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  • What Should I Do?
    Blue Sunburst Peak Prosperity Logo

    A Quiet Revolution in Bicycles: Recapturing a Role as Utilitarian People-Movers (Part I)

    by Cycle9

    Saturday, December 4, 2010, 4:06 PM


    This post initially appeared on CM.com in June 2009. Given its continued relevance, we're republishing it as part of our 'What Should I Do?' series.


    Bicycles were invented over 200 years ago and were used for many years as significant and efficient means of human transport. But over the past 40 years, bicycles lost their status in the US as human transportation vehicles, due to inexpensive oil and far-flung suburban development. Since both of those factors favored automobile usage, the bicycle industry responded by refocusing their marketing strategy to promote bikes as recreational objects, only to be carted out on weekends and vacation time. 

    For many years this has been the status quo, with the typical bikes available in many bike shops catering to the weekend warrior, not the utilitarian cyclist. But in response to concerns over oil dependency and the environment, a quiet revolution started brewing in the mid-1990s that produced new bicycle designs and features, reinventing the bicycle as a significant mode of transportation. These new developments include cargo-carrying capacity for passengers and their stuff, plus compact, quiet, efficient, electric-assist motors that can extend the biker's traveling range and encourage biking more often.

    This article is intended to provide a broad overview of the recent developments that make the bicycle a practical utilitarian vehicle for daily transportation. In Part 1, I introduce the concepts of cargo bicycles and electrical bicycles and address the question, “Why do these developments help make a bicycle a great personal transportation option for those concerned about Peak Energy?” Then, in the upcoming Part 2, I will get into the nitty-gritty details of the products and designs available, addressing the questions, “What are the features, how much do they cost, and where can I buy one?”


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  • What Should I Do?
    Blue Sunburst Peak Prosperity Logo

    The Keys to Transitioning Healthcare: Empowerment, Education, & Prevention

    by suziegruber

    Wednesday, December 1, 2010, 5:53 AM


    A few months ago, I developed red spots on my face and neck that were kind of itchy.  After another day or so, the spots had progressed down my torso and onto my thighs, so I decided to go to a doctor.  Although I have health insurance, at the time I did not have a primary care physician, so seeing a doctor quickly proved to be difficult.  Most everyone I called told me to go the emergency room, a ridiculously expensive suggestion, given that my situation was certainly not a life-threatening emergency.  I finally got an appointment with a nurse practitioner at a local clinic.  She hurriedly looked at the red spots, pronounced that I had hives, and immediately decided to give me a steroid injection and to prescribe a week-long dose of Prednisone.  There was no discussion of reasoning for her prescription, likely symptom progression, or treatment options.

    I know that steroids significantly impact my body through increased anxiety, difficulty sleeping, and suppressed immune response, and I was about to leave on a month long trip, so I really didn’t want any of these side effects.  I slowed her down long enough to get her to tell me what I could expect if I didn’t take the shot or the Prednisone.  She told me the hives would likely progress through the rest of my body, enter my lungs and then cause difficulty breathing, and that I definitely needed both the injection and the Prednisone.  By this point, I internally questioned her judgment due to her extreme prognosis and lack of willingness to engage with me, so I accepted the shot and decided to mull over whether or not to fill the Prednisone prescription.  That afternoon I spoke with a friend of mine who is an MD (I should have called him first), and he said that I likely would not need the Prednisone and that I should see how it goes for a couple of days.  I did not need the Prednisone and the hives disappeared in a week or so.

    So why am I sharing this story? In my opinion, health care remains one of the thorniest problems that we face, because even with relatively abundant cheap oil, our current system serves us poorly.

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  • What Should I Do?
    Solar Panels ready for mounting.

    Installing a Solar Energy System

    Building resiliency with the sun
    by rhare

    Saturday, November 27, 2010, 4:51 AM


    Like many of you reading this article, I am fairly new to the realization that our future may not turn out the way we originally planned.  A little over two years ago, after the financial turmoil set in, I began to wake up from my comfortable, relatively uncomplicated life and take a closer look at what was going on around me. 

    I was first introduced to the Crash Course by an attendee at the 2009 CPAC Liberty Forum in Washington, DC where I had gone to hear Ron Paul speak.  Little did I know how dramatic an impact that one conversation would have on my life.  After watching the Crash Course a couple of times, many pieces of the puzzle started to fall together, and I quickly progressed to Stage 4 – Fear.  (See The Six Stages of Awareness for more on that topic).  A few weeks after I attended Dr. Martenson's Lowesville seminar, I decided it was time to take immediate action.  I've also had to deal with the challenges of convincing my partner that these changes were really worthwhile and necessary and that I wasn't a raving lunatic who would soon be wearing a tin foil hat!

    I hope reading about the thermal and photovoltaic solar systems we have installed will encourage you to think about actions you can take to prepare for our uncertain future.  Since it would be impossible to even begin to give every detail about how the systems work or how to put one together, my goal is to show what can be done, give you things to consider, suggest rough costs, and provide links for further research.


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    Juliann Law for Today’s Mama

    Sharing Our Thanks

    And much to be thankful for
    by Adam Taggart

    Thursday, November 25, 2010, 4:10 AM


    While we deal with some pretty heavy material on this site, it's important to remember we all have a tremendous amount to be thankful for.

    Thanks to Chris, we're aware of the interplay among the Three Es and how things are likely to unfold. Take a moment to appreciate that gift – the vast majority of those yet to swallow the 'red pill' are still sleepwalking into the future unprepared.

    Thanks to our still-functioning societies & economies, we have time. Time to debate & process the implications of peak oil and to take informed steps to increase our resiliency to them – in our investment portfolios, in our homes, and in our communities.

    And thanks to each of us, we have this site – a collective of smart and encouraging individuals doing their best to "figure it all out" and help each other do the same.  Your forum contributions, comments, and feedback are making this site the pre-eminent resource on the Web for those seeking to prepare for an uncertain future.

    So this year, I'd like to invite us to share our Thanksgiving experiences with each other.

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  • What Should I Do?

    Peak Certainty, Food Resilience, and Aquaponics

    Growing food with aquaponics
    by Farmer Brown

    Thursday, November 11, 2010, 11:24 PM


    Long-time readers of this site undoubtedly share one thing: We know no matter what exact course the future takes, or what twist or turn the economy makes, the “future,” as we had come to know and think about it for the past 30 years, is now woefully uncertain. I call it “Peak Certainty,” and we passed it sometime between 2008 and today.

    The manners in which we thought we’d live our lives, from the realistic to the idealistic, have radically changed. We could be facing hyperinflation, deflation, a currency crisis, social upheaval – all bad enough without factoring in whether Peak Oil manifests itself sooner rather than later. All of these macro-structural developments are of such high impact, whatever plans we may have had need serious reconsideration. 


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  • What Should I Do?
    Hands coming together

    A Case Study in Creating Community

    Finding support and building resilience
    by SagerXX

    Tuesday, November 9, 2010, 2:33 AM


    Take a little trip with me…

    Ben Bernanke finally prints A Dollar Too Far. Or the bond vigilantes have their day. Or various foreign countries begin to dump their Treasuries en masse one Wednesday morning. Or Fraudclosure pitches the TBTF banks (and mortgage insurers, et alia) into a hole too deep for any bailout. Or oil producing nations decide to cut back exports by 20% when it becomes apparent that some of their largest fields are well past peak and starting down the steeper part of the back side of the curve. 

    You can pick one of any number of liminal events, or more likely several of them will make up the Family-Size Valu-Pak o'Doom. But it's obvious to me that El Ponzo Grande is beginning to develop a mortal wobble. Like the top in the last shot of "Inception," it only continues to spin endlessly in a world of illusion. In the real world we inhabit, wobble indicates the top is getting ready to fall.


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