Thursday, August 23
As I sit here, far away from the madness of the US matrix, I feel I have a perspective advantage that would be difficult when being as close to the struggle as the makers of this clip are.
I watched this clip - and appreciate them putting it together.
However, will the plea to the other networks amount to much, if "another 9/11" false flag operation is played out on the people of America? An attack on the people (whether by outsiders, or factions within the country) has always been sufficient to drive the country to war. There is an election coming up - and further panic amongst the people would be a great opportunity to roll out more manifestations of the police state, that is already well developed.
If you haven't seen it, please do yourself the favour of watching Zeitgeist (in particular part three).
Good night and good luck!
Sunday, August 12
By Chris Nelder
I've been watching and waiting for these signs for about five years now: Not just high prices and declining exports, but the slowing of commerce, interstate trucking and air travel, food shortages and similar indications.
But the actual feeling of peak oil didn't really hit me until this week, as I perused a page on Jim Kingsdale's excellent Energy Investment Strategies site, listing countries that are currently experiencing serious fuel shortages and grid blackouts.
Here in the first world, we still have the luxury of armchair theorizing about peak oil, and paying a bit more for gasoline, but the third world is actually feeling the pain of peak oil today. Rising oil prices are acting as a regressive worldwide tax, pricing poorer countries right out of the market.
Since their experience must to some extent herald ours as peak sets in, let's see how peak oil feels to those who are undergoing it firsthand.
Asia and Middle East
Nepal: Gasoline and diesel shortages are crippling the country. In July, the Kathmandu valley was hit with its worst energy crisis in history as the state-owned petroleum importer and distributor stopped supplies to gas stations entirely. Fuming taxi drivers subsequently parked their cars before the heart of the Nepalese government center to protest the shortfall. The Nepal Oil Company (NOC) has been facing cuts from its sole supplier, the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), because of mounting debts owing to Nepal's subsidies, which force NOC to sell fuel below cost.
Pakistan: Chronic power shortages have led to riots in the streets in Karachi. At one point this summer, the gap between supply and demand reached a peak of 3,000 megawatts (MW). Due to chronic underinvestment in energy infrastructure, the country's Planning Commission estimates that its shortfall in oil supply will grow to 3.2 million tons of oil equivalent (TOE) in 2010, and 21.5 TOE in 2020.
Iraq: Iraq has suffered from an acute shortage of oil products since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. This week brought a report that Iraq's electricity grid could collapse any day now, due to sabotage, rising demand, fuel shortages, and provincial officials who are disconnecting their local power stations from the national grid (presumably in the interest of self-preservation). Constant attacks on pipelines have made it impossible for Iraq to meet its internal need for gasoline, forcing it to rely on imports to the tune of 1.3 million gallons per day. At the same time, it is being forced to reduce subsidies on gasoline in order to meet IMF debt-reduction requirements, even as it struggles with 60% unemployment and rampant poverty as well as chronic grid blackouts. Oil smuggling and a robust black market have sprung up to take advantage of an estimated 10x spread between the official subsidized prices and black market rates.
Iran: Chronic gasoline shortages have forced the government to impose rationing. Motorists can buy only 100 liters a month at the subsidized price of 1,000 riyals (about 11 cents) a liter (the cheapest gasoline in the world). Iran's program of oil subsidies--combined with sanctions from the West over its nuclear intentions--has proved disastrous, putting the government in an intense budgetary squeeze. Angry protesters torched 19 gas stations in response to the rationing in late June. Tehran currently imports about half of its gasoline, and absorbs a loss of nearly $2 per gallon on it, creating an intense drain on the national coffers. As in Iraq, rationing is expected to lead to a brisk black market.
Bangladesh: The shortage of electricity is acute, to the tune of about 2,000 MW a day, which is resulting in regular blackouts. Bangladesh's attempts to import electricity from India, Nepal and Bhutan have been fruitless, so in June the country obtained permission from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to begin building nuclear power plants.
Sri Lanka: Severe shortages of fuel have led the UN to warn the government that it may not be able to continue providing humanitarian aid or preserve its supply of vaccines and essential medicines. The UN agencies have been forced to curtail the usage of generators and vehicles. Construction activity in the Jaffna and Wanni regions has all but ceased due to the lack of fuel.
Philippines: A deadly tropical storm hit the country this week, bringing an end to a three-month drought that had severely reduced the country's electricity output. Extremely low water levels were recorded at five major hydroelectric power dams, one of which was forced to shut down entirely. The shortage caused sporadic electricity outages in the country's capital of Manila, which turned to coal and oil-fired power plants to make up the difference.
China: A red-hot economy with rapidly growing industrial sectors has put China in a constant state of electricity shortages, with brownouts a common occurrence. Shortages of coal, power and oil have been reported. Top refiner Sinopec has stopped selling refined products to other companies and private filling stations in order to maintain supply to its own outlets, and some oil dealers are suspected of hoarding supplies. Now the world's second largest energy consumer (behind the U.S.), China's total energy consumption has risen by an average of more than 11% each year for the last five years, 70% to 80% of which is supplied by coal. Meanwhile, all of that coal is casting a shadow of soot around the world, dropping it in places like the west coast of the U.S., and causing acid rain that poisons lakes, rivers, forests and crops. It has been estimated that fully 77% of the black carbon emitted into North America's lower atmosphere comes from Asia.
India: Soaring temperatures as high as 122° F have caused hundreds of deaths and raised grid demand to a record 4,000 MW in the capital of New Delhi, where rolling blackouts and equipment failures have caused power outages lasting up to 15 hours a day. Chronic power shortages in urban and rural India are crippling industrial and agricultural productivity and discouraging foreign investment. The country is currently looking to nuclear energy to provide some relief.
Vietnam: Another red-hot Asian economy with electricity consumption growing at the rate of 15% to 20% annually, Vietnam is facing a 1,000 megawatt shortfall in peak power production. The capitol has ordered local governments to keep the thermostats set no lower than 77° F and to turn off air conditioners a half-hour before the end of the day--with a $1,250 fine for non-compliance.
Some 25 of the 44 sub-Saharan nations are facing "unprecedented" and crippling electricity shortages with common power outages, even in South Africa. In Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana and other parts of West Africa, drought has slashed the generating capacity of hydroelectric dams, which is in turn crippling production of gold, aluminum, and other basic metals.
Uganda: Electricity shortages are frequent as the grid is strained beyond capacity, largely because drought has lowered the water level of the Nile River, reducing hydroelectric generation. Parts of the capital are blacked out for as much as a day at a time. The country has leased two 50-megawatt diesel-burning generators to compensate, reportedly costing the nation about as much as it would have cost to build two new hydroelectric dams. And in a horribly ironic twist, grid power shortages are shutting down a pipeline from Kenya, adding to the diesel shortages.
Zimbabwe: Critical gasoline and diesel shortages are ruining the economy, pushing the price of a liter of petrol to a staggering 120,000 Zimbabwe dollars. Fuel stations went completely dry in June, and there have been long queues at the few which had any to sell.
Ghana: Electricity shortages are causing load shedding blackouts, costing the economy on the order of US $5 million a day. Ghana, among others, has compensated by leasing huge gas generators to produce emergency power--at exorbitant rates.
Nigeria: An acute shortage of fuel occurred in June due to strikes by unionized oil labor over wages, a hike in fuel prices, and the sale of two refineries. Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has vowed to cripple the government of Oyo State if it makes good on its threat to eliminate some of the state work force. Abductions, killings and robberies have plunged the oil-producing parts of the country into chaos. Only 19 of 79 power plants even work, and blackouts are costing the economy $1 billion a year. In Nigeria, Angola and other nations, most businesses and many residents run private generators because the grid is so unreliable, adding to their economic and air pollution woes. Imagine: "I've been on the 20th floor of an apartment building in Luanda, and there would be generators on all the verandas, with the racket, the fumes."
Senegal: State power company Senelec has been unable to pay for supplies of fuel for its oil-fired power stations, leading to cuts in electricity supply. China has come to its rescue with a 370 million yuan loan to fund a new distribution network, in addition to its commitment to build a 250 megawatt coal-fired power station there.
Kenya: Gasoline and diesel shortages in Nairobi are grounding industrial and personal transport alike, and price hikes appear likely.
Gambia: Shortages of gasoline and diesel are taking an economic toll across the country, with many empty petrol stations and long lines at stations that have fuel to sell--but only to customers holding coupons from Shell.
Argentina: The country is facing its worst energy shortage in nearly 20 years. An increase in heating demand caused by an unseasonably early cold snap, combined with the failure of a power plant, caused the collapse of both the power grid and the fuel supply system. Electricity supplies have been severely curtailed, plunging entire districts into darkness and causing the layoff of industrial workers. Shortages of compressed natural gas, which powers many Argentine cars and 90% of the capital's taxis, are common. Argentina now has less than ten years' worth of gas reserves, and can no longer meet peak electricity demand.
Nicaragua: Electricity shortages have led to widespread blackouts, prompting the recently re-elected president Daniel Ortega to promise an end to the "energy bankruptcy" that has afflicted the country. The nation's energy deficit is running between 20% and 30%, forcing the power-distribution company Unión Fenosa to shut down whole cities for six to ten hours at a time. Ortega announced that nations such as Iran would help to build new energy plants to address the issue.
Chile: Reduced supplies of natural gas and lower-than-average rainfall have pushed electricity spot prices to record highs, prompting concerns of inflation and reduced valuations of the country's energy companies. The market took Chile's third-biggest power generator, Colbun SA (COLBUN CC), to the woodshed in early July.
Costa Rica: Beginning in April, Costa Rica began experiencing nationwide electricity blackouts, forcing emergency rationing. The country's hydroelectric capacity is strained to the max, due to a dry summer cutting power output by 25%, damaged turbines at oil-burning thermal plants, and Panama's decision to stop exporting electricity to Costa Rica. Blackouts are now routinely scheduled.
Dominican Republic: Electricity blackouts have become commonplace, apparently due to a lack of fuel and regular maintenance of power plants. Programmed blackouts have now spread from the barrio neighborhoods to the exclusive residential districts.
The picture is clear: the poor and undeveloped countries of the world are the first to fall before the remorseless price inflation brought by peak oil.
Claude Mandil, the head of the International Energy Agency, warned recently of a "catastrophe" for the world's poorest countries as they are forced into the suicidal practice of subsidizing oil just to keep their economies running.
Since we know that there is little point in trying to radically increase anyone's supply of oil, gas or coal at this point, there are only two paths left to choose: powering down or going renewable.
You know what our preference is. Who can turn his back on industries that are growing at the rate of 25%+ a year? While aging oil companies struggle to suck "the last days of ancient sunlight" from the ground, warily eyeing their incipient declines, there are young, agile companies eyeing the abundant and untapped solar, wind, geothermal and wave potential in most of the above countries--with the eager support of the World Bank and the IMF.
Oh, and us profit-seekers over here at Green Chip Stocks.
Until next time,
Thursday, July 26
JOHANNESBURG — The Elders, a new alliance made up of an elite group of senior statesmen dedicated to solving thorny global problems, unveiled itself today in Johannesburg. The rollout coincided with founding member Nelson Mandela’s 89th birthday.
The members include Desmond Tutu, South African archbishop emeritus of Capetown; former U.S. President Jimmy Carter; former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan; Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and Mohammed Yunus, the Nobel laureate and founder of the Green Bank in Bangladesh.
The group plans to get involved in some of the world’s most pressing problems — climate change, pandemics like AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, violent conflicts.
It was an extraordinary gathering; a who’s who of famous international leaders, with enough emotion to move some of them to tears.
Under a large white futuristic dome, British billionaire Richard Branson and rock star Peter Gabriel, who conceived the idea for the Elders, gathered enough star power to change the world, or at least that’s the hope.
“The structures we have to deal with these problems are often tied down by political, economic and geographic constraints,” Mandela said. The Elders, he argued, will face no such constraints.
Seven years ago, Branson and Gabriel approached Mandela about the Elders idea, and he agreed to help them recruit others. “This group of elders will bring hope and wisdom back into the world,” Branson said. “They’ll play a role in bringing us together.
“Using their collective experience, their moral courage and their ability to rise above the parochial concerns of nations, they can help make our planet a more peaceful, healthy and equitable place to live, ” Branson said. ” Let us call them ‘global elders,’ not because of their age but because of individual and collective wisdom.”
Calling it “the most extraordinary day” of his life, Gabriel said, “The dream was there might still be a body of people in whom the world could place their trust.”
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who moderated the event and will serve as its leader, was moved to tears after Gabriel sang an impromptu accapella version of his hit song “Biko,” written about a famous South African political prisoner.
Branson and Gabriel have raised enough money — some $18 million — to fund this group for three years.
Also onboard are names less well known in the United States, including Indian microfinance leader Ela Bhatt; former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland; former Chinese ambassador to the United States Li Zhaoxing.
The group left an empty seat onstage — symbolically — for an elder who was invited, but could not attend because she is under house arrest in Burma, Nobel laureate and human rights advocate Aung San Suu Kyi.
Mandela and Carter emphasized the group’s ability to talk to anyone without risk.
“We will be able to risk failure in worthy causes, and we will not need to claim credit for any successes that might be achieved,” said Carter.
Carter said the group does not want to step on or interfere with other positive work that nations or organizations are doing but wants to supplement that work.
Several members acknowledged that the actual activities and actions of the group remain to be determined. There are no titles, no ranking of the members. And it is not clear if they will travel as a group, deploy individual members to global hot spots, or simply sit in a room together to develop strategies or assist those who are suffering find help.
But they certainly have high hopes.
“I didn’t like the title “elders,” because I didn’t feel like an elder,” said Yunus to laughter, “but I like the idea.”
Yunus said the world is without direction and he hopes the Elders can provide some direction.
Speaking of the Elders, almost in the way one would describe a cartoon about superheroes, Mandela said, “The Elders can become a fiercely independent and positive force for good.”
Annan added that the group does not “intend to go and take on Darfur or Somalia and resolve it singlehandedly. We don’t have a magic wand,” he said. But he argued that the group could intervene and perhaps force parties to honor agreements.
“There are certain crimes that shame us all,” said Annan. “We all have a responsibility, and I hope the Elders will take the lead in asking the question: What can we do to move the situation forward?
“Sometimes by saying ‘this is enough we can’t take this anymore it must stop,’ we are making a difference,” Annan continued
Mandela and Branson both celebrated birthdays today. At 89, Mandela looked frail. He walked with a cane and Carter helped him to the podium. But once Mandela got there, he stood tall and easily delivered some 10 minutes of remarks.
“He, as you know, walks sedately,” Tutu joked.
Saturday, July 21
Rob Hopkins of TransitionCulture.org explained to Global Public Media's Andi Hazelwood about the UK's Transition Movement towards relocalization. Includes great discussion on local currency.
On relocalize.net, check out the new Google map of groups.
Watch it on YouTube.
Wednesday, July 4
rather than truth as the authority."- Gerald Massey
The definition of the title, Zeitgeist, is "the spirit of the age," This film (1hr 56min) pulls together many valuable ideas, and questions some basic assumptions about our society with research and logic that is compelling, confronting and liberating. This single film makes much of my film library obsolete. It offers excellent quotes from well known characters both dead and alive, and you can get a flavour for this film from its one line teaser that is often used to promote it:
"What does Christianity, 911 and The Federal Reserve have in common?"
I was aware of most of the information offered, but something I was not aware of is the development of the Amero - a currency of the North American Union - the already signed and agreed upon Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America , the Union of Canada, America, and Mexico.
Using any bit torrent software you can download a quality .avi version of the film here.
Thursday, June 28
The article below was in our local newspaper last night. Eketahuna is a small town of only about 1,000 or less people, nearby my home town of Pahiatua (pop 3,000).
There has been a running down in New Zealand of various local services. At Eketahuna the local community are taking things into their own hands. A few years ago the petrol station burned down and none of the oil companies wanted to be part of any rebuilding.
The town created a community trust which all local members were invited to contribute to. From this, they funded the building of a new service station. Now there is no need to travel 25 kms to fill the tank.
A hardware store was similar funded. There is no doctor in the town so they organised a community nursing service to provide a front line service and reduce travel needs. Now a banking service as well.
I noted that there is no history of their previous accomplishments in the article below. Now we have to find ways to grow the movement and share the expertise.
Original source URL:
Tuesday, 26 June 2007
Do-it-yourself banking arrives
The small Tararua town of Eketahuna is taking Do It Yourself to whole new levels.
It didn't have a supermarket, so it created its own. It didn't have a petrol station, so it set one up.
Now, the town is taking banking into its own hands as well.
After all the major banks refused to put either a branch or automatic teller machine in Eketahuna, locals decided to set up a money exchange. The exchange was the brainchild of Tararua district councillor Claire Matthews, a banking studies senior lecturer. She said Eketahuna's population of about 500 made it too small for a bank. "It's purely a question of profit. It would not be economically viable." An exchange was the obvious solution, after seeing similar systems in other small towns. "A bank branch is only of use if you are with that bank, and an ATM really only allows withdrawals, which may attract higher fees for customers of other banks. I suggested a money exchange, as I had seen in Northland." Mrs Matthews said not having banking services was frustrating for people in Eketahuna, where the nearest bank facilities were 25km away in Pahiatua.
The exchange will be run by staff in the council's service centre and will aim to break even rather than make a profit, with the council subsidising the operation for the first six months on a trial basis. It will provide access to cash through an eftpos machine, change for businesses, cash or cheque deposits, and cheque cashing for approved customers. Deposits will go by courier to banks in Masterton. It is expected to be up and running by August.
Thursday, June 14
Jason Bradford is a PhD evolutionary biologist who studied the effects of climate change on cloud forests in the Andes under the auspices of the Missouri Botanical Garden and other institutions. But in 2004 he switched his focus from study to action by initiating a remarkable community organizing effort in his new home town of Willits, California, called Willits Economic LocaLization (WELL).
Kelpie Wilson: Jason, in a nutshell, what is the mission of WELL?
Jason Bradford: The official WELL mission is to foster the creation of a local, sustainable economy in the Willits area by partnering with other organizations to watch for opportunities and vulnerabilities, incubate and coordinate projects, and facilitate dialogue, action and education within our community.
The greatest challenge we, as a species, face right now is to create a way of life based on the energy flow of sunlight, not fossil or nuclear energy, to do so without destroying our soils, and to enroll others in this transition. We are under no illusion that Willits can tackle this alone, but hope that Willits can be an inspiration to others. If we can do it here, it is possible elsewhere.
Kelpie Wilson: How did you make the decision to switch from a career in climate change and biodiversity research to this hands-on engagement with sustainable living?
Jason Bradford: I became really frustrated and disillusioned as a researcher. I would sit in my office and read the flood of data about the climate system, habitat loss and extinction, soil and fresh water depletion, and the impending peak of global oil production. Then I would listen to the radio or look at the newspaper and these issues were basically ignored, meaning my work was being ignored...
Kelpie Wilson: In his Labor Day speech, President Bush addressed our "oil addiction" and said that the problem is that "dependence on foreign oil jeopardizes our capacity to grow." In your view, is the energy crisis mostly about our dependence on foreign oil from "people who don't like us," as the president said? Or is there a deeper problem?
Jason Bradford: It is extremely important right now to give people heartfelt honesty. The lies of Bush and Cheney make them bigger threats than those swarthy people they like to scare us with. Cheney said the American way of life is non-negotiable. In a bizarre sense that is true. The laws of physics and ecology won't negotiate and can't be unilaterally ignored. And those laws are telling us we need to change how we inhabit this planet very quickly or we may not be around that much longer.
I have an idea. Let's stop blaming others for our problems. The deeper issue is our addiction to growth. Oil has permitted astounding economic growth, and we have become dependent, both structurally and psychologically, upon not just the oil but the growth process itself. Instead of questioning our assumptions, we are going to war for oil and we are looking for substitutes that are very dirty, like coal, tar sands, and nuclear. And while I am in complete favor of developing renewable energy systems as quickly as possible, I don't believe it is either possible or wise to grow our economy using renewable energy.
The problems with growth are easy to understand, but the implications are hard to face. For example, I have two children, twin boys who are seven years old. For now and over the next dozen years or so I'll be happy if they grow. During certain phases of development growth is perfectly good. But our economy is now beyond any reasonable limits, and we are making ourselves sick with more growth - as a society we have obesity and cancer, and the vital organs are starting to fail. Suburban sprawl, highway expansion, military build-up, air pollution, climate change, and mass extinction of species - these all stem from our drive to grow the economy.
Ironically, there exists a counter movement to slow down in life. Enjoy quality rather than quantity. Many are finding that the pleasures of a beautiful home, neighborhood and community are rewarding enough. Spend time building relationships where you are instead of traveling afar and spending money on things. Less is more. Now that is truly economical.
Friday, June 8
Wednesday, May 16
Concentrating sunlight with mirrors or lenses on a small area cuts the costs of solar power in part by reducing the amount of expensive photovoltaic material needed. But while concentrated solar photovoltaic systems are attractive for large-scale, ground-based solar farms for utilities, conventional designs are difficult to mount on rooftops, where most residential and commercial customers have space for solar panels. The systems are typically large and heavy, and they're mounted on posts so that they can move to track the sun, which makes them more vulnerable to gusts of wind than ordinary flat solar panels are.