Black gold is oil—that energy-rich goo upon which we have built a whole way of life which will end within the lifetimes of most people alive today.
A couple of days ago, I came across the best peak oil video I’ve ever seen. It was made in association with the Post Carbon Institute and has Richard Heinberg as its technical adviser (no wonder it’s the best).
It’s in animated format, which makes it easy to watch and understand. Watching little cartoons is better than watching a boring commentator endlessly spouting. It’s in four parts—oil discovery & production are covered first, then energy, next growth and finally food production.
The most important facts about oil depletion are covered—EROEI, Hubbert’s predictions, why ethanol or renewables won’t allow us to continue with BAU (business as usual) and all the usual stuff that peakists know off by heart. The section about exponential growth and why it can’t continue is good (even has Prof Albert Bartlett’s bacteria-in-the-test-tube example—love those ugly bacterial faces) and for the musically inclined, some nice Vivaldi in the background.
I’ve downloaded it to watch again and (possibly) copy to a DVD to give to people (especially my hairdresser, who thinks there’s enough oil left to run industrial civilisation for another 400 years!!!)
If you don’t know about the peaking of global oil production and the ramifications of decline, please watch this video. It runs for 34 mins. I can’t stress how important it is to understand what’s coming down the line and to start preparing for it.
The black birds are the infamous Blackbird (Turdus merula), an introduced species and a pain in the neck and everywhere else. They dig up seedlings, throw mulch all over the paths, run off with whole cherry tomatoes in their beaks and generally reduce me to a state of apoplexy.
(I once watched a native Grey Butcherbird trying to drag a dead male Blackbird up into a tree. I don’t know if he killed it—they’re about the same size, so good effort if he did).
I’ve been pulling out my summer veggies and topping up the wicking tubs and boxes with fresh compost in preparation for the winter plantings. Every day I find it all tossed on the ground. Every day I scoop it all back up again, cursing loudly.
That stuff on the top of the wicking boxes is shredded newspaper. They don’t like it. Won’t go near it. No digging. No tossing the compost around. I’m rapt!
I can make a small opening and plant my seedlings into it without any problems.
If my Thermomix is the best thing I’ve bought in the last 6 months, then my $20 paper shredder from Officeworks is the second best thing.
And actually, I have Frogdancer to thank for that. When she bought her garden group down to see the garden last Spring, she presented me with a bag of shredded newspaper impregnated with chook poo from her Girls. What a great idea, I thought…use up the papers…bedding for the Girls…let them turn it into compost. Unfortunately, like the blackbirds, they didn’t like it either. When I put this great mountain of white spaghetti into their coop, they freaked out and wouldn’t go in there (and it isn’t even Murdoch trash).
Not to worry. I can use it to light the fire in winter, layer it in the compost bin with the grass clippings from a friend’s garden (I bet the worms won’t say no), and use it as mulch.
(It needs to be kept damp, so it doesn’t blow away. It mats down and can be rolled back like a carpet—no good for small seeds, but I’m going to try planting some pea seeds and roll it back over them. As long as it’s not too thick, I think they’ll come up through it).