Skip to main content

View Diary: We'll run out of beer before we run out of oil (281 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  It's what Kunstler has been saying (9+ / 0-)

    for a long time now: virtually all of the discussion about energy, on both the left and the right, has been focused on how we keep all the cars running by other means than oil.

    As he points out, this is a fool's errand. We are simply going to have to make other arrangements for how we live. In particular, suburbia ("The greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world") looks like a goner.

    All the fuss and bother about ethanol will simply keep us diverted from what we should really be doing, which is reducing demand. A good first step, as Kunstler never tires of saying, would be to start rebuilding our shamefully decrepit passenger rail system. Heard any politician talk about that lately? I didn't think so.

    Here's an excellent recent article by Jim on these issues.

    Let's hope we don't, as someone said "burn up the last six inches of Midwest topsoil as ethanol in our cars."

    News is what they don't want you to know. Everything else is publicity. --Bill Moyers

    by RobLewis on Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 09:31:30 AM PST

    •  Suburbia is not necessarily a goner, but it will (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RobLewis

      to structurally change. In New England, in towns established before the auto became prevalent, nieghbors had small areas of commerce, in some cases even a branch of the Post Office. This will have to happen in suburban neighborhoods, where some house will need to be raised in order for commercial areas to be established, within walking distance (which is typically seen as 1/2 mile or ten minutes of slow walking - crazy, isn't it?).

      I grew up in a suburb of Detroit, a city laid out in square mile grids. Commerce happened, if at all, on the edges of those squares, with nothing but houses and schools in the interior. Awful environment.

      17. Ne5

      In chess you may hit a man when he's down -- Irving Chernev, on Przepiorka v. Prokes, Budapest, 1929

      by Spud1 on Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 12:36:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, the trend in suburbia (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mataliandy, Spud1

        has been to larger (and more energy-guzzling) houses, on larger lots, segregated (by income level) into "pods" with only one road in or out. In other words, they're becoming LESS walkable, not more.

        The old neighborhoods you speak of simply are not suburbs. Suburbs by definition are auto-dependent, and almost entirely lacking in any public amenities.

        A great book on this topic is Suburban Nation: the rise of sprawl and the decline of the American Dream.

        News is what they don't want you to know. Everything else is publicity. --Bill Moyers

        by RobLewis on Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 01:19:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, I know - as I said, I grew up in one. But (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RobLewis

          they can be changed, and will be if energy becomes scarce. It's actually going to be worse in rural areas like where I live now.

          17. Ne5

          In chess you may hit a man when he's down -- Irving Chernev, on Przepiorka v. Prokes, Budapest, 1929

          by Spud1 on Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 01:31:37 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not to quibble, but… (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            blue vertigo

            many public facilities require a minimum population density to work. Public transportation is the prime example. A development with 3 or 4 households per acre simply can't support a bus line with reasonable service frequency and reasonable distances between stops.

            Similarly, a corner grocery store or a neighborhood school can't survive unless there are a certain minimum number of customers within walking distance.

            These densities are simply unavailable in suburbia, and I don't see any feasible "changes" that would make them available. I guess you could build houses in between the existing houses, and in the front yards, and stack an extra 2 or 3 stories above the existing buildings, but what a mess!

            No, the suburbs will become the new slums, and a source of salvaged building materials. Too bad about all those adjustable-rate mortgages propped up with inflated "property values."

            Oh, and I live in a rural area too.

            News is what they don't want you to know. Everything else is publicity. --Bill Moyers

            by RobLewis on Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 01:47:28 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  I always ask this question and get :::crickets::: (0+ / 0-)

      In particular, suburbia ("The greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world") looks like a goner.

      What do you suggest we do with what we've built up as our homes and communities?

      Doze them?

      Care to enforce that?

      •  Sorry, but (0+ / 0-)

        your typical suburban pod is not really a good example of a "community." The main thing suburbanites seem to share is an obsessive concern with "property values."

        I don't know what's going to happen, but when gas become too expensive to maintain the suburban commuter lifestyle, you can bet that major dislocations are coming.

        Here's one scenario:

        People can no longer afford to commute 40 miles to work. They decide to put the house on the market and look for a place closer in, or at least one served by light rail (presuming we've had the foresight to build some).

        Unfortunately, millions of other people have the same idea. A big supply of houses for sale, with disappearing demand, means crashing prices. Their equity is wiped out, and their mortgage is upside down. Meanwhile, prices of the homes closer to town are zooming. You do the math.

        News is what they don't want you to know. Everything else is publicity. --Bill Moyers

        by RobLewis on Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 04:11:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Crickets would have been preferable. (0+ / 0-)

          The main thing suburbanites seem to share is an obsessive concern with "property values."

          The fact that I put hard-earned money into my home is not something I'm ashamed of. By the way, for most Americans, their biggest asset is their home. That would go for condos, mansions, lofts, trailer homes, etc.

          They decide to put the house on the market and look for a place closer in, or at least one served by light rail (presuming we've had the foresight to build some).

          I've got the Park-n-Ride now, Light Rail in the not distant future, thanks. Get more of that for all and we're fine.

          You do the math.

          Thanks for your compassionate insight. We could use more voices like yours. I eagerly await your ideas on punishment of those who you think aren't environmental enough. Wiped out equity just isn't mean enough, is it?

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site