The effects of Peak Oil are real, and they are now! In today's Boston Herald, Laura Crimaldi wrote this article: People will die this winter because they can't stay warm.
From her article:
The gas and electric bill crunch is largely caused by the dismal economy, experts say, but oil presents a nightmare all its own.
"This is the first time that I have felt in years that people will die this winter because they can't stay warm," said Joe Kennedy, founder of the nonprofit Citizens Energy Corp. "This is by far the most grim and scary set of storm clouds on the horizon that I have seen in 30 years in trying to address the needs of the poor and elderly, in terms of their heating needs that are coming this winter."
The skyrocketing cost of oil could saddle consumers with winter heating bills as high as $7,000, according to leading advocates. At the end of trading Friday, oil closed at $139.65 a barrel as a shocking new report from economists at CIBC World Markets predicted that gasoline would hit $7 a gallon by 2010.
We, living on the Big Island, are so fortunate. Sometimes we forget just how fortunate we are.
We were really poor growing up at Waiakea Uka Camp 6. I don't recall ever having an extra blanket in the house. When I was in elementary school and it got really, really cold (like mid- to high-50 degrees) I remember going into the dresser drawer and throwing all the clothes on top of my blanket. No big deal.
I attended the Association for the Study of Peak Oil conference in Houston this past October. We all knew the consequence of rising oil prices on the coldest part of the country, as well as that airlines would be going out of business.
I was dressed in my usual outfit – short pants – and a pullover. I did not have the heart to tell the people I met there that I would be wearing shorts throughout the entire winter, and that we would be able to grow food all year long. I could not tell them that we in Hawai‘i have a geothermal resource we are reluctant to use.
The others were going back to their homes, elsewhere in the United States, facing a very serious and even bleak future, while I was going back to the Big Island where we live in an embarrassment of natural resource richness, but I just could not bring myself to tell them.
Those people in Massachusetts who will be freezing this and every winter from here forward would love to have jobs so they and their families can afford their heating bills.
Here in Hawai‘i, the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us to make wise decisions and help our future generations. If we bring the new telescope here, we have an excellent opportunity to negotiate educational opportunities for our keiki and create jobs for our families. But we must not compromise and we must make sure everything is pono first!
We can do this if we follow the Hawaiian style of having respect for each other.
Hotels are downsizing in Kona and the streets are less crowded. With the TMT, the streets would still be less crowded but our people would have jobs as we transition to a new economy.
Food prices for food brought here from afar will continue to rise in cost.
Are we in danger of starving to death? The answer is a resounding NO!
If the worse happened and ships visit us only intermittently, which is not likely, we on the Big Island can grow what we need to feed ourselves. Piece of cake. We have knowledgeable people at the universities and other government agencies as well as people knowledgeable in the traditional ways. And the Big Island is sparsely populated with lots of room to grow things.
We also have abundant water resources here on the Big Island. An inch of rain falling on one acre is equivalent to 27,000 gallons of water. The average rainfall at Pepe‘ekeo, where we farm, is 140 inches per year. So in an average year of 140 inches of rainfall, 3,780,000 gallons of water falls on each acre. Which means that two billion two hundred sixty eight million gallons of rain fall on our 600 acres in an average year. Most of that runs to rivers and out to the ocean.
We actually need to think of what we can do to help O‘ahu cope.
Here at Hamakua Springs Country Farms we are leasing parts of our lands to other farmers. Our objective is to get sufficient variety and volume to make interisland barge shipments economical and timely.
We need to open up a dependable transportation line for food going to Oahu. We are already shipping container loads of produce this way. We are now refining the process, so it will be dependable during tough times.
So we are not going to starve, or freeze, or overheat. And, if we choose, we can have clean, low carbon footprint jobs and energy production.
What more do we need?