Category Archives: What to do

Rare Earth – why we may be the only intelligent species in the universe

Preface. I think that Ward & Brownlee’s 2000 book “Rare Earth: why complex life is uncommon in the universe” is one of the most profound and important books I’ve ever read.  What if we are the only intelligent species in … Continue reading

Posted in Evolution, Human Nature, Life Before Oil | Tagged | 11 Comments

Book review of Mikhail’s “The beekeeper: rescuing the stolen women of Iraq”

Preface. This is a gruesome post you may want to skip. My main interest in this book was what will happen to the hundreds of millions forced to flee in the future because of the crash of civilization as oil … Continue reading

Posted in Collapse of Civilizations, Collapsing, Mass migrations, Middle East, Refugee Camps, Social Disorder, Terrorism | Tagged | 8 Comments

Book review: the stranger in the woods. The extraordinary story of the last true hermit

Preface.  This has nothing to do with peak everything, but it was an interesting and profound book, and those of you who are survivalists may find yourself in a similar situation… Alice Friedemann   www.energyskeptic.com  author of “When Trucks Stop Running: … Continue reading

Posted in (Auto)biography, Real Estate | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Replacing diesel tractors with horses or oxen – what will that be like?

Preface.  Since fossil fuels are clearly finite, at some point increasing numbers of farmers with diesel vehicles and equipment will want to replace them with horses, which can do the work of six people.  Here’s what  energy expert Vaclav Smil … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Life Before Oil, Muscle Power, Peak Food, Vaclav Smil | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Using manure for fertilizer in the future – it won’t be easy

Preface. At John Jeavons Biointensive workshop back in 2003, I learned that phosphorous is limited and mostly being lost to oceans and other waterways after exiting sewage treatment plants.  He said it can be dangerous to use human manure without … Continue reading

Posted in Life Before Oil, Soil, Waste, Water | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Book review of Wrigley’s “Energy and the English Industrial revolution”

Preface. I’ve made a strong case in my book “When trucks stop running” and this energyskeptic website that we will eventually return to wood and a 14th century lifestyle after fossil fuels are depleted. So if you’re curious about what … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Agriculture, Energy, Life Before Oil, Limits To Growth | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

From Horsepower to Horse Power. When Trucks stop, Horses start.

Preface. Before the industrial revolution there were only four sources of mechanical power of any economic significance. They were human labor, animal labor, water power (near flowing streams) and wind power.   Work done by animals, especially on farms, was still … Continue reading

Posted in Life Before Oil, Muscle Power | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Muscle Power

Preface. Before fossil fuels, the energy to do work came from muscle power and the heat from burning biomass, mainly wood.  When I visited the Deutsches museum in Munich in 2017, I saw two animal treadmills: The first picture shows … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Energy, Life Before Oil, Muscle Power, What to do | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Vaclav Smil. Making the modern world: materials and dematerialization

Preface.  I can’t believe I read this book, it is just a long litany of the  gigantic amounts of materials we exploit, with no analysis, implications, or the meaning of what impact this will have on the planet. I certainly … Continue reading

Posted in Infrastructure, Life Before Oil, Limits To Growth, Peak Resources, Vaclav Smil | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Rex Weyler on “what to do” about limits to growth, peak energy

Preface. Professor Nate Hagens is teaching a class at the University of Minnesota about the state of the world that may be expanded to all incoming freshmen.  Many despair when they learn about limits to growth and finite fossil fuels.  … Continue reading

Posted in What to do | Tagged , , | 9 Comments