattan, I can easily justify living in Manhattan is a much better response to peak oil than living in rural WI.

In WI:

1. Few jobs in small towns, many highly dependent upon chains franchises that rely on money/products trucked in from a distance.
2. No small agricultural town is entirely self-sufficient in food. At best, the town is surrounded by farms that grown crops to feed cities. Farmers will sell these crops to cities first; it doesn’t make economic sense to grow shitloads of wheat and then only sell a fraction of it to a small town that can’t pay well for it. As food becomes more expensive, farmers stand to make even more money selling to distributers in cities.

*When I lived in Northern BC, food was even more expensive than Manhattan. Shipping fruits north is NOT cheap. Nor is beef.

3. As JD pointed out, many of these small towns are highly reliant on cities for their existance, much like suburbs. Peak oil will hurt small towns just as bad as the burbs.

Living advantages of Manhattan:
(during peak oil)

1. Public Transportation, bicycle lanes. I don’t own a car, never have, and probably never will. According to some sources, gasoline sale in Manhattan is still comparable to what it was in the 1920’s. MOST people here don’t drive. Something like 70% of people in Manhattan don’t own a car at all.

2. A common doomer question: Can you sew your own clothes? Make your own shoes? Fix a generator? No. But I can find someone who can do those within 1 block of my apartment. One of the most overlooked advantages of cities is the diverse amount of variously skilled people it harbors. How many small towns will have more than 1 shoe cobbler? There are TWO on my block. How many small towns will have enough OBGYNs? Again, several on my BLOCK. Small towns will suffer lack of skilled professionals.
3. Energy consumption. Manhattanites consume much LESS ENERGY than most other cities in the US. (Google this stat.) That is, density = higher energy effiecieny. New York destroys the rest of America in this.

4. Farmer’s markets. I’ve been to more farmers markets in Manhattan than I ever saw in more 4 years of living in WI. Again, economics here make plays like those I saw in Mongolia. Farmers from the surrounding countryside come to sell goods in the city. Period.

I could list a few more advantages, but I’m getting tired.

The bottom line?
Cities are usually overcroweded lifeboats in times of crisis. Overcrowded, but lifeboats just the same.

 
At Monday, September 28, 2009 at 5:30:00 AM PDT, Blogger JD said...

joedead,
Great points. To add to what you're saying, this post cites a number of historical famines where the rural areas starved while the city was well-supplied:
16. CITIES AND FAMINE.

Toby Hemenway also makes a similar point:
Sociologists Jane Jacobs and Lewis Mumford have each noted that during the Depression and other hard times, urban residents have generally fared better than ruralites. The causes mainly boil down to market forces and simple physics. Since most of the population lives in or near cities, when goods are scarce the greater demand, density, and economic power in the cities directs resources to them. Shipping hubs are mostly in cities, so trucks are emptied before they get out of town.

In the Depression, farmers initially had the advantage of being able to feed themselves. But they soon ran out of other supplies: coal to run forges to fix machinery, fertilizer, medicine, clothing, and almost every other non-food item. Without those, they couldn’t grow food. Farmers who could still do business with cities survived. Those too remote or obstinate blew away with the Kansas dust.
Link

 
At Monday, September 28, 2009 at 7:13:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

joedead and JD,

Generally speaking, the same has held true in most other countries during periods of unrest. The average city-dweller in China had a much greater chance of surviving the various Mao catastrophes in the cities than in the countryside.

Personally, I think living in NYC is the best place in the world for a major economic catastrophe. Tight, well-developed distribution networks, transit options, and high energy efficiency per capita make NYC a great place to be in an era of energy problems.

At least I'd rather be here than in rural Wisconsin.

 
At Monday, September 28, 2009 at 9:43:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Benny "Boom, No Doom" Cole said...

Great post. One day Americans will figure this out: It is rural America that is the hugest collection of welfare queens in the world. Everything in rural America is subsidized by urbanites. The roads, the water systems (Army Corps of Engineers), the electricity, the phone service, the airports, train service, even some medical facilities. Postal Service (remember "RFD," Rural Free Delivery?).
Imagine getting rid of the Post Office. Now, who is going to deliver a letter to Red Bluff, Mt. from Humidityville, Fl. for less than $12? No one.
Add to that huge subisidies for crops, and now the ethanol program another subsidy for corn farmers. On top of all that, the US military budget is heavily oriented to rural states.
Without federal subsidies, rural living will dry up.
Higher gasoline prices may be the death knell yet.
It is rural living that is unsustainable, save for those few who can truly survive off the grid.

 
At Monday, September 28, 2009 at 9:44:00 AM PDT, Anonymous non-doomer said...

Rural folks seem most enamored of the fossil fuel liefstyle. big pick-ups, snowmobiles, dirtbikes, motorcycles, atvs, boats and anything else you can think of.

their houses seem to be filled with just about everything else that we in the cities have.

however, I can walk to the store, doctor, dentist and just about everywhere I really need to go to.

do you know what peak oil really means? we'll spend more on energy than we do now. consumption of other goods will have to be a lower % of our income OR we will cut back on energy use to compensate.

 
At Monday, September 28, 2009 at 3:58:00 PM PDT, Anonymous GreenNeck said...

As one of those 'doomsteaders' I can see a flaw in JD's argument. Rural living and living off the land are 2 different things. If you still need to commute to a job, it totally defeats the purpose. However, to say that rural communities need cars and gasoline to survive ignores the fact that farm-centred small communities have been the norm for centuries before the advent of cars. Ever watched Little House on the Prairie? Such communities can and will thrive again.

Doomers get it wrong because they think Peak Oil/Peak Energy/environmental degradation (take your pick) will result in a complete, global, sudden economic and social collapse of epic proportions, the so-called 'SHTF' event. If this were indeed our predicament, holing up in a rural redoubt with MREs and ammo would make sense. However, except during wars, this type of event has been very rare historically.

Decline, on the other hand, is a common occurrence, and we're right in the middle of it, at least here in North America. Just look at Detroit. Even before the recession 'good jobs' were disappearing, fringe benefits were reduced, and people drowning deeper into debt. Now millions of jobs are gone. Many will never work again. Others will have to hold 3 low-paid service jobs just to make ends meet. The US governmennts (federal and state) are technically bankrupt. The consequence of decline, wherever and whenever it occurred, is widespread poverty. This is what will kill global trade, not the fact shipping becomes expensive.

You may argue that North America is not the world, but the fact that, for example, the Brazilian economy still grows is small comfort when your job is gone and the repo man is at the door.

A sobering fact is that this decline is occurring in the context of a still growing world economy and still growing resource base. Imagine what happens when growth ends, as it inevitably will.

The whole purpose of living off the land is precisely to be able to survive without going to a job. If you own a few acres in the clear, grow enough food, have access to a stand of trees for fuel, and install solar panels/windmill, you can live a 21st-century lifestyle with a very little income. There are up-front costs, of course, but with some planning and discipline it can be done, even if you're not rich. There are lots of rural properties up for sale for just the unpaid property taxes. If you can swing a hammer, all the above can be had for less than 100,000 USD. But you have to make the move while you still have resources (money and a job). Once you've lost both, it's too late.

Doomsteading is not just a response to decline. It is a revolutionary act. It is a way to tell the rich elites that I won't play their games and won't be their slave. It is a way to restore human dignity and human freedom.

In closing, for those of you saying we're nowhere near the limits: that's probably what the guy who whacked the last great auk also thought. Famous last words.

 
At Monday, September 28, 2009 at 4:26:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Benny "boom, no doom" Cole said...

Greenneck:
And when your appendix bursts, what do you do? (And I hope it neeber does, but...)
Even new eyeglasses?
Solar-powered roofs? Okay fine for many years, but eventually, where do you get new ones made? And delivered to your doomstead, post-doom? Since the roads are out.
Are you prepared to farm using only draft animals (I wonder if those wonderful large draft horses still exist).
Where do you get sugar? Spices?
Even salt?
When the roads are no longer maintained to rural areas, how will anything get through?
I think this is a fantasy you have.
Rural living is doable, as long as urbanites subsidize it and you have modern conveniences and necessities, such as surgeouns for your burst appendix.
Otherwise, prepare for deaths to mother and child in birth, for heart attack victims to die, and to eat bland food over and over again.
Do you plan to spin cotton and make your own cloths? And how many hours are in a day do you plan to work. PLan on about 16 if you want to be self-sufficient, or trade with only locals.
I won't even ask about interesting conversation.
Winter? If you are in the north, you have to eat jarred-canned foods for months on end.
This strikes me as a very poor way to live.

 
At Monday, September 28, 2009 at 5:30:00 PM PDT, Blogger Evan said...

I personally think living in more rural areas or smaller cities is great for people who don't enjoy excessively urban environments (like myself). However, this has barely anything to do with "peak oil" or impending "collapse" of society and is more about preference. Some people just prefer living closer to nature but if a "malthusian catastrophe" ever did occur (which I doubt ever will unless all of humanity suddenly became lethargic and stupid), it wouldn't matter whether you were in Manhattan or in the middle of Siberia, life would be very rough everywhere and anywhere.

 
At Monday, September 28, 2009 at 5:34:00 PM PDT, Anonymous GreenNeck said...

Benny:
I'm not sure where you got the idea I was trying to run an autarcy. My post doesn't say that.

And I specifically said I don't believe in the pre/post doom conundrum. We will still have roads, fuel, solar panels, salt, spices, etc. for decades. What will become scarce will be well paid jobs. The middle class is already shrinking, and once economic growth stalls, it will shrink even faster. 20 million Chinese workers lost their jobs in this recession. Where do you think they went? Back to the land.

I am not living as a hermit. I am deeply involved in my local community, and have a doctor, a dentist, etc. I even supply them with firewood and maple syrup in exchange for their services.

As to working 16 hours a day, you're totally off. For a few weeks in the spring, that's true. I work 3 months to make firewood in late winter/early spring. Planting/tilling takes a month, harvest/preserve another. I'm done with the latter, and will be hunting for a few weeks, and then won't work until February, except for the odd construction job.

'A poor way to live'? I could think of worse.

 
At Monday, September 28, 2009 at 6:47:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

JD's post and ninety percent of the commenters just cant get their butts or heads out of the car, except for nodoomer. He lives in the city and seems to do very well without a car. No car-no gas. peak oil bedamned.
I'm eighty years old in good health and at the moment my car is broke down with not a sign of fixing in the near future. I too live on the outskirts of a small city so the bus has become my alternative transportation. It is a bump in the nose but you can live with it. Since all this peak oil reared it's nasty head including gas price fluctuations a few years ago many, especially the working poor have chosen the same route.
I have noticed that stores have moved within close proximity of the more busier stops.

I guess you would call that letting the marked take it's course. JC Sr

 
At Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 6:58:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like you've proved it, JD. From here on out, all food will be grown in the densely populated urban areas and shipped out to the last remnants of rural folks.

Thanks for all your hard work and sincerity.

HDT

 
At Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 7:01:00 AM PDT, Blogger JD said...

But you have to make the move while you still have resources (money and a job).

Greenneck, this is the part where your scheme breaks down. The part where you need a job to pay off the $100,000+ debt on your doomstead. If you're working, you're generally going to be in the country working, or commuting back into the city, which will put you right into the firing line of high oil prices, as I pointed out. Recommending that people incur a large debt -- especially in today's economic conditions -- and go rural where they will get mauled the worst of anybody by high oil prices... is really irresponsible. It's a dumb strategy on the face of it. It flies in the face of common sense.

Your personal doomstead setup isn't very widely applicable, either. Your income and lifestyle are dependent on hunting and logging from a woodlot. That may work for you, but it's not going to work the vast majority of people. Denuding trees for cash and hunting wildlife isn't something we should be relying on as a large-scale solution for the common man. Indeed, you seem to be living the last gasp of the log and burn Buffalo Bill lifestyle, which died out a long time ago for very good reasons. I'd like to hear your doomstead ideas for people in areas without timber resources and plentiful game, who are going to be starting tomorrow instead of 25 years ago.

I agree that someday the country may return to something like Little House on the Prairie, but as it stands, there's a huge chasm between here and there. For example, in third world countries, the farmers are essentially squatters who own land as a family heirloom. Similarly, the old American pioneers were homesteaders who got their land for free. Today, you have to buy land, so you need a job, so you need a car, so you get mauled by peak oil if you move to the country, as I've shown. Of course there are some people who can slide through the cracks -- industrial farmers, the rich, squatters, people who already own land, poaching logger/hunters, mountain men... But the odds are highly stacked against success.

 
At Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 7:06:00 AM PDT, Blogger JD said...

Looks like you've proved it, JD. From here on out, all food will be grown in the densely populated urban areas and shipped out to the last remnants of rural folks.

I proved something, but that's not it. Try harder. Maybe you'll get it on the second reading.

BTW, I'm genuinely curious about your strategy for peak oil, HDT. What do you recommend for people concerned with PO? City, suburb, country? And why?

 
At Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 8:37:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

JD, despite all your pro-urban rhetoric, there's no 'one-size-fits-all' strategy for every conceivable post-PO or post-economic collapse scenario. People will do whatever they know best to get by under whatever circumstances should arise.

Its no secret that people have lived in remote rural areas in the US since its inception, and many live there now, as we speak. My grandparents lived in the country without electricity until the '40s, 10 miles from the nearest general store, and 40 miles from the nearest hospital.

This kind of rural life is not for everyone, and I repeat again that the single biggest flaw with your rhetoric is the implication that there is a sort of binary decision to live either an agrarian life in a remote rural location or as some kind of information/service worker in a densely populated urban area. It's just not that simple. People will always do what works best for them, be it farming in the country or working as a wage slave in the city or something that fits neither of those descriptions.

People have lived in rural areas without oil, PV or nuclear since this country was formed and they will continue to live there long after the oil economy disappears. You are of course perfectly free to live wherever you want and feed yourself however you see fit. My suspicion is that your smug, arrogant contempt for rural life will not always work to your advantage.

HDT

 
At Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 9:38:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Rural living and living off the land are 2 different things. If you still need to commute to a job, it totally defeats the purpose."

Congratulations for understanding.
And the key point is this: how many people can afford to buy a farm out in the sticks for cash?
Most people I know have mortgages.
It's just not feasible in the majority of cases to suddenly move out to the sticks and become self sufficient. The truth of the matter is that most people will need to continue to working.

When you look at it from that perspective, living out in the middle of nowhere where you could be killed (and nobody would hear you scream) or injured (and you have no gas to get to the doctor) does look at all appetising.

Of course, if I had millions of dollars, a farm in the middle of montana might look sweet but I don't have millions of dollars, and neither do most people.

DB

 
At Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 9:44:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I too live on the outskirts of a small city so the bus has become my alternative transportation."

Like I said years ago old-timer.
Taking the bus alone will mitigate peak oil for most people.

I took the bus in winter last year when it was -35. It was annoying to be cold but once I figure out exactly what kind of protective clothing I needed it was perfectly doable.

DB

 
At Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 10:35:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And the key point is this: how many people can afford to buy a farm out in the sticks for cash?"

How many people can afford to lease or barter 10 acres in the sticks?

How many people can afford a new Prius to drive to their job at Barnes and Noble?


HDT

 
At Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 10:53:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Benny Boom, No Doom Cole said...

Greendoomer:
I wish you well, I just wish you and other rural folks paid the full freight for your lifestyle. The roads, electricity, post service, phone service, water service--all subsidized by urbanites like me. Far from being a rugged individualist, you are among the most dependent people and subsidized people in the world.
I don't know where you live, but most likely w/o continuing subsidy, your area would depopulate without subsidy.
I am glad you can obtain salt and spices where you live, and cash-paying jobs.
The doctor you visit-if you require surgery, can you really cut enough wood to pay for a $30k operation?

 
At Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 11:16:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

HDT,

Even during ~$5/gal gasoline, I managed to get around on a thing called "transit." Even in San Diego and Los Angeles, I was able to get to where I wanted by looking up schedules online. It wasn't always convenient, but I did it.

You're accusing JD of a binary argument and countering with a binary argument.

Hell, I could bicycle to the train station year round here, but I'd just have to buy a really warm overcoat for the winter months. I prefer to take the bus to the station, personally.

 
At Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 11:43:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you can't seem to grasp what I'm saying Ari. To clarify, my sincere hope is that those who think like you and JD will freely choose to stay in the densely populated urban centers and take public transit to and from your information worker jobs. It should be obvious that everyone will not be able, willing, or interested in living such a life. My real issue with you and JD is your ongoing reflexive, adolescent contempt for all things rural, earthy, ad hoc, simple, or otherwise unaccompanied by the latest in gee-whiz energy technology.

 
At Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 11:56:00 AM PDT, Anonymous doofy said...

"How many people can afford a new Prius to drive to their job at Barnes and Noble?"

a prius isn't that expensive. it's like $22,000.

 
At Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 12:00:00 PM PDT, Anonymous non-doomer said...

What states receive more federal tax dollars than they pay in?

"Ironically, considering the Republican Party champions low taxes and cutting Federal taxes, 21 of the 33 states who get back more than the taxpayers in those states pay in are also states who voted for John McCain in 2008. In effect, the wealthier Blue states are subsidizing poorer, more rural Red states..."

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_states_receive_more_federal_tax_dollars_than_they_pay_in

 
At Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 1:22:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

HDT: Thanks for proving my point. Though I'm pretty sure that wasn't your intention.

"How many people can afford to lease or barter 10 acres in the sticks?"
If their sole source of income is going to be from their minimum wage job 100 miles away or else by trying to sell pumpkins from their 10 acre lot at the farmers market 100 miles away, the answer is "not many".

"How many people can afford a new Prius to drive to their job at Barnes and Noble?"
Exactly.

JD's point stands.

I'm not sure what yours is.

DB

 
At Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 2:41:00 PM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

HDT,

What a strange response. I've never had anything bad to say about those who choose the rural life. I also have nothing bad to say about those in manufacturing or in trades. My step-dad is an electrician, and I have the utmost respect for him and the guys he works with.

Nonetheless, that doesn't change the fact that the "doomsteaders" are barking up the wrong tree. Many of those living in the rural parts of the world would be hit harder by an extreme energy crunch than those living in the city. History demonstrates this, as do a few thought exercises.

That's not a dig at those living rural lives. It's just an observed fact.

Nor am I completely enamored with new technology. There are days that I'd like nothing more than to throw my smartphone in the dumpster and go move to Yosemite. But then I remember that my stupid leash also lets me connect with friends who live across the world any time, and have allowed me to maintain social networks that I probably would have otherwise lost. I appreciate technology for what it is-- an agent of change.

 
At Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 4:49:00 PM PDT, Anonymous GreenNeck said...

I wish you well, I just wish you and other rural folks paid the full freight for your lifestyle. The roads, electricity, post service, phone service, water service--all subsidized by urbanites like me. Far from being a rugged individualist, you are among the most dependent people and subsidized people in the world.
And I could retort that many of the services available to you in a big city, like airports, subways, big freeways and the like, are subsidized by outsiders, too. Not to mention all the legions of inner-city residents living on the dole. Add to that too, all the bureaucrats and civil servants.

Now I'll go through your list:
- Roads: many roads here, included the one I live on, are privately owned and maintained. Even the public roads are often maintained by volunteer associations (the 'adopt-a-road' scheme). Unlike what you say, subsidies from senior government levels to cover local services dried up a long time ago.
- Electricity: I'm off the grid.
- Post service: OK, I give you that one
- Phone: I'm on satellite (VoIP). Is that also 'subsidized'?
- Water: On my own well and septic system.
Perhaps you want to check your facts, before throwing around generalities.

I don't know where you live, but most likely w/o continuing subsidy, your area would depopulate without subsidy.

It is depopulating already. Many of the folks in my area go live in the big city in the hope of finding work. All they end up doing are menial jobs. Then they need subsidized rents, subsidized daycare for their kids and when they're laid off, welfare. This is what you get when the middle class is shrinking: lost of subsidizing.

I am glad you can obtain salt and spices where you live, and cash-paying jobs.
You could have those 100, or even 200 years ago. Nothing revolutionary here.

The doctor you visit-if you require surgery, can you really cut enough wood to pay for a $30k operation?

Probably not, but I'm in Canada, so technically health care is 'free'. I've worked over 25 years in the city and paid lots of taxes, so I could say I'm owed an operation or two. But then, you have to be healthy to run a homestead, if it is a really bad condition I may just let nature take her course. That's a bridge I'll cross when I get there.

 
At Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 4:50:00 PM PDT, Anonymous GreenNeck said...

JD:
Thanks for your response. I agree my situation is quite exceptional and could not be replicated by say, millions of people. But you made the case moving to the country is a bad idea, period, so I came back with a contrarian example.

Regarding money, a typical middle class household can raise the 100K$ figure by simply selling their city/suburban home, which they will do anyway if they go rural. That's provided you haven't hocked every last dollar of it, like so many Americans did to buy expensive toys and vacations.

I happen to live in Canada, which is heavily forested and sparsely populated. Owning a wood lot here is quite common. I harvest just enough trees to heat my home and make some cash to pay for things like fuel, insurance and property taxes. Fifty cords are enough for that, and so far my operation is totally sustainable. If you'd walk my wood lot you'd be hard-pressed to guess I cut trees there. As to hunting, it's something I've done all my life and is now a fall tradition. Agreed if everybody went hunting there'd soon be no more game, but we're not there yet.

We agree on one thing: no matter where you locate, you will need a source of income. Failing that, you will not succeed, even if you're a champion garderner. You simply can't live off selling surplus produce, unless you become an industrial farmer (which means you have lots of cash). This is why the 1960s and 70s back-to-the-landers generally failed. To avoid commuting to a city job, you'll need to provide a commodity or service that is essential to the local community.

 
At Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 6:50:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Berkeley Brett said...

A general comment: the October 2009 edition of Scientific American presents an article titled, "Another Century of Oil? Getting More from Current Reserves" Among the "key concepts" of the article: "Together with new discoveries, the increased productivity could make oil last at least another century." You may read a portion of that article or here or here . Also, a brief piece at MSNBC on Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute here or here Best wishes to all...

 
At Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 7:19:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Benny Boom, No Doom Cole said...

Greendoomer-

Really, you are dodging the issue. Surely, there are rural highways, maintained by Canada, that pass near your area. The private roads you drive on do not connect to anything else? They deliver goods to you all the way from Toronto or wherever, by private road? Come now.
Those rural highways are subsidized--by gasoline taxes collected in areas where there is a lot of traffic, meaning cities. Goods would cost you a lot more w/o that subsidy, if you could get goods by road at all.
You may be off the grid, but I doubt your entire community is. And you need that community to make a living, you have said that. You are benefitting from the urban subsidy of electrical and water systems. You would have no local customer base w/o those subsidies.
Here in the US, rural phone service is subsidized. VOIP is an interesting q. I don't know.
To be sure, I do not know Canada laws. I was speaking of the USA. Our rural areas are totally subsidized--indeed, there it little that rural House and Senate reps do but seek subsidies. And they are successful, as federal tax and spending patterns show (in the USA).
But, less I be mistaken, you would have few if any neighbors where you are w/o subsidized services, and thus no local customers.
The health care issue is a toughie for all of us. I wish you well. I prefer the Canadian system to ours. I make a living making furniture and freelancing and I am bare of health insurance, and I go to Thailand for my care. I workout everyday to say healthy, keep the weight down, no smoking etc.
But you admit to no rugged individualism on that score. You are a commie when it comes to health care, happy for the services of the state. And I don't blame you.

 
At Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 6:30:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What a strange response. I've never had anything bad to say about those who choose the rural life."

The title of this blog entry is "GOING RURAL FOR PEAK OIL: BAD IDEA," replete with lovely photo of 'rural' folk who, as JD's sloppy rhetoric suggests, have chosen their pitiful locale out of sheer, willful ignorance of the world's dwindling oil reserves.

Maybe you actually think you've never had anything bad to say about those people, but your willing association with JD says you're just equivocating once again.

As for DB's willful ignorance - how many urban technophiles can afford to pay cash for a loft or condo? It's not just poor agrarian wannabees who can't afford their dream these days, it's virtually anyone who's put their faith and trust in the US government's ability to run an economy.

HDT

 
At Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 7:22:00 AM PDT, Anonymous GreenNeck said...

Benny:
I accept your points. At the same time, you make it sound like the rural communities provide nothing of value in return for those 'subsidies'. That's not exactly the case. Around here we have mining & logging operations, some farming, and a lot of tourism. I am close to the famous Ontario Algonquin Park, a favourite destination for the city folks. They love coming here and I'm sure don't begrudge paying for the roads to get here. Sure, a lot of that will die off if the economy collapses, and that's when I'll have to go in full survival mode. But we're not there yet. Isn't that the point of this blog?

With that said, deficit financing by all levels of government means we're actually all subsidized by our children. We are stealing from them in the vain hope of keeping the consume-all-you-can, grow-at-all-costs party going.

 
At Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 8:18:00 AM PDT, Blogger JD said...

HDT,
I'll admit the photo is a little outrageous, but it's a blog. Get a sense of humor.
Aside from that, I don't have any animus against rural people. In fact, I lived in the country for about 5 years last time I was in America and really enjoyed it.
If you read the post carefully, you'll see that I don't make any derogatory comments at all about rural people.
What I have a problem with is over-romanticized pro-rural propaganda which glosses over the serious problems involved in living in the country, particularly in the context of peak oil.

 
At Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 8:41:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A general comment: the October 2009 edition of Scientific American presents an article titled, "Another Century of Oil? Getting More from Current Reserves" Among the "key concepts" of the article: "Together with new discoveries, the increased productivity could make oil last at least another century." You may read a portion of that article or here or here . Also, a brief piece at MSNBC on Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute here or here Best wishes to all...

We absolutely have more than a centuries worth of oil. The problem is, we are getting into the heavy crude which does not flow like light crude. The energy crunch will be amplified when supply can no longer meet exceeding demand, not about how much is technically in the ground.

O.D.

 
At Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 11:46:00 AM PDT, Blogger DB said...

"As for DB's willful ignorance - how many urban technophiles can afford to pay cash for a loft or condo?"

You seem to contradict yourself in almost every post buddy.
How can it be willful ignorance when I'm pointing out that most people who need to work cannot afford to pay cash for a doomstead?
CLEARLY if they cannot afford to pay cash for a doomstead they cannot pay cash for an urban loft ergo they must work and therefore the city is the best place to be.

Who is wilfully ignorant is you.
I'd go further. You are an idiot troll who should get his pumpkin planting ass back to LATOC.

DB

 
At Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 12:07:00 PM PDT, Anonymous JEUB said...

Chill out db/hdt - somthing to consider is, whether it will happen or not, in this scenario how much work will be available in the city? We are finding right now, in the uk, that a large number of polish farm workers are migrating back to poland (due to the recession I believe) and there is a defecit in farm work. Some people are actually actively looking to work out in the sticks (Im gonna try and find a reference). If a country becomes a lot more dependent on native produce, then surely your argument is null anyway as we may see a shift in a city-centric employment to rural employment?

I, for one, believe a big change is on the horizon - imo the best investment is not a doomstead or a fancy hybrid motorscooter but self-education in a wide range of useful skills coupled with a 'grid-lite' approach to living: no car, just cycling, walking and getting fit.

 
At Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 1:15:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I reserve the right to bash doomers since peak oil optimists get bashed on doomer sites like latoc, peakoil.com and to a lesser extent theoildrum.

Calling it making fun of the village idiot if you prefer.

"I, for one, believe a big change is on the horizon - imo the best investment is not a doomstead or a fancy hybrid motorscooter but self-education in a wide range of useful skills coupled with a 'grid-lite' approach to living: no car, just cycling, walking and getting fit."

That's a pretty good idea if you need to save money during the recession. What do you think will happen afterwards? Is it a further slump leading to collapse or is it a recovery?

The answer to that question will decide whether you buy that electric scooter or electric car or you move out to rural wales to work as a farmhand/feudal peon.

DB

 
At Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 2:00:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"How can it be willful ignorance when I'm pointing out that most people who need to work cannot afford to pay cash for a doomstead?"

Because you're stating the painfully obvious as if it's some rare jewel of wisdom. Poor working schmucks can't afford to pay cash for big ticket items, regardless of whether it's a Manhattan loft, a Prius, or a rural doomstead. Did you stay up late coming up with that prize?

HDT

 
At Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 6:23:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What I have a problem with is over-romanticized pro-rural propaganda which glosses over the serious problems involved in living in the country, particularly in the context of peak oil."

You should be aware that some folks have a problem with over-romanticized pro-technology propaganda which glosses over serious problems with living in dense, urban areas, regardless of what anyone thinks about the proximity of peak oil.


HDT

 
At Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 8:29:00 AM PDT, Blogger JD said...

You should be aware that some folks have a problem with over-romanticized pro-technology propaganda

Yah, I know. There's probably a thousand of them blowing off steam every afternoon at TOD, PO.com and LATOC. That's why this site is so valuable. We disclose the facts the doomers and luddites don't want you to know.

Anyway, it's a straightforward argument. City dwellers use very little gas. Rural dwellers are sucking down gas like it's going out of style. Peak oil will make gas expensive. Do the logic, and it's pretty obvious who's going to get mauled.

BTW, where do you live HDT?

 
At Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 9:14:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"City dwellers use very little gas."

Ever been to Houston, Dallas, LA or Atlanta at rush hour? Austin or Miami? Perhaps you'll want to make some distinction about the definition of a "city dweller," but there are literally tens of millions of 'city dwellers' using lots of gas to get to their jobs, malls, WalMarts, etc.

But then, that's never been the sole sticking point about living in the 'city' or the country for that matter. These kind of commuting city dwellers will get "mauled" by this expensive oil you mention.

It is odd that you and your little band of technophiles love to cite the immense glut of fossil fuel that ostensibly pushes PO decades into the future. Why should any of us, city sophisticates or rural bumpkins be worried about gas prices if there's such a glut of oil, and PO is just a 'doomer' fantasy?

Again, I want you and all the technophiles to understand that you are perfectly free to live wherever you want and consume as much or as little fossil fuel as you see fit. If fact, I sincerely hope that when the US economy really tanks that all those car-less, city-dwelling Gameboy designers, Gap workers and pizza delivery teams can remain securely ensconced in their rented lofts and eco-friendly condos on the public transit line.

 
At Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 11:35:00 AM PDT, Anonymous DoctorJJ said...

I'll weigh in as one of the country bumpkins. I live in a small town of about 12K in rural Oklahoma. A lot of your rural people do use a lot of gas/oil for all kinds of things, many of which are highly wasteful. Mowing lawns, boats, jet ski's, ATV's, commuting back and forth to their job in the city (Tulsa, OK). A lot of city folk do the same things though, including commuting. I personally live 2.7 miles from my job. Close proximity to my job was a big deal to me. I'm looking into buying an all electric car, as I write this.

A lot of what I eat is grown or raised locally. A lot comes from far away, too. But that is just like anyone, anywhere. Hardly anyone eats only locally grown food.
I can also tell you what it's like to seriously live out in the sticks. My grandparents live 20 miles from the nearest town, which is about 1700 people. They use less gas/oil than just about anyone I know. Of course, back before he retired, my grandfather used quite a bit of gas commuting to his job, but again, most "city" people (as pointed out above) still commute as far or farther than he did to their jobs. It's just across town and through traffic. Unless you live in NY and walk to work, you drive and use a lot of gas. That includes big cities like Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, St. Louis, KC, Detroit (if you are the one guy who still has a job), LA, even "green" San Fran. I never saw so many Hummers and Land Rover's as I did when I was in San Fran.

I'm not sure what side I'm on in this argument, just wanted to share my experience.

Also, I know some in this thread have tried to say the rural areas are subsidized by gas taxes of those in the city and at the same time, try to say that living in a rural area is more gasoline intensive. That doesn't make sense. If you drive more and burn more gas in the rural areas, then you are generating more than your fair share of gasoline taxes. If you live in the city and don't drive and don't use the roads, how are you generating gas taxes???

Almost everyone could do a LOT to reduce their FF use and will as soon as it is geologically necessary or financially prudent.

DoctorJJ

 
At Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 12:02:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Pitt said...

It's worth noting that there are several studies on rural vs. urban carbon intensity, including a nice collection here.

The consistent finding is that urban environments have a lower carbon intensity than rural environments; to quote the Brookings Institute study:

"Despite housing two-thirds of the nation's population and three-quarters of its economic activity, the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas emitted just 56 percent of US carbon emissions from highway transportation and residential buildings in 2005".

Transportation emissions were about 10% lower per capita in metro areas, due "primarily to less car travel" (p.16), and denser metropolitan areas tended to have lower per-capita emissions (p.23). Based on those findings, it's fairly clear that dense cities are more fuel-efficient than rural living for contemporary American culture.

 
At Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 12:19:00 PM PDT, Anonymous DoctorJJ said...

Pitt,
That is really good info. Thanks for showing us that.

"Transportation emissions were about 10% lower per capita in metro areas, due "primarily to less car travel" (p.16),"

10%??? That's it? That means rural America could catch up to the city just by going out and buying newer versions of their Suburban's and Tahoe's. The major manufacturer's have seen 10% gains or more in the last few years. That doesn't even include switching to hybrids or smaller cars or even carpooling.

In any case, it's nice to see some hard numbers. To be honest, I would have thought rural living would have been more than 10% more FF intensive for travel than the city. That's not a trivial amount, but certainly not doom for hillbillies like me.

DoctorJJ

 
At Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 1:20:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The point is, once you start comparing midwestern or western cities with more compact eastern seaboard cities or even European or Japanese cities the numbers start to look different.

Of course someone who lives in palo alto and commutes to mountainview an hour away is going to use a lot of gas.

The point is this:
most commutes in the US today are under ten miles each way.

I seriously doubt that rural commutes are under ten miles.

From that perspective you have to look at the 10%.

In practical terms, it'd be much easier to cut the gasoline usage in cities dramatically.

Case in point: in the western city I live in, my commute is about 7 miles each way. I do it by bus. Not because I have to (it's a pain in the ass) but because I'm stubborn.

A coworker drives about the same distance and another coworker cycles.

So: to cut expenses during a severe recession with high gas prices, the coworker could first downsize to taking the bus, then downsize to cycling.

Could you do that in the country?

DB

 
At Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 1:52:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Could you do that in the country?"

No, thankfully you can't, else you would be in the city. By definition, a rural 'commute' will always be longer than a 'city' commute.

There are a lot of reasons to live in the country, and the main one is to be out of the city, with more open space, access to nature, a quieter slower pace of life. Land prices in the country are much lower than they are in the city. Leased property is cheaper in the country. There are fewer restrictions on what one can and cannot do, and of course, the real reason most people move to the country is to try their hand at the reviled practices of gardening and self-suffiency.

Bottom line, when the economy tanks and unemployment climbs even higher and the dollar climbs lower, cheap rural land will be an even stronger natural magnet for certain segments of the dispossessed. Ignore it at your peril.

HDT

 
At Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 3:45:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Bottom line, when the economy tanks and unemployment climbs even higher and the dollar climbs lower, cheap rural land will be an even stronger natural magnet for certain segments of the dispossessed. Ignore it at your peril."

You still insist on posting half truths.

Where I am you can't get a decent sized small holding (10 acres with house) for less than $300K within 100 miles of the city.

Newsflash: most of the dispossessed don't have $50K never mind $300K.

I stand by my point: you better already be self-sufficient in funds before considering moving to the country. It's NOT an easy solution.

DB

 
At Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 5:12:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Where I am you can't get a decent sized small holding...for less than $300K within 100 miles of the city....most of the dispossessed don't have $50K never mind $300K."

You don't even need $50k - you lease, just like you do in the city, just cheaper. Only 30% of property in the US is owned free and clear, with no mortgage. That means that 70% represents cheap borrowed money at work.

HDT

 
At Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 5:52:00 PM PDT, Anonymous zeneise said...

ma vanni a siugà au balun buliccio
il tuo sito le un lougu e il picco le oua te me capiu?

 
At Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 6:03:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You don't even need $50k - you lease, just like you do in the city, just cheaper. Only 30% of property in the US is owned free and clear, with no mortgage. That means that 70% represents cheap borrowed money at work."

How do you lease if your only income is going to be from growing food?

Or do you have a better idea?
Genuine question.

DB

 
At Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 6:45:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"How do you lease if your only income is going to be from growing food?"

Who said the only income comes from growing food? Not that some farmers aren't doing that successfully already. That's certainly one way to generate income, but the other ways are limited only by your imagination. There are other horticultural and agricultural crops other than just food. There's manufacturing, salvage, recycling. Some remote areas are ripe for concentrating solar investment.

I imagine that all of us will have to be increasingly creative to maintain some semblance of continuity in our economic lives in the years ahead, cobbling together the necessities from a variety of sources and locations.

HDT

 
At Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 11:27:00 PM PDT, Blogger JD said...

Todd Detzel posted a very detailed post on doomsteading at TOD a while back. A couple of his comments on money:

First, before you do anything – How much money do you have? Unlike buying a functioning place, starting from scratch means you can’t spread the cost over the period of the mortgage. For example, a septic system in my area of northern California costs between $20-40K including engineering, permits and construction. This money has to be paid out front.

Be sure you have enough money to cover all your living expenses for a minimum of two years in addition to money for construction, etc. In addition, you should have enough basic food for at least a year. This is a good way to learn food preservation skills.


[...]

Someone has to start bringing in money... Food preservation takes time and money.

[...]

Trying to do it all in a short period of time guarantees failure. Lack of money guarantees failure.

MONEY. That's the crux of the problem. It's why a typical story about "off-the-gridders" features two types of people: poor squatters, and the very rich.

 
At Friday, October 2, 2009 at 7:00:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"MONEY. That's the crux of the problem. It's why a typical story about "off-the-gridders" features two types of people: poor squatters, and the very rich."

Don't you find it interesting that virtually ALL stories about the US economy feature the same two types of people: the upper 10% who own over 70% of the wealth and the bottom 40% of the population own less than 1% of the wealth? And most of the stories indicate the gap between rich and poor is widening.

Why should anyone's off-the-grid fantasies - doomer or technophile - not mirror the reality of this situation? There's lots of cheap, rural land out there just waiting to be LEASED for those who seek it out. JD and DB obviously have never bothered to look out of expen$ive la-la land, or sullied their lilly-whites in the real boondocks. In the rural south, you can buy acreage for $3K/AC or less, and drill a new well and install a septic system for under $20. AND that's if you want to - there's plenty of cheap acreage to lease with the amenities already in place. AGAIN, only 30% of the property in the US is owned free and clear, without a mortgage. That means 70% are financed or leased.

In the city, your "poor squatters" are those millions of wage slaves renting their tiny 500 sq ft while they pay minimum balance on their Mastercard.

The point is, no man is an island, regardless of whether he lives in the city or the country, and no amount of money, or fruit trees, acreage, etc. by itself guarantees 100% safety and security.

HDT

 
At Friday, October 2, 2009 at 7:10:00 AM PDT, Anonymous misterEd said...

Don't you find it interesting that virtually ALL stories about the US economy feature the same two types of people: the upper 10% who own over 70% of the wealth and the bottom 40% of the population own less than 1% of the wealth?

It's more like the top 1% own 95% of all of the wealth.

 
At Friday, October 2, 2009 at 8:31:00 AM PDT, Blogger DB said...

HDT,

Your leasing fantasy just doesn't cut it.

Are you supposed to live in a friggen tent?

You CAN'T lease unless you already have significant funds already saved. And I'm not talking about millions here. I'm talking about tens of thousands.

That's not for land with a house BTW, that's for land ONLY.

How in hell are you supposed to live on your ten acres with just the stuff you bring from e.g. your apartment and no house?

How in hell are you going to pay property taxes with no income?

How in hell are you going to be able to afford a couple thousand a year in gasoline/insurance etc for your vehicle to do all the "plenty of ways of making income" that supposedly exist in the sticks?

The answer as JD has pointed out is YOU CAN'T.

It's very telling that greenneck, the biggest advocate of rural living is ALREADY SELF SUFFICIENT even before he moved out to the sticks.

He's getting some kind of retirement payout.

First of all I'm thirty years away from retirement. Second of all, with Obama spending like a drunken sailor I'm getting nothing back in 2030 devalued dollars.

The idea of moving out to the country is a joke.

DB

 
At Friday, October 2, 2009 at 9:08:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You CAN'T lease unless you already have significant funds already saved. And I'm not talking about millions here. I'm talking about tens of thousands."

You don't leave your ivory tower much, do you? There are literally millions of acres out there with unoccupied houses, trailers, double-wides, single-wides, and owners who'd love to have the extra few hundred dollars a month from a renter.

"How in hell are you supposed to live on your ten acres with just the stuff you bring from e.g. your apartment and no house?"

You lease the house, the mobile home, double wide, etc. Your lack of common sense and imagination is remarkable.

"How in hell are you going to pay property taxes with no income?"

Renters don't pay property taxes. Do you live at home with mom and dad?

"How in hell are you going to be able to afford a couple thousand a year in gasoline/insurance etc for your vehicle to do all the "plenty of ways of making income" that supposedly exist in the sticks?"

Unemployment just took another jump toward 10% just today. How the hell do city folk working at Burger King pay for all that stuff?

Seriously, DB, you and JD obviously lack the kind of imagination and basic skills to live anywhere other than other an urban center where video games and fast food are an easy walk down the street from the bus stop. I think that we all agree that you couldn't make it anywhere else but the city.

HDT

 
At Friday, October 2, 2009 at 9:52:00 AM PDT, Anonymous GreenNeck said...

It's very telling that greenneck, the biggest advocate of rural living is ALREADY SELF SUFFICIENT even before he moved out to the sticks.

He's getting some kind of retirement payout.


DB, as a matter of fact, I don't. I've been self-employed all my life and don't have any pension of any kind. Besides, I'm only 51.

I used to have RRSPs, the Canadian equivalent to 401k, but cashed them out in order to buy more land, tools and my windmill/solar panel system.

I still have to work, but can get by on less than 10,000$ a year, which is amply provided by my firewood trade.

 
At Friday, October 2, 2009 at 12:00:00 PM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

HDT,

Let me start with my spiel, then I'll address your various statements:

You know what? I'm glad that greenneck is doing so well where he's at. I think it's good for him, and I wish him well. But when push comes to shove, I agree with JD: rural places are, historically, generally worse off during tumultuous periods in history. We have seen this over and over again. During famines, wars, and various other disasters, citygoers are generally more likely to survive intact. This was demonstrated quite vividly in China during the Mao period.

Now on to your points...

You don't leave your ivory tower much, do you? There are literally millions of acres out there with unoccupied houses, trailers, double-wides, single-wides, and owners who'd love to have the extra few hundred dollars a month from a renter.

And they are not free, either. Many of them will have high up-front costs to make them livable. Never mind the cost of tools, and if you're going "off-grid," some form of energy production. These are not inexpensive.

You also have to be lucky enough to find a plot with easy access to water, and some reasonable way to produce or hunt food. Yes, there are "millions of available acres," but what percent of those acres are really ideal? Even greenneck, who is walking the walk (respect deserved!), sort of tacitly admitted to being lucky enough to have a good plot.

You lease the house, the mobile home, double wide, etc. Your lack of common sense and imagination is remarkable.

Your silly insult aside, leasing is not always that simple. Many leases now require some form of down payment, and that can add additional up-front costs to an already pretty expensive proposition.

Renters don't pay property taxes. Do you live at home with mom and dad?

Not everyone who doomsteads will want to be living on another's land. His point still stands: if you wish to be truly "self-sufficient" on your OWN land, where do you get the capital to pay for the taxes? If you're lucky enough to have trees to turn into firewood, then bully for you. Otherwise?

Unemployment just took another jump toward 10% just today. How the hell do city folk working at Burger King pay for all that stuff?

Really? Near-10% unemployment means NOBODY has a job? Because last I checked I'm employed. Last I checked the vast majority of people are still employed. And this is in an economy where you typically have two wage earners in a household.

And we're still not at 1970s/80s levels of unemployment, let alone Great Depression levels. People got jobs after those two events, why are we all of a sudden in a different position now?

Seriously, DB, you and JD obviously lack the kind of imagination and basic skills to live anywhere other than other an urban center where video games and fast food are an easy walk down the street from the bus stop. I think that we all agree that you couldn't make it anywhere else but the city.

Gee, if this isn't low. Anyway, you know what? Yeah, I like having access to services! I like the fact that if I want to buy books, there are dozens of bookstores by me. I like the fact that I have music halls, operas, playhouses, museums, and communal parks to visit.

 
At Friday, October 2, 2009 at 12:00:00 PM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

More on my defense of cities:

I like that on any given day, I can go buy a sushi dinner, or a French dinner, or a Thai dinner, or a Cuban dinner, or even some good old New Yawk pizza within a few blocks of where I work or live.

And finally, I love the fact that I can go to a store, buy myself a new PS3/360 game, and play that until I go see the New York Philharmonic-- all in the same day.

I'd rather die middle-aged in some tumult than miss out on Yo-Yo Ma performing at Carnegie. I'd prefer to "tough it out" in an impoverished and bleeding NYC than miss out on the Met.

Oh, and before you accuse me of never having lived outside of the city, let me say this: I lived in Japanese farmland for a year. I know about the "trappings" of rural living. You know what? A lot of it was great. I loved the fresh produce, the quiet nights, and the down-to-earth neighbors. However, I cannot for a second choose it over what I have now. Want to call me a snob? Fine. I'll wear that on my forehead all the way to the Guggenheim.

 
At Friday, October 2, 2009 at 12:39:00 PM PDT, Blogger DB said...

"He's getting some kind of retirement payout."
OK My bad. But then you go on to say you cashed in your 401K (RRSP whatever). In other words, you bought all your stuff up front.
This is the crux of my point. If you want to live off the land, the land (and house) better already be yours because otherwise you're tacitly part of the money economy.

"I still have to work, but can get by on less than 10,000$ a year, which is amply provided by my firewood trade."
Right. So you need a few thousand a year to get by.
I seriously doubt someone living on some crap piece of land with the need to pay some kind of rent and all the other expenses is going to be making it.

Maybe if it were zombieland I'd consider it, but otherwise I agree with JD and Ari.
I like having a walk in clinic down the street, electrified mass transit, libraries, opera, universities, multitudes of cheap restaurants and JOBS.

Keep the country.

DB

 
At Friday, October 2, 2009 at 12:45:00 PM PDT, Blogger DB said...

"You don't leave your ivory tower much, do you? There are literally millions of acres out there with unoccupied houses, trailers, double-wides, single-wides, and owners who'd love to have the extra few hundred dollars a month from a renter."
Not within a couple hundred miles of where I live there aren't.
Anyway, my response to peak oil wasn't "eeek! flee to the country!" it was "eeek! flee to the jobs in the oil sector."

I wonder who will do better?

"You lease the house, the mobile home, double wide, etc. Your lack of common sense and imagination is remarkable."
As far as I'm concerned it's Ari, JD and I who have the common sense.

"Renters don't pay property taxes. Do you live at home with mom and dad?"
I forgot about that, as it burns me to have to fork out a few grand every year in property taxes in addition to income tax.

"Unemployment just took another jump toward 10% just today. How the hell do city folk working at Burger King pay for all that stuff?"
And you say I have no common sense or imagination?
Figure it out yourself genius.

"Seriously, DB, you and JD obviously lack the kind of imagination and basic skills to live anywhere other than other an urban center where video games and fast food are an easy walk down the street from the bus stop. I think that we all agree that you couldn't make it anywhere else but the city. "
Nice ad-hom. Do you have anything valid to bring to the table other than your breezy assertions or have you run out of arguments?

DB

 
At Friday, October 2, 2009 at 2:01:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Off topic for "rural vs city" post peak oil but NOT off topic for debunking doom, check this out:

"Top 10 Tech for saving the planet"
at New Scientist, available now:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20427281.400-better-world-top-tech-for-a-cleaner-planet.html?page=1

DB

 
At Saturday, October 3, 2009 at 8:05:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Nice ad-hom. Do you have anything valid to bring to the table other than your breezy assertions or have you run out of arguments?"

No, that's it. Since you've breezily dismissed everything I've written, I suppose I'll just take my ass back to the pumpkin patch.


HDT

 
At Saturday, October 3, 2009 at 10:21:00 AM PDT, Anonymous JEUB said...

@DB:
Yes interesting new scientist post, but it is easy find something that fits your pov:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20427282.900-earth-will-be-ok-but-for-us-its-not-so-good.html

doom...debunked?

 
At Saturday, October 3, 2009 at 11:16:00 AM PDT, Anonymous DoctorJJ said...

JEUB,
At least DB's post contained actual products on the market or that are about to be available, not some people's speculation about theoretical scenarios. In other words, he posted real solutions, you posted Doom Porn.

DoctorJJ

 
At Saturday, October 3, 2009 at 1:02:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I suppose I'll just take my ass back to the pumpkin patch."

Good.

The rest of us will continue discussing real solutions.

DB

 
At Saturday, October 3, 2009 at 1:06:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"In other words, he posted real solutions, you posted Doom Porn."

And that, my friends, is the reason why other peak oil sites are a waste of time.

Their solution?
Put your head between your knees and kiss humanity's collectives ass goodbye.

Talk about "not helpful".

DB

 
At Saturday, October 3, 2009 at 5:09:00 PM PDT, Blogger Kiashu said...

I actually think that if there is a genuine breakdown in services caused by peak fossil fuels, the suburbs will do best.

If the water, electricity and gas are intermittent or absent, those inner-city apartment buildings become unliveable, slums at best.

If the transport system breaks down, then it'll be very difficult to get food and other basic goods into the cities in sufficient volume, a lot of people will be going hungry.

And the rural areas will be in trouble, too. JD mentioned the vicious cycle of depopulation. I happen to have grown up in such a town. It had three main sources of employment - the Board of Works maintaining the local water dam and roads, the lumber mill and a weet bix factory.

The Board of Works closed down and the work was contracted out, so the workers drove in from other towns when needed, rather than being employed locally. The fall in timber prices killed the mill. With people leaving the area, there wasn't enough grain being produced in the local farms, and the rising price of oil made transport more expensive, so the weet bix factory closed down.

The people were left with the choice between becoming subsistence farmers, or leaving town. So they left. Now it's half the size and depends on tourist revenue and upper middle class city-slickers who are willing to spend 3 hours a day travelling so they can sleep in the country.

But in a general peak fossil fuel crisis, there'll be no tourists and no upper middle class city slickers, and nowhere else for the people to go to. So that leaves subsistence farming.

Thus, peak fossil fuels as a crisis (not saying the crisis is inevitable, just going on the Kunstlerish scenario) gives us slum-dwellers in the inner cities, and subsistence farmers in the countryside.

The suburbs, on the other hand, are in a funny position. They can do a bit of subsistence farming on their plots of land and in their local parks (cf Havana 1993-present), while being close enough to other people to transport themselves and goods under their own power.

Yes, transport, gas, water and electricity will be absent or intermittent - but that's not so bad for a suburban home as it is for an inner-city apartment or rural homestead.

When we look at countries which have undergone some kind of collapse - Eastern Bloc after 1991, Iraq today, etc - that's just what we find. Inner cities become violent slums, the rural area drops into subsistence farming, only the suburbs do okay.

 
At Sunday, October 4, 2009 at 5:21:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If doomer's fantasies come true (they won't), it would be hard on everybody rural and urban.

Many would make do in either a rural or urban setting, but hardships would be had by all, in one form or another.

There would be a "culling" of the herd, those less adaptable would suffer the most, those most adaptable or resourceful would do the best.

For the numerous reasons cited from both sides of the argument, any setting -- rural or urban -- would have its own set of challenges.

But as alluded to, above, doomsters will get old and grey and likely die of old age before any of the doomsters fantasies come true -- or they might get hit by a car.

Take your pick, or should I say, "pick your poison."

Those that drastically change their life style out of doomer concerns -- well, it's all in their heads.

Anaconda

 
At Sunday, October 4, 2009 at 8:43:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Basset Hound said...

More Concerns. In your doomstead or fantasy Walnut Grove, where are you getting many little things you need? You're off the grid, so what? Where are you going to get light bulbs? Do you have vacuum pumps, the ability to work tungsten, the ablity to blow glass and make bases?

Where are you going to get hand tools? Do you have a source of iron? are you a toolsmith? On Little House Oh So Dreary they bought them at a Snavely's. And where did Snavely get them? From a wholesaler in Chicago, who got them from a manufacturer in Rhode Island. Where are you going to get nails? On LHOSD they got them from Snavely's who got them from a nail factory in Indiana, who got the steel from Pittsburgh.

Where are you going to get ammunition, cloth, thread? You can make clothes by hand, but cotton won't grow everywhere, not every place can raise sheep, linen won't grow everywhere. On LHOSD they bought the cloth from Snavely's, who bought it from a wholesaler in Milwaukee, who bought it from a manufacturer in New York, who bought the cloth from a mill in Massachusetts, who got the cotton from Alabama or Georgia.

But living in a city, I don't have to worry about that, just I don't have to worry about Captain Zorch riding up and telling me I'm Lord Basset Hound's new serf.

 
At Monday, October 5, 2009 at 5:02:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Where are you going to get hand tools? Do you have a source of iron? are you a toolsmith?"

We live in the country, not the moon.

HDT

 
At Monday, October 5, 2009 at 11:51:00 AM PDT, Anonymous GreenNeck said...

In other words, you bought all your stuff up front. This is the crux of my point. If you want to live off the land, the land (and house) better already be yours because otherwise you're tacitly part of the money economy.
This is exactly what I said in my first post of this thread. If you've lost your job and/or savings/equity, it's too late to set up a rural homestead.

"I still have to work, but can get by on less than 10,000$ a year, which is amply provided by my firewood trade." Right. So you need a few thousand a year to get by.
Yes. As Basset Hound said above, I don't have a foundry, sheep for the wool and a blacksmith shop. And I don't want them either. I still live in a society. And I need money to buy what I don't make, things like toilet paper, toothpaste, lightbulbs, fuel, tools, replacement windows, shoes, fabric (my wife makes the clothes though), etc. Not to mention property taxes and insurance. Being totally independent is neither possible nor desirable. The main point of doomsteading is to supply the basics (shelter, water and food) and lower other expenses enough that I don't have to depend on an employer, or the state, for my survival. My arrangements are predicated on the expectation of a functioning industrial society to exist in the foreseeable future, even though the US and Canada will look more and more like Mexico or Uzbekistan. There I differ from other doomers, who expect a full descent to a Somalia-like social breakdown.

Rural living and especially homesteading is not for everybody. I'd be the last to recommend it unless you grew up on a farm. Ari made a compelling argument in favor of city living above; however, living in NYC, and taking in the cultural scene like he does requires a lot of money. I doubt 10,000$ a year will do it. That means working for someone and hoping that job doesn't go away. To me, that's kind of living on the edge, but, to each their own.

In any event, why do you care so much that a few people want to move to the country? This is at best an extreme fringe movement. Even on LATOC, possibly the doomerest doom site out there, there may be two or three dozen people who have actually set up an operating doomstead. You guys have won. The cornucopian worldview dominates everywhere. There isn't much "debunking" in telling people exactly what they want to hear.

 
At Monday, October 5, 2009 at 1:53:00 PM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

Greenneck,

It's interesting that you call my lifestyle "living on the edge," because I find your lifestyle far more "edgy." Today, I needed to go see a doctor for a physical.  I walked two blocks from the office two 5th and 46th in Midtown, walked up a flight of stairs, and there was a doctor.

I need medicine?  Just walk to the Duane Reade or CVS, give my prescription.

What happens to you if you hurt yourself in your field?  How long does it take you to get to a hospital or some kind of emergency responder?  What if, goodness forbid, you have a heart attack?  Minutes mean the difference between life and death.

In my opinion, these are the more serious concerns because they are things that can and do happen EVERY...SINGLE... DAY.  Your prediction that we're going to become Uzbekistan (with inferior potassium) may or may not come true.  But every day people have serious medical emergencies, and the time it takes to get someone to a hospital from a homestead in boondockistan can mean the difference between life and death.

Honestly, I'd rather predicate my lifestyle on what's most likely in the next few decades, which is that society will pretty much truck along the way it has, but be the most prepared for the most common bad scenarios, rather than the random catastrophes.  My big issues with doom 'n gloomers of all stripes is that they're waiting for rapture to come, but they ignore the fact that the most common hardships are individual and much more common than we like to believe.

 
At Monday, October 5, 2009 at 7:20:00 PM PDT, Anonymous GreenNeck said...

Ari,
Your ability to see a doctor requires you to be employed. What if you lose your job?
Maybe you think it can't happen to you. Last month it happened to 785,000 more Americans. Forget the 263,000 figure they announced and read the tables. For each of those people, doom is here, now. This is nothing about some 'rapture' or global catastrophe. Some of them will fall back on their feet, many more won't. Doom in my opinion is not a global thing. It is something that will be experienced one life, one family, one town at a time. If what we see these days keeps going for several more years, the whole US will look like Detroit. This is what doom will look like, not the end of the world, just a lot of misery.

By the way, I wonder how those 785,000 feel about that recovery economists keep talking about.

Heart attacks and accidents do happen every single day. And so do layoffs, bankruptcies and foreclosures. Owning a doomstead exposes me to the former, but guarantees me the latter won't ever happen. That's a compromise I can live with.

I agree with you about being far from a hospital, and yes, I may die alone in my field after a chainsaw accident. I'll just tell you something though. Around here, I know everybody by name, and see several neighbors every day. If I'd go missing, even for an hour or two, they'd know and look for me, as I'd do for them. It could be too late, of course, but all I say is in the country, we check out on each other. I read stories of city folks who died alone in their homes and were left to rot for days, sometimes weeks. If you had a heart attack in your NYC apartment, and couldn't reach the phone, I hope you'll have someone to check on you. In my experience the city can be a very lonely place.

 
At Tuesday, October 6, 2009 at 8:13:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

GreenNeck,

OK, here's where you and HDT really really confuse the hell out of me.

Your ability to see a doctor requires you to be employed. What if you lose your job?
Maybe you think it can't happen to you. Last month it happened to 785,000 more Americans. Forget the 263,000 figure they announced and read the tables. For each of those people, doom is here, now. This is nothing about some 'rapture' or global catastrophe. Some of them will fall back on their feet, many more won't. Doom in my opinion is not a global thing. It is something that will be experienced one life, one family, one town at a time. If what we see these days keeps going for several more years, the whole US will look like Detroit. This is what doom will look like, not the end of the world, just a lot of misery.


http://data.bls.gov/PDQ/graphics/LNS14000000_187452_1254837552612.gif

Unfortunately, the BLS doesn't have data going back from before WWII, but I'm sure the pre-WW2 data would offer even more perspective on what unemployment can look like while a society still survives.

The other thing I think is important is that the Cassandras look outside of the US for comparative perspective.

http://www.indexmundi.com/france/unemployment_rate.html

http://www.indexmundi.com/spain/unemployment_rate.html

http://www.indexmundi.com/italy/unemployment_rate.html

I could obviously list others, but three of the richest countries in the world have had, with regularity, considerably higher unemployment rates than the US even during good times. Yet I don't hear too many people who come here to lament that the US is going to become Afghanistan saying that France is a nuclear wasteland.

And yes, I realize that they have national health care, but when you live in a country where you often have one breadwinner in a household, it's nastier to have unemployment than in the US, where we at least often have two earners.

That said, I don't know that I buy that our unemployment has yet to reach Mad Max levels. Even Dr. Doom has suggested that we are likely to be turning the corner, if only slowly. But then again (snark alert!) I wouldn't be surprised if the Cassandras stopped listening to him the second he started predicting some kind of recovery.

By the way, I wonder how those 785,000 feel about that recovery economists keep talking about.

The same way I did when I lost my job. Like shit. It's seriously shitty. But people get new jobs, and life goes on.

Unemployment always lags an uptick in GDP. This is not surprising, and not some sign of the end of days.

 
At Tuesday, October 6, 2009 at 8:14:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

I agree with you about being far from a hospital, and yes, I may die alone in my field after a chainsaw accident. I'll just tell you something though. Around here, I know everybody by name, and see several neighbors every day. If I'd go missing, even for an hour or two, they'd know and look for me, as I'd do for them. It could be too late, of course, but all I say is in the country, we check out on each other. I read stories of city folks who died alone in their homes and were left to rot for days, sometimes weeks. If you had a heart attack in your NYC apartment, and couldn't reach the phone, I hope you'll have someone to check on you. In my experience the city can be a very lonely place.

Loneliness is, in my experience, a state of mind. I happen to know most of my neighbors where I live, and they've offered me help on a number of occasions. I agree that there is a certain warmth to living in the hinterlands, but it doesn't have to be warm there, either. It also doesn't have to be cold in the city.

It's also interesting to me that you say that you're afraid to be subject to the whim of an employer. Yeah, it has downsides. But what happens if you hurt yourself and you lose your ability to cut the firewood? You're subject to the limitations of your health as a self-employed farmer-laborer of sorts. You lose your ability to do your work, you lose your income. At least I get unemployment benefits and COBRA... shitty consolation prize, but it's better than nothing!

 
At Tuesday, October 6, 2009 at 8:23:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

Finally,

Do I think losing my job can't happen to me? Of course I don't. But I have made sure to have enough cash to afford COBRA, and I also have a list of free clinics that I've found just in case that falls through.

Also, it should be noted that it's entirely possible to go to an ER without insurance. If I were to have a heart attack while uninsured I would still get care.

 
At Tuesday, October 6, 2009 at 9:00:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...transporting a pack of hot dogs 4 miles by car is about 4000 times more expensive in terms of fuel costs than transporting a pack of hot dogs 8 miles by semi.

I see one major flaw in this argument. Urban Johnnie is gonna drive similar distances to get his dogs, whether he goes to the grocery store or the farmers market.

It would be a fallacy to assume the local farmers drive empty trucks, as they must maximize their load, same as the mega-farms, to make the cost of getting to town and spending a day away from the fields worth the trip.

There may be some degree of efficiency gained by the economy of scale at large operations, but it is unlikely to be great enough to offset the thousands of miles driven to the supermarket distributor, then to individual stores, PLUS the energy and materials used in all the extra packaging.

We should also consider that most of the farmers whose primary market is local use small-scale sustainable practices, which use much less heavy machinery and fossil-fuel derived inputs.

And there are additional, non-peak oil-related reasons to buy local, for which no one can plausibly deny the benefits: community-building, nutrition, and food security.

~Chrysteen Shafer~

 
At Tuesday, October 6, 2009 at 3:24:00 PM PDT, Anonymous GreenNeck said...

But what happens if you hurt yourself and you lose your ability to cut the firewood? You're subject to the limitations of your health as a self-employed farmer-laborer of sorts. You lose your ability to do your work, you lose your income. At least I get unemployment benefits and COBRA... shitty consolation prize, but it's better than nothing!

This would suck to high heavean, for that reason I have disability insurance. This is my largest single expense, along with property taxes.
In any event, a homestead cannot rely on the arms of a single man and the brains of his wife forever. I forgot to mention, and am glad to report my 'stead now supports 3 families (it is designed for four, ultimately) who joined us in the spring. With their resources we were able to purchase an additional 500 acres of land. The men are almost 20 years younger than I and will be able to pick the slack in our operations, should my health falter.
With those new people I have big plans. We have blueprints to produce micro-hydro, ethanol, and biodiesel, and modify our tools to run on it.

That said, I don't know that I buy that our unemployment has yet to reach Mad Max levels. Even Dr. Doom has suggested that we are likely to be turning the corner, if only slowly. But then again (snark alert!) I wouldn't be surprised if the Cassandras stopped listening to him the second he started predicting some kind of recovery.


My question is, turn the corner to what? Some of the growth of the last 30 years has been due to technological prowess, but most of it was the result of gimmicks and Ponzi scheme like the dot-com and housing bubbles. Even the sucker rally we see now in the different stock markets is not based on any tangible customer demand for product. There are still trillions in fake 'wealth' out there, bad debts, toxic assets, that need to be worked out of the system. Not to mention never-seen-before government debt and deficit level.

Maybe we will have another round of economic growth. Some countries are doing good, even now. But ultimately, we'll hit the limits to growth, and we may be there now. I know cornucopians disagree, but their worldview is steeped in wishful thinking.

 
At Wednesday, October 7, 2009 at 1:41:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I see one major flaw in this argument. Urban Johnnie is gonna drive similar distances to get his dogs, whether he goes to the grocery store or the farmers market."

I don't think so. The work on this has already been done by the US government RUCA study.

The evidence gathered in the study shows that those who live in rural areas travel on average three times further than those in urban areas to reach the edge of the next level up the urban hierarchy.

Since it's more densely populated centers where you will find services, stores and jobs it's very clear that the rural driver will be wasting more fuel than an urban driver to pick up that pack of dogs.

Not to mention that it's more likely that the rural driver will be driving some kind of larger vehicle compared to the city driver.

Sorry, no cigar.

DB

 
At Sunday, November 1, 2009 at 4:56:00 AM PST, Blogger Farmer Dharma said...

The crux of your arguement is "people in the country have a massive dependence on cars".

Your arguement is correct only if we do not reduce this dependancy.

The "going rural" process will include all services (food production, health, education etc) "going local" and they will all be provided by people living and working locally.

To get a good idea of what this could look like - find out how your community operated in 1910.

We're all going to live a more rural and more local life in the future.

 
At Sunday, November 8, 2009 at 10:55:00 PM PST, Blogger Robert said...

One of the topics that pops up from time to time in this discussion is what will happen to rural folks when gas returns to expensive and then rises even higher.

In about a year Nissan is scheduled to release their EV, the LEAF. 100 mile range. (80% recharge in 20-30 minutes at a rapid charge facility.)

Someone with a 50 mile commute is going to be able to make that RT on about 25 kWh of electricity. And at $0.105 kWh US average prices they will spend $2.63 for daily fuel.

Those kinds of prices won't cause someone to move to town in order to be closer to work.

And EVs will blow away some of the other arguments.

Drive 40 miles for blueberries? 10 kWh. $1.05 for fuel.

Too much emphasis on oil around here. We have already started the transition away from fossil fuels. Rising oil prices will only speed the move.

BTW, we've got "truck farm" farmers around here producing their crops with electric conversion tractors.

In a few years they will likely be hauling their produce to market with an EV van. Ford has one coming out soon.

 
At Saturday, November 21, 2009 at 11:31:00 AM PST, Anonymous Benny said...

Going rural allows people to live off the land to the extent they are able. Living in the city requires a job. Higher energy prices are going to completely destroy the economy as we know it and with it many city jobs. If there is no money in the city, the rural folks growing the food are going to keep it for themselves. Good luck with your urban life.

 
At Tuesday, November 24, 2009 at 11:45:00 PM PST, Blogger Raymond said...

..but then again if peak oil is rubbish, this is all irrelevant anyway, right? or are you taking an each bet here?

 
At Friday, December 11, 2009 at 2:15:00 AM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I notice that this blog has gone really quite - everything alright JD? If you are still alive and well and have some time, my appetite for the best peak oil debunker on the net is as strong as ever

-- Gavin

 
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At Sunday, December 20, 2009 at 8:57:00 PM PST, Blogger Michael said...

You're making the mistakes of:
1. Only looking at gasoline/diesel efficiency.

2. Assuming that all rural people want/ live an urban suburban existence.

3. That just by living in a populated area you have a lower need for gasoline.

So yeah, your argument as set up is correct but, you've set up you up your argument incorrectly.

For example: complex systems are getting harder to maintain. Things like sewage plants and power lines are over burdened and in need of repair and there isn't the money and other resources available to maintain them.

What happens in your city when the sewer mains brake or the sewer plant has to shut down for 48 hours?

Someone in a more rural environment doesn't have to worry about a sewer plant braking down (as long as they can run their well pump when the power's out!) as they use a very simple system, a drain field. If the drain field brakes you can fix it with a shovel.

How about the power lines? Most in our country are over burdened and old. Again, the budgets to fix and maintain those lines are stretched really thin. When the power goes out in the future, it might be out for a while. People do all sorts of stupid things when the power goes out and many of those things cause fires, carbon monoxide poisoning, or can get you killed in one way or another. What happens when the person in the apartment below you does something stupid to stay warm?

If there's a little room between you and your neighbor, you don't have to worry about them doing something that might get you killed and you can heat with wood. We heated our house with wood for years when I was growing up. Royal pain in the ass and stinky, but we stayed warm when other poor folks were cold.

Another thought: what happens when your apartments trash doesn't get picked up for two weeks. Again not as big of a worry when people are spread out a bit.

.Kunstler and other Peak Oilers like Richard Heinberg are on record saying that the extreme rural "hiding out in my bunker with my AK & barrel of wheat" doomer thing isn't a very viable option and I agree with them.

But, your argument isn't constructed in a valid manner.

 
At Sunday, December 20, 2009 at 9:12:00 PM PST, Blogger Michael said...

I guess I should add:

You can live in some medium sized cities and have enough room to minimize the problems I outlined in my last post, have some chickens and a garden, while still having easy access to city stuff and doing most of your getting around by bicycle.

If I lived next to a doomer, I'd want there to be a lot of room between us as I'd be worried about stockpiled propane and gasoline blowing up or them doing something really dumb with a gun.

 
At Sunday, December 20, 2009 at 9:37:00 PM PST, Blogger Robert said...

Michael, just a point or two on your post.

I've heated exclusively with wood for almost 20 years. If one has an air tight wood stove and a reasonably well insulated house one never smells smoke inside.

And keeping wood in the stove isn't a big job. I went out today and brought in a couple day's supply in ten minutes or less. Got me out in the fresh air a bit.

As for living in the country and dealing with a septic system outage - my rule in looking for land was that I wanted to be able to walk out my door, go a few feet away from the house and pee without first checking to see if I would offend anyone.

And when my pressure pump did break and 'nature called' I just grabbed a shovel, walked a few yards into the woods, and dug a shallow hole. Try getting away with that in Urbanville.

 
At Sunday, December 20, 2009 at 10:43:00 PM PST, Blogger Michael said...

Robert,

You're right about the stove and the smell, this was "back in the day" and we were poor. Nothing was air tight. I should note that we cut, hauled and split are own wood.

When I was growing up we grew most out own food, did a lot of caning, had salmon and venison in the freezer out in the garage. Nowadays I'm rather partial to Safeway and my house's thermostat.

I have a few days supply of wood, (for power outages and such) a small garden, I make my own jams, make pesto and can a few things. I'm cool with spending a hour a couple time a week in the garden and a couple of summer and fall weekends devoted to canning and jam making and such but, I'd never want to devote weeks on end to it. Which if you make all or even most of your food you will need to do.

I miss being able to pee off our deck. If I tried that now I'd hit my neighbors bedroom window.

I thought about bring up outhouses or the shovel but, honestly, when nature calls and its cold, dark and wet out, I want an indoor flusher.

 
At Thursday, December 24, 2009 at 7:51:00 PM PST, Blogger Greg said...

Weren't people living just fine, far afield, 50-100+ years ago?

 
At Thursday, December 24, 2009 at 8:02:00 PM PST, Blogger Greg said...

I should clarify...

Isn't part of the reason today's rural livers are FF hungry a matter of lifestyle? 50-100 years ago, we'd take horses, take more time, and simply do less. We'd live with our family, not holiday... be satisfied with less. No soccer practice, no trips to the mall.

I'm a recent rural convert, and part of my bet is that food will become more important - and with that fertile land, good water and knowledgable farmers more valuable - as the results of our abuse of farmland and water start to bear.

 
At Sunday, January 17, 2010 at 6:33:00 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please, someone explain one thing to me because I just don't get it. Supposing peak oil does happen (in the near future), how do you expect to get enough food to feed a large city? Where will that food be produced and how will it be transported to the city? Again, you think there would be enough of it?

 
At Friday, March 19, 2010 at 7:15:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

” Please, someone explain one thing to me because I just don't get it. Supposing peak oil does happen (in the near future), how do you expect to get enough food to feed a large city? Where will that food be produced and how will it be transported to the city? Again, you think there would be enough of it?”

Conventional oil availability is not going to immediately fall to zero:

http://peakoildebunked.blogspot.com/2007/12/323-large-blocks-plateau-for-decades.html


And here is another long term solution when combined with conservation and electrification of transport:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biomass_to_liquid

 
At Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 2:09:00 PM PDT, Blogger john said...

I walk to the farmers market twice a week. All the food that they sell is grown in the state of michigan, which is where I live.

Farmers markets in Michigan sell local foods, as opposed to non-local foods. That is the whole point of them, as well as the local food movement itself. $$ stays in our county, our state, and our country, instead of going to Dole or Earthbound. It tastes better, often has a higher nutritional value, and can also help seasonal allergies in many cases.


thanks,
john

 
At Thursday, April 8, 2010 at 9:31:00 PM PDT, Anonymous pj said...

This is totally correct. Pound for pound, urban dwellers use far less energy than the average suburban or rural inhabitant. Vertical living is far more efficient and people occupy a fraction of the living space. However:

"People in Montana think nothing of a 100 mile round trip commute or of driving 8 hours round trip to go to the mall."

I grew up in MT. That statement is complete crap. I have never heard of anybody driving 8 hours round trip to go to a mall in MT.

 
At Sunday, June 27, 2010 at 10:12:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You forget to mention that local food is grown by actual people not megacorporations. Whether its from 100,000 miles, 1000 miles, or 100 miles, you still have to drive to go get it, or bike. Local will always be better for the environment, the people, morally, and for our sanity as a society! All this science, and statistics means nothing if you don't know where your food comes from, and what you are putting in your body...

 
At Thursday, August 19, 2010 at 6:19:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Sam said...

If peakoil is a non-event, then I guess it doesn't really matter where you live when peakoil (non-)occurs.

 
At Monday, August 29, 2011 at 5:51:00 AM PDT, Anonymous OOPS said...

OOPS, me again

Now, going rural is a good idea under one case scenario - you provide your own food yourself. Now that means you don't have to have a job and don't have to drive to malls every day. And those rare trips for stuff will be combined and done once a month. Well, 40mi one way, 80 miles a month its way less than average city driver. (80/22 working days = <4 miles a day. Now, how many guys live <2 miles away from work?)

"GOING RURAL FOR PEAK OIL" - so if we assume there will be peak oil - city guys will have conveniently located empty stores, sky-rocketed prices, hungry crowds on the streets, while our survivors will have, well, food. Yummy. Moreover, JD, you will eventually get yourself a job at this guy's farm. For food and shelter.

See, my little fella, its a good idea IF there is a peak oil. And you a funny enough to say in title "...FOR PEAK OIL: BAD IDEA" and then compare city folks and rural residents in NO PEAK OIL scenario.

 

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