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What do you think of this story? What would your response to it be?


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Old 07-17-2009, 10:54 AM
India India is offline
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Default What do you think of this story? What would your response to it be?

This story was made in1977.The Nightmare Life Without FuelAmericans are so used to limitless energy supplies that they can hardly imagine what life might be like when the fuel really starts to run out. So TIME asked Science Writer Isaac Asimov for his vision of an energy-poor society that might exist at the end of the 20th century. The following portrait, Asimov noted, "need not prove to be accurate. It is a picture of the worst, of waste continuing, of oil running out, of nothing in its place, of world population continuing to rise. But then, that could happen, couldn't it?"So it's 1997, and it's raining, and you'll have to walk to work again. The subways are crowded, and any given train breaks down one morning out of five. The buses are gone, and on a day like today the bicycles slosh and slide. Besides, you have only a mile and a half to go, and you have boots, raincoat and rain hat. And it's not a very cold rain, so why not?Lucky you have a job in demolition too. It's steady work.Slow and dirty, but steady. The fading structures of a decaying city are the great mineral mines and hardware shops of the nation. Break them down and re-use the parts. Coal is too difficult to dig up and transport to give us energy in the amounts we need, nuclear fission is judged to be too dangerous, the technical breakthrough toward nuclear fusion that we hoped for never took place, and solar batteries are too expensive to maintain on the earth's surface in sufficient quantity.Anyone older than ten can remember automobiles. They dwindled. At first the price of gasoline climbed—way up. Finally only the well-to-do drove, and that was too clear an indication that they were filthy rich, so any automobile that dared show itself on a city street was overturned and burned. Rationing was introduced to "equalize sacrifice," but every three months the ration was reduced. The cars just vanished and became part of the metal resource.There are many advantages, if you want to look for them. Our 1997 newspapers continually point them out. The air is cleaner and there seem to be fewer colds. Against most predictions, the crime rate has dropped. With the police car too expensive (and too easy a target), policemen are back on their beats. More important, the streets are full. Legs are king in the cities of 1997, and people walk everywhere far into the night. Even the parks are full, and there is mutual protection in crowds.If the weather isn't too cold, people sit out front. If it is hot, the open air is the only air conditioning they get. And at least the street lights still burn. Indoors, electricity is scarce, and few people can afford to keep lights burning after supper.As for the winter—well, it is inconvenient to be cold, with most of what furnace fuel is allowed hoarded for the dawn; but sweaters are popular indoor wear and showers are not an everyday luxury. Lukewarm sponge baths will do, and if the air is not always very fragrant in the human vicinity, the automobile fumes are gone.There is some consolation in the city that it is worse in the suburbs. The suburbs were born with the auto, lived with the auto, and are dying with the auto. One way out for the suburbanites is to form associations that assign turns to the procurement and distribution of food. Pushcarts creak from house to house along the posh suburban roads, and every bad snowstorm is a disaster. It isn't easy to hoard enough food to last till the roads are open. There is not much in the way of refrigeration except for the snowbanks, and then the dogs must be fought off.What energy is left cannot be directed into personal comfort. The nation must survive until new energy sources are found, so it is the railroads and subways that are receiving major attention. The railroads must move the coal that is the immediate hope, and the subways can best move the people.And then, of course, energy must be conserved for agriculture. The great car factories make trucks and farm machinery almost exclusively. We can huddle together when there is a lack of warmth, fan ourselves should there be no cooling breezes, sleep or make love at such times as there is a lack of light—but nothing will for long ameliorate a lack of food. The American population isn't going up much any more, but the food supply must be kept high even though the prices and difficulty of distribution force each American to eat less. Food is needed for export so that we can pay for some trickle of oil and for other resources.The rest of the world, of course, is not as lucky as we are.Some cynics say that it is the knowledge of this that helps keep America from despair. They're starving out there, because earth's population has continued to go up. The population on earth is 5.5 billion, and outside the United States and Europe, not more than one in five has enough to eat at any given time.All the statistics point to a rapidly declining rate of population increase, but that is coming about chiefly through a high infant mortality; the first and most helpless victims of starvation are babies, after their mothers have gone dry. A strong current of American opinion, as reflected in the newspapers (some of which still produce their daily eight pages of bad news), holds that it is just as well. It serves to reduce the population, doesn't it?Others point out that it's more than just starvation. There are those who manage to survive on barely enough to keep the body working, and that proves to be not enough for the brain. It is estimated that there are now nearly 2 billion people in the world who are alive but who are permanently braindamaged by undernutrition, and the number is growing year by year. It has already occurred to some that it would be "realistic" to wipe them out quietly and rid the earth of an encumbering menace. The American newspapers of 1997 do not report that this is actually being done anywhere, but some travelers bring back horror tales.At least the armies are gone—no one can afford to keep those expensive, energy-gobbling monstrosities. Some soldiers in uniform and with rifles are present in almost every still functioning nation, but only the United States and the Soviet Union can maintain a few tanks, planes and ships—which they dare not move for fear of biting into limited fuel reserves.Energy continues to decline, and machines must be replaced by human muscle and beasts of burden. People are working longer hours and there is less leisure; but then, with electric lighting restricted, television for only three hours a night, movies three evenings a week, new books few and printed in small editions, what is there to do with leisure? Work, sleep and eating are the great trinity of 1997, and only the first two are guaranteed.Where will it end? It must end in a return to the days before 1800, to the days before the fossil fuels powered a vast machine industry and technology. It must end in subsistence farming and in a world population reduced by starvation, disease and violence to less than a billion.And what can we do to prevent all this now?Now? Almost nothing.If we had started 20 years ago, that might have been another matter. If we had only started 50 years ago, it would have been easy.
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Old 07-17-2009, 11:01 AM
export export is offline
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Default What do you think of this story? What would your response to it be?

Well, In some ways that's a negative image of the post oil age, and in some ways positive, there's a remarkable lack of civil disorder and tribalism. It is a stark explaination for why there was this year's Arctic oil rush. There would be more energy and less reliance on imported oil and no need to export food If renewable energies are put into action.I see no reason why the rest of the world should be suffering more. In fact lower development levels will be an advantage seeing as there will be more knowledge neccessary for the new realities of life and thierinfrastructure will not be so centralised and delicate.I can also point you in the direction of Permaculture, this could improve the situation in the suburbs, and possibly more besides.
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Old 07-17-2009, 11:08 AM
Hyundai Hyundai is offline
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Default What do you think of this story? What would your response to it be?

It is interesting that Asimov discounts the development of other sources of energy such as wind power that are no more costly to produce than electricity produced by fossil fuels.All of our power needs cound be met by windpower. We could have electric cars if we chose. We could heat our homes with electric power produced by windpower.Asimov gives us an unrealistically pessimistic view because he does not recognize that the fossil fuel sources that we use can be replaced by wind power. We have a large excess of wind power available in the United States all we have to do is build and install the wind turbines to harvest that power.In virtually every country in the world there is far more windpower available than could ever be used by even the most wasteful and profligate people.It is time to start building and installing the wind turbines to harvest that power.
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Old 07-17-2009, 11:15 AM
Luc Luc is offline
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Default What do you think of this story? What would your response to it be?

I think it is a very mild projection i would have thought i might be much worse .The aspects of a global nuclear war or the full effects of Global warming have not been included.Such as rising seas ,which could displace millions of people ,moving them further in land ,to fight it out with the residents already there causing wide spread public violence.Also global food and potable water shortage ,and we have since come up with many alternatives to producing power ,why did he leave out solar or wind power.But then this story was from 1977,and even so Asimov is a master at imagining future happeningsI wonder what he would see today ,it will be a different story..-----------------------------------------------------------The solution to a world devoid of energy is to think backwards and improve upon it .This is what Permaculture is all about sustainable ideas from the past (only in the past can prove of sustainability be found )So my response is teach the people about PERMACULTURE a way of life using ingenuity and innovation with limited technology or dependence on Government energy sources,derived from a collection of sustainable ideas from around the world coupled to present level of knowledgeideally suited for those who want to get back to the country and build a auto sufficient situation for themselves and the family or a community .People plant rather for the quality of life and to feed their families, than for the market ,so the motivation and the manner are totally different from ordinary agriculture .Although the basic concept of Permaculture also applies to Organic and sustainable farming,Utilizing soil management ,and mulchingThe utilization of space is more concentrated ,thinking in cubic and vertical terms instead or merely horizontal on the plain ,Having many principle to follow such as utilizing all resources and following and enhancing energy flows ,for example the ditch around the house catches the rain water and leads it through the chicken house where it cleans and picks up the manure to deposit it in the vegetable patchPermaculture means permanent agriculturea concept put forward by Bill Mollison in the 60`sWhich offers practical solutions for energy systems ,infrastructure ,intelligent design in housing,animal shelter ,water systems and sustainable agricultural practices.With the world and it`s history as it`s sourceFrom the chinampas of Mexico to the terraced gardens of the Andes.From the dessert wadis to the steppes of Russia.Covering all climatic conditions temporal, dessert, humid and dry tropics.with chapters on soil ,Water harvesting and land design,Bio diversityEarth working ,Spirals in nature,Trees and water ,utilizing energy flows,Strategy for an alternative nationincluding gardening tips,bio-gas,companion planting and ideas for structures ,how to cool down houses in hot climates ,how to warm up houses in cold climates with out using technology but rather by design.--------------------------------------------------------------The Permaculture designers manual by Bill Mollison,which cost about 40 dollars.and is the best all round book you can get,on Environmental design,.(tagiari publishing, tagariadmin@southcom.com.au)Some other writers that are on the Internet areDavid HomegrownLarry SantoyoKirk HansonMasanobu Fukuaka has written ,One-Straw RevolutionThe Road Back to NatureThe Natural Way of FarmingSimon Hendersonand Bill Molisson.there is a Permaculture Institute in Australiathere is also a Dry land strategy Institute in North AmericaLinks to previous relevant answersbio diversityhttp://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=AoHkf4Mao.pJn3xHi6xV1Pnsy6IX?qid=200707 28220706AAmTdlTorganic pest controlhttp://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=AhfcBgXmgqLHJDS.1hZOVA3sy6IX?qid=200706 09070008AA35IZ5growing your ownhttp://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=AqLpdYrdelPnP0HiyH2wurjsy6IX?qid=200705 28180353AAxQuAmwater harvestinghttp://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=AlhND.Nc1wg2D5AyfZU9NzDsy6IX?qid=200705 04150425AAAwVwAthe rippling effecthttp://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=AvwaHVtzogdsI8MrfMcvhaHsy6IX?qid=200707 06214424AAjgbuzchoosing a site http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=An5GAG03Te7IFEFaD1XTwkfsy6IX?qid=200707 11193404AAGQlW7alternative solutions to Urban sprawlhttp://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=AksobeRFQTAnaaAr4FEBAiMAAAAA;_ylv=3?qid =20071013043017AA6wcWX
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Old 07-17-2009, 11:22 AM
decade decade is offline
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Default What do you think of this story? What would your response to it be?

Permaculture: I consider that there would be much more social unrest than the picture paints, otherwise it is a possible future, perhaps too optimistic?We have grown so reliant on oil, that few of us can even start to imagine what life may be like without it. Permaculture offers some solutions, certainly town and cities would need to be redesigned to facilitate food and fuel production; timber. In the countryside people would I consider would wholeheartedly embrace the energy efficient techniques of Permaculture. It is the suburban landscape that would be different, the priority would again be to have cottage gardens, producing food and timber with orchards where there was space. So imagine lawns disappear, an abundance of wildlife and food production becoming much more the responsibility of individuals than for some time. In England, as in other countries, the last real campaign for home food production was the Dig For Britain campaign in the Second World War. The British rally round in a crisis.Cuba is one of the best examples of a nation that had to take action due to the problems associated with loss of oil and well worth a look at the links below. Public spaces were planted with crops and the whole nation's ideology shifted. Certainly there will still be a massive demand for 'commercially' produced food, home crops fail, people are ill/old/too young. It is here where I really see the problems. The Agriculture business relies on heavy power use. Without oil, or another ???? equivalent how are we going to produce enough food on a large scale without using the energy we produce to fuel the machines we need to produce it? The second problem of course is that we are still not taking this problem seriously enough. We should be preparing now, take global warming out of the picture, looking at sustainability only. If we do not start using the 'energy/oil' now to set up and develop systems NOW, whilst we still have oil then it will be much, much, harder to do without it. Taking something as simple as making contours, chinampas or terracing in Permaculture. It is a half a day job with a digger, without the fuel? Weeks and weeks of hard labour by hand.Instead people are allowed to waste this precious resource with the belief it is not going to happen in their lifetime. So What is Permaculture?:Permaculture is to live ethically and sustainably so we have to understand eco systems and how the natural world works. The key is to understand that we are a single system; not separate. Whatever we do locally affects other people and the environment globally. Local solutions provide the best answers, we have different climates, soils, flora and fauna. Different needs, wants, tradition and cultures. But by acting locally we must keep an eye on the Horizon by limiting the damage on the environment and people globally. For example Global Warming affects us all.Permaculture seeks to design ways of meeting man's needs by creating permanent high-yielding agricultural ecosystems. It is a solution aimed at how people can live on the smallest amount of land possible. The natural landscape (the rest, the wilderness is then not used by man) it is then left alone to heal and so it functions holistically.Local responsibility ensures that people become as auto sufficient as possible both individually and as trading communities. Man is responsible for meeting his own needs for fuel, food and dealing with his own outputs and wastes.Timber is grown on site in mixed native woodlands. This enriches the local ecosystem but its basis is the opposition of meeting man's needs by deforestation of the remaining natural and ancient forests/woodlands. Permaculture is a system of observation and least possible intervention both in terms of the home and the wilderness. It's leading principle is that eco-systems will naturally re-balance if left alone.Hence the desire to create high yielding 'homesteads' to meet man's needs as efficiently as possible. By creating our own mini high yielding systems for our own use we use the least amount of everything possible. The Ethics of Permaculture are: Earth Care this is simply working with nature not against it. Limiting consumption and self limiting family size so there is less demand on natural systems/finite resources/finite land.People CareBy being as self reliant as possible we do not exploit others, nor the land. Permaculture seeks to provide Permanent Agriculture. For example trees that are planted today on the 'homestead' will be inheritance for your grandchildrens' generation. Mixed woodlands of native trees on the homestead are managed so they provide food and fuel but the key principle is PERMANENT culture. You are investing in the future but having your needs met as ethically as possible whilst providing a legacy for future generations.Fair SharesOne earth it is socially just to share with everyone, all other living things and with future generations. By limiting our consumption of everything including family size it supports the needs of everyone throughout the world to have access to clean water, clean air, food, shelter, fair and living wage, community etc.Links not all are 'pure' Permaculture, but the links at the end are essential knowledge as the ideas are used in Permaculture.Download the free ebook Essence of Permaculture on David Holmgren's website.David Holmgren & Su DennettHolmgren Design ServicesEmail info@holmgren.com.au Website http://www.holmgren.com.au http://www.permaculture.org.uk/http://66.102.1.104/scholar?hl=en&lr=&q=cache:NP7jlNz6oS0J:www.emissio nizero.net/Introduction_to_Permaculture_-_Bill_Mollison_1981.pdf+http://www.terrapsych.com/permaculturedesign.pdfhttp://www.permacultureactivist.net/Newsletter/Permanews.htm http://youtube.com/watch?v=mVJtpuOyCo0 http://youtube.com/watch?v=wai5nDz_OjY&mode=related&search= http://youtube.com/watch?v=l3_RbgtDnQE&mode=related&search= http://youtube.com/watch?v=3jD7rATl39Y http://youtube.com/watch?v=ZOaPFt_ajvU&mode=user&search= http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ye90FxJmuw0&mode=related&search= http://noimpactman.typepad.com/blog/2007/02/what_you_need_t.html http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kr3u8oqsxW4http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYgQAfxXHqkhttp://www.sbpermaculture.org/index.htmlhttp://www.thefarm.org/permaculture/http://search.abc.net.au/search/search.cgi?form=simple&num_ranks=10&collection=abc all&query=Peter+Andrews&meta_v=austory&submit=Sear chhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sohI6vnWZmkhttp://video.on.nytimes.com/?fr_story=46dd3d6fde496927d1d80e1120a79631b58bde60 http://video.on.nytimes.com/?fr_story=46dd3d6fde496927d1d80e1120a79631b58bde60 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7g2mmqqEn08&mode=related&search= http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sfz7V8MvbmgVandana Shiva, conference about Trees 1/4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzR7w4HOCDM&mode=related&search=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tM3HFpW6qYM&mode=related&search=ttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n77BfxnVlychttp://youtube.com/watch?v=q7JgenD4fdw&mode=user&search=http://youtube.com/watch?v=q7JgenD4fdw&mode=user&search=Populationhtt p://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykQVxWQpZzA&mode=related&search=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJVMh2-5Lr0&mode=related&search=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmEosykOesEhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lJ_WwAhYKw&mode=related&search=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pb3JI8F9LQQ&mode=related&search=http://globalpublicmedia.com/transcripts/645Memehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzGjEkp772shttp://home.clara.net/heureka/gaia/deep-eco.htmhtp://www.davidsuzuki.org/http://www.davidsuzuki.org/NatureChallenge/http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5JiQdfmyrI&mode=related&search=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5w10sIg20pM&mode=related&search=
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