Posts tagged ‘peak oil’

Doom, gloom and asparagus

I fell asleep to The World Tonight telling me that all the major newspapers were leading today (or tomorrow, as it was yesterday) with the news that oil prices have gone mental and we’re all doooooomed. The media seems to have gone from, ‘Gosh, high oil prices, something should be done!’ to, ‘Holy cr*p, sky-rocketing oil prices, nothing to be done!’ in a few short weeks. The above is a rather funky little cartoon the Telegraph had about it, although I’m a bit concerned that the people using their car as a greenhouse looked a bit like Roald Dahl’s The Twits. This is not good marketing for the post-oil era.

The most priceless is the Mail’s take on it – yesterday they ran an article about how we’d all confused ‘need’ and ‘want’ and spent far too much money on stuff we didn’t need and should learn how to budget and make do, going without if necessary, (and this is all a direct consequence of women being allowed to be autonomous beings instead of staying at home darning socks and making sure their husbands didn’t drink all the housekeeping money – I’m not saying there’s no truth in this, but the patronising way they phrased it got right under my fingernails), and today, we have a front-page article which includes quotes like, ‘People have to be able to afford to use the car,’ and, ‘It’s getting more expensive to keep warm, put food on the table and… buy holiday flights.’

My asparagus last night was lovely, though as there was far too much and I was beginning to find it rather sickly, some of it found its way into the Bokashi bin (I know, I know, peak oil and wasting food in the same post, terrible). I did a recipe from the River Cafe Green book, asparagus carbonara – basically, cook asparagus, toss in hot butter, mix up egg yolks with Parmesan, add to cooked pasta and grate on LOADS more Parmesan – which was yummy. That book is full of very clever recipes and lovely pictures, but I’ve never used it much, largely because I got it at the end of last summer and most of the winter recipes are for things like chickpeas or dried mushrooms, which I do eat, but I feel it will come into its own more now we’re getting into summer and there’s more fresh veg. The tomato and courgette recipes are much more inspiring!

May 23, 2008 at 10:34 am 1 comment

Such a waste

Sometimes (and perversely), one of the things that gives me most hope for Western society is that there is so much inefficiency into the system that we have a lot of slack to play around with before things really start to bite. So many people waste so much food that we can start using that third of all the food we buy, which will stave off the effects of the food shortages. Most of our houses are so shockingly insulated and we’re so shockingly wasteful with energy, that there are a lot of insulating and efficiency measures we can put in place before absolute shortages of fuel kick in. We import a lot of food, but we also export a lot: the Transition Handbook is currently chez a friend from FOE so I can’t find the figures, but it’s something along the utterly insane lines that we import virtually the same amount of wheat, flour, butter, milk, lettuces etc as we export, so that food is still there, being produced in our country, to step into the place of imports, should it ever become necessary or strike someone as sensible. As I commented, driving back from watching Crude Awakening through the 1960s ‘new town’ of Bracknell, the saving grace of suburbia is the huge expanses of manicured lawns by the sides of the roads and at junctions that could be turned over to food production if necessary.

I’m not pretending inefficiency is a good thing or that it isn’t contributing in a huge way to the problem, but sometimes I wonder if it might offer us a cushion, a more gentle way in to being sustainable.

May 10, 2008 at 9:10 am Leave a comment

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The Heritage Crafts Network

Rob Hopkins, Transition Handbook

“Environmentalists have often been guilty of presenting people with a mental image of the world’s least desirable holiday destination – some seedy bed and breakfast near Torquay, with nylon sheets, cold tea and soggy toast – and expecting them to get excited about the prospect of NOT going there. The logic and the psychology are all wrong.”

Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

"Food is that rare moral arena in which the ethical choice is generally the one more likely to make you groan with pleasure."

Carlo Petrini

"A gastronome who is not also an environmentalist is an idiot. An environmentalist who is not also a gastronome is, well, sad."

Sharon Astyk

"I am, of course, firmly opposed to consumerism and corporatism in all its forms, and I believe that we are deeply confused about material needs and wants. Now let me explain how books and yarn are totally different than the material things that other people want ;-)…."

Raj Patel, at Slow Food Nation

"Biofuels, which is the preposterous policy that we should grow food not to eat it but to set it on fire."