Friday, May 30, 2008

Retrofitting the Suburbs - Awesome Detailed Permaculture Survey

Holmgren outlines 4 possible scenarios in the near future:

1. Techno-explosion. We will discover some new technology for replacing the growing availability of oil based energy and continue to grow our economies as we have been.

2. Greentech Optimism. We will replace oil based energy and technologies with new alternative energies that will allow us to sustain our current standard of living without growth and enter a kind of economic and cultural stasis.

3. Energy Descent. Abundant energy will continually decrease and we will make adjustments along the way to adapt to this on a local level using permaculture and other solutions.

4. Collapse. Like other civilizations have in the past (Roman, Mayan etc.) the culture will experience a fairly quick shock that will cause major catastrophic cultural and economic change.

He is personally optimistic and believes scenario 3 will unfold. He points out that in nature when you have a system that has an abundant source of energy there is more competition and predatory type of relationships. One species will move in and attempt to dominate the system. In a system that has a low amount of available energy you tend to see more cooperative relationships such as symbiosis and a greater variety of species present that form networks and interconnections.

I personally think that the experience will be different depending on where you are, and it will vacillate between collapse and energy descent.

David Holmgren Retrofitting The Suburbs - Part1

David Holmgren Retrofitting The Suburbs - Part2

David Holmgren Retrofitting The Suburbs - Part3

David Holmgren Retrofitting The Suburbs - Part4

David Holmgren-Retrofitting the Suburbs-Part5

Thursday, May 29, 2008

David Holmgren on the Endurance of Suburbia

Permaculture Beyond Sustainability

David Holmgren is my theoretical god. I highly recommend his book for a way to integrate all the things we hear about in the news. You can also start applying the principles in your life right away.

Permaculture: Priniples & Pathways Beyond Sustainability
David Holmgren

Why Buy a Car When You Can Get a Horse Instead?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Rare M. King Hubbert On Peak Oil 1976

He predicts peak global oil at 1995 if things went smoothly. However, he refers to the OPEC oil crisis of the 70's shifting things out about 10 years, which would take us to 2005.

Peak Oil in Vancouver

Pig Hunting for Girls

Bow Hunting

Watch this video for a demonstration of how easy it is to feed your family if you have the right tools and know-how:

Organic Gardening Course

I just got a call from Urban Farmer in Vancouver. I put myself on the waiting list for a spot in the upcoming Organic Gardening course on June 7 and, lucky me, someone bailed, so I am in!

Here is the description of the course from their website:

Introduction to Organic Food Gardening

Learn how to grow your own vegetables in an urban environment. City Farmer's hands on organic food gardening course includes:

- site planning/design/soil preparation
- choice of seeds-plants/starting seeds
- companion-succession planting/harvesting/composting
- organic gardening techniques/natural pest control/bugs
- container gardening
- waterwise gardening
- birds and mammals in the garden

If you are interested in taking the course, here's the link: Urban Farmer: 2008 Classes

I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

How to Build a Wind Turbine

How to Build a Wind Turbine

Watch the video here

Hugh Piggott
time: 1 months work

What you need.
Welded steel frame
Electrical: permanent magnets
Additional things to purchase
Batteries, inverters
Lighting, computing, television

Wind turbine kits are now available as well.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Response to Article: Crisis talks on global food prices

You can read the article: Crisis talks on global food prices here.

My comments:

The system is totally fucked up. We should not be shipping food around the world and having it controlled by large corporations that don't know what they are fucking doing.

Modern agriculture is a fucking joke. It is totally destructive based on absolutley no understanding of how soil, water, trees and nutrients interact to create self sustaining ecosytems. The fact that we are all panicking now to save millions of people is an indication of just how stupid we are for putting ourselves in this position.

Now governments are going to have to subsidize this system because of the rising cost of oil based inputs that are totally out of there control. How far will they go before they start realizing that the system needs to be totally redesigned by people that know what they are doing?

It is time for a world wide regime change. The petroleum patriarchy has done enough damage. The have lead us all to the edge of a cliff and are now sitting back waiting for the die off to happen, now that they the worlds human resources are no longer serving their purposes.

Don't think for a minute that we are immune to this either. We get our food from the same system. This is only the beginning.

Response to Article: Crisis talks on global food prices

See the original article here.

My comments:
The system is totally fucked up. We should not be shipping food around the world and having it controlled by large corporations that don't know what they are fucking doing.

Modern agriculture is a fucking joke. It is totally destructive based on absolutley no understanding of how soil, water, trees and nutrients interact to create self sustaining ecosytems. The fact that we are all panicing now to save millions of people is an indication of just how stupid we are for putting ourselves in this position. Now governments are going to have to subsidize this system because of the rising cost of oil based inputs that are totally out of there control. How far will they go before they start realizing that the system needs to be redesigned?

Don't think for a minute that we are immune to this either. We get our food from the same system. This is only the beginning.

Robert Hart - Forest Gardening

I just watched a very exciting and encouraging video explaining and demonstrating the forest garden concept. I am totally blown away by this! I can't wait to get a piece of land now and start my own food forest.

It is actually fairly easy. Definitely does not take a degree in agriculture or millions of dollars and acres and acres of land.

So what is Forest Gardening?
I made some notes while watching a video about Robert Hart the creator of the forest garden concept. I downloaded off of pirate bay. You can get the torrent here.

Both informative and inspiring, this video features Robert Hart in his pioneering Shropshire garden, explaining the principles and practice of forest gardening; Ken Fern of Plants for a Future, who grows 1500 species of useful perennial plants on a windy plot in Cornwall; and Mike and Julia Guerra who have created a tiny garden behind their maisonette in Hertfordshire, using permaculture, forest gardening and organic principles. For as little as two hours work a week, they can supply produce for six months of the year.

Here is the definition from wikipedia: Forest Gardening.

The basic structure of a forest garden is as follows:

7 Levels of Plants in a Food Forest Ecosystems

Tall light demanding trees (canopy) pear tree
Short shade tolerant trees - lemonade tree,
Shrub level - currents / gooseberries, japanese wine berry
Herbaceous - apple mint, rosemary, basil
Crawlers - Strawberries,
Ryhzosphere roots layer - mashure small potatoe, potatoes
Vertical / climbers / creepers - nasturtian, runner bean, chinese
gooseberry (kiwi fruit)

A fully functioning food forest which is self-sustaining and produces food on an ongoing basis can be grown in under 4 years. It is relatively easy to create your own. Most of the work is in setting it up, but then it is self maintaining.

How to Do It

Plant an orchard of standard fruits trees at standard 20 feet intervals, then dwarf trees midway, bushes, currents and, herbs and perennial vegetables on the grownd.

Then the main work is cutting back on plants that encroach which
must be done everyday in the summer, and building soil fertility
throught mulching. The system will provide maximum output for minimum

Keep garden permanently mulched by covering soil in a layer of dried leaves, grass and garden waste. This builds up fertility and suppresses weeds. Provides ideal soil conditions for growing.

To produce really good compost woody plants are most useful, but they
need to be shredded.

Robert Hart's inspiration came from Toyohito Kagawa, the Japanese Mahatma Gandhi, who saw the link between conservation and food production.

One of the main aims of promoting fertility, releasing fertility using earthworms and food of the soil.

Free Useful Plants Database

Plants for a future is totally amazing. This is a free online database created by a British guy who created his own permacultural food forest on a 24 acre property.

After working as a bus driver for 10 years, he decided to move to the country to change his lifestyle. He designed his farm according to permaculture principles with an edible pond, 3 dimensional gardening and the whole nine yards.

He kept meticulous notes on all the plants he planted and compiled them into a database of over 7,000 plants you can eat, make clothes out of, make medicine out of and use to enhance your garden. Best of all its totatlly free.

Check it out:

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Peak Oil with Sexy Dancing

Peak Oil Experts on CNN

Peak Oil's Economic Effects

Peak Oil Simplified

The Transition Handbook

The author of The Transition Handbook: from oil dependency to local resilience by Rob Hopkins, talks about what they are doing in Britain right now to start taking action about relocalizing food production.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Have we peaked already?

Here are my comments on this recent article peak oil:

Global Peak oil was apparently in May of 2005. We still haven't beat that level of production. It just so happens that Hubbert called it as well. He predicted global production would peak in 2005 quite a few years back. Global peak discovery was in 1964 so there have been some on the inside that have seen this coming for a while.

I find it funny and a little disturbing that they keep people hangin on with projections like this:

"Global production, which the IEA previously reckoned could reach 116 million barrels a day by 2030, might not even make 100 million."

Haha. Check out the chart:

We hit 82.09 million barrels per day in 2005. If I were a betting man, i would say that we have peaked 3 years ago. What they are not telling you is that we are about to the phase of steady decline. Look at the chart. If we go down the other side of the bell curve, it might be quite a steep decline.

Basically, we are going to be going into a stage of undevelopment, the industrial revolution in reverse. As we scale back and start using older technologies in a reverse succession.

I find it funny now that they are promoting the hybrid cars, and there is a surge of interest in green houses and buildings.

Good fucking luck man. This is not going to be a smooth steady decline. The world is going to go into withdrawl. Funny thing is all the yuppies probably think they are covered because they have some money. Haha. It doesn't matter how much money you have in a shortage!

Take a look at the median and mean prediction lines on the chart. It looks as if we may drift slightly down until about 2010 then then decline will accelerate. So given the current state of demand, the price is definitely going to go higher and then it will go off the chart.

Which is why i say we have about until 2010 to reposition, reeducate and relocate. After that, you better have your shotgun ready because it is rabid zombie time.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Permaculture Videos for Download

Thanks to Ian Wallace for providing this link to some great permaculture video downloads from pirate bay.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

How Much is Oil Really Worth?

Let's do a little comparison.

How much is a cup of coffee these days?
Hmmm ... let's see, do I feel like Starbucks or Tim
Hortons? Ahh fuckit. Let's call it $1.50 a cup for coffee.

How much is a cup of water going for? Tap water, eew. Give me the good stuff. A 500 ml bottle of Canadian Springs bottled water extracted and bottled in Hope, B.C. available in non-biodegradable plastic container, trucked here by our friends at the Nestle corporation costs .... approximately $1.30. At that price, 1 litre works out to $2.60 per litre.

1 litre = 4.23 Cups

$2.60 divided by 4.23 gives us: $0.61 a cup for bottled water.

Now lets take a look at gas prices (a derivative of crude oil). At the time of writing this, gas in vancouver is about $1.30 per litre (see

$1.30 divided by 4.23 cups per litre works out to $0.31 a cup.

Gas is 31 cents a cup.

Hmm ... so let's review:

Coffee is $1.50 a cup.
Water is $0.61 a cup.
Gas is $0.31 a cup.

Maybe gas is not so expensive after all.

Okay now for the fun stuff.

Let's take this a step further. Money aside, how VALUABLE are these three liquids? How much are they actually worth?

That's a bit of a tricky question I know. What does it mean for something to be valuable?

Well, we value things that taste good. From that standpoint, coffee is probably the most valuable of the three, with fresh glacier water coming in second and gas coming in a toxic last place.

We also value things that contain energy too. What do I mean by energy? Energy is what we use to get work done. The energy in coffee and water are really negligible. But oil. Oil just so happens to be the most concentrated form of energy on the planet.

Have you ever thought how much energy it takes to take you and your 5 friends in your 2000 lb car a couple miles to go camping? Try pushing your car just 5 feet and you'll begin to find out.

Get this: 1 barrel of oil contains the equivalent of 25,000 man/hours of labour (which is one way to measure energy).

1 barrel of oil contains 672.49 cups.

25,000 man/hours divided by 672.49 cups is 37.17 man/hours of labour per cup.

How much do we pay for gas again? Oh yeah. $0.31 a cup.

How far would you be able to convince a guy with a rickshaw to take you and your 5 friends 20 miles for $0.31? Starting to see the picture?

So let's be really clear. If we simply multiply 37.17 man hours of labor by a poverty wage of $1 per hour. (It is only manual labor after all.)

Making a cup of oil worth $37.17.

I hope this is starting to blow your mind a little.

So why have we enjoyed such cheap gas prices for so long? Because the supply of oil was always increasing and along with it economic growth. No one ever thought we would run out of oil. And look at how productive we became. Just look.

Now what?
Now that we are headed into an era of waning oil supply, the price will start to approach its real value.

And we will all start paying the real price.

Ding ding!

How to Make a Potato Stack Out of Used Tires

So apparently tires are okay to plant in. Which is cool because there is a pile of old tires down the block from my apartment. My neighbours are going to think I am some kind of wacked out homeless guy or something. It will be funny if I get spotted carrying them upstairs humming REM's "It's the End of the World as You Know it ...

Okay here is today's tutorial. With a few of these towers you can produce 25 lbs of potatoes, enough to feed a person over winter. Haha. I know at least one person that is going to have a full belly of spud pie while the rest of you are out rioting over the last bag of chips at seven eleven. Ha ha. Just kidding.

How to Make a Potato Stack Out of Used Tires

How Much of Your Own Food Can You Grow?

This permaculture thing is really giving me some crazy ideas. Can I use my apartment to grow my own food? I googled this and yes it is possible to grow many varieties of food.

Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Peppers, lettuce, Beans, and Spinach all do quite well on a south facing patio.

What about indoors where there isn't much light? Mushrooms!

You can by a kit and grow your own mushrooms. Then with the remains you can grow them in the basement. I am thinking my storage space can become a mushroom growing facility.

This is going to be great! My challenge will be to do set this up without using a car. After all that would waste all that energy and probably mean I would run a deficit.

I'll keep you posted on how this works out as the summer progresses.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Permaculture: The Lazy Man's Way to Grow Food

Permaculture is a system of growing food that works with nature to maximize output with zero waste and minimal labour. It is a way to use plants and animals to do the work for you.

It is absolutely fascinating. Check it out.

Permaculture: Part 1

Permaculture: Part 2

Permaculture: Part 3

Permaculture: Part 4

Permaculture: Part 5
As one African said: "If God hadn't intended us to be cannibals, he wouldn't have made us out of eat."

Permaculture: Part 6

Are We Spiritually Bankrupt?

A recent video on mocks people's reaction to the world food shortage.

Watch the video here:
Food Panic, that's so over

Lower Mainland's Ecological Carrying Capacity

"The Vancouver-Lower Fraser Valley Region of British Columbia, Canada, serves as an example. For simplicity's sake consider the region's ecological use of forested and arable land for domestic food, forest products, and fossil energy consumption alone: assuming an average Canadian diet and current management practices, 1.1 ha of land per capita is required for food production, 0.5 ha for forest products, and 3.5 ha would be required to produce the biomass energy (ethanol) equivalent of current per capita fossil energy consumption.

(Alternatively, a comparable area of temperate forest is required exclusively to assimilate current per capita C02 emissions (see 'Calculating the Ecological Footprint'). Thus, to support just their food and fossil fuel consumption, the region's 1.7 million people require, conservatively, 8.7 million ha of land in continuous production. The valley, however, is only about 400,000 ha. Our regional population therefore 'imports' the productive capacity of at least 22 times as much land to support its consumer lifestyles as it actually occupies (see Figure 20.3). At about 425 people/km2 the population density of the valley is comparable to that of the Netherlands (442 people/km2)" [p.p. 369-371]


Monday, May 5, 2008

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Matt Simmons on Energy Peak Oil

Ehren Watada: a Soldier Refuses an Illegal War

This was one of the only U.S. soldiers on record that refused to go to Irag. He speaks the truth loud and clear:

Islands at Risk: Genetic Engineering in Hawaii

Saturday, May 3, 2008

World Oil Discoveries vs. World Oil Production

The Post-Oil Man

A Crude Awakening

Here is an exerpt from the documentary "A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash":

It talks about peak oil, demand for cars in China and American demand.

"the fossil fuel era is basically waning"

Matt Simmons debunks the notion that Peak Oil analysts have a
political agenda and says: "the fossil fuel era is basically waning."

The Problems You Face

There is a reason why life is getting harder and harder and your not having as much fun as you deserve. This is the beginning of the end of the world as you know it.

This is happening for one simple reason: 42% of our energy comes from oil and we are running out of oil at a time when demand is increasing due to the development of China, India and other countries.

The phenomenon is known as Peak Oil. It means basically that global oil production has peaked and from here on in will be declining.

Here is a video which explains it: