college prep work

Friday, June 09, 2006

End of class

Now at the end of our class and after studying peak oil for a while, I feel that I have now spoken about peak oil enough. Although it is always good to discuss something, so that one stays on top of what is happening in the world and more specifically peak oil, I feel that there is a time to stop talking about action and just go straight into the action.
In six weeks we were able to learn about a topic that most of us knew absolutely nothing about. We have discussed different point of views, from the very pessimistic like, to the oil company’s very hopeful views. We have been able to decide what we feel is most likely to happen and move on towards making better ideas and scenarios.
I am now ready to learn and plan for what I feel is going to happen, and also always going to be useful. As a class we set out the things that are for sure going to be useful whether peak oil happens in 2 years or 10. They were:
1) Learning first aid. Things like stitches and learning how to set bones. It is crucial because once peak oil has been happening for awhile I doubt that there will be many schools that are putting out doctors and it will be very hard to run these large city hospitals, so it will be necessary to learn how to set bones. Eustace Conway of the last American man book sowed on a part of his own finger, so I believe it must be easier that doctors and other people lead us to believe
2) Something I did not think of before but I also think is useful is that we will have to find a way to have a new food storage system. Since there will be power shortages after a few years you cannot rely only on ones refrigerator. Something that we can learn from past civilizations is that we do not need to always keep as much food. We can store much less than we do now, and just go and get food on a more daily basis rather than heading to the grocery store every two weeks.
When I went to the peak oil meet up yesterday I felt surprised by what I was seeing. It seemed that they were stuck talking about the same things that we had already gotten through as a high school class. I am not trying to be ageist in saying that we should be expected of less since we are in high school but they seemed to be struggling more than we were in moving and dealing with this peak oil issue.
We may just have had a better leader in Professor Snyder than they did, but still seemed that people who were dedicated to meet up like they were would have moved along. Andy made the good distinction of the two at the meeting. The people may think something’s are good ideas to get done, but there is a different in thinking it’s a good idea and actually having the energy to do it. So they did put this effort in and had a good conference, but now that they have met with some of the best and brightest one the topic the only place left they really have to go is to the action. Whether that is learning to farm or create solar panels, it really seems like the meet up is not necessary to do as often as they are.
There still was some good out of it. There seemed to be some people who had a lot of good ideas and information even if I did not entirely agree with them. Such as the topic of wind power. I seem to be almost all alone in not thinking that it is a good idea. They had a lot of good facts about how much energy it generates, but they did not say if that is if they are running constantly or realistically. Because the truth of the windmills is that they generate about 25% of the actual energy since they are not constantly moving since the win in now area is consistent.
I did meet one guy who seemed interesting. Emily, Andy and I spoke to him. He was a guy from the city who moved a couple of hour’s upstate I don’t know when and has a energy I guess installation business up there. Some people I guess who were once in this peak oil meet up have started a large farm up there. That seemed like an option I would actually consider. While I would like to stay in New York City I think that is the best kind of place to learn how to get the skills rather than waiting around and talking about it. Everyone is learning there. So rather than someone being a expert and taking over, you are forced to work and figure out things for yourself.
Now that this class is over there are a few goals I am going to set for myself this summer. I would like to go out to that farmhouse and work for labor for perhaps a few weekends or however long I have off from my idiotic job. I also would like to head up to the Adirondack Mountains and take the necessary hunting classes and such so that I can get my deer-hunting license. Hopefully I could convince my crazy grandfather to pass a rifle down to me so come deer hunting season. Andy hopefully you will try some of my venison if it is fresh and healthy, because there won’t always be vegetables if a crop goes bad. Also would like to know how to insulate a house or apartment better so we do not have to pay a large amount for heating. Hopefully this is going to be a successful summer.


At 12:02 PM, Blogger Juggleandhope said...


The speed that you and others absorbed the transformative ideas of the course was pretty surprising to me. I am surprised to agree that I think it is enough talk, for a while at least, and time for some action and actual work.

Your plan of what to do to make that action happen sounds likely to succeed.

I felt a similar reaction to the meetup meeting. There are several differences between our class and the meetup group that help to explain the obvious contrast in coherence and depth. First, we have been working together everyday for the last 170 school days - and we have been studying big ideas together. Second, the meetup group is not so much 1 person's responsibility to plan (which tends to produce coherence at the risk of narrowness) but rather a meeting of lots of different people with different ideas and levels of insight - that's always going to be a lot messier.

I don't see myself eating the deer you kill, but I don't really have any ethical objections to it. At this point veganism is a pretty deep habit. As long as you kill him or her as painlessly as possible, and that you recognize that you are not striking as a god, but rather participating as a fellow animal, who will also die yourself someday. It makes sense to say "sorry" and "thank you".

I also agree with your take on wind energy - and there are additional factors about how much of the grid's power can come from wind and still be stable - I think batteries are going to be important.

If me going on that trip doesn't work out, go during the summer so you can tell me whether to go with you in the fall.

At 7:42 PM, Blogger robyn said...


I am impressed with how fast our group did compared to other groups as well. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that few of us knew about peak oil in depth and so what one person knew what pretty much what the rest of us knew, well to a degree anyway. I am sure that the experts have their own idea of peak oil and it probably differs from one another just because their research is slightly different and they come from a different background.
Your comment about being ageist definitely stood out to me. I feel like my parents and other adults are also unable to accept a big change. Maybe this is because they have been exposed to one way of life for so long or may be we are still into the whole not knowing the ways of the world and are more gullible thing (however we are not babies so I am not sure how true this is.)
I am also very impressed with your goals over the summer. They are definitely worth pursuing; also maybe taking a first aid course would be helpful in addition to the book. You seem to have covered most of your bases. You will learn how to grow food as well as hunt it as well. Andy, though I am not a vegan I completely agree with your comment on saying thank you to the animal as a fellow animal and not believing yourself better than other species. Hunting and farming seems to be logically a good choice as well as knowing how to be energy and heat efficient. This seems a particularly important skill in this area of the world where it can actually get quite chilly. Your efforts are definitely inspiring and if possible please let me know how you go and if the courses are worthwhile.


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