Quick thoughts on Light Rails, Gas tax caps, and Centro
5/27/2006 09:17:00 AM | Author: baloghblog
NYCO got me thinkin':

Some politician should grow a pair and come out against capping the tax. He (or She) should say, we’re not going to cap the tax, but any revenue over $2.XX/gal will go directly into revamping this region’s poor public transportation. That way when gas is $4.50/gal, we will be prepared for the increased ridership on Centro, as well as getting the masses of people down from the North Country and far exurbs into the city to work.

You can keep my $0.04/gal, as long as you promise that centro will run later than 5:30pm out of the city.

And what about a Baldwinsville –> Cicero –> Liverpool –> “DestiNY” –> Syracuse Light Rail?

Or a Chittenango –> Manlius –> Fayetteville –> Dewitt –> SU Hill –> Downtown Line? How many cars would that take off the road?

Light rails are silent, run on electric power, and would increase property value for those living near it. (PDF)

Of course, in this county no one can see past next week let alone 5-10 years down the road. So I won’t hold my breath.

Somewhere Over The...
5/13/2006 07:33:00 AM | Author: baloghblog

A little messy with the photo merge but you get the idea...

Letter To Friends About Peak Oil
5/03/2006 10:24:00 PM | Author: baloghblog
May 3, 2006:
As most of you may have heard, I attended a conference on Community Solutions to Peak Oil in NYC last weekend. If you're not familiar with the term Peak Oil, it is in a nutshell the halfway point in world production of oil. It marks the highest level of oil output that will be achieved on the planet. Some believe that the supply of oil in the world is endless, or that there are vast quantities of oil waiting to be tapped at a moments notice by the Saudi's, or by the "big oil" companies. Unfortunately this is proving not to be the case. The last major oil field discovery was 30 years ago. In 2004 30 billion barrels of oil were burned up, while only 8 billion barrels of new reserves were discovered. That ratio has worsened into 2006, as the world now uses about 6 barrels of oil for every 1 barrel of new reserve that is discovered. If your looking for somewhat of a primer on peak oil go HERE or HERE for more info. Our nation's present lifestyle is becoming unsustainable in the face of rising energy costs (this article voices the opinion of James Kunstler who is one of the most outspoken in it's level of unsustainability.) Whether or not you believe in "peak oil" or all of it's implications, the important thing to realize is that rising energy costs will begin to affect all aspects of our lives. I hesitated in sharing my thoughts on peak oil with my friends and family, initially because I hadn't sorted out my thoughts on the subject, and then more so because my fear of being the bearer of bad news. Recent admissions by the president ("we are a nation that is addicted to oil"), and by big oil companies ("will you join us" and "beyond petroleum") have solidified my belief that we may have seen the last of cheap energy costs, and the beginning of increased fuel and expenses.

I have written on the subject in the past at my blog, [edited]

My latest article, Relocalization as a solution to peak oil, is partially why I am writing this email to you. I believe that it is very important to begin the effort of reinvesting in our communities, buying locally produced organic foods, spending and investing our money ethically and wisely, as well as helping friends, family, and neighbors become more energy efficient and self-sufficient. These are all positive things in themselves and worthy of the effort. I believe that now is the time to relocalize our lives. I figured the first place that I should start is with my friends and family.
My list of things that I want to work on is HERE. Read it and let me know of any other ideas that you come up with.
I hope that I didn't freak everyone out. My intention is just to get the conversation started. I look forward to talking further with anyone that is interested in the subject or who would like to become more energy efficient and self sufficient.

Here is my post from GG:

One of the first warning signs of peak oil is upon us, the inability of oil producing nations to keep up with the increasing demand of worldwide consumers. The ability to control the price of crude oil has fallen out of the hands of the OPEC nations. The government has begun to warn us that price hikes may be less temporary than they previously had stated, now slated to last through 2007. (As you'll note in the article, no reason is given for a possible reduction in prices at that point.)

Utility_bicycle.jpgWhat is our only option for riding the peak oil production plateau and inevitable slide (or shock, as it may be)? Relocalization.

Dozens of presenters came and spoke their peace at the PeakoilNYC sponsored Local Solutions to the Energy Dilemma Conference. Most touted relocalization in some form, as the nation's (and world's) only hope of coming out safely on the other side of the peak. Michael Brownlee from Boulder Valley Relocalization spoke on day one of the conference, and his words on relocalization are worth reading (.pdf).

popsicle.jpgI also was deeply affected by some of the speakers who presented on economic topics. As I posted earlier, John Ikerd's speech was rousing and inspiring. Catherine Austin Fitts, although I may not fully buy into (or understand) the entirety of the Solari Model of economics, made me think outside of the box on my personal spending and investment. The important thing that I took away from her talk (avail in powerpoint), was that we have a tremendously effective way to change the society and world that we live in, by spending and investing our money in socially and locally responsible ways. We should be reinvesting in our communities, and increasing the "popsicle index" in our neighborhoods. There was so much good information on socially and locally responsible economics, that it will certainly warrant its own post in the near future.

After the conference had sufficiently filled my admittedly out of shape brain (it has been some time since I have studied a topic day and night for 3 days in a row), I took a few days off to decompress, and sort out the myriad of thoughts in my head. I was reduced from my normally talkative self to responding that the conference was "great" and "informative". So pen in hand, I began to write down what I feel that I can do to relocalize my life. (click more for the list)