Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Two goals with one stone!

I accomplished two goals this last week.
Goal #1: We are moved! I am now 6.75 miles away from work and Dave is living in the city where 75% of his work happens. That is an improvement. I was working out my fuel budget last night and I had to run the numbers 3 times because I couldn't believe that the numbers I was getting were right. I should use less than 10 gallons of gas a MONTH to get to work and back, and that's assuming I never ride my bike or the bus. Before I was using 10 gallons every 4 or 5 days to get to work and back. :-) We have a nice, clean, cool basement that I'm turning into a root cellar as fast as I can. I already have my kitty on search and destroy missions down there, but so far no mice. :-) I have a clean space to can food in. And a nice kitchen in which to cook from scratch. I couldn't be happier.

Before and after pics. We're not done yet of course, but the space is starting to look like ours.

Goal #2 Hypermiling of my car reached 40mpg!
My last tank of gas got an average of 40.44 miles to the gallon! :-) I've been hovering at 39.5 for awhile, and I guess the wind was on my side this past week or something. I don't have numbers yet for in town driving, that will take another month to trend, but I was really excited to finally get over that 40mpg mark. Honda Civic power! I like to think I don't drive so much as I creatively glide. :-P

Post Apocalyptic Book club reading #1: The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Heinlein
As some of you may know, I've started reading for a book club. Not a normal book club, this one focuses on literature both popular and classic to explore the ramifications of peak oil and climate change on our society. Each month will have a different theme with 3 different books to discuss. This month the theme is "Classic Guy Doom." With the 3 books being The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Lucifer's Hammer, and the Wasteland. For a full run down on each month, see here. Join us for a month or two if something catches your eye. :-) Whether you believe all the premises or not, the discussion should at least be captivating. It's all online and open invitation.
I haven't quite finished tMiaHM, but I'll say a few words about it here.
At first I didn't quite get why this book was included. It's more of a text book on how to stage a revolution. Then I realized the limits the "Loonies" face on Luna, in terms of water, air and food, can be correlated to the limits we are facing with peak oil and climate change. Their solution to the abuse of those limits, namely the revolution, wouldn't work out as well for us here on Earth. We can't really revolt against the Mid-East, we've paid them good money to put ourselves in this position. We can't revolt against ourselves for buying into the SUV/suburbia dream. We are not a small colony revolting against a well-armed oppressor, if anything, we're the ones doing a lot of the well-armed oppressing.
Our solutions are not going to come from a few national leaders. There are too many variables and too many distractions at that level. Local solutions work better, local leaders will too. Just as the solutions for Luna won’t work for us on Earth, the solutions for Colorado won’t work for New York.
Local leaders, and local solutions to the problem will result in less violence. A series of local community gardens implemented in the next couple of years will do more to change this country than the entire Congress can in the same amount of time. The question Sharon put forward, “Why are we so blase about this?” is one I have asked myself numerous times over the past couple of years. Mannie’s perspective of odds helped me see it a little better though. I think most people run the odds in their heads and figure it isn’t even worth fighting. I think the problems are just so entrenched and so huge that people don’t know where to start, so most of them just don’t.
So, in conclusion, the book was an interesting look at the very real consequences of ignoring limits, but not terribly useful as a blueprint to the way out from here.

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