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Sunday, July 24, 2005

We are Eating Oil

90% of the worlds population will die within 20-30 years. Thats right, if your middle aged then welcome to the apocalypse.

After writing most of this, i was doing some searches and I came across this article. Life After the Oil Crash or www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net. Well This is what I was getting at, but I really had no idea. I mean, wow, we fucked up. I feel kind of sick and scared, I used to have fantasies about surviving the apocolypse, but its not something to fantasize about when you realize it is going to happen.

This post was origionally called:
Big rant about big farms
Well now it seems kind of silly what I wrote, but I'll leave it up for now.

Growing up while taking road trips with my family, i would frequently stare out at the fields of corn in the midwest and imagine all the people who it would feed. It came as some surprise when I found out it was 'feed' grain, destined for fattening livestock in holding pens, often as far away as the east coast. Why do we till-farm so much feed grain? Why do american housewives prefer 'corn-fed' meat? It started in England, when the upperclass 'gentlemen farmers' started breeding and feeding livestock for weight, to win prizes at county expositions. Despite the poorer quality of the meat, animals were fed grain crops, instead of the natural diet of grasses from 'pasture farming." In america, during the 40's and 50's the Government started subsidizing grain farming. Grain , unlike pasture, is a commodity, it can be shipped, sold, or withheld. Every time you hear subsidized, warning lights should go off in your head, because the government is fucking over the free market to keep or set a status quo. Think gas is high priced? Without subsidies it would be over $5 a gallon. Even with subsidies farmers couldn't make it on grain farming. This gives rise to the factory farms, with big equipment, big acreages, big profit to match a big overhead. The big farms can barely cut it too, even with genetic engineered stock and bulk rates. Our tax dollars are paying for this grain to be shipped across the country to feed lots, turned into meat and eggs, then shipped back to the midwest for the people to eat. Now the third world, Brazil in particular, can grow grain way cheaper than we can, and ship it up straight to the american animal factories. In a decade, american farms could be history, we would probably get a tax brake from doing without them.

Alot of farmers are realizing that they can turn a profit and do a whole lot less work by pasture farming. They divide their land into 'paddocks' and let the cows/pigs rotate through areas while constantly eating grass. Animals fed on grass don't fatten up as quickly, but a plot of land produces a lot more food through grass then through the seeds of grain plants. American housewives will have to get used to 'grass-fed' beef, which is alot leaner and alot better for you, likewise with grass-fed dairy. And I suppose Brazil will have to sell its grain to Africa or someplace for a little less money.

Recently I saw a billboard in Iowa advertising new ecofriendly gas with 80% Ethanol. "This is great news for the future of energy!" is what I would of thought, if I had not read All Flesh is Grass the week before. Ethanol is made from corn, and scientist haven't really perfected distilling it, so in the end it takes about a gallon of Ethanol to make a gallon of Ethanol.
Actually about 170% the amount of energy to produce ethanol, so 1.7 gallons gas or whatever to make a gallon of ethanol, the government is subsidising the ethanol industry because the industry is really basically one company who is kicking back campaign money. It also helps win the midwest vote to let farmers think that corn really might start to be usefull and profitable one day.

Unless there has been some new breakthrough in ethanol distilation, I'm assuming this new brand of gas is on the market to get bought by eco friendly consumers, and behind its glimmering image there is still tons of oil or coal being used to produce the stuff.

BTW: I think there is an energy mafia going around killing and sabotaging anything that might actually save us from the energy crisis. A few years ago I read an article in discover magazine about Molecular Depolymerization, an amazing new system that cooks waste in huge boilers at very high temperatures and very high pressures. This process rips molecules apart and leaves you with base elements and very simple compounds, almost all of which have lots of industrial uses. So in otherwords, you put trash in this thing, any trash as long as it's not radioactive, and out comes stuff you can sell, oil, minerals, metals, fertilizers, whatever. Of course its alot easier with one specific type of trash, less goodies to sort through in the end. In Missouri they built a plant to deal solely with turkey waste, from a tyson plant or something. They were putting in tons of turkey waste, and getting lite crude oil and fertilizers out of it.

They were getting gas from dead turkey goo

. So I thought, this is it, this is when we learn how to recycle everything, save the environment, save money, make everyone at least middle class. The city will start paying us for getting to pick up our garbage. So a few days ago, I see this article online in the Guardian or something, about a Japanese scientist who has invented a radical new process of "heat induced polymer decomposition" or something. In the picture he is smiling with his tiny little pyrex burners and small pressure cookers. He has been testing turning small amounts of pig shit into fuel and fertilizer. And as I read the article I realize it is the same thing. WTF do these people not talk to each other about this crap? I mean I thought by now there would be thousands of plants around the world being built to start turning garbage into money. Did this little Japanese man have to go through the whole research process to figure out something that has already been done? I have this sinking feeling that the Missouri Turkey plant got a call from some shady men in black saying they had to shut down because they can't afford the 'energy industry protection' fee's. Well at least maby it will take off in Japan.

After reading Life After the Oil Crash I found out that only one Depolymerization plant is in operation as of 2004, this being the aforementioned Missouri site. Apparently depolymerization is a great energy alternative, as opposed to the expensive solar power, the defecit 'energy carriers' of hydrogen and ethanol, and the short termed resources of natural gas and coal. Unfortunatly, the amount of depolymerization plants needed to make a difference is staggering.

I don't drive cars, I have always thought myself eco-friendly because I ride a bike around. It doesn't matter, gas is behind every single thing in our consumer lifestyles, even simple things like food. What it really comes down to is can we die humanly? Can we suffer a 90% extinction rate without adding WWIII and cannabolism and mass riots? Sorry if you can't sleep either but damn, we fucked up.



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