transportation

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Alice Friedemann: When The Trucks Stop Running

The modern trucking fleet is living on borrowed time
Sunday, August 21, 2016, 11:59 AM

Alice Friedemann is a transportation expert sounding the alarm on the unsustainable nature of our modern trucking system, which is critical for delivering goods where they need to be, when they need to be, in our just-in-time economy.

The world's trucking fleet is remarkably dependent on petroleum and, for a number of reasons she outlines in this interview, is not feasibly able to shift over to electricity or other alternative fuels. » Read more

What Should I Do?

In Praise of Motorbikes

Transportation alternatives for declining energy
Sunday, December 7, 2014, 4:52 PM

Vietnam was and is a nation that travels predominantly on two wheels. Uncle Ho's supply chain, consisting of tough human beings propelling supply-laden bicycles, proved equal to the challenge of defeating the US, whose petroleum-powered network of supply lines spanned the globe. Even today, while cars and trucks clog the avenues of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, much of the rest of Vietnam sits astride two wheels. » Read more

Blog

America the Vulnerable

History warns we're sleepwalking towards collapse
Monday, May 27, 2013, 8:13 PM

For most people, the collapse of civilizations is a subject much more appetizingly viewed in the rearview mirror than straight ahead down whatever path or roadway we are on.

Jared Diamond wrote about the collapse of earlier civilizations to great acclaim and brisk sales, in a nimbus of unimpeachable respectability. The stories he told about bygone cultures gone to seed were, above all, dramatic. No reviewers or other intellectual auditors dissed him for suggesting that empires inevitably run aground on the shoals of resource depletion, population overshoot, changes in the weather, and the diminishing returns of complexity.

Yet these are exactly the same problems that industrial-technocratic societies face today, and those of us who venture to discuss them are consigned to a tin-foil-hat brigade, along with the UFO abductees and Bigfoot trackers. This is unfortunate, but completely predictable, since the sunk costs in all the stuff of daily life (freeways, malls, tract houses) are so grotesquely huge that letting go of them is strictly unthinkable. We’re stuck with a very elaborate setup that has no future, but we refuse to consider the consequences... » Read more