Weening our addiction to oil

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Weening our addiction to oil

Postby twisterintexas » Sat Jul 09, 2005 6:51 am

The London bomb attacks got me thinking about the changing world of the West - and how we should ween ourselves off oil. It is for oil that the U.S. is occupying Iraq, and it is the American addiction to oil that is funding the terriorist bombs. And why should we help make Shell, Exxon, Texaco, et al richer and richer by paying record prices while they are posting record profits??? Our president and vice president, Standard and Halliburton Oil, Inc, aren't even suggesting an oil rationing program, and aren't seriously considering alternative fuel research, either. Instead, they're drilling in protected areas! I always think that the only way to really change something is to start with myself. Therefore, I'm making a conscious effort to ride my bike as much as I can, continue to use my canvass shopping bags instead of plastic, recycle, and buy my gas from companies who mostly do business in South America (although I'm aware that oil in Venezuela helps fund the illegal drug trade, and the CIA has been messing around in South American governmental affairs for years, too). I'm really proud of my bike - it's a beach comber, with fenders, white wall tires (gotta look good!) and a big shopping basket in the front. I ride it almost every day, the Texas heat permitting. Anyway, I thought I'd help encourage all of us to start doing good in the world by deliberately halting oil consumption in any way we can. So although most of us cannot completely forgo our cars - most cities aren't bike friendly, and the weather can be a killer - we can make small changes that will help us lose our dependency on oil. What do you think - in what other ways can we stop oil dependency?
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Postby Scenario Thinker » Sat Jul 09, 2005 7:31 am

Thanks, Twister. I was just going to go out and take my video back to the store on my bike. Hey, I just thought of something. By having public transportation bombed, people will flock to their cars for \"safety\", and thus create more demand for oil. Another thought. I think theoretically, I could ride a bike path all the way to work (riding the roads, while possible would be too dangerous and end up being more stressful than driving). I'll have to look into the bike path. It would be well over thirty miles each way. I'd certainly keep in shape (after the first week of being crippled from soreness :) ). And, this would only work in the late spring, summer, early fall. Ahh, To be in Texas .....
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Postby jk » Sat Jul 09, 2005 8:21 am

At least those of us who need to drive could use smaller, more fuel efficient cars - instead of the gas guzzlers that seem to hog the roads and pollute. While there are people who really do need SUVs, how many ranchers can there possibly be among the owners of the monsters you see parked in east coast shopping malls????
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Postby Scenario Thinker » Sat Jul 09, 2005 8:34 am

jk wrote:At least those of us who need to drive could use smaller, more fuel efficient cars - instead of the gas guzzlers that seem to hog the roads and pollute. While there are people who really do need SUVs, how many ranchers can there possibly be among the owners of the monsters you see parked in east coast shopping malls????
How true!
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Postby urbanpioneer » Sat Jul 09, 2005 9:11 am

My husband is a part-time cattle rancher and he has a Dodge Neon! It gets him to and from our ranch on weekends (75 miles each way). Once he's there he has my old mini-pickup truck or his tractor. That's all he needs! Some of you might recognize my moniker as urban pioneer and remember that I am working on writing a book about the same topic. One of the themes in the book is that by living in the inner city, close to where you work, it's possible to become much less dependent on your car. But it doesn't have to be a choice between selfishly living the great life in the suburbs or being responsible but miserable huddling together for warmth and safety in your inner city hovel. A great life IS available in beautiful old architecture available in forgotten inner city neighborhoods. Urban pioneers are dedicated to living well while living lightly, thoughtfully and responsibly on the planet. Question every assumption about your life, starting with where you live. You'll be amazed at the way you can re-organize your life if you try.
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Postby twisterintexas » Sat Jul 09, 2005 4:16 pm

Right on, urbanpioneer! It is SO true that environment molds behavior. For example, if one lives in the suburbs, then it stands to reason that one will use a personal vehicle, and that most suburbanites will have large SUVs and vans (due to the kids) and big trucks to haul around their heavy boats... I live in an aging suburb, built in the early '70s when bike riding was going out of style. Thankfully, my neighborhood is full of immigrants now, many of whom have bikes and/or walk to work, or car pool. My city has also elected to have a fast rail station built within the next five years. Since I'm only a few blocks away from the grocery stores, pharmacies, swimming pools, parks, etc., I've discovered that the car isn't lways necessary. What's odd is that I am actually looking forward to the end of the oil economy... I'm hoping that, by reducing oil consumption, America will find its cultural roots once more, and communities will find their base in town centers and not at big box retailers!
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Postby sgoldie » Sat Jul 09, 2005 4:46 pm

I'd like to see a resurgence of commercial cargo freight trains that employ local trucking for closeby delivery. Did you know that those tons of 18 wheelers on the road only get 5-6 mpg? In addition, it's not at all uncommon for them to travel back half way across the country 'deadheaded' (ie, empty). People may not be as inclinded to buy behmouth person vehicles if the chances of them being obliterated by an 18 wheeler were reduced.
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Postby messtime » Mon Aug 08, 2005 9:15 pm

Dear twisterintexas: please visit my website. read the part about changing the chainring. http://www.bicycleandbeach.com
http://www.shedandshelter.com
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Postby twisterintexas » Tue Aug 09, 2005 9:57 pm

Thanks for the tips on the chainring, messtime. I really liked your site. I'm going to link it to my site - anyone who likes beach combing bikes is alright by me! I also like your dropout occupation. Please feel free to tell me more, because that's my ultimate aspiration...
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Postby messtime » Wed Aug 10, 2005 12:32 pm

Thanks for the nice comments about my website. My interest in the "dropout" lifestyle pertains to a basically responsible person who makes a conscious decision to reorient their life to a much more fulfiling and satifying way of living. I am not talking about alcoholics, drug addicts, or people with some kind of severe mental problem which causes them to live a homeless dropout lifestyle. It is possible for a responsible non-addicted person of sound mind to choose to live "homeless" because they like that style of living but not very many people will do that (the former newspaper man nick-named "hate man" up in I think San Francisco's Golden Gate Park is an example of a former hardworking person (I'm assuming) who got tired of it all and "dropped out". I do not know if he is still there or whether he is alive). But there are also many other wonderful examples of responsible "drop out" type people. My definition of a drop-out would also include those people disillusioned by the work-a-day world, meaningless jobs and careers and seek to make changes in their life freeing up time for less stressful things and hopefully more enjoyable things to do. But in my own case I am a "minimum wage man" - rammed by society through the public school system and have no particular skills in math, science, english, mechanics, art, sports or whatever. Right now in this country I personally think the economy is very bad and a lot of people are dropping out whether they want to or not and it has effected me also because the options for supporting oneself is much more limited nowaday even for people with more talent, skills, training than myself. It is a "employers market" and will remain that way for a long time. In the past I have been influenced by examples of drop out people in the mother earth news and even had a 4th grade public school teacher of all things talk about a man named Ralph Edwards who could not find work he liked down here in the continental u.s. and went up north into Canada to homestead land and build his own log cabin to live in. But that type of thing is harder or maybe impossible to do nowadays. But in my opinion there are things you can do involving as people on this board have mentioned making "choices and setting priorities". But the resources available (like safe employment, even part-time, available affordable living spaces) are probably so limited now for so many people that it's hard to make a quality life for oneself without the help from someone like a relative or the government. So I live one day at a time. Money happens (sometimes). Even if you are not religious you have to live on faith. Getting the big picture and considering choices and priorities are very important. Always try to do what's right even if you are secular minded and not a religious person. These are some of the things I believe in. The ebay boards are real interesting and educational (many times) also. A lot of quality people with advanced degrees are having a real hard time; many unemployed for a long time, etc. The party's over (probably). Dropping out in a quality self-supporting manner is a lot more difficult nowadays. A person may have a job and place to live and dare not move because their chances of finding same in another location may be almost impossible or greatly diminished. I would not want to encourage someone to make a move or do something that is going to hurt them or make their life worse or whatever. In the 1960's and probably 1970's you could do all kinds of neat things and in earlier years even more neat things (like live at the california beach very cheap) but now forget it. Over population is taking it's toll. Everybody in the u.s. seems to want to emulate these third world countries like India, bangladesh, China, and other good examples of human messes. Boy am i fortunate. I live in this ratty desert cabin on 5 acres of land but it is quiet here and i have no close neighbors really. No rent or mortgage payment. A low overhead. No regular income. Lots of free time which i love. Good health. Books - tv - computer - bicycles - old small car - no pets or animals to care for - no past marriages or kids. But it's a mess (current social environment). I may have to sell this place and go to lucerne valley or ridgecrest. gg
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Postby NancyHill » Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

All I've ever wanted in my whole life is a d*mn golf cart! Well, not really alllll. But after using a golf cart on a job when I was in college I could never figure out why we all fire up this giant cars just to drive around town. Little, skippy, solar-powered golf carts would do just fine. They'd be the perfect compliment to bikes. Big old cars would only be necessary for seriously long trips. Plus those little carts are just way too much fun. I'm originally from Colorado and it cracks me up to see these giant pickup trucks on the road now. The real ranchers I know drive old, beatup, normal-size trucks that look like they are actually used - they have dings, rust, and scratches. The double-wide, double-length, super-shiny, extended cab versions I see on the road all the time now are not really trucks so much as statements. My teenage son theorizes that it's a small-male-parts problem (trying to be delicate here!). He jokes that the guys with the biggest vehicles are probably trying to make up for being deficient in other areas. Sadly, I think he's probably right in a way - low self-esteem tends to cause people of any gender to make strange purchases. Not too long ago we endured the rolling blackouts in California due to an "energy crisis" - which turned out to mostly be an Enron bilking of a whole state. No one talks about it much anymore. That situation reminds me of this current spike in oil prices. I agree that getting off the oil addiction is long overdue. I also think there are some greedy people out there getting seriously rich from the current cost of gas. I am hardly even driving my car anymore - and I LOVE taking road trips. I just filled my car up - well, almost. Used to cost me about $20 to go from empty to full. I put in $30 today and went from 1/4 tank to just under full. Yikes! Nancy Hill Undieting Blog ~follow your bliss~
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Postby twisterintexas » Thu Aug 11, 2005 8:45 pm

Golf carts - now that's an idea! I guess they need to be made street ready, but what an great solution to urban polution (and I rhymed that, too - do I get double points?) :D I like the homesteading idea. Kansas actually gives land and grant money to people wanting to homestead in certain parts of the state. Here's the site that explains it: http://www.kansasfreeland.com/ I'm planning on dropping out, too, with a deadline of next year. I've been talking to my husband about getting a biodiesel or a hybrid car or truck. I know that you can get a biodiesel conversion kit through Mother Earth News, and then you can run your truck on French Fry oil. That would be fun, and I've heard that the vehicle emits a nice aroma. In Texas and Oklahoma, you can get a small frame house, with yard, for around $40,000 - not a fixer-upper but something that is actually decent. We're going to sell our current home, sell off some possessions, and try to make a go living the simple life. I'm counting the days. Did you know that Exxon's CEO just stepped down, getting a half of a billion (!!!) dollar bonus? That the oil companies have posted record profits - yet again- and that Bush actually signed the Energy Bill, that gives over 6 billion (!!!) dollars in incentives to oil companies? And the pundits called Bill Clinton \"slick!\" Bush bleeds oil, for crying out loud. What a lout. I get to know lots of elderly (i.e., 70 and over) people who share life histories with me for my website. Without exception, all of them have said that right now is the scariest period of time in U.S. history. These are people who remember the Great Depression, experienced WWII, and lived through the height of the Cold War. No wonder so many people are turning to religion - I think there's some kind of mass panic out there. Here's my enviro-tip of the day: When walking in the park, along the road, etc., take a canvas bag and pick up trash -then sort it for recycling.
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Postby messtime » Thu Aug 11, 2005 10:27 pm

That's a good way to study history - in fact a very good way: talk to old timers about the past. I think there is a special name for gathering history that way: maybe it's called "oral history" or something else - i forget. That's very interesting what you have found out so far. Maybe people can "sense" that we are in trouble and are nervous about what's going on. One reputable man on PBS was being interviewed about the oil situation and he said he thinks we are past or close to "peak" oil and actually on the down side of the world oil supply. He was not very optimistic about the future. And neither is another respected oil expert that i discovered on amazon.com. I doubt there is very much anyone can do. According to these knowlegable men we have about 10 years left and that was one year ago when that estimate was given. Some experts say we have plenty of oil to last for another 50 years or more, but i doubt it myself - of course i do not know anything about it really - i choose to listen to people who i think are telling the truth. Some people use golf carts around here to go to the post office. They work well on sandy roads which we have a lot of. Thanks for posting the Kansas free land link. That's interesting. Americas economy and standard of living peaked at about 1968 and it has been down hill ever since. Every year gets a little worse than the previous year - a long slow slide down. That prediction was stated in the mother earth news and i think it is accurate. But this oil situation - i bet that is going to be a real mess as time goes on. But i get tickled by all the big truck and suv ads they continue to show on television. Boy not much reality in that. Looks like business as usual right to the end. Gee Twister - i used to try and pickup recyclables along the roadside but a lot of times they have these organizations and prison guys pickup the trash alongside the road and put it in these orange bags and it was completely unprofitable for me. I was really shocked about it because i was hoping i could make some money doing it but there was never enough recyclable trash to fool with. It costs me too much to operate my small car to pickup trash with my small trailer attached behind. I had to travel to far to get enough cans and bottles and scrap metal you might find to make a "load". So i just quit. It was not worth it. I know what you are saying: "clean where you are". That's good. I have tried all kinds of things to try and bring in income and it is very difficult nowadays.
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re: oil

Postby GoCubbies » Fri Aug 12, 2005 9:46 am

Speaking of golf carts: http://www.gemcar.com/ Or maybe electric scooters: http://www.egovehicles.com/
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Postby NancyHill » Sat Aug 13, 2005 6:52 pm

Twister - The free land in Kansas is a great idea. Too bad you couldn't build a cob cottage or some other alternative, low-cost house. All the cities seem to be very restrictive about what you can put on the lots. Great info though...makes me wonder what else is out there. I have this longing to build a "hobbit-style" cob cottage (see cobcottage.com for pictures if you don't know the method) and I'm planning to take courses next summer in how-to. In fact, I can see whole little sculpted villages of houses that have character and soul - places you want to live and work. In my endlessly entrepreneurial brain, I can see the villages being tourist draws in themselves. The people who live in them could be artisans and restrauteurs and bakers, etc. The magic of the place would create the livelihood for the town. And the residents would get to live in a community with some life instead of just rows of identical boxes like today's subdivisions. I think part of the desire comes from this being such a crazy time. It's interesting to hear what the old-timers say about it. My son, the history and politics buff, was recently telling me about how closely events of our current time parallel the fall of Rome and other major civilizations. Almost like it's just a normal life cycle of a culture - and ours is ending. The good thing is that the people survive and even thrive, just the governments change. This is a great thread, the idea of leaving behind the old ways is very attractive to me, too. I notice the "Voluntary Simplicity" thread is incredibly popular - must be lots of us longing for more quality of life instead of just more meaningless stuff. Nancy Hill Undieting Blog ~follow your bliss~ P.S. Gocubbies - I love the carts! Thanks for the links!
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