Category Archives: Infrastructure

90% of why we live past 50 due is clean water (and food) from water treatment facilities and sewage treatment plants that are all falling apart. Oil & gas pipes essential to heating and cooking are rusting apart. Dams, bridges, roads — all built when the EROEI of oil was 100:1 need replacing at a time when the EROEI has fallen below 15:1

Book review of Dirt: the erosion of civilization

Preface. On average civilizations collapsed after 800 to 2,000 years because they’d destroyed their topsoil. Today, industrial agriculture is doing this far faster – in most of the United States half of the original topsoil is gone from the richest … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Agriculture, Peak Food, Soil | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Lakes run dry from too much water extraction and climate change

Preface.   I think that declining oil will be the main cause of civilization to collapse, since it is the energy that makes all other activities possible, but there are so many other contenders I wonder if scholars in the future … Continue reading

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Vaclav Smil: from wood to coal to oil, energy transitions take a long time

Preface.  This post has a shortened, reworded, and heavily commented on article from Scientific American in 2014.  You can also see two much longer articles about energy transitions by Smil from n 2008 and 2010 here: Vaclav Smil: Our transition … Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Energy, Coal, Dependence on Oil, Energy, Vaclav Smil | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

75% of Earth’s Land Areas Are Degraded. Environmental damage threatens 3.2 billion people.

  Preface. Yikes, by 2050 95% of Earth’s land could be degraded and reduce or even end food production, forcing hundreds of millions to migrate. Whatever you’ve read in the past about the State of the World, it’s gotten even … Continue reading

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Germany’s wind energy mess: As subsidies expire, thousands Of turbines to close

Preface. This means that the talk about renewables being so much cheaper than anything else isn’t necessarily true.  If wind were profitable, more turbines would be built to replace the old ones  without subsidies needed. Unless they can be dumped … Continue reading

Posted in Electric Grid, Energy, Wind | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

Fresh water depletion, contamination, saltwater intrusion, & permanent subsidence

Map of the U.S. showing cumulative groundwater depletion from 1900 through 2008 in 40 aquifers. Source: Groundwater Depletion in the United States (1900-2008), USGS Scientific Investigations Report 2013-5079. Preface. What follows is from: Ayre, J. April 2018. Fossil Water Depletion, Groundwater … Continue reading

Posted in Groundwater, Salinity, Water, Water, Water | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

The electric grid: fragile, filthy, poorly managed, polluting, inefficient, corrupt

Preface. Most forms of alternative energy depend on the electric grid (nuclear, wind, solar, geothermal, hydropower). But the Grid is falling apart.  Most people who care about climate change believe electrifying everything will solve our problems. This energy section of … Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Energy, Blackouts, Books, Electricity, Energy | 3 Comments

Would we be happier as hunter gatherers than farming?

[ Someone posted an article in facebook from the New Yorker titled “The case against civilization. Did our hunter-gatherer ancestors have it better?”  And the author’s answer is a resounding “yes” backed only by bullshit.  I was so annoyed I … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Agriculture, Human Nature | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Rising Sea Levels – What to do?

Preface. I first published this in June 2014, but thought I’d re-update it now that $2.5 million is going to be spent by Resilient by Design on 10 teams to come up with solutions for rising sea levels.  They failed … Continue reading

Posted in Sea Level Rise, Transportation | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Battling the Inland Sea, the history of why and how the levee system was built in California’s delta

[ When settlers first moved to farm the central valley, they found it was often flooded with water, not the “desert” people often claim California to be.  A vast swamp over 100 miles long of half a million acres of … Continue reading

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