Archive for July, 2014

Enough is enough…..

July 30, 2014

Watch the video that comes with this re-blogged post from Mike at Damn The Matrix. I’ve just ordered the book.

I think we can fix the problems and build a steady-state economy, but I can’t see the impetus ever coming from government. It has to come from a change at the grassroots level…from every one of us. We can stop the needless consumption of resources and energy. If we don’t nature will do it for us.

Damn the Matrix

This little video came past me during a heated disussion over at The Conversation.  I have to say, it’s one of the very best things I’ve seen in a long time, it almost gives me hopium!  It originated from

The standout statement for me, who submerges himself in all this stuff and finds it harder and harder to learn something new was this:

“Growth is a substitute for equality of income.  So long as there is growth there is hope, and that makes large income differentials tolerable”

And who said this?  Henry Wallich, former Governor of the Federal Reserve…..  of course as the film reveals, equality of income is also a substitute for growth…  This film also deals with the predicament of debt well.  Tim Jackson, whose lecture on growth is featured elsewhere on DTM makes an appearance also.

Also making an appearance in this film is the idea…

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Off-grid solar

July 27, 2014

No, I’m not going off-grid any time soon (oh, I wish), but at least I can read about other people’s experiences.

Thanks to this article in this morning’s Sunday Age, I’ve bookmarked the blog, The Off-grid Solar House, and look forward to reading the exploits of someone who is where I’d like to be.


Climate Change

July 26, 2014

For the last few weeks, I’ve been doing a series of on-line courses with Open2Study, one of the Open University programs.

Each course consists of 4 modules and each module consists of a series of 8-10 topics, with accompanying short videos. According to the time frames of each course, a module is meant to be completed in a week, so each course should be completed in 4 weeks. It’s possible to get ahead somewhat, although the assessments held at the end of each module may not be available until the required date.

In addition to revising my knowledge of basic physics and microbiology, I picked a course on the subject of climate change

It has been fascinating and even though I thought I was well up in climate change, there are new things I’ve learned.

I just started Module 4—”Fixing it”— and it starts with the lecturer, Prof. Lesley Hughes, talking with well-known climate scientist, Prof. Tim Flannery. It’s well worth watching.

Prof. Flannery thinks we can fix it. I have to say I’m not as positive as he is, but you’ll have to make up your own minds.

I thought that because of the nature of the courses, I wouldn’t be able to embed a video in this blog, but I tried and it worked (there’s a written transcript with each video but that seems not to have been embedded).

So enjoy (and consider taking some of the courses that interest you).

World Oil Production at 3/31/2014–Where are We Headed?

July 25, 2014

Another informative post from Gail Tverberg at Our Finite World.

I’m going to keep re-blogging Gail’s posts because it’s important for people to understand what is happening on the oil depletion scene, and Gail does the background work far better than I could. Read the comments too; she often has more to say there.

Our Finite World

The standard way to make forecasts of almost anything is to look at recent trends and assume that this trend will continue, at least for the next several years. With world oil production, the trend in oil production looks fairly benign, with the trend slightly upward (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Quarterly crude and condensate oil production, based on EIA data. Figure 1. Quarterly crude and condensate oil production, based on EIA data.

If we look at the situation more closely, however, we see that we are dealing with an unstable situation. The top ten crude oil producing countries have a variety of problems (Figure 2). Middle Eastern producers are particularly at risk of instability, thanks to the advances of ISIS and the large number of refugees moving from one country to another.

Figure 2. Top ten crude oil and condensate producers during first quarter of 2014, based on EIA data. Figure 2. Top ten crude oil and condensate producers during first quarter of 2014, based on EIA data.

Relatively low oil prices are part of the problem as well. The cost…

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Is it coming?

July 21, 2014

The Noisy Miners are collecting cobwebs from under the eaves.

The Wood Ducks are looking for tree hollows.

The Kookaburras are doing likewise (it’s apparently an uproariously funny process).

My tomato seeds are coming up:


And I found this under the trees, all ready to fry for tonight’s dinner:


Even the solar panels are producing above 4 kWh a day, highest they’ve been since May.

Yesterday Molly went into the nest and looked around… and my heart leapt. She came right out again… and my heart resumed its normal beat. But the signs are promising.

Spring must be coming!

I haven’t had any eggs since that hot week we had way back in January, when they stopped laying and moulted. I’ve been noticing that Molly’s wattles and comb are becoming a brighter red each week (Cheeky’s are so small, they’re almost not there). They’re both looking exceptionally handsome and healthy in their shiny new coats and I’m topping up the food containers more often, so they’re eating more. It’s time to start the daily treats of grated carrot and yoghurt again. I’m convinced the carrot is what makes their yolks so orange and the yoghurt helps with calcium intake.

They’re chatting to one another more, too. Normally they don’t vocalise much, only after laying. It’s a sort of querulous… “why am I feeling so funny inside at the moment?”  It’s hormones Girls! Let ’em rip!

I will be so glad to see the end of this cold, wet winter.

Roll on spring!


Are you growing kale?

July 19, 2014

Better make sure you save some seed:

Kale suppliers say rapid rise of vegetable’s popularity is leading to worldwide shortage

Peak Footwear

July 18, 2014

Something to think about. I go through a pair of cheap joggers a year working around the property. And look at that last sentence; “Some enterprising persons who know about leatherwork are likely to become highly prized members of any community if you ask me.”

Maybe shoemaking would be a good trade to learn for coping with a post -peak world.

Damn the Matrix

I was reminded to write about this subject some weeks ago when a Tassie friend of mine started listing essential things needed post crash.  On that list was footwear.  Shoes and boots, to anyone thinking like me of moving to a colder climate, are high on the list of essential things.  You can get away with walking around bare feet in Queensland for most of the year, but I suspect in Tasmania it would be out of the question, especially during the wet Winter season…….

So why write about footwear you ask…..  can’t I afford to buy sturdy boots to walk around the property?

Look around today at what people wear on their feet, and you will see shoes entirely made of plastic – read OIL.  Joggers and even loads of cheaper footwear these days are no longer made of leather.  I expect that with oil still being relatively cheap…

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The Thin Green Line

July 16, 2014

Watched Australian Story on ABC TV last Monday and was blown away to see Sean Willmore and the story about the organisation he founded called The Thin Green Line:


The Thin Green Line Foundation was founded by award-winning conservationist, documentary filmmaker and Park Ranger, Sean Willmore.

In 2004, Sean set off around the world to make a documentary about the stories of park rangers. Taking almost 12 months to travel through 23 countries, he uncovered  many inspiring stories along the way.

The Thin Green Line documentary premiered in 2007, capturing people’s hearts in over 50 countries. The film has since become an international success story, offering a sense of hope and pride for park rangers around the world.

The documentary became the catalyst for Sean to set up The Thin Green Line Foundation, to support park rangers in danger.

I was rapt, because I know Sean. When we bought our bush block in the mid-90’s Sean was the Conservation Officer for our local council. He was also a qualified assessor for the Victorian Land for Wildlife scheme. When I applied to have the property assessed as part of the scheme, Sean was the one who did the assessment. He’s a great guy—so totally committed to protecting the natural environment. It was Sean who inspired me to train and become a volunteer assessor with the scheme, which I did for a number of years. I’d heard he had been around the world making a documentary film about park rangers, but wasn’t aware of the full scope of what he’d done till I saw the TV program.

I’ve been to the Foundation’s website and made a donation. If you saw Australian Story and value what Sean is doing for wildlife conservation, have a think about making a donation, too. What’s happening in Africa—poaching of elephants for ivory and the deliberate killing of other species for money is an abomination.

(That Australian Story episode will be up on ABC iview for another 10 days or so.)


Good peak oil stuff

July 6, 2014

Incubate Pictures are the people who made that excellent little (cartoon) film, “There’s No Tomorrow”. I’ve linked to it previously at this blog. It’s one of the best peak oil documentaries I’ve ever seen.

The link to it is at their site. They’ve done another great little doco about fracking, “Don’t Frack Our Future”; the link’s there as well. And some comic book stuff. Einstein teaching George Bush? Now THAT I’d like to see!

Check it out. Their stuff is very good.

New cooker…but not for the kitchen

July 5, 2014

Here ’tis:

cobb-cookerIt’s a Cobb Oven.

It’s a sort of mini barbecue cum camp cooker and has to be used outdoors.

I read about it at Around the Mulberry Tree blog and it caught my interest, because I’m looking to save on bottled gas.

The Cobb website is here.

I checked out the website and found that Ray’s Outdoors sell them. We have a store locally so I went and had a look. I liked what I saw but decided I’d go home and think about it a bit more.

Then a friend rang and said Ray’s were having a sale and the Cobb was available with $60 discount. That decided it. I went and bought one. I also got a couple of accessories—the griddle and the frying dish—they were on special, too.

When I got it home, I discovered that the mini pizza stone (diameter 26 cm), I’d bought some time ago and hadn’t used, fitted it exactly. Another bonus. I can cook pizza on it.

The only disappointment is that I can’t use wood to fuel it; it will only use BBQ heat beads in the heating grate, but they’re cheap enough and I will still make a rocket stove at some time in the future.

I’ll use it out on the deck. I’m waiting for a day without rain and freezing winds to try it out.

It’s all about resilience really. Permaculture design says that each function in a permaculture system should be provided by more than one element. So for cooking (a major function), I’ll have electricity, gas, the Cobb and a rocket stove. When electricity and gas fail, as fossil fuels start to run out, I’ll still have the other two. And when I can’t buy BBQ fuel any longer, the rocket stove and the fuel I can source from the property, will come into it’s own.