Sunday, February 12, 2006

Thoughts on being snowed in without power

1. The world is really freaking quiet. Maybe we humans just make a
lot of noise because quiet reminds us of death.

2. It's amazing what sounds profound at 8am when you're cold.

3. Why do people run out and buy milk when it is about to snow? Any
snowstorm worth its salt will knock out power and turn off the fridge.
I guess you can put your milk in the snow, but still, what's the

4. It only seems to ever snow on the weekends here in Washington.
It's like Camelot in reverse.

5. As a kid, I loved it when the snow piled up and weighted down the
branches of the Ewe bushes. It formed ice caves.

6. Blogging from a blackberry while one's power is out from a
snowstorm irrationally gives one a sense of victory over nature. But
I'm still cold.



"And she suddenly realized that what she thought was freedom and joy
was nothing but anarchy and sloth."

--Norman Juster's "The Dot and the Line"


Anonymous said...

I just happen to be reading Collapse. It, and your snowed-in experience, leads to the question, "What would you do for food and heat if we completely ran out of oil?"
Without relatively cheap energy, which we are running out of, we are vastly overpopulated and could not support the number of people on Earth.
What are we doing about it?
Will those of us who are raising the alarm and trying to live more lightly make any difference? and who will the difference we make be for? Will we just extend the lives of the wealthiest and most ruthless, rather than ourselves?

Chalicechick said...

We have a fireplace in the living room and a Frankin stove in the basement, so we would be OK on wood for awhile. It didn't get too terribly cold and ee haven't had a chimney sweep out this year so we didn't bother this time.

That first question was easy. Your subsequent questions are much more complicated. I lean toward nuclear power as a solution, though I am aware it has lots of drawbacks.


TheCSO said...

Well, for starters, we're never going to run *out* of oil. A better question is "What will you do when oil is too expensive to be used as a fuel?"

We already have the infrastructure to transition away from heavy use of fossil fuels. For fuel oil, look at biodiesel. Biodiesel, which isn't a fossil fuel, becomes economically viable at less than $3/gallon.

For electric power, we have plenty of nuclear energy available. Nuclear plants are in most respects a non-polluting energy source - zero greenhouse gases and only a small amount of nuclear waste. Compared to the vast heaps of toxic ash from a coal-burner, that's far less of an environmental impact.

Sure, we're overpopulated if you suddenly take all technology away. But that's not realistic. When our current energy sources become too expensive, we'll just switch to others that are also reasonably inexpensive. $5/gallon gas (not counting taxes) isn't viable, because there are other options that cost less than $5/gallon. $3/gallon gas probably IS viable, since that's about what a drop-in replacement would cost. Once you get above that, market forces take care of everything.

Modern nuclear plants are economically viable at current electric and fuel prices. Modern renewable energy electric plants will become economically viable if/when prices increase much more. There might be short-term price shocks while new capabilities are built out, and we should start making the transition now in order to soften the blow, but long-term energy costs just aren't going to go up THAT much.

On a semi-related topic, I have identified some preparedness improvements we can make for future snowings-in etc. Except for not having the fireplace ready to use, I think we did okay - still, there are some things I can have better prepared for next time. (Having a really good flashlight is a Good Thing. Having several is even better, so I need to get a few more..)