Is growth the solution or the problem?

Big Ideas - Full program podcastMartin enjoys hanging out the washing. No, I don’t make him do it. ๐Ÿ˜‰ He offers… For the 20 minutes or more of uninterrupted(except by mosquitoes) peace and quiet. He gets to be alone. He gets to listen to the radio if he likes. He gets to listen to Radio National, his station of choice. I prefer background music to talking so he loves this quiet time in our garden in the twilight after the kids are in bed where he gets to enjoy the peace at the end of a long day.

The other evening whilst he was hanging out the washing he comes in with his little hand heldย transistorย and tells me I would LOVE this talk. I’m thinking “no, not really” until I heard the topic of discussion. Peak oil and related. Sadly we missed about 40 minutes of it but we were able to listen online and download it too. ๐Ÿ˜€ I highly recommend listening to this. Richard Heinbergย talks about the end of easy to access fossil fuels, how this will impact on things like food, lifestyle and the GDP, how the economy will suffer and much more. It sounds very doom and gloom I know but it’s actually very well presented and raises and addresses the questions of what can we do, what will happen and some things to think about very carefully that may affect our journey into the post peak oil world.

The link is HERE.

One of the comments that struck me was that growth over history is the anomaly. Our economies before the industrial revolution were stable things that ticked along nicely. Another comment that struck a chord was that 1 litre of petrol, at approximately $1.50 contains the embodied energy of a months worth of hard labour for a single person. Really makes you stop and think doesn’t it.

When listening to Richard Heinberg speak I felt like he had taken all the partly formed ideas, thoughts I’d had but not been able to complete and many things I’d instinctively believed that were in my head and put them into eloquent words. He had also padded out my thoughts, completed them and added a whole lot more ideas that I hadn’t even begun to process. I have listened to the podcast which I downloaded, 3 times. It’s good! Just search Radio National and then the Big Ideas program. ๐Ÿ™‚

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27 thoughts on “Is growth the solution or the problem?

  1. LyndaD says:

    Will Do!
    Not to be distracted from what you are saying but I love your writing – its very eloquent. I enjoy being able to take my thoughts and put them into some sort of written form and i can tell that you do also. Im a ferocious reader but i’ve slowed down now im blogging and its my words going out into blogland for someone to read. My friend has told me she thinks its all a bit self absorbed and is not impressed. I dont understand, as i would have thought that if doing something was making me happy, she would approve whether it is something she would choose or not. Oh Well!. I dont know if you are the same, but i need to proof read over and over as sometimes it all comes out so fast and my fingers are flashing across a keyboard that i miss words all together or i have all the letters in the word but they are back to front (spellcheck is my friend). Cheers – have a lovely weekend. Hey, did you know there is a chicken auction in BM today? Who knew such a thing existed! I’ll be sure to follow up the link.

    • I tend not to proof read too much as I know if I do I’ll not post. I have several drafts saved that have been overproofed. lol
      I too am a ferocious reader WHEN I have the time and I love my fantasy books but I find now that I am learning so much from my blogs and doing so much (well not over the last 2 weeks) that I fall into bed and my insomnia is MUCH easier to deal with. It’s a 30 minute sleep routine rather than 2 or more hours. ๐Ÿ™‚
      I guess blogging can be a little self absorbed if you look at it from the perspective that we are telling everyone all about ourselves BUT I prefer to focus on the angle of sharing our thoughts and actions on certain issues or sharing how-to’s or don’t-do-this’s rather than the look-at-me-I’m-so-great’s. ๐Ÿ˜›
      And thank you for the huge compliment. I hope that I am but the self doubt eats us all. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. LyndaD says:

    You Too! Insomnia has plagued me for years. Itโ€™s a bit of a joke that im up all night. Turning things off, putting load of washing on, cooking overnight (now banned as it apparently upsets everyoneโ€™s stomach juices and give them a bad sleep). I think too much. Too much going up there trying to make sure the juggler doesnโ€™t drop all the balls. Too much responsibility with an autistic husband (currently unemployed) and autistic son (wading through the minefield of adolescents). A single light switch can wake me. I actually get woken by the alarm clock in the neighborโ€™s house which is on the far side of their block. Im not helped by having acute hearing or is it that im too aware, watching, waiting to jump in and do something. Im lucky they get so involved that I can slip off for a nana nap on weekends sometimes to catch up. As a commercial manager of several sme’s with cash flow issues Iโ€™m constantly chasing my tail. I need a few more helpers at work but canโ€™t afford to pay them so its just worker harder and smarter. So, I find that reading blogs and writing myself, helps clear my mind (and make me sleepy enough) to just roll into bed and zonk out for a few hours instead of tossing and turning trying to get to sleep. Being middle aged and having to get up to go to the toilet several times a night doesnt help.

  3. Gavin Webber says:

    Hi Jessie, great podcast episode. I might rehash it in one of my own. Richard does describe the problem so well, and much better than my Peak Oil posts. You should read his book “Peak Everything”. It is a great eye opener as well, and written very well.

    Gav x

    • Richard seems to have a real way with words though. He can share the doom without the gloom and I just LOVE his comment about importing oil and “get in line”. It got right up my nose and I felt incredibly indignant for about 2 seconds til I realised he was spot on right. Challenging. He has about 10 books published I think so I reckon I will be looking to download them if they’re available. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Nothing wrong with your peak oil posts by the way. YOU were the one who cottoned me on to the idea that one day oil might actually run out so you’re doing something right there. We are here in Ballan, living the dream partly because of your education and inspiration. ๐Ÿ™‚ And I will be planting my first ever broad beans this winter too. I’ve never even eaten them but again, you’ve inspired me. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. narf77 says:

    Martin NEEDS a shed! Steve doesn’t have tiny feet tapping along beside him (no-one could EVER call Bezial and Earl tiny ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) but even he needs to take himself off out to his shed and breath on his own sometimes…Here in Tassie there is a swell of “Mens sheds” being built, they have realised that men need a bit of space like we do (SHOCK HORROR! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) and a place to connect with power tools, wood and Tim-the-toolman grunts and posturing.
    Its always an amazing relief when you can find the stages and words to piece together something that is affecting you profoundly. Peak oil needs more than one head wrapped around it and this podcast certainly makes it clearer and more importantly, offers “action” rather than passive fear. Have a great sunday ๐Ÿ™‚

    • The shed is in progress. ๐Ÿ™‚ We both need our spaces to do our hobbies and I’ll be getting my sewing cupboard as soon as finances permit. Martins shed is important for several reasons. The shed will have 3 parts to it, wood shed, storage for the extra and temporarily outgrown (car seats etc) and for the wall of boxes we still have, and for lack of a better term, the man cave for Martin’s tools and hobbies. In the mean time, hanging the washing is working for us both. ๐Ÿ˜‰
      Yes, Richard does offer hope, solutions and some really viable options for a brighter future.

  5. narf77 says:

    Completely off topic but I just found this and thought you might love it like I did ๐Ÿ™‚
    http://www.crochetnmore.com/loafpantote.htm

    • Pity I can’t yet crochet. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Really MUST learn.

      • Linne says:

        Crochet is super easy: think “one stick and a piece of string”. Wish I lived down there; I’d pop in and teach you in a couple of 15 min lessons. I used to do that on the floor in the Lewiscraft store when I was a manager. There are some good lessons online, too. When you have time . . .

        • I can crochet a chain but linking it into a circle just doesn’t work. My grandmother was a marvelous crocheter and she made tartan rugs, floral rugs, rugs made of multi-coloured squares or hexagons, clothing, and even some lace on the side of the handkerchief I used at my wedding. I believe she may have even crocheted some of my aunts wedding dress. She taught me back when I was about 10 but when I asked in my early 20’s I was told “I’ve already showed you how to” and that was that. I’d love to be able to make flowers and such but time, it’s always time. I have so many projects already planned or on the go… ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Linne says:

            ok, you can make a chain . . . to make a circle, leave the last loop on the hook and put the hook through the first loop you made, then draw the yarn through both to form a new loop. If that doesn’t make sense, let me know and I’ll give you a couple of links to sites with good photos. ~ Linne

            • Thanks for that. I figured that’s how it was done but when I tried it with black wool… I didn’t have the patience to try again. lol
              When I get the time and inclination I will definitely remember this and hit you up for those links. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Linne says:

      Thanks for the link, Narf. I checked it out and have added that to my ‘to-do’ list. ~ Linne

      • narf77 says:

        Hi there…I just headed over and checked out your site, great site! You follow 23 thorns? Anyone who follows that wonderful adventure is alright by me! :).

        • Linne says:

          It was thanks to comments by you two that I found his site; the first post I read was the one about the 2 minute noodles and the second was the zen one, with his kids running in and out of the house. I laughed out loud! I’m the eldest of nine and did lots of child care before, during and after raising my own two. I could sure relate to his day!! AND to his wife wanting a few hours away! I love kids, but some days . . .

          I was happy to see he was “Freshly Pressed” and even happier to recommend him to others. Thanks again. ~ Linne

          • He deserved the freshly pressed for sure. I LOVE his posts. Even the heartfelt ones like his Dad’s passing, and the creepy ones (I had to dodge the one on millipedes) are always a brilliant read. He has an amazing way with words.

  6. Yes, a good book to read about peak oil is The Long Emergency by James Howard Kunstler

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Long-Emergency-Catastrophes-Twenty-First/dp/0802142494/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1361672345&sr=8-1&keywords=the+long+emergency

    Thanks. Keep Blogging. Keep Writing.

  7. Andrew and I just listened to it under a fan while it’s too hot to do much. I think I’ve heard most of his ideas before, but it’s always good to go over it and cement ideas. I must read some of his books, thanks for the link x

    • Yes, there wasn’t much that I found particularly new as such but it helped me bring it all together. His point on shipping all our resources to China really made me sit up and take notice though. I hadn’t thought of that point before. I love hearing different speakers/bloggers on the same point though. It always makes me feel like there is a real swell of people all beginning the wave in the right direction. It gives me hope. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Linne says:

    Thanks for the recommendation. I don’t have time right now to find it and listen, but will look for his books at the library. I started down this path years ago when I met a couple who had been activists before WWII; at that time, they were trying to get DDT banned. When I knew them, they were living the simple life on an island and were retired. I learned SO much from them!

    Every year, here in Edmonton (AB), they have a bunch of car races for a week; just going round and round a large track. I get so worked up about the waste of fuel, oil, etc. when I can see that it’s not going to last forever. If I only had enough food for a couple of years and no way to get more (forget gardens for a minute); I sure wouldn’t be letting the kids have food fights or be tossing the food in the garbage. Makes me so mad! Oh, well, we have to each do what we can. Thanks again. ~ Linne

    • Wow, since before WWII that is AMAZING! Yes, motor racing (boats, cars, bikes, whatever) really is a ridiculous waste of fuel that we really can’t afford. I don’t think my brother, a die hard Ford fan, would be pleased to hear me say that.Reality is though, until the price of fuel reaches levels where tickets become unattainable to all bar the elite, it will continue.

  9. EcoCatLady says:

    Just found you from Rhonda’s post over at Down to Earth and thought I’d pop over to say hello.

    I’m a HUGE fan of Richard Heinberg. I’ve read several of his books and periodically just search for him on YouTube to see what he’s got to say. Can’t wait to listen to this one! The analogy of his that sticks in my mind most is that he says that humans are undergoing what ecologists call a “population bloom.” When an organism finds a freely available fuel source it tends to multiply out of control, all the while using up the fuel. He uses the analogy of yeast eating up the sugar in grape juice to form wine. Eventually, they eat up all the sugar and in the process they create alcohol, which is toxic to them. I think it’s a great analogy.

    I realize this totally isn’t the point of this post, but I’m curious – do you really hang the clothes out to dry in the evening? I LOVE hanging the laundry, but only when I can take my time and enjoy the process. The thing is, I’m a total night owl, and my high efficiency washer takes about 2 hours to complete a load… so unless I’m organized enough to start a load the night before, I always feel rushed to get it hung so there’s time for it to dry… especially during winter. Just curious…

    Anyhow, I’m thrilled to have found your little corner of the blogosphere, and can’t wait to read more.

    Cheers!
    Cat

    • We hang it out whenever there’s a chance, morning, noon or night. ๐Ÿ™‚ I too am a night owl but trying to learn to catch that poor old early worm but even so I’m a morning dawdler and I tend to blink then realise it’s lunchtime. Whoops. Main thing is to get it dry I guess so it can live on the couch for ages until I’m motivated to fold and put it away. ๐Ÿ˜‰ (housework is NOT my strongest point)

      • Linne says:

        I love hanging laundry, too; my husband would never have had a chance LOL. Did you ever see a drying rack that is made of two crosspieces at the end, with stout dowels joining them (the dowels are glued into holes drilled in the crosspieces). The whole contraption is hung above the stove by way of ropes and pulleys, so it can be lowered to put the laundry on, then pulled up to take advantage of the dry heat near the ceiling. If you do this, make sure the hooks that hold the pulleys are well anchored in the ceiling (I like the sort of hook that has a threaded base and can have a nut screwed onto it (after it is put through a hole in a ceiling beam) as you would with a bolt; you don’t want the whole thing to crash down as you are cooking supper! This works best over a wood stove, of course; if you don’t have one of those, the rack can be installed in a laundry room, garage or basement; anywhere that is dry and warm enough so the moisture isn’t a problem. I have one in my BC storage that I kept from the home of an elderly friend after she passed away. I knew the people who bought the house were just going to throw it out. I still look forward to using it one day . . . ~ Linne

  10. Lynne Gill says:

    Dear Rabid (I have to chuckle writing that!) a very quick comment as I need to go and sort the supper out, and I want to spend some time reading your older posts. Came to your blog via Down To EArth, Rhonda, and both your comments rang a bell with me. Much older than you, I have some stuff in common, and am still trying to get myself organised – in fact I blogged about it recently. Going to read you and Rhonda and get my pen and paper out to give myself some …now I won’t say TARGETS as I put them behind me after retiring from the NHS, but certainly things to aim for, get my backside in gear, as my husband would say! Will be back to visit, thanks for some interesting thoughts. Lynne. UK

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