Sunday, May 21, 2006

"Peak Oil In Cuba"


Watching the video in Professor Snyders class was interesting and insightful. ( for once) I actually really enjoyed it and learned a lot from it, which I must admit is rare. Overall I think that watching the video was what really made the visualization of peak oil simple for me to comprehend. Reading articles and stuff was helpful, but you really need to see how it is to live in the time of peak oil where it affects the people the most. I think that if the whole world was to be hit like Cuba was, then almost no other country would be able to survive like they have. For one, they are the only ones who have experienced it first hand, and the have already changed there way of living so that when it comes they aren’t unprepared, unlike so many other countries, or even continents for that matter. Those who already live with limited resources have a better chance of surviving the peak oil stage when it becomes drastic. Especially island cultures such as every country in the Caribbean (that’s includes Puerto Rico even though it isn’t a county). This is because they have lived their lives already independent and practically isolated from all else, as well as less reliable form them. When, in the movie, they talked about heating all their goods and essentials by using the power of the sun, it made me think, that could be me cooking my food using solar heating. And it made me want to slightly change how i perceive things as I do now. For instance, I now want to learn to cook without relying so much on gas stoves, like camp-outs, making fire using your hands, etc. I find it may not be important for me to know it for myself, but for my future generations and theirs, as it continues.

Cuba has begun to teach their kids how to farm, as well as the parents. It has become essential to know how to create your own food, as well as sell it. Cuba has changed their community a lot to adapt to this change in the economy. One example of this is that the government has actually eliminated a law and made it legal. Before farmers couldn’t just grow and sell it directly to anyone, they had to sell it in the name of big business (some company name they grew it for) and plus, they couldn’t even keep all the money they sold it for, but a profit of it. NOW, finally, they can grow and sell foods on their own and keep all the rewards. Yet whenever I think of the money income of the whole idea, I wonder if money is really essential, or if it will be in the future. When the oil is gone, will there be any use for money, I mean the production of money itself would be impossible. So there really would be no point in trying to gain more, well in the present moment I can see why there would be. Yet to think, we are working so hard to gain a material possession that won’t be worth anything in the near future. It just shows you, what have we been doing all these years?

When I saw this comic, I didn’t necessarily think “peak oil” but when I reviewed it I could see how it could relate (at least in my perspective”). Cuba is run under a communist government, this everybody knows. When peak oil hits its most critical point, Cuba will be more prepared then let’s say a democratic country like in the comic. This is because everyone gets a fair split, there are no homeless people in Cuba, and the people live with universal has health care, so no one is really at a disadvantage. Whereas in America lets say, we have a vas majority of people with no homes as well as little medical assistance. I Cuba they live off of agriculture were they can grow and sell foods from their backyards, unlike us, we can’t grow nor sell without some sort of organization behind it or the “right” to.

In the movie they said that the relationships the Cuban society had with each other enabled them with the power of really co-operating with one another. They could help each other out, like teaching them how to grow food, and the most efficient ways to travel, etc.

In Cuba, the people stop relying on motor vehicles and began to find a different means of travel. Some rode bikes (imported from china), others walked, and a few even began to ride animals such as horses. But it wasn’t only the lower class that did these, it was doctors, lawyers, police, and what-not. Everyone had to change their way of living, which included transportation. Some people needed to use the same means of moving, so they had a special bus called “Camels” I think, which held 300 people and were very often crowded to the last step hold. People would wait for hours and hours for the bus to come, and when it was full, they had to wait again hours and hours until a bus with a spot for them arrived. It’s ridiculous, yet there seems to be no way around it, things just continue to grow more difficult.

The most difficult change in my opi ion was farming. Before peak hit, everyone relied on tractors, and machinery to make farming tons easier. Yet now, they cannot afford fuel, and tools & Parts are scarce. So without those, they had to find a different means of farming, a technique long forgotten as a myth and legend. They had to use their “Hands” lol, I find it amusing how this can be considered a problem, it doesn’t seem all that harsh really. But hey Cubans do what they gotta do.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

“EcotopiA

"Ecotopia," by Ernest Callenbach is a futuristic novel about a country based on a "stable-state ecosystem." Ecotopia was formed when Northern California, Washington and Oregon separated themselves from the union of the United States. The new nation is an economical utopia with advanced methods of energy conservation and work ethics. Since its secession from the United States no American tourists have been allowed to cross its border. Now, twenty years later, Ecotopia has officially allowed the first American visitor into the country. This book centers around international affairs reporter William Weston on an investigative mission into Ecotopia where he will report on the economy and lifestyle of the mystery country. Looking at this book through the authors perspective I can see Callenbach’s issues with how we are living today, and how the only way to survive when we no longer can be dependent on others, is to isolate ourselves. This so called “utopia,” may present itself as unrealistic, how we can just drop everything we worked for and be one with nature and ably by the rules it sets out for us. We continuously and with little hesitation rob the earth from its resources, using it as freely as our will wishes to. In this society, they are completely cut off from anything that maybe considered as “essential” in our society. They have no mode of transportation (cars, subways, trains, planes, etc.) The food sugar free, unprocessed, unpackaged and not contaminated with any added substances, clothing is all made from natural fabrics and what not. Everything is 100% from the earth, which is probably why it’s so difficult for me to believe that Callenbach’s vision can be anything close to possible.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Is the world running Out of Oil?

Analysis on situation:

Before this question can actually be answered you have to know the original source of how we get our oil. In order to know if there is a peak upcoming, we need to have the knowledge of how much oil was originally discovered, or undiscovered. Some researchers say that there was in the beginning, 2 trillion barrels of oil, yet some say that there were 3 trillion barrels. That we have used 1 trillion barrels and that there is another trillion that is yet to be discovered.

Peak oil is a predicted rise, followed by a sharp decline, in the world's supply of oil. Oil has been an important part of the world's economic growth and prosperity since the industrial revolution. However, many economists and commentators argue that, in light of the theory of oil supplies peaking and then falling, called the Hubbert peak, society must invest in alternate sources of energy. Hubbert Peak, or otherwise known as “Peak Oil” Is named after American geophysicist Marion King Hubbert, who created a model of known oil reserves, and proposed, in a paper he presented to the American Petroleum Institute in 1956, that oil production would peak in the continental United States between 1965 and 1970, and worldwide in 2000.

Some people force themselves to believe that there is a way to prevent, or at least delays the inevitable lose in oil production. That advances in technology can maintain our current way of living. That there can be another way to use resources that can be used as a replacement for lose of oil. However, Opinions differ as to when this will be unlocked, how to replace fossil fuels with alternatives to oil, how difficult it would be to implement such changes, and whether they can happen before oil shortages threaten the economy.

Chevronn has launched the Will You Join Us? ad campaign, seeking to alert the public to the possibility of petroleum depletion and encourage discussion. What Cevron is, is one of the world's largest global energy companies. Chevron was originally known as Standard Oil of California, or “Socal”, and was formed amid the antitrust breakup of Standard Oil in 1911.

7 companies were created, following the break up by the US Government of Standard Oil, where referred to as the “Seven Sister.” These companies where:

  1. Standard Oil of New Jersey (Esso). This later became Exxon, now ExxonMobil.
  2. Royal Dutch Shell Anglo-Dutch
  3. British Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC). This later became British Petroleum, then BP Amoco following a merger with Amoco (which in turn was formerly Standard Oil of Indiana). It is now known solely by the initials BP.
  4. Standard Oil of New York (Socony). This later became Mobil, which merged with Exxon to form ExxonMobil.
  5. Texaco. This later merged with Chevron and was ChevronTexaco from 2001 till 2005 when the name of the company reverted back to Chevron.
  6. Standard Oil of California (Socal). This became Chevron.
  7. Gulf Oil. Most of this became part of Chevron, with smaller parts becoming part of BP, and Cumberland Farms. A network of stations in the northeastern United States still bears this name.

My feelings towards peak oil:

I personally think that we are continuously increasing the rate at which we are going to lose oil. The peak has already been reached, and that through observation, every year we manufacture more and more materials requiring more oil production. If we keep up this pace we are going in, the time that it will take to run out of oil will be faster then how long it took to reach the peak. The shortage of oil will not come by surprise, but it is already foreseen. So in the future we will have to adapt to life changing for everyone to a more “primitive” era. Looking at this topic reminded me of a movie we saw on what if everything went back to the way it was before big business and factories, etc. It explained how it would probably cause breakdown and madness for anyone who isn’t physically and especially mentally prepared. Our reliability on oil production continues to amaze me, no matter how hard we try, or how much we believe it is the problem, we can never really stop.

Sunday, April 30, 2006


My Collape


My collapse occurred on the day of the blackout a few years back. I remember I was heading out of my building to go hang with some friend’s right before the streets went dark as the night ruled the city. It was the oddest time, 4 pm in the summer, the usual time for a nice clear sky and a bright sun to pave the streets. Yet it almost seemed as though during this day, the clouds were already in traffic, as though they for-saw this coming and decided to take affect and make the city as dark as possible. It was at first, not scary but startling, like we didn’t really understand what just had happened. So, out of curiosity, we started to walk just to see how far we would have to travel before we saw a hint of any power being supplied. We concluded our adventure seeing only one sign of electricity, which was the generator being used in the hospital. It’s amazing the affects of what a simple change in environment can do to a person. We must have seen average of 10 people on every block screaming and running around with shirts off as if it was Armageddon, which was rather funny by the way. Our original plan was to head out for the city, yet on the way to the station, we realized that it most likely wasn’t functioning. Seeing the city blocks shaded in darkness was a view I’d never thought I would see. Not that I was anxious to having a blackout, but that it is something one would never think of happening, or how it would affect them, before it happens.

Now that I think about it, I never really think of future events, like how a present issue can affect me (or anyone) later on if it continues. I feel that’s how a lot of society is now-a-days, no one really thinks about what is going to happen later on, and I think that only the ones who prepare for it have a chance later. There is so many different collapses which are inevitable such as global warming, and the issue of peak oil. It’s interesting, I haven’t thought about it until now, but people could have been trapped in elevators, or subways, or whatever else runs on power supplied by the city. I suppose I was caught up in my own enjoyment at the moment that I failed to think of who could have been affected by it worse then. I even forgot about my Sisters horrific fear towards the dark. It really proves how dependable we are on technology; whereas many years back we didn’t even know such a word existed. I also noticed that not many people panicked, quite the opposite actually. I predict that it is because everybody has gotten so accustom to everything being done for them, and not having to lift a finger to get it. When you walk on the streets and see a street light blew out, you don’t really worry about it because there are people who are eventually going to fix it, why should you care?

Same with the blackout, I my-self admit that I didn’t worry about it too much. I expected the lights to just turn on after someone just turned it on, as if it was as easy as pushing a button so a child could do it. We rely too much on others, whether we feel we are independent, no one can really be alone, or get everything on their own. We are so dependent that it is almost as if other people, who may not even know you, carry all your concerns as well as their own. So we feel we don’t even need to burden ourselves with more worries then the ones we hold towards our own selfish habits. But I must admit that I only worry when I’m the one who messed something up. If someone else did it, I wouldn’t care so much as to fix it for them, but whenever I am involved I panic, like any other person would. I was relatively calm only on the first day though, on the second I expected every thing to be fine and dandy, but it ended up being the same as the day before. I didn’t panic, but I was in shock and I pondered about “what if?..” But what is funny is that I didn’t even remember there was a blackout. I got up and saw that there was light out so I just went about my morning as if nothing had happened, until I tried turning the T.V on.