(Conversation Recorded on October 31, 2022.)

On this episode, mining and geology expert Simon Michaux returns to give a preliminary framework for responses to the coming energy and material constraints described in the previous episode. This includes both practical thoughts for how to organize communities around resources and also a shift in mindset from short term to long-term and from competition to cooperation. How do we simultaneously lay out all of the biophysical constraints on the table so that we can begin preparing for and adapting to a changing future?

About Simon Michaux

Dr. Simon Michaux is an Associate Professor of Geometallurgy at the Geological Survey of Finland. He has a PhD in mining engineering. Dr. Michaux’s long-term work is on societal transformation toward a circular economy.

Show Notes & Links to Learn More

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00:36 – Simon Michaux info + works + TGS Episode #19 (Simon Michaux)

03:05 Finland committing to being fossil fuel free/carbon neutral by 2035

04:0380% of Finland electricity is from non-fossil fuels, all transport is from fossil fuel

04:50Energy Blind

06:35 Energy density of oil

07:38Massive pollution stream and deteriorating environment and huge population

08:27Weaponization of gas in Europe

08:55Natural gas used to balance the power grid

09:25We don’t have enough minerals to deploy electric transportation in time

11:37 Lithium 8x what it was a few years ago

11:48Offsetting resource declines with debt

13:03Peak oil potentially in November 2018

13:16Energy Return on Energy Invested (EROI)

14:30Intermittence of Renewables (Wind and solar)

18:06 Bretton Woods

21:55Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

25:06Marvin Harris, 3 levels of intervention

28:22Steve Keen + TGS Episode #30 (Steve Keen)

31:20DJ White and Nate’s book “The Bottlenecks of the 21st Century”


42:48 Contact (movie)

43:09 Overton Window

46:30Enormous problems and dependence on petrochemicals in the food system

48:10GMOs and AI in agriculture

52:20Drinking water scarcity worldwide

56:25 Sewage systems using gravity, using ponds with plants and animals to treat waste water

56:30 Gray water and black water

57:34 Geothermal for heating, geothermal for power

1:04:53We need 4.3 billion tons of copper for the first generations of renewables

1:05:23We are running 24 million tons of copper right now

1:05:46Olivia Lazard, work on geopolitics of resource scarcity

1:06:00Wet bulb temp

1:06:27Copper reserves at 880 million tons (USGS)

1:06:36 Prior to 2020, humanity mined 700 million tons of copper, to keep up with growth, the same amount will be mined in the next 22 years


Teaser photo credit: By Native_Copper_Macro_Digon3.jpg: “Jonathan Zander (Digon3)"derivative work: Materialscientist (talk) – Native_Copper_Macro_Digon3.jpg, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7223304