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'[OT]:: Cuba flies lone flag for sustainability'
2007\10\06@215116 by Russell McMahon

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New ScientistNew Scientist assesses how the world is going on
sustainable development and decides that only Cuba is actually
succeeding. Non NS subscribers can use the Global Footprint Network
link when the New Scientist teaser runs out.



       Russell
______

NS newsletter -->

World Failing On Sustainable Development
If the world is to start developing in a sustainable way, we are going
in the wrong direction. This is the message from the first study to
show the ecological impact of our changing lifestyles. The
international team looked at 93 nations over the last 30 years and
found that just one nation - Cuba - is developing sustainably. Cuba
was the only nation found to provide a decent standard of living for
their people without consuming more than its fair share of resources
more ...

-->

http://environment.newscientist.com/channel/earth/mg19626243.100?DCMP=NLC-nletter&nsref=mg19626243.100World failing on sustainable development03 October 2007Daniele FanelliMagazine issue 2624WE DON'T need environmental evangelicals to tell us that sustainabledevelopment is a good idea. Yet, if that is our goal, we are headingin the wrong direction - with the exception of Cuba. So says the firststudy to examine the ecological impact of changing lifestyles aroundthe globe.An international team led by Mathis Wackernagel of the GlobalFootprint Networkhttp://www.footprintnetwork.org/index.phplooked at how the living conditions and ecological footprints of 93nations have changed in the last 30 years.They used the ecological footprint (EF) index, a tool devised in 1993by Wackernagel and William Rees, his PhD supervisor at the Universityof British Columbia, Canada. EF quantifies the area of land requiredto provide the infrastructure used by a person or a nation, the foodand goods th
ey consu

2007\10\07@141651 by Gerhard Fiedler

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Russell McMahon wrote:

> NS newsletter -->
>
> World Failing On Sustainable Development: If the world is to start
> developing in a sustainable way, we are going in the wrong direction.
> This is the message from the first study to show the ecological impact
> of our changing lifestyles. The international team looked at 93 nations
> over the last 30 years and found that just one nation - Cuba - is
> developing sustainably. Cuba was the only nation found to provide a
> decent standard of living for their people without consuming more than
> its fair share of resources

I didn't find any source of the outstanding position of Cuba on the
original website <http://www.footprintnetwork.org/>. Any idea where they
got that from?

Gerhard

2007\10\07@171412 by Russell McMahon

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> I didn't find any source of the outstanding position of Cuba on the
> original website <http://www.footprintnetwork.org/>. Any idea where
> they
> got that from?


No, sorry.
Not enough time at present to spend my usual too too long following
down such interesting threads. I'd be surprised if they haven't
overstated their case, but I also imagine that Cuba, by intent and
necessity, does a better job than most at self sufficiency and
sustainability.


       Russell

2007\10\07@174653 by Alex Harford

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On 10/7/07, Gerhard Fiedler <spam_OUTlistsTakeThisOuTspamconnectionbrazil.com> wrote:
> Russell McMahon wrote:
>
> > NS newsletter -->
> >
> > World Failing On Sustainable Development: If the world is to start
> > developing in a sustainable way, we are going in the wrong direction.
> > This is the message from the first study to show the ecological impact
> > of our changing lifestyles. The international team looked at 93 nations
> > over the last 30 years and found that just one nation - Cuba - is
> > developing sustainably. Cuba was the only nation found to provide a
> > decent standard of living for their people without consuming more than
> > its fair share of resources

Interesting article Russell, I remember taking the footprint quiz when
I was doing my undergrad at UBC for my engineering ethics class.  That
was sometime in '98 or '99.  I didn't realize that their project has
spread outside of UBC.

> I didn't find any source of the outstanding position of Cuba on the
> original website <http://www.footprintnetwork.org/>. Any idea where they
> got that from?

Because of Cuba's situation since the collapse of the Soviet Union,
they have been described as a 'post peak-oil society'.

http://globalpublicmedia.com/articles/657

Alex

2007\10\08@170836 by Vitaliy

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Russell McMahon wrote:
> Not enough time at present to spend my usual too too long following
> down such interesting threads. I'd be surprised if they haven't
> overstated their case, but I also imagine that Cuba, by intent and
> necessity, does a better job than most at self sufficiency and
> sustainability.

I think North Korea is the best example of what happens when countries put
an over-emphasis on "self sufficiency"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juche
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Korea#1990s_famine

IIRC, similar things happened in China as a result of their "self-reliance"
program a few decades earlier.

I don't understand why "self sufficiency" is seen as a good thing, as
applied to countries (regions of the Earth separated by arbitrary political
boundaries).

Vitaliy

2007\10\08@172343 by Mike Hord

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> > Not enough time at present to spend my usual too too long following
> > down such interesting threads. I'd be surprised if they haven't
> > overstated their case, but I also imagine that Cuba, by intent and
> > necessity, does a better job than most at self sufficiency and
> > sustainability.

> I don't understand why "self sufficiency" is seen as a good thing, as
> applied to countries (regions of the Earth separated by arbitrary political
> boundaries).

It's not, really, but it MUST MUST MUST come with sustainability.

Regional self-sufficiency is necessary to sustainability.  When the
energy cost of food and goods exceeds the sustainable energy
capacity of a region (as is the case with most of the first world),
long-term systemic stability is unachievable.

Ideally, nothing should travel more than 200 miles or so.  That includes
goods, food, energy; everything, in fact, but information.  Practically
that's impossible- at least, if we want to maintain our "standard of
living".  In the end, we'll have to decide what is and is not critical to
our standard of living- I suspect people will decide that fresh oranges
in Minnesota for $1 a pound is less important than technology, and
we'll see less long-distance food transport.

Mike H.

2007\10\08@185743 by Russell McMahon

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> I don't understand why "self sufficiency" is seen as a good thing,
> as
> applied to countries (regions of the Earth separated by arbitrary
> political
> boundaries).

It may not be that it's the best way to approach it, but it may be the
only way that it's going to start to happen. eg in the case of Cuba it
does what it does because it has to or perceives it has to and if it
works then it's a good example. If it fails then it's not on the list
(similar to the "the weak anthropic principle").

In the case of other countries, what country adjacent to eg Germany
would be likely to have the same ideas or be willing to practice the
same ideas absolutely identically about self sufficiency? Maybe
Austria? Maybe others. If none was willing to totally mesh their aims
in this or other areas then that does not make either side of the
partnership either better or worse (although they may be), just
different. A country is more like an integrated whole than any other
larger unit is liable to be. And even countries can decide that they
are less integrated (for whatever reason) than they are being forced
to be at all sorts of levels. (eg Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Belgium,
USSR, the Dominos ... .)

There are a few examples of super-integration happening, and a common
drive to greater (or less) sustainability may be a part of this. The
EU is arguably the largest example of this. Decisions which can
arguably be quite counterproductive to an individual country can still
become part of common law. Things like ROHS madness affect the whole
body regardless of merit or demerit (unless you are a large and
influential country like eg Swatch :-) ).


       Russell


2007\10\08@220625 by Vitaliy

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Mike Hord wrote:
> Ideally, nothing should travel more than 200 miles or so.  That includes
> goods, food, energy; everything, in fact, but information.

Why not? And why 200, and not 2 or 20000?

> Practically
> that's impossible- at least, if we want to maintain our "standard of
> living".  In the end, we'll have to decide what is and is not critical to
> our standard of living- I suspect people will decide that fresh oranges
> in Minnesota for $1 a pound is less important than technology, and
> we'll see less long-distance food transport.

Growing oranges in Minnesota is a very expensive proposition, any way you
look at it (money-, labor-, or energy-wise).

A bit OT: a lot people don't realize that moving large quantities of stuff
by ship is dirt cheap, in terms of both money and energy. Many many times
cheaper than shipping by truck or rail (even though those aren't expensive,
either). It makes perfect sense to grow oranges in places where the climate
is favorable, and ship them to areas where it isn't. It also makes sense to
build things in places where there's labor surplus, and ship them to areas
with a shortage of labor. Etc, etc.

Vitaliy


2007\10\09@043805 by Alan B. Pearce

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>A bit OT: a lot people don't realize that moving large quantities
>of stuff by ship is dirt cheap, in terms of both money and energy.

Yes, I keep attempting to remind people that it should be 'food-ton-miles'
not 'food miles'

>Many many times cheaper than shipping by truck or rail (even though
>those aren't expensive, either). It makes perfect sense to grow
>oranges in places where the climate is favorable, and ship them
>to areas where it isn't.

Err, yes but ...

An example I give against this is apricots grown in Spain, and shipped to
the UK. They arrive an insipid pale colour, and as afar as I can determine
it is because the apricot trees do not go through a suitable deep winter
chill in Spain, to produce the best fruit. Instead of nice deep apricot
coloured juicy fruit we have to put up with less juicy and less appetising
looking fruit - although we seem to be able to get them all year round,
almost.

An example that gets given for sending things long distance is flowers grown
in Kenya, and airfreighted to the UK. The total carbon cost is less than
similar flowers grown in the Netherlands and sent to the UK - because the
Netherlands requires heated glasshouses to grow the flowers, while Kenya
doesn't.

2007\10\09@051034 by Russell McMahon

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Some years ago, and it may be still the case, the largest producer of
bananas in the EU was \

....

Iceland (!).

There's a good reason for this.


           Russell
> >A bit OT: a lot people don't realize that moving large quantities
>>of stuff by ship is dirt cheap, in terms of both money and energy.

> Yes, I keep attempting to remind people that it should be
> 'food-ton-miles'
> not 'food miles'

Presumably you mean something like (the more simple)

   Unit mass of food delivered per mass of standardised fuel.

That is independent of "mode" or distance per se.
Actual vehicle system amortised cost will vary between types but I
think large;y the fule costs will predominate.

Maybe just

       Transportation cost as % of selling price.

is better.



               Russell


{Quote hidden}

2007\10\09@053757 by Jinx

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> Some years ago, and it may be still the case, the largest producer of
> bananas in the EU was \
>
> ....
>
> Iceland (!).
>
> There's a good reason for this.

.....SLNgeographyKILLspamspam@spam@Iceland1.htm">http://www.sln.org.uk/geography/SLNgeographyspamKILLspamIceland1.htm

Considered in NZ too, but we being in the S. Hemisphere, transport
costs and scale won out

We have banana plants in our garden. They do bear fruit, but they're
a bit small and floury. Eatable though. One benefit is the plants suck
excess water up in the lower parts of the garden, stops it being boggy


2007\10\09@081847 by Gerhard Fiedler

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Vitaliy wrote:

> Growing oranges in Minnesota is a very expensive proposition, any way you
> look at it (money-, labor-, or energy-wise).

So is shipping them there. One thing about "sustainability" is to eat local
food. If oranges and bananas are important to you, maybe you consider
living somewhere else :)

> A bit OT: a lot people don't realize that moving large quantities of
> stuff by ship is dirt cheap, in terms of both money and energy. Many
> many times cheaper than shipping by truck or rail (even though those
> aren't expensive, either).

Good luck shipping oranges from Florida to Idaho by ship :)

Seriously, only a small fraction of inhabited land is reasonably accessible
by ship. And whether "expensive" or not doesn't generally include the real
cost (which is what sustainability discussions are about).

Gerhard

2007\10\09@093937 by Alan B. Pearce

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>Good luck shipping oranges from Florida to Idaho by ship :)

True, but it probably makes sense to have a trainload of containers go in
one train, than a heap of trucks each taking one container.

2007\10\09@100833 by Mike Hord

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> Why not? And why 200, and not 2 or 20000?

200 is an arbitrary number- as is just about every limit we set on
ourselves.  We pick it because it's a nice, round number.  For
myself, I set a limit a little beyond 200- states bordering
Minnesota, and Michigan (because the brewer of my favorite beer
is in Michigan ;-)(Bell's, if anyone wonders).

> Growing oranges in Minnesota is a very expensive proposition, any way you
> look at it (money-, labor-, or energy-wise).

No doubt- I once read that the entire output of all the power plants on Earth
could, if used to power sunlamps, grow the crop output of the state of
Rhode Island.  Who knows if that's true, but I'd bet on it rather than against
it.  I never said anything about growing oranges here, either- ultimately,
oranges will become a treat rather than a dirt cheap staple.  I'm sure there
are people on this list who remember when that was the case- receiving
an orange on Christmas was quite the exciting gift.

> A bit OT: a lot people don't realize that moving large quantities of stuff
> by ship is dirt cheap, in terms of both money and energy. Many many times
> cheaper than shipping by truck or rail (even though those aren't expensive,
> either). It makes perfect sense to grow oranges in places where the climate
> is favorable, and ship them to areas where it isn't. It also makes sense to
> build things in places where there's labor surplus, and ship them to areas
> with a shortage of labor. Etc, etc.

As I was suggesting.  Food, however, is something that can be produced
locally, everywhere, once we get over the "need" to have oranges and
bananas in mid-winter, or to eat beef most days, or to have similar such
luxuries which we currently take for granted (and have come to take
for granted over just a couple of generations).

About 75% of the food my fiancee and I eat is from local sources- grown
and harvested locally (usually within the state) and then we bring it home
and prepare it ourselves.  We also spend about $40 a week socking away
produce for the winter- we use Sunday afternoons to can vegetables and
fruit for winter and to get a little "us" time.

Eventually, I suspect we'll decide that we'd rather have iPods from
Singapore than grapes from Chile in mid-winter.

Mike H.

2007\10\09@205311 by Vitaliy

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Gerhard Fiedler wrote:
> So is shipping them there. One thing about "sustainability" is to eat
> local
> food. If oranges and bananas are important to you, maybe you consider
> living somewhere else :)

Only if people with your mindset force me to. :) I prefer that the Invisible
Hand take care of bringing the oranges and bananas to where I live.

>> A bit OT: a lot people don't realize that moving large quantities of
>> stuff by ship is dirt cheap, in terms of both money and energy. Many
>> many times cheaper than shipping by truck or rail (even though those
>> aren't expensive, either).
>
> Good luck shipping oranges from Florida to Idaho by ship :)

California is closer. :)

> Seriously, only a small fraction of inhabited land is reasonably
> accessible
> by ship.

Not true. People tend to live along the coasts.

http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/image/0011/earthlights2_dmsp_big.jpg

The world's largest and most prosperous cities are seaports. A great number
of people died in 2003 because the populations affected live very close to
the ocean.

> And whether "expensive" or not doesn't generally include the real
> cost (which is what sustainability discussions are about).

Any way you look at it, growing oranges in Minnesota is far more expensive
than shipping them there.

By the way, Minnesota (which may appear to be landlocked) is actually among
several inland US states and Canadian provinces that are accessible by
ocean-going ships through the St. Lawrence Seaway:

http://www.qc.ec.gc.ca/csl/inf/inf045_e.html

I hope to see with my own eyes an ocean freighter crossing a highway (saw it
on the History Channel). Google couldn't find the pic, but it looked pretty
awesome on TV. :)

Vitaliy

2007\10\09@215044 by Gerhard Fiedler

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Vitaliy wrote:

>> So is shipping them there. One thing about "sustainability" is to eat
>> local food. If oranges and bananas are important to you, maybe you
>> consider living somewhere else :)
>
> Only if people with your mindset force me to. :) I prefer that the
> Invisible Hand take care of bringing the oranges and bananas to where I
> live.

People with my mindset wouldn't force you to move. But they might make you
pay the /real/ price for oranges in Minnesota.

>> Seriously, only a small fraction of inhabited land is reasonably
>> accessible by ship.
>
> Not true. People tend to live along the coasts.
>
> http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/image/0011/earthlights2_dmsp_big.jpg

Possibly, even though the image you linked to seems to me more of an area
image than an outline image.

>> And whether "expensive" or not doesn't generally include the real
>> cost (which is what sustainability discussions are about).
>
> Any way you look at it, growing oranges in Minnesota is far more
> expensive than shipping them there.

Possibly, but once you have to pay all of it, you may want to switch to
apples.

Gerhard


PS Nothing against Minnesotans... That's just an example. Turkish dried
figs in Brazil are not much better :)

2007\10\09@221257 by James Newton

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>> So is shipping them there. One thing about "sustainability" is to eat
>> local
>> food. If oranges and bananas are important to you, maybe you consider
>> living somewhere else :)
>
>Only if people with your mindset force me to. :) I prefer that the
Invisible
>Hand take care of bringing the oranges and bananas to where I live.

How sad.

It is not mindsets, but lack of resource that may stop that invisible hand.
The invisible hand is actually quite visible, quite hungry, and quite
damaging. It depends on oil and by your depending on it, you put power in
the hands of people who take us to war for more of that oil.

It isn't people of our mindset you should fear. It is the unintended
consequences of your own actions, and the resources they use.

http://www.massmind.org/techref/other/guilt.htm and
http://www.massmind.org/techref/other/incompetence.htm explain it better.

--
James



2007\10\09@231214 by Mike Hord

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> People with my mindset wouldn't force you to move. But they might make you
> pay the /real/ price for oranges in Minnesota.

TANSTAAFL.  One way or another, we're running up a credit card every
time we buy oranges for $1 a pound that had to be shipped 3000 miles.
Sure the $1 pays every hand along the way, but it doesn't put oil back
into the ground for our grandchildren or take CO2 out of the air.

>By the way, Minnesota (which may appear to be landlocked) is actually among
>several inland US states and Canadian provinces that are accessible by
>ocean-going ships through the St. Lawrence Seaway:

Sort of.  The kind of ship that carries goods from across the ocean and the
kind that carries iron ore and other goods on the Lakes are fairly dissimilar,
and the locks bringing ships into the lakes are tailored for one and not the
other.

> PS Nothing against Minnesotans... That's just an example. Turkish dried
> figs in Brazil are not much better :)

Not at all.  Minnesota came up because I live there, and I shudder to think
what it costs (REALLY costs, mind you) to bring grapes to the local
supermarket in January.  Or anytime, really- they aren't in season here for
more than a few weeks.

Mike H.

2007\10\10@040317 by William \Chops\ Westfield

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On Oct 9, 2007, at 8:12 PM, Mike Hord wrote:

> One way or another, we're running up a credit card every
> time we buy oranges for $1 a pound that had to be shipped 3000 miles.
> Sure the $1 pays every hand along the way, but it doesn't put oil back
> into the ground for our grandchildren or take CO2 out of the air.

Nevertheless, widespread shipping of foods is not one of the first
"luxuries" I'd have any society give up.  Indeed, there are probably
many locations where importing food significant distances is a  
necessity.
(admittedly, we can perhaps do with less of shipping the CA oranges to
FL and FL oranges to CA and similar.)

And I'm not convinced that it's such a net loss; there are an awful
lot of hungry people in the world to go around saying that fertile
farmlands should only grow as much food as can be consumed within
200 miles of the farm (which is pretty exactly the other way of looking
at it, eh?)  Given the efficiency of modern farming, the inefficiency of
shipping food may be a minor glitch in the grand scheme of things.  
Running
"distributed" farms of significantly less "average" efficiency may  
not even
be a numerically better solution energy-wise, once you consider that not
everywhere is southern california...

BillW

2007\10\10@051943 by Russell McMahon

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>> People with my mindset wouldn't force you to move. But they might
>> make you
>> pay the /real/ price for oranges in Minnesota.
>
> TANSTAAFL.  One way or another, we're running up a credit card every
> time we buy oranges for $1 a pound that had to be shipped 3000
> miles.
> Sure the $1 pays every hand along the way, but it doesn't put oil
> back
> into the ground for our grandchildren or take CO2 out of the air.

That is one of the greatest arguments IMHO against the way "the hand"
works.
Being blind, deaf and senseless to all but 'what the market will
ear'  -

   It doesn't care what things are "worth" - only what it can acquire
them for.

   It doesn't care who "owns" things - as long as it can acquire
them.

Like "natural selection" it drives for the highest local peak and it
has no way of judging if there is another peak nearby that is higher
or that a gentler slope that it passes on the way may be the ultimate
best route top a higher peak. ANY action that seeks to redress this
basic problem constitutes lifting the edge of the blindfold, and the
motives of the lifter and what the hand is allowed to see depends on
motivations other than pure 'hand at work'.

It's safe to say that there is in fact no worthwhile long term large
scale pure example of the hand at work about its task. This is because
as the scale goes up people will always be impatient or greedy for
faster results or any of a zillion other ways affected by human nature
at work and they will "cheat". And then they will lie to pretend that
it's not so :-)

Adroitly put, do you think ? :-)



           Russell McMahon

2007\10\10@065609 by Chris Smolinski

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>People with my mindset wouldn't force you to move. But they might make you
>pay the /real/ price for oranges in Minnesota.

But will the "real" price be the "real" price, or will it be an
artificial price, to further your agenda?

--

---
Chris Smolinski
Black Cat Systems
http://www.blackcatsystems.com

2007\10\10@111904 by Mike Hord

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> It's safe to say that there is in fact no worthwhile long term large
> scale pure example of the hand at work about its task. This is because
> as the scale goes up people will always be impatient or greedy for
> faster results or any of a zillion other ways affected by human nature
> at work and they will "cheat". And then they will lie to pretend that
> it's not so :-)
>
> Adroitly put, do you think ? :-)

Perfectly put!  Lately I've been thinking a lot about this sort of thing.
To meet my goal of buying local in Minnesota means that I have to
plan ahead- in the summer I have to buy locally grown produce when
it's in season at the farmer's market and then spend most of my
Sunday putting it into jars and socking those away for winter.  During
the week, I have to WALK down to the grocer every two days because
I can't bring home $200 worth of groceries when I only have two hands
to carry with, then I have to spend an hour making dinner because I
didn't buy a mass produced meal in a box.

Net result?  I'm a lot less impatient now, and I ENJOY the process
of getting food into my belly, and I don't think I could feel more in
tune with the food chain unless I were actually a farmer.

And most people I tell this to roll their eyes and complain about how
little time they have an how busy they are and blah blah blah.  "I
don't have time to shop four times a week." "I don't have time to
cook."  And they're right- that TV isn't going to watch itself!

And now a quote from another e-mail...

>>People with my mindset wouldn't force you to move. But they might make you
>>pay the /real/ price for oranges in Minnesota.

>But will the "real" price be the "real" price, or will it be an
>artificial price, to further your agenda?

The first wasn't me, but I agree with it wholeheartedly.  The
second is the sort of bunk that leaves me almost apoplectic.
The grabbers say this kind of stuff about people like me all
the time: "Sure, they say they are concerned about global
warming/fair trade/locally grown produce, but before you
believe them, ask yourself how much money they make
selling magazines and charging for seminars and such?"
That's one of the biggest arguments against Al Gore's movie
(and I find it to be a red herring- rather than attacking his
findings in the movie, they attempt to undermine the motives
underneath it) "An Inconvenient Truth".

And of course, I'm afraid I'm pushing this topic further into
the "flame war" category, and I'm sorry.

Mike H.

2007\10\10@122110 by Tony Smith

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{Quote hidden}

You can watch the various parts of hippies brains fight it out when you ask
them to reconcile two of their favorite causes, one being 'buy local', and
the recently popular 'fair trade' campaign you mention.  ('Fair trade' is to
ensure the money chain from you to a farmer is a short as possible (nice)
along with a few other bits & pieces.)

...but should I buy my peanuts from them or the grower down the road?
Should I put global warming ahead of improved lifestyles?  Hours of fun can
be had.  (I write 'buy local' on 'fair trade' posters, and vice versa.)

BTW, I'm all for 'buy local', except when 'make it locally' is bloody stupid
or impractical, like growing rice & cotton in Australia.  What part of
desert don't you understand?  And yes, I'd eat the kangaroos instead of
sheep & cattle.

Tony

2007\10\10@122801 by Gerhard Fiedler

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Chris Smolinski wrote:

>>People with my mindset wouldn't force you to move. But they might make you
>>pay the /real/ price for oranges in Minnesota.
>
> But will the "real" price be the "real" price, or will it be an
> artificial price, to further your agenda?

Define "real" price, and "artificial" price. And define what my agenda is.
Then we can answer that, possibly.

(In the mean time you may want to look up "externalities". They are a
commonly accepted phenomenon; the differences are mainly in assessing their
exact value -- and, of course, how to deal with them. The commie neocons
generally like to put the onus on the community, while some conservative
greens would like each individual to pay what she uses :)

Gerhard

2007\10\10@130356 by Chris Smolinski

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>Chris Smolinski wrote:
>
>>>People with my mindset wouldn't force you to move. But they might make you
>>>pay the /real/ price for oranges in Minnesota.
>>
>>  But will the "real" price be the "real" price, or will it be an
>>  artificial price, to further your agenda?
>
>Define "real" price, and "artificial" price. And define what my agenda is.
>Then we can answer that, possibly.

A "real" price is that determined by market forces. An "artificial"
price is one either set by decree, or influenced by taxes/subsidies.
(And yes, the prices of many products/services today are artificial
due to taxes and subsidies, I'm all in favor of removing them) Only
you knows your actual agenda, but part of it seems to be denying
people the ability to choose what products they wish to consume.

Rather than saying that it is too resource intensive to ship oranges
to Minnesota, we need to ban the eating of oranges there, I would
suggest that finding lower cost (both financial and resource usage)
ways of transporting oranges would be more useful. But that's the
difference between socialists/capitalists, left/right, etc. One group
wants to come up with more imaginative ways of dividing the pie, the
other wants to make the pie bigger, so everyone gets a larger slice
;-)

>(In the mean time you may want to look up "externalities". They are a
>commonly accepted phenomenon; the differences are mainly in assessing their
>exact value -- and, of course, how to deal with them. The commie neocons
>generally like to put the onus on the community, while some conservative
>greens would like each individual to pay what she uses :)

That's the heart of the problem, how to determine the correct value.
Having them set by government or quasi-government agencies sounds
like a return to central planning - past history shows that doesn't
work very well. How was the orange supply in the typical 1970s Soviet
Union grocery store?

--

---
Chris Smolinski
Black Cat Systems
http://www.blackcatsystems.com

2007\10\10@133028 by Vasile Surducan

face picon face
On 10/10/07, Chris Smolinski <.....csmolinskiKILLspamspam.....blackcatsystems.com> wrote:
> >Chris Smolinski wrote:
> >
> >>>People with my mindset wouldn't force you to move. But they might make you
> >>>pay the /real/ price for oranges in Minnesota.
> >>
> >>  But will the "real" price be the "real" price, or will it be an
> >>  artificial price, to further your agenda?
> >
> >Define "real" price, and "artificial" price. And define what my agenda is.
> >Then we can answer that, possibly.
>
> A "real" price is that determined by market forces. An "artificial"
> price is one either set by decree, or influenced by taxes/subsidies.
> (And yes, the prices of many products/services today are artificial
> due to taxes and subsidies, I'm all in favor of removing them) Only
> you knows your actual agenda, but part of it seems to be denying
> people the ability to choose what products they wish to consume.

Bulshit. They are consuming what producers are offering and not what
they wish to consume. How many time did you go to the store for one
thing and went home with one hundred of other unusefull things just
because are there and are inexpensive, and maybe someday you'll need
them, and...?

Vasile

2007\10\10@134523 by Chris Smolinski

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>Bulshit. They are consuming what producers are offering and not what
>they wish to consume. How many time did you go to the store for one
>thing and went home with one hundred of other unusefull things just
>because are there and are inexpensive, and maybe someday you'll need
>them, and...?

Very seldom, since I make a shopping list, and usually stick to it. I
can't say I ever recall a supermarket employee putting things in my
cart behind my back.  Maybe people need to take personal
responsibility for their actions, and stop blaming others?  (Feel
free to tie this into the housing fiasco where people bought homes
they knew they couldn't afford)

--

---
Chris Smolinski
Black Cat Systems
http://www.blackcatsystems.com

2007\10\10@151915 by Gerhard Fiedler

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Tony Smith wrote:

>>>> People with my mindset wouldn't force you to move. But they might make
>>>> you pay the /real/ price for oranges in Minnesota.
>>
>>> But will the "real" price be the "real" price, or will it be an
>>> artificial price, to further your agenda?
>>
>> The first wasn't me, but I agree with it wholeheartedly.  

FWIW, that was me.

{Quote hidden}

Green herring... :)  

"Fair trade" is not about choosing between the local grower down the road
or the hippie market at the other end of the town, it is the choice between
a pack of dried bananas that was grown and packaged using slave-like labor
and huge externalities and leaves most of its value in the industrialized
countries, and a pack of dried bananas coming from the same country, but
produced (and paid for) under "fair" conditions to the farmers and ideally
with fewer externalities. (There are a few other "bits & pieces" to it, so
don't try to make another herring by claiming that.)

So whatever you may think of a hippie's brain (whatever you think this is),
don't think too much about it. It might be in vain.

Gerhard

2007\10\10@154923 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Chris Smolinski wrote:

>>>>People with my mindset wouldn't force you to move. But they might make you
>>>>pay the /real/ price for oranges in Minnesota.
>>>
>>>  But will the "real" price be the "real" price, or will it be an
>>>  artificial price, to further your agenda?
>>
>>Define "real" price, and "artificial" price. And define what my agenda is.
>>Then we can answer that, possibly.
>
> A "real" price is that determined by market forces.

Oh, fairy tale... :)  Show me one product price in the USA (or in any other
organized economy) that is completely determined by market forces. Just
one, and I grant you a point here.

The price determined by market forces is a theoretical ideal. Every real
price has a number of other factors in it.

> An "artificial" price is one either set by decree, or influenced by
> taxes/subsidies.

Well, then the current prices of oranges in Minnesota are artificial
prices. I want to make them less artificial, more real, and you seem to
object... Think about this.

It's not only about taxes and subsidies. It's also about externalities;
that is, common (or individual) goods that are being used (or damaged)
without being paid. The bicycle driver's health while he's huffing and
puffing through the rush hour traffic driving back home, on the same public
road with everybody else, damaging his lungs and other body parts on the
way, is just an example. The automobile drivers who are causing this damage
don't pay for the damage (neither its removal nor its avoidance, nor do
they suffer any penalty for the transgression).

> Only you knows your actual agenda, but part of it seems to be denying
> people the ability to choose what products they wish to consume.

Please think again, and maybe try to find where I have said anything to
this effect.

> Rather than saying that it is too resource intensive to ship oranges
> to Minnesota, we need to ban the eating of oranges there, [...]

I never said that. I never said anything about a ban. Either you're
confusing me with someone else, or you're confusing a lot more than me. I
said that whoever buys oranges in Minnesota doesn't pay the real price of
all the public resources consumed on their way there, and it would be good
if the people in Minnesota (and everywhere else) paid the real price when
buying oranges (and everything else), rather than someone else. (And
someone always has to pay it, sooner or later -- "there ain't no free
lunch" or so they say.)

> I would suggest that finding lower cost (both financial and resource
> usage) ways of transporting oranges would be more useful.

Oh, yes. Of course. But a lower cost way doesn't address the issue, at
least not generally. Sometimes it does it for a short while for one
externality, until the method is so widely used that the issue appears
again. It's always there, it never goes away. Just like greed (which is
probably one of the reasons why it's always coming back).


>> (In the mean time you may want to look up "externalities". They are a
>> commonly accepted phenomenon; the differences are mainly in assessing
>> their exact value -- and, of course, how to deal with them. The commie
>> neocons generally like to put the onus on the community, while some
>> conservative greens would like each individual to pay what she uses :)
>
> That's the heart of the problem, how to determine the correct value.

Yes, exactly.

> Having them set by government or quasi-government agencies sounds like a
> return to central planning - past history shows that doesn't work very
> well. How was the orange supply in the typical 1970s Soviet Union
> grocery store?

It doesn't seem that you really looked into this issue of externalities.
For example, driving automobiles (and running industries etc.) is /only/
possible because the government severely restricts the rights of the
individual in favor of the "common good". A driver wouldn't be able to blow
his exhaust gases into the public air that everyone breathes without an
"automobile waiver" by the government. An industrial plant couldn't be
built if it were required to not affect any individual in a way that this
individual didn't individually agree to.

So yes, if you want to, let's go strict and go back to the individual's
rights, directly in direction of a basic (theoretic) market economy without
government interference (other than enforcing the individuals' rights). You
can be sure that the oranges wouldn't even be able to leave the town where
they are grown, much less get to Minnesota (there probably wouldn't even be
a road or train track from Florida to Minnesota); it takes severe
government interference with individuals' rights to make the industrial
lifestyle possible.

I don't say that this is a bad thing (I just don't confuse it with
something else :)  The question is only how much and what kind of this
interference is good -- and this is an eternal question, as the measure is
constantly changing. This is the question about externalities (or part of
it).

Gerhard

2007\10\10@160305 by Russell McMahon

face
flavicon
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> That's one of the biggest arguments against Al Gore's movie
> (and I find it to be a red herring- rather than attacking his
> findings in the movie, they attempt to undermine the motives
> underneath it) "An Inconvenient Truth".
>
> And of course, I'm afraid I'm pushing this topic further into
> the "flame war" category, and I'm sorry.

I really don't want to flame up an interesting thread - which is the
sort that is bound to self immolate in time anyway, alas. But I'd
would like to note that, while I found AIT to contain much good and
interesting material, it also unquestionably [IMHO] contained enough
outright purposeful untruth to make it very bad indeed. What it seemed
to me to do [IMHO YMMV etc etc] was to use a series of truths to tell
lies. I thought that this was a great shame as it had much good to say
that was buried, for me, by the blatant lying.

I'll give one very major example. Recall his hoist / platform etc that
he used to make a point about sea level rise. recall his maps where
the sea level was shown inundating the coasts of the world and in
detail the southern US and the diagrams showing Florida being
substantially drowned. Note that this would have formed a very very
major impression in the minds of impressionable people. AFAIR he was
talking about a 12 foot sea level rise and his timetable was
"potentially in very short order - could be 10's to hundreds of years
if we don't reverse things". Now, look at the most extreme of the
IPCC's scenarios for sea level rise, let along what the sea level
experts are saying, and note that nowhere in their wildest dreams and
models and projections do IPCC, let alone the seal level experts, come
close to coming close to what Al portrays so graphically in AIT. Then
think about it carefully.

I am aware of what the premise was and the mechanisms by which he
arrived at his 12 foot sea level rise. I am aware that SHOULD all that
come to pass then that level of rise would occur. But that scenario is
so very very very very far from what the most extreme and unexpected
worst case scenarios that even the IPCC posit that one needs to wonder
what he was hoping to achieve by presenting it as he did.



       Russell



2007\10\10@160633 by Russell McMahon

face
flavicon
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> A "real" price is that determined by market forces.

Asking our children's children's children (should they ever get to
exist) what the "real price" of oil was in the early 21st century may
be informative. I suspect that "the hand" and the children would
agree.

The trouble with the hand is that it cares only for what it costs it
to get something it wants, and not even a tiddly bit what the value is
of what it gets to the community as a whole. And it doesn't care who
owns what it gets or who has or hasn't had a say in getting it. It
assumes that if it can get something for a price then all else is
irrelevant. It cares not whether it gets Arabian (or Siberian) oil,
Congolese tantalum, rainforest teak, sweat shop shirts and shoes,
Columbian coke.

It can be argued that if we want to stop the hand spreading cocaine
through our cities then we need only value the exercise appropriately
(by eg increasing the $ put into enforcement) and the users will
reduce demand accordingly. What that is saying is that the hand
shouldn't be pushing cocaine to our kids but that its doing so because
we don't value stopping it doing so highly enough to do what it takes
to make it stop doing it.

The "trouble" with this perspective is that it happily vector sums all
the factors, so the greens, thieves, pushers, politicians, egos,
addictions, greed, concerns etc are all valid parts of the calculation
that lead the hand to do what it does. Thus those who say "the
invisible hand achieves optimum results" and those who say "there are
other factors that should be considered" are all valid parts of a
process which is really no more than a statement of "this is what
happens after all factors are considered".

Taken like that "the hand at work" has value as a descriptive tool.
It's effectively a way of saying "This is what happens because you
don't care enough to cause it to be different. If you cared about oil
resources you would put money into using alternatives because you
consider the future resource has an intrinsic value to you now. If you
cared about sweatshops / human rights / rain forest teak / peak oil /
... then you'd ... ."

I think I may have just become a convert to the use of "The hand" as a
useful if somewhat cynical version of expressing "Them's the breaks".



       Russell



An "artificial"
{Quote hidden}

> --

2007\10\10@162317 by Russell McMahon

face
flavicon
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> Asking our children's children's children (should they ever get to
> exist) what the "real price" of oil was in the early 21st century
> may
> be informative. I suspect that "the hand" and the children would
> agree.

Urk!

agree -> disagree!


                Russell

2007\10\10@162945 by Russell McMahon

face
flavicon
face
Urk again.


> ... What that is saying is that the hand
> shouldn't be pushing cocaine to our kids

... What that is saying is NOT that the hand
shouldn't be pushing cocaine to our kids

       Russell

2007\10\10@175831 by Chris Smolinski

flavicon
face
>I am aware of what the premise was and the mechanisms by which he
>arrived at his 12 foot sea level rise. I am aware that SHOULD all that
>come to pass then that level of rise would occur. But that scenario is
>so very very very very far from what the most extreme and unexpected
>worst case scenarios that even the IPCC posit that one needs to wonder
>what he was hoping to achieve by presenting it as he did.
>

One shouldn't need to ponder for more than a few milliseconds to
figure out what he was trying to achieve. Sadly, it looks like the
scare tactics have worked.

--

---
Chris Smolinski
Black Cat Systems
http://www.blackcatsystems.com

2007\10\10@194532 by Jake Anderson

flavicon
face

> BTW, I'm all for 'buy local', except when 'make it locally' is bloody stupid
> or impractical, like growing rice & cotton in Australia.  What part of
> desert don't you understand?  And yes, I'd eat the kangaroos instead of
> sheep & cattle.
>
> Tony
>
>  
They are pretty tasty. Nobody from the country eats em though (like say
my missus) she keeps going on about how much they smell on the outside ;->

2007\10\10@202559 by Russell McMahon

face
flavicon
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>> ... worst case scenarios that even the IPCC posit that one needs to
>> wonder
>>what he was hoping to achieve by presenting it as he did.

> One shouldn't need to ponder for more than a few milliseconds to
> figure out what he was trying to achieve. Sadly, it looks like the
> scare tactics have worked.

I'm not sure if that's a defence or a criticism of AIT.

If it was scare tactics to wake people up then fine enough perhaps.
BUT is was not presented that way and far too many thinking and
intelligent people now think that what he presented is essentially the
received truth standard model GW scenario. It's not. And it's far far
far away from anything even the IPCC can manage.

His believing acolytes have been badly lied to and lied to badly. And
that's unforgivably stupid (even for a politician and a would be US
President). The man had an opportunity to use his credibility with 50%
of the US (less a few hanging chads) and quite a lot of the rest of
the world to tell the real story. But instead he used FUD and lies to
try and scare people into the GW camp. And thereby missed his chance.

A great shame really.



       Russell

2007\10\10@214609 by Chris Smolinski

flavicon
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>  >> ... worst case scenarios that even the IPCC posit that one needs to
>>>  wonder
>>>what he was hoping to achieve by presenting it as he did.
>
>>  One shouldn't need to ponder for more than a few milliseconds to
>>  figure out what he was trying to achieve. Sadly, it looks like the
>>  scare tactics have worked.
>
>I'm not sure if that's a defence or a criticism of AIT.

I'd call AIT bunk, but that would be unfair to bunk ;-)


--

---
Chris Smolinski
Black Cat Systems
http://www.blackcatsystems.com

2007\10\11@000312 by Russell McMahon

face
flavicon
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>>I'm not sure if that's a defence or a criticism of AIT.
>
> I'd call AIT bunk, but that would be unfair to bunk ;-)

The sad thing is that it contained much good stuff and much truth. If
you'd given it all the material to eg Jimmy Carter to present then you
may well have got a fair presentation that aided the cause of looking
after the only planet that we've got (so far).


           Russell

2007\10\11@062519 by Tony Smith

picon face
{Quote hidden}

That doesn't invalidate my point, which was local vs foreign.

It doesn't matter that there's two foreign sources, one being the struggling
subsistence farmer who carefully polishes every coffee bean for 10 minutes
before tenderly packing it, and the other being the horrible faceless
corporations who rape & pillage & whip their slaves & burn down rainforests
whilst laughing & twirling their moustaches (hmmm, maybe the corporates have
a face after all).

So hippies, are you going to walk down the road to the farmers market (or to
the farm to pick your own), or are you going to have rice flown to you from
Tibet and spew greenhouse gasses all over the planet (while giving the other
farmer a bit of cash).

Tony

2007\10\12@064840 by Vitaliy

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James Newton wrote:
>>> So is shipping them there. One thing about "sustainability" is to eat
>>> local
>>> food. If oranges and bananas are important to you, maybe you consider
>>> living somewhere else :)
>>
>>Only if people with your mindset force me to. :) I prefer that the
> Invisible
>>Hand take care of bringing the oranges and bananas to where I live.
>
> How sad.
>
> It is not mindsets, but lack of resource that may stop that invisible
> hand.
> The invisible hand is actually quite visible, quite hungry, and quite
> damaging. It depends on oil and by your depending on it, you put power in
> the hands of people who take us to war for more of that oil.
>
> It isn't people of our mindset you should fear. It is the unintended
> consequences of your own actions, and the resources they use.

I think the problem is that we all bring our biases to the discussion. The
opponent's comments are exaggerated in our own minds beyond what the
opponent intended. It's easy to disagree and have long philosophical
discussions about abstract concepts, but I know that if we were given
perfect information (all the real costs), we could not help it, but come to
the same conclusions.

You are pro-home garden and anti-war. I am pro-free trade. Any attack (real
or imagined) on the things we hold dear, generate an emotional response.

However, I know that we both believe in a lot of the same things. Nuclear
power as a solution to the US energy needs and reducing air pollution, and
the responsibility of every individual for his own actions are two of them.
I wholeheartedly agree that driving an old Civic is better for the
environment than buying a new hybrid.

I also agree with Gerhard that the free market isn't perfect, and negative
externalities exist. I am not against paying the "real" price (which takes
the externalities into account), assuming that the costs are calculated with
reasonable accuracy. What I am against, is people forcing other people to do
things that don't make any sense: grow their own food (think urban high-rise
dwellers), or buy it from farmers within an arbitrary 200 mile radius (think
cold or desert climates).

The percentage of hydrocarbons burned transporting food is negligible. If
people in the US really want to reduce their carbon footprint, they should
overcome their irrational fear of nuclear power. Roughly half of the CO2
emissions are from coal- and oil-burning power plants. Focus on big things
that will produce tangible results, and let me eat my imported bananas in
peace.

Vitaliy

PS If you disagree with my assertion that energy spent transporting food
represents a tiny fraction of overall energy consumption, I invite you to
put together a worst-case scenario based on the cost of oranges in a
Minnesota supermarket. When I used greatly exaggerated numbers
(transportation costs = 50% of the price of oranges), I ended up with the
amount of fuel used to transport the oranges representing 0.3% of the total
energy consumption, the rest being driving & electricity.

PPS You may be surprised to know that bananas are shipped from Latin America
to the US and the EU by ship, not by air.

2007\10\12@175421 by James Newton

face picon face

All the rest being most reasonable, I've snipped it. I agree completely.

>The percentage of hydrocarbons burned transporting food is negligible. If
>people in the US really want to reduce their carbon footprint, they should
>overcome their irrational fear of nuclear power. Roughly half of the CO2
>emissions are from coal- and oil-burning power plants. Focus on big things
>that will produce tangible results, and let me eat my imported bananas in
>peace.
>

The cost of transporting the food is not just the cost of the oil burned to
move the vessel. That I have never been able to find solid figures for, and
so I can't justify an argument, but the costs associated with transport of
food are larger. First, there is the cost of cooling or refrigeration over
the longer transport time. Then there is the cost of packaging and
distribution. Finally; the cost of going to the store and disposing of the
packaging.

All of that compared to the cost of walking to your back yard and picking a
banana or orange when it is in season and if you live where they will grow.

And, no, I don't expect every single person to eat only food that they grew
themselves or pay an increased tax (not even a penny) on the food that they
import.

What I would like to do is simply encourage people to think about the
unintended consequences of their buying decisions. Every banana, lettuce,
tomato, whatever that I purchase from the store puts a few more pennies in
the pockets of the people who brought you pollution, terror, and war.

Yes, the same is true of electricity, commuting, HVAC and many other things.
I hope people will do what they can to reduce that as well. I have a wood
stove for heat, a very nice clothes drying stand instead of a dryer, and
solar power and water panels on my roof. Every one of those things not only
reduced my contribution to the terror machine, but ALSO reduced MY costs of
living. Why on EARTH would people not want to save money? It takes about 2
minutes longer, and a mild upper body workout, to hang up the clothes rather
than dump them in the dryer, and then they are easier to fold and put away.
The wood stove is pretty, romantic, and warm in a way that standard heat is
not. My solar panels were effectively free based on a comparison of the loan
payment against the savings on our power bill, and it is starting to turn a
profit as rates increase.


>PS If you disagree with my assertion that energy spent transporting food
>represents a tiny fraction of overall energy consumption, I invite you to
>put together a worst-case scenario based on the cost of oranges in a
>Minnesota supermarket. When I used greatly exaggerated numbers
>(transportation costs = 50% of the price of oranges), I ended up with the
>amount of fuel used to transport the oranges representing 0.3% of the total

>energy consumption, the rest being driving & electricity.

Ok, I won't argue that. Do please also consider the (probably small) cost of
storage, cooling, packaging, your pickup of the oranges and the disposal of
the packaging. Again, I'm not asking you to stop. Perhaps you could just
grow some lettuce in a few pots on your windowsill?

>PPS You may be surprised to know that bananas are shipped from Latin
America
>to the US and the EU by ship, not by air.

Yes, in cargo ships that do not follow even US standards for pollution. But
of all the means of transporting cargo, ships are probably the best. And
sailboats COULD perhaps be used instead.

http://www.oceanswithoutengines.com/First%20Tier/index.htm

I would volunteer on that ship just for the experience, were I a younger,
less attached, man. It may not be the answer to all needs, but it's an
interesting thing to try.

And that is my point over all: We may not be able to totally turn away from
big oil, and I would not wish to force anyone to do so, but we can, at
least, TRY. And I think we will find that a lot of that trying is
economical, even on a personal basis, perhaps even fun, and interesting at
the very least.

--
James Newton


2007\10\12@181557 by Alex Harford

face picon face
On 10/12/07, James Newton <EraseMEjamesnewtonspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTmassmind.org> wrote:
>
> All of that compared to the cost of walking to your back yard and picking a
> banana or orange when it is in season and if you live where they will grow.

Not to mention the fact that it is fresh and tastes better as food can
be picked when it's ready.  I'm only starting to learn to garden but
the cost savings that I saw this year for cucumbers was amazing.
$2.00 pack of seeds plus a $2.00 seedling (cheap insurance :D ) gave
me over 20 of the best cucumbers I've ever tasted.  All in a space of
4 square feet.

>
> Yes, in cargo ships that do not follow even US standards for pollution. But
> of all the means of transporting cargo, ships are probably the best. And
> sailboats COULD perhaps be used instead.

Very interesting!  I wonder what the price of oil would need to get to
before this becomes economically feasible on a large scale?  I'd love
to see the return of sailing ships to the Vancouver harbour.

Alex

2007\10\12@183759 by Jake Anderson

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>
> Yes, the same is true of electricity, commuting, HVAC and many other things.
> I hope people will do what they can to reduce that as well. I have a wood
> stove for heat, a very nice clothes drying stand instead of a dryer, and
> solar power and water panels on my roof. Every one of those things not only
> reduced my contribution to the terror machine, but ALSO reduced MY costs of
> living. Why on EARTH would people not want to save money? It takes about 2
> minutes longer, and a mild upper body workout, to hang up the clothes rather
> than dump them in the dryer, and then they are easier to fold and put away.
> The wood stove is pretty, romantic, and warm in a way that standard heat is
> not. My solar panels were effectively free based on a comparison of the loan
> payment against the savings on our power bill, and it is starting to turn a
> profit as rates increase.
>
>  
I have just purchased my first house and it is going to need some
renovation.
I'm just wondering what ideas people have along these lines to reduce
energy consumption. I think wood fired stoves are a bad idea generally
as they make some really nasty smoke. Where i live now we get thermal
inversions as well which traps the smoke down against the ground and it
is decidedly bad. I am thinking solar concentrators and a hot
water/gravel system for heating. I'm mainly wondering what suggestions
people have for cooling?
I'm still a little wary of solar PV there seems to be allot of nastiness
in terms of toxic things when they are produced and they are really
expensive. Other than again concentrators then a triple expansion steam
engine does anybody have any comments? Personally I like the steam
engine just for its own sake ;->.

2007\10\12@190837 by Bob Axtell

face picon face
Jake Anderson wrote:
{Quote hidden}

One of my clients makes steel buildings. His business has never
purchased power from the power company.
He has 3 large solar arrays; he purchased the PV arrays piecemeal, and
all are used. He tracks the sun, and
stores 90+A at 24V into a huge battery bank. He runs the office and his
surveillance cameras as well as two
PC's and florescent lighting. I even have an office there as well, with
evaporative coolers in all the offices.
I'd say that it works just fine, but we live in So. Arizona and have a
LOT of sun to work with.

Now, suggestions:

Most energy for a house is for heating, cooling, and hot water to wash
clothes with and hot air to dry them. Making
solar hot water is truly trivial. Make the sun shine into a storage
medium, such as water tanks or a block of stone
(a friend did this and reduced his electric bill to $30/month in the
winter, with snow outside).

--Bob

It certainly

2007\10\12@201359 by James Newton

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See:
http://techref.massmind.org/techref/other/homes.htm

Especially the pages on solar cooling and earth tubes:
techref.massmind.org/techref/other/spac.htm
http://techref.massmind.org/techref/other/spac.htm#Vent

And I completely agree on the wood stove: If you do not have a steady flow
of air and/or inversions, wood heat should not be considered.

I don't understand your concern about PV panels, any references would be
interesting.

--
James.

{Original Message removed}

2007\10\13@002423 by Jake Anderson

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I was already keen on the earth tubes as we are going to need to dig up
the back yard somewhat anyway (have to make sure the doggies don't get
stuck down there while its all happening ;->). I hadn't considered
drainage to be an issue before. The land is on something of a slope so i
may be able to put in a drain line. I don't like the idea of having
holes in the bottom of the pipes going to the ground.

It seems that its best to minimize energy conversions, as such i am
thinking of something like this.


1 large tank full of gravel and water with both water and air pipes
running through it.
This is the "cold" tank. Any system that will generate coolth has said
coolth stored here if possible.
If anybody has suggestions for how to generate coolth without loosing
water I'm interested. Most of the systems seem to spray the water around
like it falls from the sky for free or something. (water conservation is
also a big thing here and a decent sized rain water tank will be
installed to help)

1 tank about half the size of the cold tank
This is the "hot" tank, again this will be full of gravel and probably
some form of oil. This tank is kept as hot as possible, within the
limits of the tank. As hot is generally far easier to come by than cold
you can make this tank smaller.


I plan on using the air pipes through the hot and cold tanks to provide
heating and cooling for the house (for the "peak" times). By passing air
through the earth tubes first (hopefully with a decent % of it recycled
from inside the house) there should be a decent reduction in energy needs.

In the future I'd like to use the system for power generation too,
Russell must be influencing me because I am thinking a Stirling engine
might be the way to go ;->
Storing energy in the hot tank would hopefully be a fairly efficient
system when compared with storing it in a battery (~60-80% at best as
far as I'm aware) since the energy is created in the form of heat in the
first place. The only other issue i see is that Stirling are most
efficient with a greater heat differential, I don't really see the hot
tank running much over 250C which might not be high enough to really get
the most out of it.

I don't have any references handy with regards solar PV nastiness but
from a pure cost perspective its prohibitive at this stage, a 10KW
Stirling should provide sufficient electrical power and would hopefully
cost far less than the $20-30K that solar PV seems to cost.

What gets my knickers in a twist is that the government has all these
rebate plans for solar and water systems but they don't apply unless you
buy it from a major player and get it installed by them too, seriously i
need a licensed plumber to install my rainwater tank because why? The
new "Big Solar" is already getting their toe in the door. You can forget
about any sort of rebate if its not photovoltaic as far as I'm aware
(that includes wind).

James Newton wrote:
{Quote hidden}

> {Original Message removed}

2007\10\13@032243 by Russell McMahon
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> In the future I'd like to use the system for power generation too,
> Russell must be influencing me because I am thinking a Stirling
> engine
> might be the way to go ;->

Good in principle but reduction to practice is still usually too dear.
It shouldn't be. I have some Stirling ideas which should allow easy
and cheap Stirling energy 'generation', which make vast sense (to me)
and which I may even get some time to explore in the medium term if
things I'm doing at present work out OK.


{Quote hidden}

Stirlings are governed by the same laws as all heat engines. Nothing
can extract more energy from a heat difference than an ideal Stirling.
But a good XYZ cycle engine may well beat a badly built Stiling.

Maximum (Carnot) efficiewncy possible is (Thot-Tcold)/Thot in degrees
absolute of your choice.

eg in degrees C it's         (Thot-Tcold)/(Thot + 273)

So for a cold side of say 30 C (allows some drop) and hot of 250C max
Z =(250-30)/(250+273) = 42% Carnot efficincy.
Which isn't too bad.
Actual of 25% of that is OK and 50% of that is m,agic.
So 10% is good and 20% is stunning.
People do manage over 50% of Carnot in suitably well done designs.


       Russell


>
> I don't have any references handy with regards solar PV nastiness
> but
> from a pure cost perspective its prohibitive at this stage, a 10KW
> Stirling should provide sufficient electrical power and would
> hopefully
> cost far less than the $20-30K that solar PV seems to cost.

10m steered solar dish (as being built el cheapo in Afghanistan) and
steam is probably rather more doable.

FWIW you can install wind at about $1.50 Watt on wind capacity in
small size (200 Watt).
More variable than solar but it's more often there at night than solar
is.


       Rusell

2007\10\13@214251 by Gerhard Fiedler

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Jake Anderson wrote:

> I'm mainly wondering what suggestions people have for cooling?

Depends on where you live, but adequate clothing (adequate for the climate)
has done it for me in Southern California, and continues doing it for me in
Sao Paulo :)  

I think the "cooling problem" is as much a matter of culture and what
you're used to as it is a technical one.

Gerhard

2007\10\13@221430 by Jake Anderson

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Gerhard Fiedler wrote:
> Jake Anderson wrote:
>
>  
>> I'm mainly wondering what suggestions people have for cooling?
>>    
>
> Depends on where you live, but adequate clothing (adequate for the climate)
> has done it for me in Southern California, and continues doing it for me in
> Sao Paulo :)  
>
> I think the "cooling problem" is as much a matter of culture and what
> you're used to as it is a technical one.
>
> Gerhard
>
>  
In western Sydney it hits 45C(113F) in the shade at times. It can also
be quite humid. Since i work from home mostly i was hoping to make it
somewhere nice to work. If the temperature can be kept this side of 30C
it'd be nice, but i can handle it going higher than that. And if its all
done for less than the up front cost of an AC unit and with minimal
energy bills then so much the better ;->

I'll probably add a solar chimney and use that to suck heat out but i
was wondering how i could use that air flow (or similar) to drive a
recirculation of existing cool(ish) air, through the earth tubes.

2007\10\14@073206 by Howard Winter

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Jake,

On Sat, 13 Oct 2007 08:37:54 +1000, Jake Anderson wrote:

{Quote hidden}

When I've been to talks by people who seem to know what they're saying, they rate the sequence of events in descending order of importance like this:

1. Energy efficiency
- using low-energy appliances and lights, with intelligent controls (timers, natural-light sensing, PIR detection, etc) mean that you use the minimum amount of
energy to start with (we have energy ratings on white goods - I don't know if they do where you are - and I would never buy anything less than "A" rated).  It's a
Good Thing to use less of it, whatever it comes from!

2. Conservation
- draftproofing, so whatever heat/coolth you have inside isn't leaked out
- double- (or triple-) glazing.  The best insulating glass is about ten times better at conduction than the worst wall material.
- roof insulation
- wall insulation
This lot isn't as sexy as generating your own electricity, but it's much more efficient in bang-for-buck terms, and it always works!

3. Building design
- Solar gain can be used to help heat the house in Winter, and should be avoided in Summer, so having large glass surfaces facing the equator with big overhanging
eaves or awnings means that the Winter Sun can get in, but in Summer it's shielded when the Sun's at a high angle.
- minimise the windows on the pole-facing side, maximise on the equator-facing side.
- having a high thermal mass inside the house means that it tends to stay at the temperature you've created, so solid floors, stone walls (or features) all help.
- keeping the wall area to the minimum helps keep heat in/out - so a square building (actually a sphere!) is most efficient.  The more corners you add to the shape,
the more area you are creating for heat to escape through.
- passive ventilation stacks are a good way to get free airflow, but keep it to the level needed for fresh air otherwise you're throwing out your hard-won
temperature.  Heat recovery can help here, but ignore the claims of "90% of energy recovered" - they aren't attainable without fans at the very least.

4. Thermal collection
- solar water heating is very much more efficient than photovoltaic - start by collecting it for hot water, and if it's still coming in when you've got all the hot water
you need, add a thermal store.  Water has the best specific-heat of anything easily obtainable (ignoring using phase-change) - I'd always assumed that rocks were
better, but when I checked I was surprised - worth confirming before going ahead with a design.

5. Electricity generation
- solar or wind, depends on the climate, and is never dependable in domestic locations.  If you are lucky enough to have hydro-electric available (a decent flowing
stream, or a hillside), you're in a much better position, but although it was first used in a domestic setting (Cragside, home of the Victorian engineer Armstrong)
most of us don't have an estate with a decent hill and lakes on it!  :-)

I was disappointed by this - I'm dead jealous of James' solar PV roof, but the economics of it are very location dependant, with weather and local rules and prices
making the difference between viablility and just feeling good without any financial return!  For example, James has net metering of electricity (if he's generating
more than he's using, his meter runs backwards) but in England, as well as having a lot less Sun to start with, you have to pay for what you use, and then they pay
you for what you generate on a separate tarrif (with a second meter).  Of course, they pay you less than you pay them, and less often!

I've been doing experiments with PV panels on my shed roof, and the figures are *very* disappointing.  On a brilliant sunny day, with the panels pointing directly at
the Sun, I get less than 50% of the rated power from the panels.  Overall it averages 10% or less than you'd expect from the headline rating of the panels, even in
good weather.

You mentioned a 10kW Stirling generator - that sounds like a *huge* amount of energy stored to run it.  I've found that the thing defeating a lot of generation
schemes is the maths - I hope you've done your homework!  :-)))

Cheers,


Howard Winter
St.Albans, England


2007\10\14@091512 by Gerhard Fiedler

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Jake Anderson wrote:

>>> I'm mainly wondering what suggestions people have for cooling?
>>
>> Depends on where you live, [...]
>
> In western Sydney it hits 45C(113F) in the shade at times.

Ah yes, that's above most people's comfort zone :)

> I'll probably add a solar chimney and use that to suck heat out ...

Isn't here the problem not so much the "sucking out" part, but rather what
to suck in? If it's air at 45°C, the solar chimney can suck out all it
wants and things wouldn't improve :)

> ... but i was wondering how i could use that air flow (or similar) to
> drive a recirculation of existing cool(ish) air, through the earth
> tubes.

That's probably the part that brings it. Depends on your average
temperatures, and the averaging time depends on the heat capacity of your
storage. If you have hot days and cool nights, that should work well with
not too much investment.

Gerhard

2007\10\14@095928 by Chris Smolinski

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>3. Building design
>  - Solar gain can be used to help heat the house in Winter, and
>should be avoided in Summer, so having large glass surfaces facing
>the equator with big overhanging
>eaves or awnings means that the Winter Sun can get in, but in Summer
>it's shielded when the Sun's at a high angle.

Another consideration is the placement of deciduous trees, or perhaps
the placement of the house relative to the trees ;-)  They block
sunlight during the summer, keeping the house cooler, but during the
winter when they've dropped their leaves, they allow sunlight to
reach the house. When my house was built, I specifically instructed
the builder to not cut down any trees other than what was necessary
to build the house and install the septic system. Builders seem to
get excited about using a bulldozer to level trees, for some reason.

--

---
Chris Smolinski
Black Cat Systems
http://www.blackcatsystems.com

2007\10\15@103003 by Howard Winter

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Chris,

On Sun, 14 Oct 2007 09:59:21 -0400, Chris Smolinski wrote:

{Quote hidden}

That's a great plan, but it has to be executed very carefully - having trees close enough to the house to shade Summer Sun could cause problems with roots
undermining the house!  I had a Leyland Cypress about ten feet from my front door (I realise this isn't deciduous :-) and my next-door neighbour reported finding
roots growing under the front wall of his house... eventually I had to fell the tree because I didn't want to upset my neighbour by damaging his house!

> When my house was built, I specifically instructed
> the builder to not cut down any trees other than what was necessary
> to build the house and install the septic system. Builders seem to
> get excited about using a bulldozer to level trees, for some reason.

I don't know where you are, but here they tend to use "Groundworkers" as the first step in construction (often a separate firm from the builders), and their job is to
provide a flat and level surface, regardless of what is planned to be built on it - only after they have done so and left do the actual builders turn up and start
marking out the outlines.  Consequently allowing trees to remain demands a level of planning and measuring that isn't usually done, not to mention communicating
with the groundworkers to get them to do something that they don't usually do (precision work, rather than just clearing an area).  Leaving specific trees counts as
"precision" within that environment!  :-)  It does occur if there are "listed" trees on the site, but they'd much rather just flatten the lot, as you say.

Cheers,


Howard Winter
St.Albans, England


2007\10\15@114836 by William \Chops\ Westfield

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On Oct 15, 2007, at 7:29 AM, Howard Winter wrote:

>> Another consideration is the placement of deciduous trees, or perhaps
>> the placement of the house relative to the trees ;-)  They block
>> sunlight during the summer, keeping the house cooler, but during the
>> winter when they've dropped their leaves, they allow sunlight to
>> reach the house.
>
> That's a great plan, but it has to be executed very carefully - having
> trees close enough to the house to shade Summer Sun could cause  
> problems
> with roots undermining the house!

It may also not be considered fire-safe, in regions with particularly
dry seasons...

BillW

2007\10\15@131609 by Howard Winter

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Bill,

Trees near houses...

On Mon, 15 Oct 2007 08:44:36 -0700, William \"Chops\" Westfield wrote:

>...  
> It may also not be considered fire-safe, in regions with particularly dry seasons...

Right, but not a consideration in Britain!  :-)

Cheers,


Howard Winter
St.Albans, England


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