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Nov 1, 2013

[Video] 40 Years of Fossil Fuel Consequences

 

The oil embargo in 1973 made it absolutely clear that we had to get off oil. Yet today, 40 years later, we still spend $2 billion a day in America buying oil and $4 billion a day through our taxes for the hidden economic and military costs of oil dependence.

Why?

Learn how this cataclysmic event made it clear to Amory Lovins that his life's work ought to be in solving these problems, because there was so much scope in energy efficiency and so much promise in renewables. Energy, Lovins realized, was a master key that could unlock a host of problems—if the right questions were asked.

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November 5, 2013

Mr. Lovins,

Here I go being super presumptuous again. I hope that you will forgive it enough to have a listen. I just finished reading, “Reinventing Fire,” and was blown away by the scope, research and insight of the work, particularly by the careful efforts of you and your crew to always speak in the language of the current paradigm while calling for a massive paradigm shift. Having read, “Brittle Power,” about 5 years ago, I expected nothing less. Yes…, that shift has already started, the question being whether it can be accomplished fast enough to avoid climate and resource depletion catastrophic consequences. That’s the job of each and every one of us.

Cutting to the chase, I identified a missing element in your analysis and projections very early on in, “Reinventing Fire,” that I hope that RMI can address over time. The missing element in our thoughts about switching from exploitative to sustainable living, is the roll of agriculture/food in our current social/political/economic system. Agriculture/food as a chemical/industrial/reductionist system is painfully destructive to the basics of our lives when it introduces mass toxicity, failing immune and hormone systems, falling nutrition, huge leaps in sickness of all sorts and the accompanying medical expenses. This isn’t just a human problem but a whole ecological problem that results in sick soils, sick animals and sick vegetation that undermines everything about our existence. When it is ignored by suburban/urbanists further mistakes are made in both concept and analysis.

Amory, we are of an age that when we were young we can remember when Americans on a whole were pretty darned healthy, when only the occasional individual had life threatening problems with obesity, allergies, diabetes, heart disease, cancers, immune ailments and blood abnormalities. These maladies are all epidemic now. One of my grandfathers died around 50 of cancer. As a young adult for about a decade he had been a wildcat roustabout in Oklahoma and Mexico. Need I say more? Americans are sickening rapidly and as that happens entrepreneurship and innovation take a back seat to survival.

We’ve got to fix American agriculture and our food supply or all the fine technological advances and innovations won’t amount to a hill of beans. One of the graphs in the book drove this home to me in spades. It showed a best case scenario for 2050 with a huge amount of biofuels from farm and forestry “wastes.” If we are to remediate American agriculture using agro-ecology, permaculture and other biomimicry techniques , there are no such things as farm and forestry “wastes.” The knowledge of how to design relatively closed farm nutrient cycles of synergistic plant, animal and human growth and abundance has developed right along with the exploitative chemical/industrial /monocrop agriculture abomination. These wastes are valuable and essential inputs to vibrant soils that can be solar rebuilt without fossils and chemicals. We know how to do this, so we must not squander our wastes on efforts that release carbon. When used properly farm and forestry detritus can sequester carbon on a very significant scale. They would truly be wasted making biofuels for internal combustion engines. Perhaps algae biofuels can take up some of the slack, but I’m not holding my breath.

I’m fervently hoping that RMI will recognize what I speak of and incorporate it into your visions, analysis and predicted outcomes. The US would not be started along a proper renewable path as much as it is today without your convincing the military 30 years ago to view peak fossils as a national security question. America’s crumbling food shed and food supply is just as important.

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