Saturday, January 17, 2009

Newsletter #1: Restarting the newsletter

Restarting the 7gen.com newsletter

Early in running the 7gen.com blog I thought it might be nice to have a newsletter, but then found I didn't know what to put into a newsletter. The newsletter subscription form was on 7gen.com for several months and a dozen people signed up. So I turned off the newsletter subscription form and disabled that feature.

I now have an idea of how to handle the newsletter and have turned the features back on. You are reading the first of the reconstituted 7gen.com newsletters. In future issues I expect the format will be: a) Main article that's representing some big/main topic, b) recent updates to 7gen.com. I think this will be published monthly with occasional special issues if there is breaking news to cover.

Since it will have been awhile (cough cough) since you signed up for this newsletter, you may have forgotten about 7gen.com .. please visit http://www.7gen.com. If you do not wish to remain on this newsletter there is a link at the bottom allowing you to unsubscribe.

My interest with 7gen.com is exploring our humanity as we live in a sea technology and how that impacts us. The name of the site obviously derives from the law of the Iroquois Confederacy "In our every deliberation we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations." While that's a marketing slogan for a particular household products company in the U.S. I thought it was an interesting point of view, an interesting way of looking at the world and a useful benchmark for making decisions about living in this world.

Rather than simply have that be a nice feel-good slogan on some of the household products I buy, it called me towards exploring how it would work for real in real life.

It seems clear to me a lot of the problems we face in the world are the result of short term thinking driven by the desire to fulfill short term needs. Ignoring the long term is leading us towards catastrophes that threaten our life on this planet.

Consider the combination of oil supplies and and the "Drill Here Drill Now" mantra shouted during the U.S. elections last year. The high likelihood is that soon our fossil oil production will enter an inevitable and unavoidable decline. This is called "Peak Oil" and it's an effect that's been observed in oil field after oil field all over the world. The global oil peak has either already happened or will happen soon.

The Peak Oil effect is that once oil production reach their peak even the mightiest efforts of the oil companies cannot increase the amount of oil being produced. The U.S. passed its peak of oil production in 1971 and it is folly to think drilling in oil fields within the U.S. will affect oil supplies in any huge way. The "Drill Here Drill Now" mantra is short term delusional thinking that was meant for political games but makes zero practical sense.

Yes there are untapped oil fields in the U.S. However some of them are in sensitive wildlife refuges and I fail to understand how the operation of an oil field is compatible with a wildlife refuge. Next, drilling an oil field is not an overnight operation, it takes 10 years or more to take an oil field into production along with billions of dollars in investment. Next, it is perhaps strategically important to keep the oil in the ground for later use rather than use it all up now. Last, the amount of oil in these untapped fields is a drop in the bucket compared to the demand for oil.

Rather the practical useful sensible choice is to find alternate ways to accomplish the purposes for which we use fossil oil. Fossil oil is primarily used for transportation. Hence finding other ways of moving our butts around town is a critical need. Thankfully the "Drill Here Drill Now" did not get elected but it is a powerful mantra shared by many people in the U.S.

Those outside the U.S. may be more resilient to the coming oil shortages since their countries did not adopt cars as completely as we have done so in the U.S.

Recent updates on 7gen.com

A major addition to 7gen.com is the Seven Generations Technosanity Podcast. http://www.7gen.com/technosanity .. The episodes are both in audio and video and are covering a range in topics. Last year I did several episodes about Peak Oil and most recently am building a new electric bicycle and am making construction videos as I go along.

Peak Oil websites: http://www.7gen.com/taxonomy/term/1691

Peak Oil blog posts: http://www.7gen.com/topics/energy/peak-oil

Electric Bicycle websites: http://www.7gen.com/website-categories/electric-bicycles


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