25 02 2008

This article was published in the Hinterland Voice, an idiosyncratic local paper for the Noosa Hinterland people

I won’t and cannot claim to have any or all the ‘solutions’. Before you read on dear reader, you must realise that everything in your life is about to change.

The growth we have experienced in the last 150 years has only been possible because of ever growing amounts of cheap, very dense, and abundant energy. The population we have today is only here because we have all this cheap and abundant energy to keep our food supply going, and, I hasten to add, very little to do with technology. Did you know it takes 16 calories of oil and gas energy to produce 1 calorie of grain cereal? Think about that when you next buy a loaf of bread. And next time you buy a steak, remember that every calorie in that gladwrapped polystyrene tray took no less than 60 calories of fossil fuel energy to produce!

So when the crunch arrives in about 4 or 5 years, what will you do? This is what the history of fossil fuels looks like:

So why am I so confident ‘the crunch’ will occur so soon? Peak Oil does not mean running out of oil, in fact it ‘only’ means we have reached the point where half the entire oil endowment has been extracted. So there’s plenty left, right? Well there is, however, the first half that was extracted was the easiest and the best. It’s like picking mangoes. You always start at the bottom of the tree, then you have to start climbing the tree to get more, only to discover that the bats and the birds have got at them, and by the time you reach the top they’re all rotten.

Furthermore, the real problem emerging now is another phenomenon called Peak Export.

Nations that export a lot of oil normally have the largest wells. The USA was such a country, swimming in oil in the 30’s, unable to even think it could all end. Its production peaked in 1970, and within two years was importing oil to cover its growing demand. The UK went through exactly the same process, exporting vast amounts of its North Sea oil until it peaked out in the late 90’s, and is now importing again.

Now consider an Arab nation collecting close to $100 a barrel. Like our resource based economy, theirs is booming too. As a result, they’re building lots of infrastructure, like oil fired power stations, and importing lots of mostly 4WD cars, plasma screen TVs, just like us really. And it’s hot, so they aircondition, everything. Consequently, their own oil consumption is increasing exponentially, whilst AT THE SAME TIME their production is falling exponentially. The result of that, according to some interesting modeling that can be found at is that no exporting nation will be exporting any oil at all within around twelve years. At least willingly, if you get my drift!

A new modeling study has now been done for Australia which can be viewed at

The only adaptation to ‘the crunch’ is austerity. So is it any wonder governments are doing nothing? When was the last time people rioted in the streets demanding austerity? Worse, governments are lying to us. The economy and the current ticketing system (where 110 tickets are sold to accommodate 100 bums on seats in the hope we’ll soon have 110 seats) can only operate in a climate of confidence. If we all believe (myself totally excluded!) that everything’s perfectly OK (because that’s what they tell us on the tube) then we continue buying tickets, and voila, everything continues to be OK! Trouble is, NOTHING is OK. A depression is actually just around the corner, and it could make 1929 look like a picnic in the park. Don’t believe me? Then read this

Just consider this little scenario. You have just bought a $50,000 4WD. In next to no time, petrol gets to $3 a litre, and what’s more, it’s rationed so you can only get 30 litres a week. So you decide to sell it. Trouble is, nobody wants a shiny new 4WD anymore, and even at $10,000 you have trouble selling it. Hmmm, Houston, we have a problem.

Don’t expect governments to come to the rescue either. They are part of the quasi-conspiracy to make everyone feel good about the ticketing system I call ‘the Matrix’. I use the word conspiracy because I find it hard to believe that I know these things are going to happen, and governments do not. If they do know, they’re guilty of criminal acts, and if they don’t they are stupid beyond belief.

Now let’s look at what those in charge are doing instead of reining in growth:

  • building desalination plants

  • building dams

  • building more roads and tunnels

  • building more power stations (just when we should be closing them down)

  • telling us to change our light bulbs

  • telling us to run our fridges warmer

I call this clutching at straws. They have no idea whatever on how to deal with the coming crises. It’s like a Minister of religion suddenly discovering there is no God, and trying to find a way of telling his congregation. So the things I would do in government are just as sacrilegious as a Minister telling his flock the truth, there is no God, in this case the God of Growth and Affluence. Therefore the things I would do will seem extreme to you dear reader, but I will put them past you, because we need to think about these things, such thinking being actually well overdue.

The cause of Global Warming is consumption. Make no mistake, every time you buy a beer, an ice cream, or a CD, you, are partaking in Global Warming. We could get away with this if only the world population was under 2 billion or preferably even less, but there are way, way too many of us to be able to afford such affluence. The planet is literally dieing of consumption. This consumption is also the reason we are fast running out of the critical resources we need to ‘fix’ the problems. At this stage, I need to ensure I don’t mislead you into thinking we can actually ‘fix’ the problems, because now, we only have damage control left. The time to ‘fix’ things was way back in the 1970s when the Club of Rome first warned us there would be terminal limits to growth midway through the 21st century.

So, if I were in charge of the Matrix, I would do the following things:


Currently, we are wasting our most valuable resource on trivial things like running to the local store to hire the latest DVD, and driving our kids to school when they could walk, cycle or bus it. Such a precious resource needs to be commandeered for essential services like farming, ambulances, fire brigade, and police. There may be others. All airports should be shut down.


Local papers should be the only allowable form of advertising. We will soon need to know where we can get things done locally. The way multi-national corporations deforest entire countries to fill our letterboxes with junk mail is simply gobsmacking. It will end anyway, now is as good a time as any!


Debt is one of the major reasons we all work. Debt is the new slavery. First they make you believe you need a shiny new car or McMansion, then they lend you the money to purchase these things. If you earn too much they’ll even consider marketing a plasma screen TV to you, or a new computer which is really no more useful than the last one, but hey, it’s NEW!

Imagine if tomorrow your credit card(s) no longer existed, your mortgage was gone, and that personal loan on your 4WD had disappeared, would you still drive to work? I’ve driven to work twice this financial year. By choice, and I borrowed a car to do it. The feeling of freedom from the Matrix is extraordinary.


I told you I was going to be extreme. We don’t want banks repossessing people’s homes because they can no longer buy tickets through no fault of their own. The only bank we need is the Reserve Bank of Australia. This is how it used to be 200 years ago. That is how it should’ve stayed. Besides, all the people who now work in banks are going to be far far too busy growing their own food to bother driving to work in a bank. In the long run, only local trade will occur.

The way things are going in the US with their sub-prime fiasco, not to mention how it is now impacting non-sub-prime borrowers, banks may well simply shut their own doors without us having to do anything.


When access to oil basically ceases in 4 or 5 years time when we in this country run out, we’ll be lucky if we can continue running buses on the roads we now have. Then consider this: roads are made OF oil! How will we be able to even maintain the roads we currently have without oil? That turkey who poses as Mayor of Brisbane should be shot at dawn. He told me, to my face, we’d continue running cars even if we had to burn old tyres and carpets. No bull!! And you wonder why we’re in trouble……. By the way, if you don’t already own one, buy yourself a good quality bicycle.


We could run lots of electric trains on the current infrastructure, especially if we all tightened our belts and stopped wasting so much energy. Trains could even be run on renewable energy, at least right up until we have so little fossil fuel left we are no longer able to make any more solar panels and wind turbines. Make no mistake, building solar panels and such will require huge investments of fossil energy up front, and it would take some fifteen years of dedicated effort to have a system whereby renewable energy could make more renewables.

The money saved from not building roads could be spent on electric locomotives. QR has no money to do this and is currently running 4000 class (diesel) locomotives on the Blackwater coal system under wires, a total disgrace


Currently we have a system where resources are collected and taken to factories to manufacture food, energy, and goods for our consumption. All the waste from this process is dumped into the biosphere causing Global Warming and pollution. The consumption of all these ‘goods’ not only creates the depletion of mostly non-renewable resources, but also adds to the waste stream, and the greenwash surrounding the fantasy of recycling is not helping us formulating solutions either. Sure some stuff is recycled, but that recycling requires oil for collection, and more energy for the actual recycling. Then, those recycled products are typically re-used just once, like toilet paper. This is an open loop. Permaculture closes loops.

The essence of Permaculture

Waste is not waste, it’s a resource in the wrong place. Just think of all those fossil fueled calories that went into the aforementioned breakfast cereal and steak for your barbie. Where do they end up? Down the toilet, that’s where! Which then ends up in the same place as all those wasted farm chemicals/chemical energy: our creeks and rivers.

And all that sewage has to be treated using even more energy before it’s dumped into the biosphere.

Here, humanure is collected and used as fertiliser. NOTHING should leave your place unless it’s not compostable (like plastic wrapping). Remember the days when NOTHING was wrapped in plastic? I do. Those days will return, plastic’s made with oil!

Furthermore, Permaculture ensures everything has at least two uses, preferably more. So chickens and ducks, for instance, not only provide eggs and meat, they also fertilise your gardens and kill all the weeds. Fences are used to grow things on as well as keeping unwanted animals in or out. Land is shaped to retain water and windbreaks used to divert flowing air to where it’s wanted. Houses are heated with the sun instead of electricity, and kept cool by controlling when the sun enters your house, ie not in summer.

Instead of relying totally on imported European foodcrops, permies grow perennials and food forests which require far less work and energy to grow. It means new recipe books to be sure, but it beats driving to work so you can buy increasingly more expensive food in the supermarket. Food forests should be everywhere, footpaths, parks, and on any unsettled land. Trust me, it beats getting hungry, and the way things are going, starvation just might become the norm. Unless we act.

Will governments do any of this? I doubt it. WE, my dear readers have to do this. Instead of relying on the Matrix supplying us with all our needs in exchange for slave labour, we need to work for ourselves, and we’ll need to do this at the local community level. So get to know your neighbours because one day you’ll need them as much as they will need you.

It’s taken us five years to get to where we are here in Cooran. Australia has no more than that to get its act together. Governments are well known for being reactive, and so little will be done until it’s all too late. I’m just hoping it’s not too late now. Action is now urgent.

Mike Stasse

me on youtube

23 02 2008

Utter Global Collapse

13 02 2008

Another grim post from survival acres:

February 12, 2008
Utter Global Collapse

This article is about a month old, and can only be found in the
Google cache apparently, so I’m posting it here in it’s entirety.

January 11, 2008

Legendary Funds Manager Julian Robertson Predicts Utter Global
Collapse Stemming From Bursting of Property Bubble. In a recent
interview on CNBC with Ron Insana, one of the “old-timer”funds
manager, Julian Robertson, predicted “utter global collapse” as a
consequence of the bursting of the world-wide property bubble.

Often called “Never Been Wrong Robertson”, the former head of Tiger
Management (once the largest hedge fund in the world), is extremely
worried about the speculative bubble in real estate.

Specifically, he is very worried about a world that is sustained by
American consumer spending which is in turn 1/4 sustained by a
property bubble. He predicts that 20 million people could lose their
homes once the property bubble bursts.

Even more worrisome, he thinks central banks around the globe out of
desperation will try to re-inflate the world economy with more
liquidity that will create an inflationary spiral unseen in the
economic history of mankind. “Where does it end?”, Insana asked
Robertson. “Utter global collapse,” he answered. But not just
economic collapse … collapse of epic proportions. Collapse and
disintegration of all infrastructure, including government. Inflation
will run into the double and triple digits. “Food production will
fall. People will be carrying around U.S . dollars in wheelbarrows like Germany,” he said.

There will be “total collapse of public infrastructure. Total
collapse of medical care systems. All public pension plans, Social
Security will collapse. All corporate pension plans will collapse.”

“The American consumer is effectively now supporting the rest of the
planet,” he continued. “Consumption rates in all other nations are
falling, have fallen to the point that the tax revenues to
governments, that the business and industries those nation states are
providing is now a net negative number relative to total debt service
and public cost, that this exists in virtually every nation state on
the planet now.”

And for much of this “doom”, interestingly, he blames the Bush-
Cheney “regime”. “They have now consolidated power and money on the
planet to the maximum extent possible. The planet’s net liquidity,
that is its, net free cash flow. Is now a negative number. The planet
is not simply sinking into a sea of red ink; it is already sunk. The
people just don’t realize it yet,” he said.

According to Robertson, “the Bush-Cheney regime is preparing the
nation for transition from democracy into dictatorship because a
dictatorship will be necessary to control, in 5 years time, food and
water riots.” He said “the federal government, that part of Patriot
II Act, the internal exile, that the government is going to have to
build now huge detention compounds on federal lands, probably in the
West where the land is available, to potentially house 50 million or
more citizens that will be in financial ruin.”

In 10 years time, whoever is left will be effectively starting again,
he said. “More importantly, and I’m trying to think how we imply this
or how we express this to the people, what extraordinary times we are
living in and how the destruction of the planet has been engineered
by the Bushonian Cabal from 1980 to 1992, and then from 2001 to
present, which has effectively destroyed the economic liquidity of
the planet,” he said.

Robertson ended the interview by saying that he hopes he is not alive
to see this. “The lucky ones are the ones who are my age now,” he
said. Utter Global Collapse

Hello Matrix!

11 02 2008

Years ago when the first “Matrix” film came out I had not considered we were all living in one. In the film there’s a scene where the heroes come out of the ‘behind the scene’ control room, through one of those wobbly air barriers special effects people are so good at, and into…… the streets of Sinny! And there they were. Ordinary people like you and me, walking the streets of Sinny, going about their business carrying laptops, shopping, banking, working, all unawares of each other, all on a mission. But a matrix.jpegmission to what?

Right then, at that instant, I knew it. I just knew it. We’re all in the Matrix. Going about our business aimlessly, except perhaps to fulfill some need to impress people we don’t like with things we don’t need bought with money we don’t have…….. Slaves. All slaves to the system I now call the Matrix.

Everyday, the controllers of the Matrix, governments, banks, multinational CEOs tell us we’re all doing just fine, the economy is booming, we’ve never had it so good. And on the whole we believe them. Don’t we? I mean, why else do we keep on voting for the same bastards we don’t trust, put our money in banks we detest, and shop in supermarkets whose owners we know only want to take our money? What is WRONG with us? Can we not think for ourselves? How did this even happen?

Somehow over the last 25 years or so, we slid from being a nurturing society to being a greedy economy. I knew absolutely no one who owned shares 25 years ago. The media, and certainly not the news, never carried items about the state of the stock market, or how much the dollar was worth. Unless something really unusual happened, like when gold hit $800 an ounce in 1980. Everybody knew about this. I’ll bet anything no one can tell you how much gold was worth before then!

Today we all follow the Dow Jones Index (NOT yours truly, by the way), the ASX 200, how many US$ our folding stuff will buy, what the price of oil is…… Why? Are we all so insecure? If so, what is causing this insecurity? Deep down, I think everyone knows everything’s not OK. They don’t know what it is, why it is, can’t quite put their finger on it, but they know things are going awry. Welcome to the Matrix.