Category Archives: What to do

Not enough rare metals to scale up solar power

Preface. Sunshine may be free, but the materials to make solar contraptions sure aren’t.  Since sunshine arrives in a diluted form, vast expanses of solar photovoltaic panels will be needed to produce the world’s 24,000 Terawatt hours of electrical power … Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Energy, Elements: Critical, Elements: Rare Earth, Mining, Photovoltaic Solar, Recycle | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Why rare and valuable metals are not recycled

Preface. This is a post about why rare and critical metals aren’t recycled at all or at best, just a small percent. Basically it is still cheaper to mine them from scratch than to try to separate them out from … Continue reading

Posted in Elements: Critical, Elements: Platinum Group, Elements: Precious, Elements: Rare Earth, Recycle, Ugo Bardi | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Even Pencils will be hard to make

Preface. Most of us are unaware of how complex our society is, how things are made, how food is grown, how stuff is delivered, and the people, energy, transportation, and kinds and sources of materials in every day objects.  This … Continue reading

Posted in EROEI Energy Returned on Energy Invested, Localization, Supply Chains | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

The Fragility of Microchips

Preface. This is an introduction to how microchips are made to give you an idea of how difficult and amazing they are.  This is a very high-level overview gathered from two textbooks full of mind-boggling processes and complexity.  Microchips are … Continue reading

Posted in 2) Collapse, Localization, Microchips and computers, Supply Chains | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Renewables: not enough minerals, energy, time or clean and green

Preface. Electricity generating contraptions like wind and solar can’t replace the 50% of oil used in global manufacturing, because they can’t generate the high heat needed, or run battery or catenary electric trucks as I explained in “When Trucks Top … Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Energy, Battery - Utility Scale, Elements: Critical, Elements: Platinum Group, Elements: Rare Earth, Peak Resources, Recycle, Solar, Wind | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Minerals essential for wind, solar, and high-tech, are anything but clean and green

This is a book review of Pitron’s “The rare metals war”.  To produce the metals and minerals to make a transition to wind, solar, nuclear and so on would be incredibly destructive and filthy. A fifth of China’s arable land … Continue reading

Posted in Battery - Utility Scale, Elements: Critical, Elements: Rare Earth, Mining, Peak Resources, Photovoltaic Solar, Recycle, Wind | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Book list: What to do about peak everything and limits to growth

If you search on prepping you’ll get 62 million results, but that hasn’t been my focus. I’m madly in love with my techno-optimist husband, we’re both senior citizens, and so we’re not going anywhere or preparing.   Where best to be … Continue reading

Posted in Advice, Book List, Where to Be or Not to Be | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

328 Million Americans use 3.2 million pounds of minerals, metals, and fuels in their lifetime

Preface. Even if you go off the grid, society is using up minerals at an exponential rate to maintain the non-negotiable American lifestyle, which in 2006, required 3.7 million pounds of minerals, metals, and fuels in each person’s lifetime, or … Continue reading

Posted in Elements: Critical, Mining, Recycle | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Livestock threatened by toxic invasive species on rangeland

Preface.  Will cattle, sheep,goats, and horses have to be raised on feed lots in the future to prevent range land poisoning from invasive plants? Each year poisonous plants adversely affect 3-5% of the cattle, sheep, and horses that graze western … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Biodiversity Loss, BioInvasion, Peak Food | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Escape collapse on a DIY floating island

Preface. Build your own sustainable floating compound. At Freedom Cove, food preparation takes up a large part of the day. Without a refrigerator or freezer, the couple catch fish and grow almost all the food they consume in a large … Continue reading

Posted in Where to Be or Not to Be | Tagged , , | 5 Comments