Comedy BreakPeak Oil

Peaking Early

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Courtesy: Throbgoblins

With oil running out, and biofuels not being the answer, perhaps humans should grow and trade their food closer to home.

Perhaps we suffer from collectively traumatised amygdalas.


  1. Biofuels deserve a more nuanced coverage than this cartoon and linked article provides, especially from a permaculture organisation. There are many half truths propagated about biofuels which tend to be catchy, such as “it’s food vs. fuel” or “ethanol takes more energy to make than it contains”. Like anything it can be done well and it can be done poorly. Should permaculturists really be surprised that mainstream operations generally do it poorly and are learning slowly? With sensible design we can turn our organic surplus into renewable, clean, carbon fixing and soil building fuel that will allow us to perform all the earthworks, plantings and community supported agriculture we so desperately need.

    I’m all for public transport, cycling and walkable neighbourhoods – I have lived for almost 3 years without a car – but let’s get realistic. The shit is going to hit the fan and permaculture is going to be a stranded resource if we aren’t able to mobilise ourselves.

    I’ve been reading David Blume’s material on ethanol. His tome ‘Alcohol Can Be a Gas’ book and DVD is well researched, high quality and makes a solid case for permaculture solutions. You can find it here:

    Central myths are busted here:

    Listening to some of his radio interviews provides a good introduction:

  2. Hi Tim. As you’ve obviously read the material – would you care to put together an article for this site outlining how, in a practical way, you see it working? It would be good for readers to discuss this issue. One problem I see with such ideas (I haven’t read Blume’s material) is that people often look at crop residues as ‘waste’, instead of the critical component in soil energy cycling that they are. Soil building is a critical need – inasmuch as eating is more important than personal mobility. We’re turning valuable land into highways, car parks, building sites and more. Devoting land to fuel a ever-increasing desire to produce biofuels, so we can move people and goods around the neighbourhood or across the world, can be just another competitor for valuable land. I would like to see how small scale biofuel production can be implemented without compromising our ability to build soils. And, I’d like to see how we can do it whilst maximising per-square-metre production of our basic needs.

    If you want to put something up for reader discussion, feel free to send it through to me: editor (at)

  3. Hi Tim/Craig

    I have read Davids book also and could not agree more. It is well written and comprehensive and his entire approach is based on the ideas of permaculture. He looks at many crops, “waste” and other raw inputs, not all of them land based. He is a good speaker and knows his topic very well, I suggest you also look here at his Peak Moment TV items, easy to watch and he covers most of the bases here as an introduction to his methods and ideas.

    David has worked in biofuels since the 1970s and knows what he is talking about, his central tenet is that biofuels can be a stepping stone in a system that builds soil, grows food in abundance and sequesters carbon.

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