Monday, April 24, 2006

DC Petrocollapse Conference

With speakers from Global Ecovillage Network, Energy

Preparedness, & Community Solution;
Richard Heinberg, "Powerdown: Options and Actions for a

Post-Carbon World;" Joel Salatin, organic
farmer & author of "You Can Farm;"

music, films & much more
A conference
all people
should attend!!

The DC Petrocollapse

Surviving Peak Oil: Economic Doom or


Culture Change and

Sustainable Living

Saturday May 6 * 9 am - 7 pm

All Souls Church * 16th
Harvard Streets, NW
Washington DC
near Adams Morgan (Red) or

Columbia Heights (Green) Metro Stations * Directions


Register now to attend!

The sudden effects of perpetual oil shortage are likely to strike
within the next three years. Are we prepared? Sponsored by Culture
Change, the DC PetroCollapse Conference will present the facts behind
the hype about Peak Oil, explore the root factors of our present
"oil-addicted" condition, and envision the strategies that we need to
bypass unhelpful institutional barriers and achieve post-Peak Oil
economic sustainability.

Experts on peak oil and the geological depletion of oil reserves, and
advocates for small-scale agriculture, alternative energy and local
sustainable economics will discuss "petrocollapse," the imminent
failure of the petroleum infrastructure to continue to provide the
myriad goods and services that our consumer economy has grown
accustomed to. Multimedia presentations and multiple films will
demonstrate solutions to
the audience.

Albert Bates,
Global Ecovillage Network

Diana Leafe Christian, Communities Magazine
Richard Heinberg,

Powerdown: Options and

Actions for a Post-Carbon World
Jan Lundberg,

Mark Rabinowitz, Permatopia
Michael Kane,
From the Wilderness
Joel Salatin, PolyFace Farms

You Can Farm

Faith Morgan & Pat Murphy,
Community Solution

David Room,
Energy Preparedness

John Darnell, PhD Energy Advisor
Jenna Orkin, Moderator


World Trade Center Environmental Organization


Register online via PayPal at

Registration cost of $100 pays for lunch
and attendance at special noontime press conference.

Scholarships, work exchange arrangements, and "sliding scale" discounts are available

for students, activists, and others. Everyone will be accomodated! Send
us an email with details of your situation, and/or what time or energy
you may have for volunteer activity for the conference. Send to

Contact conference coordinator Ethan Genauer if you have any problems registering OR for more details by email at :

For more info, see
The DC Petrocollapse Conference
Surviving Peak Oil: Economic Doom or Transformation?
Culture Change and Post-Petroleum
Sustainable Living
Saturday May 6 * 9 am - 7 pm
All Souls Church * 16th & Harvard Streets, NW Washington DC near Adams Morgan (Red) or Columbia Heights (Green) Metro Stations * Directions * Map
Register now to attend!

A conference on the effects of peak oil and the growing global energy crisis will take place in Washington, DC on May 6th at the All Souls Church, Unitarian from 9 A.M. to 7 P.M. Speakers include peak-oil author Richard Heinberg.

Conference organizer and speaker Jan Lundberg is a former oil industry analyst who ran the market research firm Lundberg Survey. Lundberg, who quit serving the oil industry so he could put his knowledge to use to protect the environment, says "M. King Hubbert, who developed the theory of peak oil, observed that we do not have an energy crisis but rather a culture crisis. This fits with the theme of the Washington DC Petrocollapse Conference that there is no technofix for our energy dilemma. Society will have to reclaim a closer level of community and rediscover how local economics works."

The May 6th conference will feature Richard Heinberg, the most-read peak oil author (The Party's Over, and Powerdown). Films and music will be also offered as part of a varied program to stimulate discussion and action by attendees. Heinberg and Lundberg and others will perform music including oil-satire songs. Films will include premiers of "Our Synthetic Sea" (plastics pollution in oceans) and "The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil."

Lundberg says the Petrocollapse Conference asks, "What we can do in advance of the social upheaval and chaos that may produce a 'national New Orleans,' to prepare or mitigate? What will the future look like during and after a transition to non-petroleum living?"


The New York Times calls Peak Oil "almost certainly correct." Fortune Magazine says, "An economic tsunami is about to hit the global economy as the world runs out of oil." As oil prices soar and supplies of crude oil and refined petroleum products strain to keep up with demand, as global warming fuels out-of-control hurricanes that wreak havoc on oil production infrastructure as well as upon devastated populations, the critical issue of Peak Oil is finally becoming acknowledged in the mainstream news.

But the complete story is still suppressed, misunderstandings abound, and the public remains in the dark about the vast array of consequences due to hit from this looming "permanent energy crisis." The sudden effects of perpetual oil shortage are likely to strike within the next three years. Are we prepared? Sponsored by Culture Change, the DC PetroCollapse Conference will present the facts behind the hype about Peak Oil, explore the root factors of our present "oil-addicted" condition, and envision the strategies that we need to bypass unhelpful institutional barriers and achieve post-Peak Oil economic sustainability.

The public is also not fully aware of the extent to which oil pervades our lives not simply as fuel for transportation but also in the form of pesticides, fertilizers and plastics. A decline in oil supplies will affect our ability to grow enough food for the current global population of six and a half billion people. Malnutrition and resulting illness can be expected to spread far beyond the 3.7 billion who are currently affected into the developed world.

Our economy also depends on indefinite growth that will not be sustainable once Peak Oil hits. Its arrival is likely to have a paralyzing affect on certain sectors of the economy which will in turn spread both nationally and globally.

Most independent oil experts agree that the peak in global oil extraction is occurring approximately now. The pressures of the market to distribute the fuels and materials made from petroleum are already creating intense competition for energy supplies around the world. As the gap between supply and demand widens and prices skyrocket, supply will tighten as never before due to hoarding. This will cause massive repercussions in daily living and the global economy. Not only will people have to adapt to an energy-poor world by concentrating on sustainably working with their regional ecosystems for all their needs, but will also have to cope with climate change which is rapidly accelerating. This scenario is referred to by oil expert and conference organizer Jan Lundberg as Petrocollapse.

As the conference brochure states, "the world's peak in oil extraction is about now -- although there is uncertainty and debate. The pressures of the Market to smoothly spread around the fuels and materials made from petroleum promise to create intense competition for energy supplies, as seen already today on the world stage. As the gap between supply and demand widens and prices skyrocket, supply will tighten as never before due to hoarding. This will cause massive repercussions in daily living and the global economy. Not only will people have to adapt to an energy-poor world by concentrating on sustainably working with their regional ecosystems for all their needs, climate change is accelerating."

At The Petrocollapse Conference we will ask

* What are we facing now as the economy prepares to hit the wall known as resource limits? Will growth suddenly implode?
* What will be the effects of Peak Oil (a geological phenomenon) and petrocollapse (an economic and social phenomenon) on food supply and other services we depend on?
* What mitigation strategies are possible?
* What is the role of the market in determining how severe the effect of shortage stemming from geological depletion will be ?
* Upon upheaval, deprivation, and a restructuring of social relations in a "new" local economics system, will we choose to create a sustainable culture?

** contact conference coordinator Ethan in DC **

Register online via PayPal at

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Bloomington, IL Expo

Some friends of Sustenance are producing this expo. It should be great!

Make Plans to Attend Now

Next Fri. & Sat. April 21 & 22IWU Shirk Center, Bloomington, Illinois

70 Workshops - Many Relevant Subjects
Sustainable Living Practices
Genuine Health & Wellness
Renewable Energy
Organic Farming & Gardening
Environmental Care & Justice
Green Building Ideas
View Workshop Schedule

Over 110 Exhibitors - Many Products and Services
View Complete List of Exhibitors

Friday Evening Keynote Address, Mixer & Dance
Topic: The Heart of Sustainable Living & Wellnes

This is event if for all of us who care about our health, our communities, other peoples and our native home - the Earth.Please forward this email along to make this a wildly successful event...!!! Thank You...

We hope to see you at the Expo...

Center for Sustainable Community
phone: 815-256-2204

Saturday, April 15, 2006

San Francisco Becomes First U.S. City to Pass Peak Oil Resolution

Exciting news!

San Francisco on Tuesday became the first major U.S. city to pass a resolution acknowledging the threats posed by peak oil, urging the city to develop a comprehensive plan to respond to the emerging global energy crunch.

...The measure comes on the heels of an increasingly effective grass roots campaign by groups such as San Francisco Oil Awareness, Post Carbon San Francisco, and SF Informatics, who have sponsored mailings and meetings targeting Bay Area elected officials for more than two years. San Francisco has been making strides in the area of energy independence, energy watchdogs have reported. The group says that San Francisco was voted third best city to withstand an oil crisis.
See the whole press release with links here.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

terrorist chickens

(This is absolutely insane given the likelyhood that we all will need to become more self-sufficient in the future.)

Synopsis: FDA says all animals must be micro-chipped. This will happen through the creation and pending implementation of a national animal identification system ("NAIS"). This applies to anyone who keeps a cow, a chicken or duck or any other animal kept for business or pleasure. If you don't have time to read the whole alert, at least read the red.

"I have a very strong feeling that the opposite of love is not hate -- it's apathy. It's not giving a damn."--Leo Buscaglia

From Mother Earth News

Conflicts with the American Dream

Articles about the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) say the government is planning a mandatory program in which all animal owners eventually will be required to register their land and animals and to insert electronic tracers into all their animals. Eventually, NAIS may require retinal (eye) scans or DNA samples.

Who will pay for this? It will burden small-scale owners — say of a chicken or two or even of a single pigeon — leaving large corporations as the only animal owners. This conflicts with the American dream of self-sufficiency. I know I am not alone in the suspicion that government management would mean mismanagement and waste.

My spouse and I have spent the last several years working hard to save for our own land, our own animals, our own lives. I fear this new infringement on my privacy, liberty and enjoyment of life may well destroy all we have worked so hard to build.

I also am concerned about required registration by way of a “secure” database of private information — no database is secure.

~Marion Parker
Leavenworth, Kansas

Nothing to do with Food Safety

The National Animal Identification System (NAIS) discussed in “Big Brother in the Barnyard” (“Green Gazette,” February/March 2006) is a serious issue with far-reaching ramifications. If it becomes a mandatory USDA program, all livestock owners will have to register their property and animals with the government. Several states already have implemented mandatory programs. Consumers might think that’s good, because it will keep our food safe, but the NAIS has nothing to do with food safety. It is intended to create a database so animal diseases can be traced through the life of the animal. So what’s wrong with that — don’t we need to control diseases like mad cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE)?

The truth is, the NAIS would work only after a disease was discovered. It is a backwards tracking program, not a preventive program.
Currently, the USDA does postmortem BSE testing on only a very few animals relative to the 35 to 40 million slaughtered in America every year. Since the USDA doesn’t test every cow postmortem, as Japan does, it’s unlikely to find BSE, and no traceback or control can take place. Even worse, we are still eating beef that has never been tested for BSE.

The NAIS won’t work under current USDA standards. Who will pay the price? All of us. The federal government already has allocated about $50 million, final price tag unknown. Anyone who owns even one goat, sheep, cow, horse, etc., will have to buy radio tags or implant chips, so don’t think it will just affect the large factory farms.

~Elaine Kist
Hartsel, Colorado

We share your concerns about this new system. The USDA’s take on NAIS is posted at You can read other perspectives at,,

(search for “terrorist chickens”) and numerous other Web sites. We encourage readers to convey their concerns to the USDA and to their elected representatives. — Mother

April 10, 2006


WAPF Member and Chapter Leader, Judith McGeary (Austin, TX) has created a new non-profit organization, The Farm and Ranch Alliance, to lobby for independent farmers and ranchers on NAIS and other such intrusive programs (part 1 below). She also provides an up-to-date look at NAIS, based on a press conference USDA Secretary Mike Johanns held on Thursday, April 6 (see part 2 below). The good news is that USDA will not propose regulations in July 2006 for NAIS and the USDA extended the timelines for the program. The bad news is that the USDA has simply decentralized the system without significantly changing the requirements

1. The Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance: Leading the Fight Against NAIS

The Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance (FARFA), a newly-created nonprofit organization, will lobby on behalf of independent farmers and ranchers. For too long, legislators and agency bureaucrats have heard only from large, corporate producers. Meanwhile, independent producers have been largely unrepresented.

This lack of representation has culminated in the current problem: the creation and pending implementation of a national animal identification system ("NAIS"). NAIS poses a serious threat to all farmers, ranchers, livestock owners, and companion-animal owners, whether they are organic or conventional, small or large, involved with animals for business or for pleasure. Across the country, every person with even one horse, cow, chicken, pig, goat, sheep, exotic animal or virtually any other livestock animal on their premises, will be required to register their homes and property into a database and subject their property and animals to government surveillance.

Each animal would be individually identified, physically tagged (in many cases with radio frequency tags or microchips), and every "event" in the animal's life (including birth, movement to and from premises, and death) reported to the government or to a private industry database that the government has the power to access. The only exception from individual identification and tracking is that large industrial agricultural producers will be able to use just one group number for an entire confinement house of poultry or swine. Small producers, who do not manage their animals in isolated groups, will not qualify for this convenience.

NAIS does not distinguish between large corporate factory farms and the smallest family producer, hobby farmer, or the grandmother with a few laying hens. Many families may be made criminals due to their religious convictions and concerns over privacy and property rights. Small and medium-size farmers and ranchers will be driven out of business, and the consolidation of our food supply into the hands of a few large, multinational corporations will continue. NAIS must be stopped, and FARFA will lead the fight, first in Texas and then at the national level.

Beyond the immediate problem of NAIS, FARFA will continue to serve as the voice of non-corporate agriculture. The issues are many and varied: land use regulations, land valuation issues, condemnation of land for "public purposes," protection of Constitutional rights and liberties, funding for research, regulation of marketing, and many others. Priorities will be based both on threats (such as NAIS) and on recognizing, and even creating, opportunities for independent ranchers and farmers, whose work guarantees America's food supply.

Visit FARFA's website at For more information concerning NAIS or FARFA, contact Judith McGeary at or (512) 243-2706.

2. Preliminary Analysis of USDA's April 6, 2006 Announcement on NAIS

USDA's press conference on April 6 and the documents released the same day provide some very good news. USDA will not propose regulations in July 2006 for NAIS. USDA has also extended the timelines for the program. These are excellent developments. They mean that we have time: time to educate people about this program, time to work with our state agencies, and time to place pressure on our elected officials.

The bad news is that it appears that USDA has simply decentralized the system without significantly changing the requirements. Perhaps USDA recognized that handling NAIS as a nationalized program in a single database was technologically impossible. Perhaps USDA hopes to avoid a direct challenge to NAIS by not adopting regulations that could be challenged in court. Or perhaps USDA hopes that those who are against NAIS will not be able to effectively oppose a system that is scattered through 50 states and multiple private entities. While the reasons are not clear, the result is: NAIS will be implemented by the states and private entities, and USDA will have access to the information through a metadata portal. This is no less burdensome or intrusive on animal-owners than the original plan.

The documents released by USDA include "Strategies for the Implementation of NAIS" ("Strategies") and "Administration of Official Identification Devices with the Animal Identification Number" ("Administration"). These documents have not been published in the Federal Register, unlike the Draft Plan and Draft Strategic Standards from 2005. To review these documents, please see A transcript of the press conference can be found at!ut/p/_s.7_0_A/7_0_1OB?contentidonly=true&contentid=2006/04/0121.xml.

While the press release and Strategies document repeatedly discussed how NAIS is a "voluntary plan," the USDA has set specific benchmarks. The Strategies states:

USDA will evaluate whether the participation levels are increasing at rates that will achieve full participation by 2009. Based on that analysis, USDA will determine if the market-driven incentives, along with industry "buy-in" for improved animal disease programs, is resulting in adequate participation and growth rates for NAIS to be successful by the established target dates. If participation rates are not adequate, the development of regulations through normal rulemaking procedures will be considered to require participation in certain aspects of the program.

(Strategies, p.3, emphasis added.) There is no definition for "adequate participation" or "growth rates." The benchmarks are set as follows:> January 2007: 25% of premises registered> January 2008: 70% of premises registered > 40% of animals registered> January 2009: 100% of premises registered> 100% of "new" animals identified ("New" is defined as animals born in the last year)> 60% of animals <>

(Strategies, p.3) "These benchmarks are participation levels APHIS believes are necessary for the industry, State, and Federal partnership to successfully achieve the goals and objectives of NAIS." (Strategies, p.3.) Consistent with the goal of 100% participation, the Administration document states: "To have a successful animal disease management program, all producers and affected industry segments will have to participate eventually." (Administration, p.1, emphasis added.)

In other words, the USDA contends that 100% of premises must be registered and that all animals born after January 2008 will have to be individually identified, to meet its goal for January 2009. And if that goal is not met, we can expect there to be federal regulation. Indeed, by setting the intermediate benchmarks, if USDA does not think that there is adequate "growth rates," it may issue proposed regulations even before 2009. USDA still claims (incorrectly), that it has statutory authority to implement a mandatory NAIS if it chooses to. (See Transcript of Tele-News Conference, April 6, 2006; "REPORTER: ... If you wanted to make this program mandatory, is this something you could do through the rulemaking process within USDA, or would you actually need Congress to put out some new legislation? SEC. JOHANNS: We would not. We can do that today. We would not need new legislation.")

One of the confusing things about these documents is that USDA appears to have underestimated the number of premises and animals involved. The Strategies states that USDA estimates that there are 2 million premises and 40 million newborn animals annually. This leaves open the slight possibility that, if USDA reached those numbers, it might choose to ignore the fact that this would not mean 100% participation. But the USDA has not bound itself to that limitation. Rather, the Strategies defines "premises" in essentially the same way as the 2005 Plan: "[Premises that need to be registered by 2009] includes all locations that manage and/or hold livestock and poultry." (Strategies, p.4, emphasis added.)

Moreover, even as it provides these low estimates, the Strategies reiterates that USDA's goal is for 100% of premises and 100% of new animals to be registered. (Strategies, p.4-5.) And the USDA maintains its ability to mandate 100% compliance: "If the marketplace, along with State and Federal identification programs, does not provide adequate incentives for achieving complete participation, USDA may be required to implement regulations." (Strategies, p.3.) Even if USDA were content with those 2 million registrations and 40 million animal identifications, many small and medium size producers will have to be included to reach those numbers, placing the heavy burdens of NAIS on their shoulders.

USDA also appears to be trying to quiet the opposition from the horse and poultry owners. The Strategies focuses on cattle in its specific examples (such as estimates of the number of cattle killed each year) and the Administration document identifies cattle as the priority for the animal identification stage. But neither document defines "animals." Thus, we have to rely on the definitions provided in the published plan from 2005, which would include all livestock, including poultry and horses. Indeed, the Cooperative Agreement that was also released by USDA on April 6 includes the following Purpose statement:

The purpose of this CA [Cooperative Agreement] is to facilitate the deployment of an information technology infrastructure that will enable animal health officials to access animal identification, tracking, and movement data from data sets other than those maintained by the Federal government as necessary to support animal disease control and eradication programs of pests or diseases to protect all livestock, i.e., all farm-raised animals, in the United States. This agreement assists in implementing an interim/development phase to enable private organizations and States with systems that meet minimum requirements to participate in the development of the infrastructure for the timely advancement of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). (emphasis added)

Similarly, USDA appears to be trying to deflect the criticism of the technology aspects of NAIS. Thus, the Administration document provides that non-RFID tags may be used. At the same time, USDA clearly intends to move the entire program towards electronic identification: "At this time, USDA views visual identification tags as a starting point for the identification of cattle to ensure greater participation among all producers." (Administration, p.5, emphasis added.) Once every premises is registered in state and private databases, it would be easy to require the animal owners to move away from this "starting point" to the radio tags and microchips that would profit the technology industry.

There is no mention of abolishing the poultry or equine working groups. Nor is there any change in the composition of the working groups, so that they remain dominated by the large associations (who are potentially candidates for operating the private databases at a profit), large agricultural companies (who want NAIS to improve the export market), and technology companies (whose self-interest is obvious).

Overall, the April 6th announcements present a small victory, while still showing how much work is in front of us. We have gained precious time, and no longer face the imminent threat of regulations. Yet the USDA has not changed the true substance of NAIS. Rather, we face a fight in every state to prevent burdensome and pointless regulations, while still facing the threat of federal regulation if USDA believes that there is insufficient progress.

For more information, contact:
Judith McGeary
Executive Director
Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance
8308 Sassman Rd
Austin, TX 78747
(512) 243-2706

Bill Sanda
Executive Director
Weston A. Price Foundation

Friday, April 07, 2006

A little PR for our Meetup group

The Atlanta Oil Awareness Meetup Group
Addressing Our Addiction to Oil

ATLANTA, GA -- April 3, 2006. If oil reaches $70 a barrel soon, as some analysts are predicting, it won't surprise members of the Atlanta Oil Awareness Meetup Group.

The group meets the second Wednesday of each month to discuss energy, sustainability, and peak oil, the theory that worldwide oil production is entering irreversible decline. The theory was developed in the 1950's by petroleum geologist M. King Hubbert, who correctly predicted that oil production in the US would decline after peaking in 1970. He also predicted permanent decreases in world production after 2000.

"Official forecasts predict a 50% increase in oil consumption by 2025, but discoveries peaked 40 years ago, and production over the past few years has been essentially flat. Where will this extra oil come from?" said member Douglas Hartley. He quickly adds that the world is not running out of oil.

"We will be pumping and using oil in a hundred years. But soon every year will bring less and less oil, while our growth-based economies require more and more. This is the problem of peak oil."

Hubbert had been largely forgotten since the oil shocks of the 1970's, but the late scientist has generated renewed interest since oil prices began their sharp climb earlier this century. The US Department of Energy commissioned a report published in February 2005, known as the Hirsch Report after its lead author. It concluded that about half the recoverable oil in the world has been produced and that even the most optimistic forecasters predicted a production peak within 25 years. The Hirsch Report is available for download from the Atlanta Oil Awareness Meetup website.

The report recommends aggressive development of alternative energy, but group members are skeptical that alternatives can replace relatively cheap oil.

"The hydrogen economy is a myth and transportation fuel from coal and coal sands, when possible, is much more expensive than the old fashioned oil gushers or even oil that has to be forced out of the ground with high technology. These costs will affect industry and consumers,” said Hartley.

A common topic is what the group calls "our energy-intensive infrastructure." Hartley cites it as the US's chief obstacle to overcoming oil addiction.

"Can you walk or bike from your home to a grocery store? It is absurd that our infrastructure requires us to use a 2,000 pound, fossil-fuel-burning machine to go get a two pound loaf of bread while polluting and endangering out neighbors."

Group organizer Liz Logan agrees and emphasizes the group is not a doomsday club.

"We have great discussions about exciting developments in urban planning and localized agriculture. It sounds odd, but decreasing oil supplies could have some very positive effects on our communities."

She adds, "An ideal city would feed its own citizens. The grocery you could walk to would be an in-town garden or micro-farm. And it would be owned by the family down the street, and they would live next to the small school you can watch your children walk to."

Many members found and joined the group after watching the award winning feature documentary The End of Suburbia. The film is one of the first to discuss peak oil and its effects on US infrastructure. It features Matthew Simmons, CEO of the world's largest energy investment bank and author of Twilight in the Desert, and James Howard Kunstler, author of The Geography of Nowhere and The Long Emergency. The group held a free public screening last fall. They plan to show a documentary on the reaction of Cuba to loss of oil imports from the Soviet Union.

The group has 40 members and usually has several new people at each meeting.

"I get information, support and motivation by coming to meetings. It is an important part of my life," said Logan. She training to facilitate and educate communities relocalizing their food and energy supplies.

Members note that they don't have the answers yet, but they are learning what questions to ask and where to find reliable information.