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How will our minds handle contraction?
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SunnyJim



Joined: 24 Jan 2007
Posts: 2915

PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hehehe. I haven't resorted to theft yet! I just feel that things that are currently not seen as valuable (e.g. bits of windblown wood and horse shite) will one day be seen as very valuable. I do feel like something things can be had for virtually nothing now, but will be hugely valueable in the future. I keep a close eye out for these things. I have a bucket and spade in the back of the car, and stop when I see a pile of horse shite in the road... a bucket a week goes into the compost bins....

Sheep wool fleeces for instance. Currently farmers virtually give them away. One day they will again be a major source of clothing. Or as insulation. Sometimes you see piles of them left in the fields to rot....
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"Heaven and earth are ruthless, and treat the myriad creatures as straw dogs" (Lao Tzu V.i).
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adam2
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Joined: 02 Jul 2007
Posts: 7240
Location: North Somerset

PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe that a reasonable comfortable standard of living could be achieved with far less money/moneys worth than is expended now. In many respects we need not to abandon all technology, but to simplify and scale back.

Basic technology made life much better in 1960 compared to 1860, but many of todays advances are not really needed and have not improved life that much.

Electric light (whether grid supplied or a small PV system) is far superior to oil lamps or candles.
Most modern developments in domestic lighting have in fact been backwards steps, cheap imported tat, that wastes energy, uses obscure lamps, and breaks after a few years.
I would be happy to return to the 1930s/1960s single pendant light and a desk lamp (though I would use a modern low energy lamp)

A piped water supply saves a vast amount of labour over hand pumping and carrying from a well, but most people had piped water in the 1960s, recent "improvements" have consisted of new designs of plumbing fixture that cant be repaired, and ever more complex water bylaws.
Back to the 1960s, cheaper simpler, one kitchen sink, one bath, one WC, except in large households where additional facilities would be useful.

Telephones save a great deal of time and trouble, and can save life in case of fire or sudden illness, but again we had phones in 1960 ! recent " improvements" have made telephones more complex, less durable, and reliant on mains electricity.

Motor cars if used prudently are a great improvement over walking or horses, yet many modern cars use more fuel than ones made 40 years, and are incredibly complex, certainly not user servicable as was the case in the past.

And as for electricity in general, In the 1960s re-wiring a home was a simple task that anyone of normal inteligence could do in a day or two.
Four circuits being ample for most homes.
Twenty circuits is now the norm, and the job will cost thousands and require all sorts of detailed calculations.
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emordnilap



Joined: 05 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes adam2, as someone famously said, the main problem these days seems to be 'bigness'.
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RenewableCandy



Joined: 12 Sep 2007
Posts: 12654
Location: York

PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SunnyJim wrote:
...I just feel that things that are currently not seen as valuable (e.g. bits of windblown wood...

Quite. A skip full of bricks has appeared opposite our house today and I really fancy building a new raised/decorative bed...and sitting in splendour atop said bricks is a Pallet...and I'm annoyed because I'm ILL and I really don't feel up to staggering about carrying stuff even though I can see it from here and it is speaking to me...

SunnyJim wrote:
Sheep wool fleeces for instance... Sometimes you see piles of them left in the fields to rot....

I'm SPEECHLESS Exclamation Can't they give those nice people at ThermaFleece a ring?
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Little John



Joined: 08 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 11:04 pm    Post subject: . Reply with quote

I think most humans are quite content to just pootle along more or less getting by. It is only in the last century or so that we have all been conditioned to want to consume ever greater amounts.

So, all other things being equal, I don't think people would have too much problem adjusting to a more frugal lifestyle.

However, all other things are not equal. A frugal lifestyle will not cut it. Not in the medium to long term. The industrial use of hydrocarbons has allowed us to massively overshoot our planet's carrying capacity. Until our global population drops back below that carrying capacity we cannot get by on frugality. There must be a huge die off. It is this die-off that we, of this generation, must live through. It will be nothing short of hell on earth.

In the very long term, at the other side of the above die off? Maybe we, as a species, get to live a kind of life that is worthwhile. A humbler life. One that involves a more realistic recognition of our place in the universe.

I hope so...
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JohnB



Joined: 22 May 2006
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Location: Beautiful sunny West Wales!

PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RenewableCandy wrote:
A skip full of bricks has appeared opposite our house today and I really fancy building a new raised/decorative bed

I've just finished building a brick cold frame using earth as the mortar. Apparently it will last for ages, it can be easily demolished and the bricks reused if required, and I only had to wash a bit of dirt off my hands when I finished.
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adam2
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Joined: 02 Jul 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 8:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

RenewableCandy wrote:
SunnyJim wrote:
t;]Sheep wool fleeces for instance... Sometimes you see piles of them left in the fields to rot....

I'm SPEECHLESS Exclamation Can't they give those nice people at ThermaFleece a ring?


With the present very low wool price, fleeces are almost valueless (the animals still have to be sheared for welfare reasons)

I have often wondered therefore why are woolen blankets so expensive?
70 each in a well known store!
I appreciate that the cleaning, spinning and weaving of the wool is not trivial, but neither is it that hard. The manufacture of blankets should be a low tech industry, best done not by hand but with simple machinery.

Wool is a renewable material produced at very low cost if the sheep are reared primarily for eating.
Would not the use of wool blankets be preferable to those made of oil-derived synthetic materials ?
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adam2
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 8:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="RenewableCandyQuite. A skip full of bricks has appeared opposite our house today and I really fancy building a new raised/decorative bed...and sitting in splendour atop said bricks is a Pallet...and I'm annoyed because I'm ILL and I really don't feel up to staggering about carrying stuff even though I can see it from here and it is speaking to me...
[/quote]

Would it be worth asking whoever hired the skip if they would put the articles in your garden?
After all it might save them the expense of a second skip.
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RenewableCandy



Joined: 12 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That might not be a bad idea actually...particularly as JohnB's cold-frame idea rather appeals. Another pallet has appeared too! I think I'm beginning to feel a bit less ill now...
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snow hope



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
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Location: outside Belfast, N Ireland

PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Every week or two I now take my trailer out and tour round a couple of industrial estates in South Belfast and I always end up with at least 2 trailer loads of pallets. Companies just leave them out on the footpath and eventually somebody like me comes along and picks them up - in my case for free firewood. I suspect there are a few others that do similar, but maybe collect the pallets for commercial reasons - I really am not sure.......
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RenewableCandy



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If loads of people cottoned on to that, like PanickyMum's neigbours with their local wood, we might find ourselves facing Peak Pallet...
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emordnilap



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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Veering dangerously back to topic, I wonder how many people will be put off flying if we get more incidents like the the plane crash in Madrid? Would a negative shift in peoples' desire to fly have any effect on the availability and price of oil?

As corners are cut, staff are overworked, schedules are tightened (Ryanair are to introduce 'no bag' flights to cut costs and speed up journeys), jobs are doubled up, aircraft are used for longer and longer and ever cheaper resources are sought, there's a chance that Madrid-type incidents could become more common.
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PS_RalphW



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
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Location: Cambridge

PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Airlines belonging to countries of the Former Soviet Union had third world rates of crashes and fatalities in the aftermath of the Soviet collapse.

It will be a few years before Western airlines fall to that level, but human error underlies many crashes, and demoralised staff facing 30% redundancies make many more human errors.
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leroy



Joined: 09 Oct 2007
Posts: 335

PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of my best friends, a great guy generally, has just flown to Las Vegas for the Bank Holiday weekend. I explained oil depletion to him a year or so ago but he still bought a 15mpg Maserati and has taken 3 weekend trips to Nevada in the past 12 months. It is weird, isn't it, how I can't bring myself to fly on a plane or drive, have given up smoking and drastically reduced my meat consumption in order to reduce my environmental impact, and most people are still absolutely going for it? My brother fully understands the potential implications of CC and energy depletion and says that you might as well just go for it - he has just flown round the world - because there aren't going to be any medals for the abstainers and we are all f*cked anyway. I have to say I am coming round to his way of thinking.
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PS_RalphW



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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tragedy of the commons writ large.
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