For The Long Emergency book group: enter your reading homework for the first three questions here (and enter the last response on your topic page).

9/15 9/22 9/29 10/6 10/13
Ch 1 & 2 (p. 60) Ch 4 (p. 100 – 146 Note: Ch 3 is optional) Ch 5 (p. 184) Ch 6 (p. 234) Ch 7 (p. 307 Note: Epilogue is optional)
  1. Explain how one idea in the reading relates to other topics already covered in class or something you learned elsewhere (another class or life experience).
  2. List what you think are the three to five most important points made in the reading.
  3. Write a question to provoke discussion among others who read the same passage.

24 Responses to “The Long Emergency

  1. chasla Says:

    1.)Chapter four relates to everthing I thought I knew about alternative energy. Before this reading, I thought wind and solar power could save us from the energy crisis. I was wrong.
    2.)The first important point kunstler made was that no combination of alternative fuels will supply us with enough energy to continue living the way we currently do. The second point was that fuels like hydrogen and ethanol are net energy losers. Meaning it takes more energy to produce it than the energy you recieve from it. The third point kunstler made was alternative energy systems are only possible with oil. For example:solar panels are made up of batteries, panels, wires, electronics, and plastics. These components require mining for retrieval, factories for manufacturing and gas powered trucks or ships for transport.
    3.)Since the author sees nuclear energy as the most effecient alternative after the oiil runs out…what are the hazards of nuclear power? Is it safe?

  2. chasla Says:

    1.)In The Long Emergency, Kunstler writes about how the way we live has only been possible because of cheap fossil fuels and soon won’t be because global oil supplies are running out. He says that we must localize our food systems and economies. This is absolutely necessary for our survival on this planet. I relate to this because community/localization is my topic and also because when I took Allan lonnberg’s (Anthro.) Global perspectives on food and culture (amazing class, allan rocks, everyone should take this class!) we learned about food miles and mass production of agriculture and the harm done and oil consumed by this system. Im all about local, sustainable ag.
    2.)The first important point Kunstler brought to my attention was how dependent on fossil fuels we really are. He made it very clear that our modern society and all that comes with it has been made possible by access to cheap oil. Its the foundation of our lives. It has enabled us to travel to distant places(very quickly),have hot water, air conditioning, heating, lighting, lubricants, building materials, and pharmaceuticals. The list goes on and on. Oil is indeed an amazing substance. As I related to above, his second important point was that we cannot continue the consumer lifestyles we have established. It’s not possible. Localized living is the only way. I thought it was very important for the author to tell the history of fossil fuels in this country and globally.
    3.)My question is What can we do here in Santa Cruz county to prepare for the difficult times ahead?

  3. coonrash Says:

    1.) In the first two chapters of The Long Emergency the topic I can relate to is the political state our country will be in due to the end of cheap oil. The price of food has gone up due to the price of gas going up. I have worked at a few restaurants and I saw firsthand how the business was trying to save money in every way possible in order to not raise their prices. Unfortunately there was not really any other choice. You can go to any restaurant around the country and notice a significant price increase. Also, things as basic as fertilizer to grow fruits and vegetables has increased in price. Feed for livestock, land to grow on, building costs, and just about everything else that is needed for basic production of food is only going to go up from now.

    2.) A few of the many important points that Kunstler made are that our society took the cheap price of fossil fuels and oil for granted. Because of that we are in a situation that requires those fossil fuels to continue on as we are. Even for us to use alternate fuel sources we need fossil fuels. Probably one of the most important points that he made so far is that there are many things that could be created in order to give us alternate sources of fuel that we could never perceive. Just as Ben Franklin could never understand something as common to us as plastic.

    3.) A question that came to my mind while reading this passage was how can my generation help educate and change the lifestyle of our society in order to prepare for “the long emergency” that is clearly inevitable.

  4. mrubi Says:

    1. Globalism (wall mart) impovershered huge populationswhile enriching the elite who run its operations. Americans were sold on it to save a few bucks on hairdryers, even while it destroyed their towns, landscapes, and vocations.
    2.a.Landscapes cheep big box buildings vs. unique well kept locally owned store fronts.
    b. Vocations, towns were unique by producing a special commodity that now was sold for cheeper, and many people lost their jobsand had to go to work for corporations selling cheep imported good.
    c. Towns, many big box corporation stores were built on cheep land on the outskirts of town and not in town. People are forced out of town for work and now need to drive and leave the locally geared town.
    3. What some way that we can start to reunit with our locall community, after our culture has been seperate for so long?

  5. mrubi Says:

    1.In the opening chapters the author writes about how suberbanism is the main cause of the depletion and execessive use of natural resources.
    2.a. Oil is a finite resource and will soon run out.
    b. As oil supplies deplete, demand will increase.
    c. Also, non of the current renewable energy sources can sustaine our current levels of consumption.
    3. What can we do now, today, to help aliviate the problems pf our inevitable future?

  6. sameerabal Says:

    While driving back from college i was listening to NPR (national public radio), when the director of public affairs of UN came on and talked about how UN needs 500,000$ more just to keep up its projects (mainly feeding people). They already have a 2.9 billion$ budget and need more money, which they are not sure if they are going to get or not. High food prices were declared as the reason for UN budget problems which then lead to talk about biofuels. The director stated the fact that more and more countries are trying to keep there prices down by using more biofuels and thus, burning up most of the grain supply in the world market.
    They also talked about how biofuels could actually be worse then oil, since biofuel is produced through crops, therefore more forestland will be needed to be converted into fields. Reduction in number of forest would create more carbon gases and would furthermore increase the greenhouse effect.

  7. sameerabal Says:

    Chapter 1
    I loved how J.H Kunstler basically divided the whole world into two groups stating that every human being thinks either like the cornucopians or the “die-off” crowd. The “cornucopians asserts that humankind’s demonstrated technical ingenuity will overcome the facts of geology.” (page 4) I agree with some of their points like how humans have “overcome tremendous obstacles” like reaching the moon to understand our solar system better, but nevertheless the cornucopians believe that the precious oil is not “fossilized” in limited quantities and thus, can be pumped out for ever. The Die-off group on the other hand believes that the “carrying capacity of the planet has already exceeded” and that we have entered the “apocalyptic age presaging the imminent extinction of the human race”

  8. jogiff Says:

    Although the author is,for want of a better word, pessimistic; absence of evidence of a breakthrough energy technology is not evidence of absence of same.

  9. mrubi Says:

    1. Not only will climate change rearange the way we live. Near the same time, global oil peak and natural gas depletion will greatly limit our ease of adjustment.
    2. a. Global warming equals melting of glaciers, equals global flooding.
    b.Global warming may triger the Gulf Stream Switch, which will bring a cooling period “Ice Age”.
    c.The U.S. average of 1,300 gallons of water per day, per citizen…………
    d.Water shortages due to agressive irrigation, suburban sprawl, drought, global warming,
    e.Without our oil based infrastructure we will not be able to deal with invasive/deadly diseases
    3. With the decline of oil and natural gas, which industrial farming has allowed us to feed and over populate our earth, how will the earth feed us all when we run out?

  10. jogiff Says:

    1. Global warming is caused by oil dependence and therefore is related to any climatic concerns as well as human survivability vis a vis resource sustainabiliy.

    2. Three important points in the reading:

    a. Climate change plus the end of oil and gas based farming is going to equal a lot of hungry people in the not so distant future.

    b. The more we industrialize the more we damage the ecology.

    c. Diseases that were once thought defeated have and will come back in even more virulent strains.

    3. How prepared are we (in the US) for withstanding an epidemic like, oh say smallpox?

  11. jogiff Says:

    Questiion: What would be the best alternative energy source to oil if and when the “Long Emergency should occur?

  12. jogiff Says:

    1. One idea in the reading was that most of us, eventually, are going to have to get along without electricity. Having been homeless in the past, I learned how to deal with that problem.

    2. Three to five important points in the reading:

    a. Sooner-not later-we are going to run out of oil.

    b. Most of us are not aware of or worried about point a.

    c. The reason people are not worried is that they think science will magically provide the answers for any energy disaster.

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