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Robert Eugene Ebersole (“oilman bob” of TOD) passes on

Galveston Country Daily News (Texas)
GALVESTON – Robert Eugene Ebersole died on December 13, 2007, in Galveston, Texas. Born in Quantico, Virginia on November 6, 1951, Bob was raised in Houston, Texas by his parents Charles Richey and Eleanor Sibley Ebersole. He graduated from Lamar High School and attended the University of St. Thomas. Never without a book under his arm, Bob was extremely bright and knew a little something about almost everything. Personable and opinionated, Bobby was always ready to share his heartfelt beliefs with anyone that would listen. Trained by his father in the skills of a petroleum landman, Bob spent most of his working life in that profession.

Bob is survived by his son Read Eugene Ebersole of whom he was very proud; and two sisters, Priscilla Boston of Austin, Texas, and Medora Ebersole of State College, Pennsylvania.

A memorial service will be held in St. Bebe’s Chapel at Palmer Memorial Church in Houston Friday, January 4, 2008, at 2 p.m.

In keeping with his nature to be a passionate patriot of all underdogs, the family requests that, in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made in his name to KPFT (Pacifica) Radio, 419 Lovett Blvd., Houston, T1X77006.
(3 January 2008)
Pointed out by Big Gav:
I see long-time (and prolific) TOD commenter Bob “oilmanbob” Ebersole has passed away – a great shame…

How Peak Oil Changed My Life

Aaron Wissner, Countercurrents
Peak oil changed my life by altering my expectations and hopes for the future.

I was once a techno-science lover. I looked to the future, and saw technology changing the world, and solving all of its problems: outposts on the moon and Mars, a cure for all diseases and maybe even a cure for death, certainly much longer life spans, and the end to war and poverty

…Then, I found out about peak oil, and my life was divided into the time before, and the time after.

… Upon that realization, I recognized that I was going to have to change myself. I needed to prepare, not only for the possibility of a rapid collapse of the system, but also for the possibility that this descent would take place gradually, over many years, or even decades. To prepare for a rapid collapse, I started doing things and buying things that would help me live apart from the global system, at least for a time: a new pantry stocked with food, containers for water, extra gasoline, extra heating fuel, insulating the windows and door, preparing a large garden, etc. To get ready for a slow decline, I started planning a zero-energy home, to be built on an ample piece of fertile land, near a stream or lake, away from the huge populations of the cities.

Peak oil now informs everything I do. It tells the story of a future of great challenge and difficulty, for which I must be prepared.

Peak oil shortens my time horizon. No longer do I worry about my son’s college or my own retirement. Now I worry about being able to provide him with the bare necessities. And I wonder, will money be worth anything at all by the time I reach retirement age?

Peak oil informs all of my purchases. I always ask myself, would this be useful during a rapid collapse? How about during a slow decline? If neither, why buy it?

Peak oil alters the way I think about the future. It makes me scoff at the rosy prognostications of our many societal sages; well-paid, kind of heart, but tragically uninformed.

Peak oil drives me to share what I know, and to go further, to illuminate the fundamental failure of our global culture to plan and prepare for its own future. The bleak reality is this: peak oil is not really about the decline of our most precious energy resource. Peak oil is one symptom of our civilization’s inability to find and follow a cultural vision of sustainability.

Aaron Wissner has taught public school students for sixteen years. He is the founder of the international Local Future Network, a non-profit educational organization dedicated to saving Earth through cultural change. In his spare time, he writes articles organizes education events, and gives presentations. Aaron lives in Michigan with his wife Kimberly and his newborn son Michael.
(11 January 2008)
Aaron is an Energy Bulletin contributor.

Quebec group: Peak oil, peak phosphorus and sustainability

Patrick Déry, Groupe de recherches écologiques de La Baie (GREB)

Patrick Déry is a “physicist, energy, agriculture and environment analyst and consultant in Quebec, Canada.” He authored the ground-breaking study, Peak phosphorus published at Energy Bulletin.

Publications: Many publications by Patrick and others, mostly in French but with a few in English.

In English:
Preparing for peak oil at the small community level (PDF)
Peak Phosphorus (duplicate of EB posting, but in PDF)

In French (many more at the site):
L’économie d’énergie dans un libre-marché est-elle illusoire? (PDF)
Écohameau de La Baie
I was struck by the term “Écohameau”. Patrick explains:

Écohameau is like ecovillage but, here in Québec, a village is recognized in the laws by the government and is usually bigger than a hamlet. A hamlet (hameau) is defined in the dictionnary as a small group of rural houses outside of the town but inside the limits of it. Éco is for ecology.

(January 2008)

Kunstler and Greer in adult education
Sue Zerangue
Quidnuncs—Winter 2008

“Quidnuncs” is a summer & winter term current events class, 8 sessions each, of 15-20 retirement-age students, sponsored by the ENCORE* program at Clatsop Community College here in Astoria, Oregon. We’ve been active since September, 2001. Trial by fire. Our name means literally “what now?” and since the 1700s has been used to describe a gossiper or busybody, someone who wants to know the latest news. That’s us.

This term I’d like to divide our class in 2 hour-long segments that I hope will be complementary. First hour would be devoted to an introductory look at global forms of commodity trading… MARKET WATCH. My hope is to have a knowledgeable speaker, early in the term, give us an overview of trading in stock sectors, currencies, hedge funds, bonds & treasury issues…anything essential to worldwide manipulation of money. But NO investment advice. What we’d be looking for are trends: health of the dollar, American vs. Asian, European, Middle Eastern markets, price of oil, trading of precious metals & gems, sub-prime lending woes, rise & fall of interest rates…did the Grinch steal Xmas? This is a window we’ve never peered through in assessing our lives & futures, but we’ve always seemed the wiser for pooling our group understanding & experiences. There will be homework…but no tests.

Second hour: BLOGGING WITH KUNSTLER & GREER. James Kunstler (Clusterf*ck Chronicles) and John Michael Greer (The Archdruid Report) post their blog/essays on Mondays & Wednesdays. I will provide a copy of the previous week’s blogs to those without computers so we’ll all be able to digest & discuss them together. Both men are very astute cultural analysts, in my opinion, & quite often focus on Markets as an indicator of societal trends. Some may find them controversial, but all points of view will be heard & respected in our class.I certainly hope there will be others who find these topics interesting enough to brave winter’s chill so we may explore them together.

(15 January 2008)
Reader Sue Zerangue brings peak oil into the Adult Education. -BA

2008 – the year peak oil joins climate change at the top of the agenda?

Tim Hollo, Greenslog (Australia)
As a couple of our resident peak oilers have already pointed out in comments (while some of us were off resting over the holidays), 2008 began with a bang on the peak oil front, with oil reaching US$100 on the very first day of trading in New York. While much of the mainstream media were still attributing this to geopolitics, the falling US dollar and a cold northern winter, all of which undeniably played a role, OPEC blew the whistle on the aspect which only a few are yet publicly acknowledging – demand is outstripping supply.

Today we’ve seen perhaps an even bigger shift, with the SMH [Sydney Morning Herald] reporting on page 1 that the CEO of General Motors, Rick Wagoner, opened the Detroit motor show overnight with a blunt statement that peak oil is here and the age of the petrol car is coming to an end.

… What Christine and the Greens have been advocating for some time now is a shift to a coherent and considered policy framework that addresses climate change and peak oil together. The most comprehensive statement on this so far is the report Re-Energising Australia, which you can read here.
(15 January 2008)
GreensBlog is “the official blog of the Australian Greens Senators.”

Energy Debate in Switzerland

François E. Cellier, The Oil Drum: Europe
Today, I attended a public debate organized by the four Swiss Academies of Sciences. A position paper entitled: Rethinking Energy – Efficient Use and Conversion of Energy: Contribution to Sustainable Development in Switzerland that had been prepared by the four academies over the past year was to be debated by experts and the broad public. Unfortunately, the position paper itself is only available in German and in French, but both versions contain a three-page summary in English. A broad range of experts were invited to the debate, including scientists, economists, CEOs of energy companies, as well as some politicians.

…All speakers agreed that Peak Oil is a reality. However, the scientists were careful in their statements. The position paper claims that:

The majority [of researchers] expect that Peak Oil will take place sometime between 2015 and 2035. After that point in time, supply of conventional oil will decrease [BP].

That is, the Swiss scientists responsible for the position paper rely on the correctness of information generated by oil producing companies.

…The most positive aspect of this afternoon was the realization that, at least here in Switzerland, politicians and scientists are willing and able to sit down together and jointly address this difficult problem in an atmosphere of mutual respect and cooperation.
(14 January 2008)
The Swiss have a different model of dealing with problems than we Yanks. They seem to avoid grandstanding and rely instead on good sense and patient cooperation. Science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson brought Swiss advisors into his “Mars” series to help the colonists develop a system of governance. -BA