Food production is key to getting our economy going again, and to the survival of our culture. Climate
change directly affects our fragile fossil fuel dependent food
production system. It is not really farming, but rather it is soil and
If we switched back to real farming - using our knowledge to significantly improve on what we had
been doing for about 10,000 years before we "discovered" nitrogen
fertilizer and the internal combustion engine, then here are all the
deadly problems we would solve, by putting ourselves back into step with
the cycle of life:
* We would stop eating oil and gas, which as you and I know are finite.
We would let the soil come alive again -- it decomposes the stuff of
life and makes it available for growing new life, building and improving
the soil making it better and deeper and sequestering carbon rather
than mining it, eroding it, and poisoning our waterways.
would cut about 25% of our greenhouse gas output from the
crappy-water-soluble-nitrogen-to-nitrous-oxide-nightmare, that also
includes dead rivers and dead fishing zones along the way.
Local food production not only means far less oil burned transporting
food around the world (the average food item travels 1,500 miles to your
mouth!), but it also means far more nutritious, much better tasting
food that makes us all much healthier -- we probably would see cancer
rates go down, too!
* We would totally solve both our immigration
problems and our unemployment problems at the same time. And we would
make big dents into our drug problem, our prison problem, our hunger
problems, and our decaying civil society would be renewing its way back
Wes Jackson proposes that we move to 80% perennial agriculture within the next 50 years. We need to listen to the wisdom among us if we want to solve our major problems.
We have a sustainable abundance of renewable energy --
up to 16X more energy than the needs of the entire world. Everybody
can have as much electricity as they need -- and all that economic activity supports all our local economies.
renewable energy is available everywhere, to any and all people -- then
the need for a military largely goes away. Since living soils store
water much more readily than dead soil, we stop needing to use up our
fossil water supply.
We simply must do as nature does -- we must
have zero waste. Waste means that we are not doing it right: no
disposable plastic, no disposable people, no disposable land, no
a nutshell, ecodriving
is driving in the most economical way possible; and is also known as
“hypermiling.” It starts with brisk acceleration (trying to use
the peak torque of the engine) so you get to "cruising"
speed fairly quickly, and then trying to use a minimum of throttle to
maintain the speed. Obviously, uphills are your biggest challenge,
where it takes throttle just to maintain speed -- if you can, it
helps if you let yourself lose a little speed up hills.
are three possible modes of driving:
1) Accelerating 2)
Coasting 3) Decelerating
Accelerating uses energy,
depending on the weight of the car, the steepness of the grade, and
the rate of acceleration.
Coasting uses no added energy, and
it uses the accumulated momentum / kinetic energy gained by the
acceleration. It only loses energy to aerodynamic and rolling
Decelerating loses energy to energy to aerodynamic and
rolling drag and
converting kinetic energy to heat in the brakes. Whenever possible,
you should downshift to use the engine to brake, as this shuts off
the fuel completely.
To be the most efficient, we need to
minimize the energy it takes to accelerate and the energy lost
through braking, and we need the car to lose a minimum amount of
kinetic energy by being as low aerodynamic and rolling drag as
To cover the most distance with the least energy, we
need to accelerate up to a speed that will then allow the car to
coast as close to the end as possible, and then use the engine to
brake to make use of the remaining kinetic energy. The brakes
needs to stay as cool as possible.
Of course, cruising longer
distances and/or up hills requires some additional acceleration;
either to maintain a constant speed, or to climb a hill / slope.
You can do pulse and glide instead of constant acceleration (using
the terrain as possible) and climbing hills well requires what I call
"swooping". This involves accelerating ahead of the
uphill slope (when gaining speed takes less energy) and then use this
to help carry speed up the hill. Think how a bicyclist would
climb a hill, and you'll understand.
Coasting downhill is a
“no-brainer”-- someone dubbed downhills “road candy”!
If you go too fast, then use the engine to slow down, which shuts off
the fuel. And prepare to "swoop" if there is an
use the downhills to ease way off the throttle, or if you need to
carry speed, put it in neutral and coast (with the engine idling) --
at 60mph at idle in my xA, I can get well over 300mpg while coasting.
other common situation is when you can coast, but you need to slow
down, or will soon come to a stop -- then you should downshift into a
lower gear. When the engine is being pushed by the wheels, in almost
all modern fuel injected cars -- will completely shut off the fuel to
the engine; yielding "infinite" mileage for the duration of
this kind of coasting. I try to only use my brakes at the very end of
the coast right before you stop.
if you only use just enough throttle to get you where you need to go,
and do not waste energy as heat in the brakes; but instead use it to
shut off fuel to the engine, and coast to carry speed whenever you
can, carrying momentum as far as you can -- then you are most of the
way to good ecodriving technique.
are other things to try, like pulse and glide (when on flat-ish
terrain), and minimizing your use of A/C -- and of course if you want
to try some simple and reversible mods: like pumping up your tires a
bit above the recommended pressure -- but below the maximum listed on
the sidewall, or some of the aerodynamic mods on the grill, etc.,
then all the better.
try this: how far above the EPA combined mileage rating can you
average on a tankful?
Scion xA is rated 27 City/30 Combined/34 Highway by the EPA, so this
past summer I was nearly 75% above the Combined, and last winter I
was ~43% above – 42mpg was the worst tank average all winter!
Here's a (long) thread that I have written about all the aerodynamic
modifications I have made on my car:
sum up the aerodynamic changes I've made: the front grill blocks and
fog light covers added ~10-12% to my fuel economy, and the smooth
wheel covers added ~6%, and yes the rear wheel skirts are ~3 to maybe
4%. The video mirrors and partial Kamm back also help somewhat. The
rest is gained from ecodriving technique. I use a ScanGauge II to
help me see how I am driving, and to help me practice and improve my
only should you try to combine several trips into one, it helps to
drive to the farthest place first, and then drive to the rest of the
places on the return. This lets the engine warm up fully as quickly
as possible, and so it helps the engine be more efficient overall.
track of your fillups and fuel economy, and make use of fuel logs
like on Ecomodder.com
a Scan Guage II (save $ through EcoModder.com, or get an Ultra Gauge
to take advantage of your regular routes, traffic patterns, reduce
stress – and save money!
The mercury pollution.
The cooling towers.
The limited fuel supply.
The other countries that control the wind.
The military cost to defend the wind.
The death of miners.
The fly ash.
The tailing ponds.
The methane gas releases.
The huge carbon footprint.
The increasing cost over time.
The fracking. The train derailments. The refineries. The supertankers.
The contaminated water.
The damage to our lungs and overall health done by wind turbines is horrendous.
The acid rain is nasty.
The mountaintop removal.
The carbon dioxide released.
also hate the fact that they look like graceful wind sculptures, that
let us see the wind. I hate the fact that they are much quieter than a
highway. The ranchers and farmers with wind turbines hate the "mailbox money".
Electricity is the nexus of many renewable energy resources. Renewable energy sources are all over the place, and no one can monopolize them. These are quite democratizing -- energy is available virtually anywhere and everywhere.
Sure geothermal on the surface is only in a few places (Iceland, parts of the USA, New Zealand, etc.) but wind is in many places, including the corridor from Texas up to the Dakotas, and basically all around the midwest, California, and offshore from our coasts. Wind scales up well, getting more efficient as the turbines get bigger. We now have direct drive turbines that eliminate the weakest piece of the previous generation -- the transmission, and so they generate more power, break less often, cost less to build and maintain, and they save about 17 tons of weight, to boot.
Solar can be virtually anywhere -- Germany even! Germany is about as sunny as Washington state, which is the least sunny place in the lower 49 states. Solar is great for the highest load which is for air conditioning -- and there are no grid losses when it is right in the same building. Solar scales down nicely.
Combining solar and wind along with a few gas turbines (methane from sewage or farm wastes) for peak load, and a hydro power station with an elevated reservoir works very well. Here's how this works in Germany:
Most of the world's people live close to the coast, so wave power and tidal power are close by.
We need to transition to renewable energy NO MATTER WHAT. Eventually, the finite resources we are using now -- oil, coal, gas and uranium will run out, by definition. The earth is just one planet; and it is the only one we have. The other more likely scenario is that we will cause too much climate change by burning up the carbon fossil fuels dumping all the carbon that has been packed away over million and millions and millions of years back into the atmosphere in less than 200 hundred years, and we will have more chaos in our climate than we can adapt to.
So, hopefully oil and coal gets too expensive so that we will switch to renewable energy -- which will last another billion years -- until the sun explodes! And it will not pollute in ways that we cannot deal with.
We need to stop subsidizing oil and coal. We need to be able to stop requiring a huge military to defend oil supplies.
We need to stop using up all of the finite resources -- our factory agriculture is totally dependent on oil and gas and phosphorus and chemical pesticides. It kills the natural life cycle within the soil -- the dirt that we are utterly dependent on for our lives. Dead unproductive soil that erodes into the sea won't grow anything. It won't hold water and it won't let it filter down into the aquifers that we are pumping dry as fast as we can.
Life itself created all the soil, and we are made of the exact same materials that are in the soil.
Oil is the primary reason that we have accelerated so quickly from living within that cycle of life to living beyond what the earth can sustain. We need to use our intelligence and our scientific knowledge, and our adaptability to change what we now know needs to be changed; before we lose too much of the life support here on this earth that we cannot live without.
is critical that we do something about global climate change and our
unsustainable consumption of many important resources -- because we can
have an affect. We started the ball rolling, and by the same token, we
can work to reverse what we have started. It won't be easy and it will
be painful, but as moral beings we have to try.
Paul Gilding in his book "The Great Disruption" talks about an approximate
time line of 5 or 6 years of status quo before we hit a big tipping
point, and then very aggressive reduction of carbon output over the next
25-30 years, followed by as much carbon sequestration as we can muster.
We need to take the 2C increase very seriously, and we must
not pass ~450ppm or all hell will really break loose. We need to return
back down to <350ppm to avoid the worst effects. The equilibrium we
had for ~650,000 years was ~270ppm.
When and if we can do this,
the world won't be back to what we had, because there is real and
lasting damage to biodiversity, but it will probably settle down.
We and all life forms here in the present are the results of all life that
has come before us. We would not even have oxygen in the air without
plants splitting water in photosynthesis. Each and every molecule in
our bodies has been part of myriad other life forms before, many times over.
We are all connected; To each other, biologically To
the earth, chemically To the rest of the universe atomically ***
every drop of water has been cycling through life forms, the soil, and
the rocks of this planet -- over and over and over and over again and
again and again... The oxygen carrying iron in our blood came from the
stars. All the gold we have came from supernovas. The soil itself was produced by all of life forms down through the
This is a balanced and efficient and bountiful cycle.
The carbon we have so blithely thrown up into the atmosphere in less than 2
centuries was packed away underground over a couple of billion years.
We have made a very basic change, and we must take responsibility for
A recent study said that 83-95% of ALL daily drives in the USA could be done in a Nissan Leaf.
Can you imagine the day when ~90% of all cars in America are electric? We wouldn't need a military any where near as large as we have now. We would stop spending 1.5 BILLION a DAY on foreign oil. Our carbon output could be 20-25% lower (if I am anywhere close on this?), and the air pollution would be hugely reduced, saving many lives and many people would be far healthier with out it.
We could all have solar PV panels on our roofs and we would save another 20-30% of carbon output because
all the oldest coal plants could be shut down. We can get almost all
out hot water from solar heat vacuum tube collectors, and the most
efficient heat pumps, some being geothermal heat pumps would let us heat
and cool our houses completely carbon free.
We could employ 250,000+ people building and assembling wind turbines and wave power machines, and in a few decades we could get 100% of our electricity from fuel free renewable energy sources. We would lower our carbon output by 80% overall and we would stop killing coal miners and have zero oil spills and not need to devastate the boreal forests of Alberta or dig for uranium around the Grand Canyon, or poison drinking wells with fracking fluid.
If we switched back to farming like we did it 75 years ago, we would not be poisoning the rivers with chemical runoff, not create dead zones in the ocean, and not add nitrous oxide (the results of chemical nitrogen fertilizers!) to the atmosphere, adding to global climate change. We would all be much healthier and all food could be local and fresh and in season and safer and cancer rates would drop and all food would be fully nutritious and have full flavor.
And we would avoid the worst of global climate change. If we can stay below ~450ppm and keep the Antarctic ice sheets frozen and not mess up crop productivity too much, and not cause too many 1,000's of more species to go extinct and not flood our most populous river deltas and low lying coastal plains and only displace a few million people -- then we might just survive the next millennium, and have chance to correct what we have done in the last century and a half.
We would come back into step with the natural cycle of life that has sustained life for millions of years.