Archive for the ‘events’ Category


Oil prices up or down? Speculation driving them up?

July 23, 2008

I heard on NPR today that Congress determined rising Oil prices were NOT due to speculation.  Here’s an interesting debate about short & long term future for OilMatthew Simmon‘s, a peak oil advocate, suggests that we should put a floor on the price to prevent short term thinking.  He argues that 1) oil supplies will continue to lag demand and 2) we won’t make the long term changes needed until people stop thinking of this is a oil price bubble.  He says, “stop the witch hunt and start looking for solutions.”

Peak Oil Analyst

Peak Oil Analyst

I believe that our government is highly motivated to find a short term fix to the supply problem.  Inescapable election year politics lead me to predict that we’re likely to have an artificial/short return to low prices to stimulate the economy.  I think this will have much more drastic long term costs.

Alternative energy is the only long term solution .  A price floor will protect investors in alternative fuels because real alternatives need time to reach the mass market.

I’ll suggest again, that we should have a 10+ year “energy independence” initiative like the 1960’s space race where we invest heavily in building the expertise (the people) to solve this problem.  Our nation benefited dramatically from that focus.  A sustainability focus would regain maintain our world leadership.


Peak Oil Meet Up

July 19, 2008

I was invited to the Peak Oil (aka “crude awakening“) meet up today at Lester Germanio‘s sustainable food/water/shelter project deep in the heart of West Lake Hills.  While the project is breathtaking in both actual views and vision.  I’m having trouble reconciling the obvious benefits of “living off grid” aspects of this long term project with seeing this as reproducible model for other people to follow.

I’m looking for ways that the body of society becomes sustainable collectively not just individually.

Lesters courtyard is cool and inviting

Lester's courtyard is cool and inviting

Here are all my pictures.  Lester’s project is very thought provoking.  His designs (will) include double roofs to manage heat and collect rain water.  A huge cistern and water tower.  An integrated garden and root cellar.  The project, boostrapped and self-built, has been going for quite a while and encountered plenty of governmental road blocks.


Talking Trash on the Beach

July 19, 2008

Yes, I’m a sustainability nut… Instead of frolicking the the surf, I was taking pictures of the beach trash cans at Fort Walton Beach, Fla,  I was appalled, appalled I tell you, about amount of recyclables in the trash.  While it’s pathetic much litter remains on the sand, I’m even sadder that the City of Fort Walton Beach (FWB) puts out trash cans in pairs, yet does not offering beach side recycling.

The photo shows the obvious – typical beach waste is at least 80% recyclable!

This is NOT trash!
This is NOT trash!

This leads to interconnected two questions:

  1. Does it make sense for FWB to provide beach recycling as a service?
  2. Would people use it if they offered it?

Unfortunately, it’s not a viable service unless people will use it.  I wonder if recyclers could handle the 20% waste in the otherwise Al & PET rich trash.

From the photo below, Austin clearly has both the motivation and participation to provide recycling.  What will it take to push this municipal attitude to the mainstream?

Austin does it right
Austin does it right

Dollers, not sense @ Austin Green Event for Kids

June 13, 2008

Yesterday I pulled something really really creepy out of my washing machine. It was a “sustainable doll” that my son made at the Austin Green Event for Kids non-event. He’d thrown it into his clothes hamper had I’d washed it – the doll’s fabric had bled dye on his previously usable clothes.

Play things for green children?

While my kids enjoyed the craftiness of making a doll from scraps, kids are always re-discovering uses for materials anyway. While I was looking at the dye running off the wet doll, I realized that no modern American child is going to choose this toy over their other choices just because it was made with recyclables. The idea of greening our children by substituting a rag doll for Barbie is naive.

Let’s not dumb down our children’s ability to green their play. Let’s find some real ways to create fun and teach sustainability. Let’s ask THEM what makes sense.


Welcome to a brand new Earth Day

April 25, 2008

The overall media love that has become Earth Day is both overwhelming and comforting. Overwhelming from the blitz of green logos, magazine covers, and animated recycling symbols and comforting because people seem to be sincerely enthusiastic about it. Perhaps Earth Day is speeding towards Hallmark Holiday celebrity. Perhaps we’ve reached a tipping point now that a gallon of gas is more expensive than a Hallmark Earth Day card.

For these reasons and more, I’m choosing Earth Day 2008 to officially launch my TribalGrid blog. My interest in “social energy” and sustainability are stretching the scope of my EV blog and I don’t want pull a Venkman and cross the beams. I’m excited to be starting a new site to talk about something that resonates with my feeling of urgency about the environment. I find the passion that drove me to build the RAVolt has been growing and looking for ways to ignite the conservation spark in others.

Social energy focuses on community awareness of conservation, sustainability, and usage patterns. Hopefully this blog is helping emerge this concept and encouraging others to collaborate and extend it.