Chris Hardie

Blog, Tech, Business and Community Building

peak oil

June 4, 2008

A scary new angle on immigration: traffic congestion

On the road, finallyI don't usually read USA Today, but in doing so this morning I saw that there's a perverse new angle that some organizations are taking on the issue of U.S. immigration policy. It was manifested in an advertisement taken out on page 2 of the front section, with a single photo of a long line of traffic at a stop on an interstate highway. The text in the ad basically says that illegal immigrants from Mexico, in their unending contribution to the population here, are causing Americans to have to sit in traffic congestion longer than ever before. The call to action is clear: if you want your freedom to drive wherever you want whenever you want to remain intact, we have to keep those Mexicans out of our country.

Oh my.
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January 8, 2008

Presenting to the EDC Board on Peak Oil

Open Flame in the WorkplaceEarlier tonight I had the honor of being a guest speaker at the monthly meeting for the Economic Development Corporation of Wayne County's board of directors, presenting a version of my talk on how we can build a more self-reliant Richmond, Indiana in the face of peaking availability of natural energy resources, global climate change, and the decline of the U.S. dollar. As I said about the November 2007 presentation, it was somewhat especially nerve-wracking because the topics covered are so important to me and, in my view, so important to the future of this community. Today it was also always a growing experience to step beyond the safety of the traditional, "business world/tech guy" kinds of interactions I have with some of these folks, exposing another side of my interests and passions along the way.
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December 2, 2007

Going Local: Building a Self-Reliant Richmond, Indiana

011_15.JPGAs I mentioned when I came back from the energy conference in October, I was going to give a talk in November called "Going Local: Building a Self-Reliant Richmond, Indiana". I had agreed to speak earlier in the year and didn't really know what I was going to talk about beyond the expectation that it would fit into the "sustainability" theme of the series of talks in which I was participating and have some focus on peak oil and related topics.

It turned into one of my most intense speaking experiences to date.
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October 30, 2007

Links for the Week - October 30, 2007

Sustainability and energy efficiency edition: Question to the local Mayoral race candidates about energy policy - I submitted a question to Mayor Hutton and Rick Thalls via the Pal-Item's forum, asking "if elected/re-elected, what specific steps will you take to uphold the commitment the City has made to improve the environmental health of our communities, […]

October 28, 2007

Back from Peak Oil Conference, Year Three

I just returned from the Fourth Annual U.S. Conference on Peak Oil and Community Solutions, my third year in a row attending. As in years past, it was informative, inspiring and very practical. I've come away with another list of 50 things I want to do in my life and in Richmond to help address […]

October 5, 2007

You know the world is ending when...

I've blogged before about turning points in awareness of the issues that we face with regard to "the environment" and the energy crisis. Today I received a postcard in the mail with a photo of a man holding a gasoline pump nozzle up to his head, in an image that unavoidably evokes a suicide act […]

March 18, 2007

Ethanol as a local, national energy solution?

In today's Palladium-Item, Brian Bergen with the Richmond-Wayne County Chamber of Commerce agribusiness committee has a piece about Ethanol as a solution to the nation's energy problems.

I'm so glad that the Chamber is focusing on the relationship between agribusiness and the energy crisis that we face as a nation and as a planet. I'm also glad that the solutions we're talking about are keeping in mind a systems approach - how the inputs and outputs from a particular industrial or energy-generating process can be used as efficiently as possible.

But I hope that whatever solutions we pursue take into account that there is a tremendous amount of energy that goes into making our agricultural system work, and so any energy solutions derived from it must take that cost into account. The USDA recently noted that ethanol generates little more energy than it takes to produce. Some scientists have shown that ethanol production consumes 6 units of energy for every 1 it produces.
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December 14, 2006

Beyond sustainability

Thanks to Paul Retherford for pointing me to this essay, Beyond Sustainability: Why an All-Consuming Campaign to Reduce Unsustainability Fails. Highlight: Our very approach to solving the “problem” of unsustainability is grounded in a mindset that prevents sustainability from emerging. Always anchored to the past, the future is envisioned as being bigger or better. But […]

September 23, 2006

Sustainable Indiana, Inc. and Peak Oil

I'm writing tonight from the Third U.S. Conference on "Peak Oil" and Community Solutions. You may recall that I attended the same event last year, and it's been an amazing time again so far. It's also appropriate that I mention from this context my involvement in a new non-profit called Sustainable Indiana, Inc, founded by […]

May 8, 2006

Gas prices and New Minds

IMG_0061.JPGWhen gas prices go up, people tend to complain that something needs to be done about the problem. Many demand action from the local or federal government, gas companies, or fellow citizens. Like Jason Sparks, whose letter in the Pal-Item yesterday read, "Why is the government not stepping in?...How are we supposed to pay the bills?...Let's shut down the country, then maybe someone would step in. We cannot afford this." Or Brad Hall, who was quoted in an article today asking, "What's going to be next?...How're people going to survive and get around?"

That's the question, indeed.
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