Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hot Global Economic Meltdown Action at the MAREC

I've been to multiple events and presentations at the Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center in Muskegon. A hat tip to the director Arn Boezaart for making that place a hoppin' joint of self education on science, and bringing all the geeks out from the floorboards all the way from Holland in the South and Walkerville to the north. From information on wind power to presentations on invasive species and the St. Lawrence Seaway, that place is crazy well attended these days. Quite an achievement in a smallish town. And did I mention the MAREC building is energy self sufficient? Well...almost. There's a natural gas line to the fuel cell, but...still awesome.

A couple nights ago I went to a presentation at MAREC given by Ms. Stoneleigh from The Automatic Earth. It was an un-self consciously terrifying warning about an imminent and cataclysmic global economic collapse that's apparently just around the corner...

...the presentation was almost pure horror, doom, and disaster. So, naturally, the place was packed. The parking lot, overflowing...which kind of underscored the consistent theme of Peak Oil.

The presentation went something like this for two hours...and, I'm paraphrasing here:

"We're all fucked." Then, as an attempt to end on a positive note "But if you're nice to your neighbors, maybe they won't shoot you and take your stock pile of gold and organic, locally grown Mason jars of tomatoes."

I would classify it as "disaster porn." We just can't look away. We flock to it and stare.

We're out of cheap oil and coal, and the energy to get it is supposedly nearing a level where it won't sustain our civilization...

...or be available to process and transport food...

...and the price of essential goods will skyrocket...

...and the value of your house is going to crash...

Crime will reach a fever pitch as people try, in desperation to get what they need. Governments in the world will become destabilized and starting blasting the crap out of each other. Your dog will pee on you and find a new best friend.

Many graphs and charts with lines on them were presented as evidence to show how certain all of these things were to happen. How they've all happened before.

And you know what?

I actually enjoyed myself.

Though I admit I did make a stop at the grocery store and briefly considered stockpiling dried beans.

If these things do come to pass...folks have gotten through it before, and they'll get through it again. For example, my grandmother lived through the Great Depression. Sure, she had a lifelong habit of stealing and hording condiment packets and sporks from fast food restaurants...but she got through the Great Depression.

1 comment:

Don M said...

Fast decisive legislation for ballast water as the law of the land, not providing economic incentives for ships, from a foreign tax base, bringing foreign goods into our country, would send a message to American manufacturing and perhaps affect their investing policy, as it would level the playing field for industry to grow, providing long term jobs and economic security to our country and may even create stronger countries on our borders where poverty and a bad quality of life is breeding growing instability and violence. Soon, September this new military study created for “change” coinciding with the Coast Guard 20 year plan, and the EPA, — over two years after Senator Boxer killed the legislation created by the largest elected legislative voice of the American people,– they will meet to discuss their “new findings” and might have “new” recommendations. Will they continue on a slow course for change to protect foreign economic interest, or will they speed up mandatory requirements allowing faster protection of our waters and economic growth for our country?
The following report for Congress in DEC 2009 that explains that national ballast water legislation would do the same thing as tariffs, plus protect our environment from the carbon footprint and dirty water trail of foreign ships bringing foreign manufactured imports into our country, stealing jobs from Americans. “Although estimates of the costs of ballast treatment may be imprecise and vary from vessel to
vessel, there is some general agreement on average costs.14 For example, it may cost an estimated $400,000 per vessel for modification of container/bulk vessels to use onshore ballast water treatment facilities at California ports. More generally, the cost of retrofitting vessels to treat
ballast water has been estimated at between $200,000 and $310,000 per vessel for mechanical
treatment and around $300,000 for chemical treatment.15 Most of this expense will be borne by
foreign shipping companies, as the U.S. flag fleet is a small percentage of the global fleet,16 and