Bubble in the desert

A blog I started whilst on a GE "Bubble" assignment in Nevada. I'm back in Cambridge (UK) now but still miss the desert and my friends out there.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

OUDES Conference - Peak Oil and Permaculture - Climate Change and Community

Nicola asked if I wanted to go to this OUDES conference and I was glad we went. What an excellent day. I knew quite a lot about some of the subjects, such as Peak Oil and the bogusness of Biofuels but it is always good to learn more.

Peak Oil is an expression which described the global peak in oil supply. It is believed we are there right now, or will be within a few years. The exact date of the peak is immaterial. The indisputable fact is that we are going to have to start managing with less oil.

What I hadn't fully realised, until we watched a DVD at lunchtime, was that Cuba has already survived peak oil. With the US embargos on supplying anything to Cuba they became heavily dependent on the Soviet Union for products like Oil. In the 1990s, with the collapse of the USSR, the oil stopped flowing pretty fast. Cuba had to adapt and adapt quickly, to life without oil. It is somewhat ironic to now look at Cuba as an excellent case study for permaculture and to consider how much more advanced they are than much of the rest of the world.

A great day - lots to think about.


At 3:18 am, Blogger Alfred Sawatzky said...

Hi Carl,

I'm not sure if you remember me, but I used to work for Geodata/Navigant/Smallworld/GE out of Denver CO. I think I even had curry with you and Dave Jenkins once when I was in Cambridge for a short assignment. Anyways, Charlie Savage's blog directed me to your blog some time ago and I have enjoyed seeing your pictures and reports of your walk through the Northwest.

I'm not much of a runner, but I do love to cycle (that is my primary commuting vehicle now). Since I and my family moved to Boulder CO this last spring I have become more aware of concepts like Peak Oil, Permaculture, Community Sharing, Climate Change, etc.

Your post the other day about buying a used appliance that you then had some local people repair made me wonder: Have you heard of freecycle.org? They have a group in Cambridge (here) . It's really cool to use. We are part of the Boulder group. You basically post things that you have (eg., part used bags of cement, carpet rolls, old telephone, etc.) and more often than not, someone will offer to come take it from you... saves alot of things from the landfill.

In response to Peak Oil, there is a local organization here in Boulder that is part of a larger relocalisation movement. Very interesting reading/ideas at Boulder County Going Local

You also mention Permaculture. That was a new term for me until earlier this year. My wife is big on gardening and she decided that setting up an edible landscape on our yard would be the way to go. In the meantime we are starting to learn more about permaculture and how we might employ that in our yard as well.

I am part of an active neighborhood association that tries to strengthen local community. I try to write about those efforts here

Anyways, I wanted to say "hi" and let you know that I enjoy your posts and seeing how you are taking seriously the importance of treading lightly on this earth.



At 1:17 am, Blogger litsl said...

Hi Alfred, Yes of course I remember you! I didn't know Charlie's blog linked to mine. I did love the walk through the Northwest though - I miss it a lot.

Great news that you are such a cyclist. Boulder seems like a great town - the local community thing is the way of the future (and the past of course)!

Yeah I like the cambridge freecycle group a lot - there are 7000 people on it. I have so far got rid of clothes rails, ironing board, some drawers and a scanner. I haven't managed to get anything from the list yet but at least my junk is not ending up in landfill, well, my old computer printer might do since nobody wants it.

It sounds like freecycle is alive and well with you too. It really is quite nice. People like to get things for nothing and sometimes bring a little gift to say thanks. More importantly, I get to meet more people in my community too. It's great all around.

I'll have to check out the local boulder thing when I press 'publish' and move from this page!

Permaculture is great. I was really very impressed with what I heard about Cuban permaculture - they were forced into it but have come up smelling of roses. It is such a good experiment that everyone is going there to take a look and to learn from them. Slightly ironic.

I'm keen to figure out how to start growing a few more bits and bobs around my house. It's not obvious how to do it. Some of that old knowledge is gone. I think I may break out some vegetables in my front garden, or, perhaps a fruit tree. I already have a wagon wheel on the ground with herbs in it (a bit overgrown to be honest).

I met a lovely couple on my hike who were into permaculture and the land - she was brought up mennonite and liked many of the principles. I was very impressed at quite how much they have achieved.

It is very nice to hear from you and to learn that you are also making big strides in treading lightly (what a curious mixture of metaphor!).

Take care. If you are ever in Cambridge, please come and visit!



Post a Comment

<< Home