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In reply to: bananabender on Monday 23/06/08 03:41pm

BananaBender asks with governments wanting a whole lot of people to get "... less

dependent on power supply, how can one plan and manage in that situation?"


If want to protect your household from escalating costs imposed

by governments and companies in the name (A) Carbon Trading,

(B) Emission Control and © Saving The Environment, you can't

'manage' the situation but you can reduce the power of the price

escalators have in your life by installing solar hot-water and power

systems (to ease the pain of A and B) and by installing rain and grey

water harvesting systems to reduce your dependence on public

water suppliers who are as keen as the other rascals to bump up

prices to milk consumers dry and (forestall building new dams)

all in the name of 'Saving The Environment'


Guess what you price-gouging rascals?


My house and garden are part of the environment too!


I've already posted pictures of our solar hot-water

and solar electrical systems. Below is picture of

two of our five (suburban) household rain-water

tanks that when full (as they are after recent

rain) have a total capacity of 30,000 litres.


The 750 litre (per day) grey-water harvesting

system is underground hence no photograph.


What I've done may be unusual in suburbia.


But I was part-raised in the bush and in

the 1950s, there was no piped water

or piped electricity to the farm and

at the Ag College I attended the

same self-reliance applied.


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In reply to: gmacafee on Monday 23/06/08 06:18pm


Apologies for inexact grammar - my implication was that governments don't want too much independence from utilities because it makes their planning too difficult ... I think we're basically on the same wavelength. Seems funny now, but only a short while ago it was illegal to have a rainwater tank in many locations and the greywater gremlins would do horrible things if you used it without a sanctioned treatment system. Hope you have all the mandatory "non-potable water" signs up or you might yet be fined. Makes you wonder how all the old bushies (me too!) survived, doesn't it?

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The survival of civilization as we know it depends on solving two dilemmas that

revolve around energy consumption: the world's liquid fuel crisis and its

fossil-fuelled global-warming crisis.


Adding a third dilemma (developing nations aping the coal and oil consumption

habits of the so-called 'advanced nations') has created a monster energy

consumption crisis that all 'getting and spending' cultures face.


If consumption of goods and services slows, businesses and workers face

disaster aided by short-selling hedge funds and by debts entered into earlier.


If consumption rises, prices rise and Central Banks inflate the

price of borrowing money to reduce inflation. If the 'medicine'

works, consumption slows and recession beckons!


A cartoon below describes "civilization as we know it" today.


I'm 71 next birthday and civilization as my pioneer forefathers knew it

survived and thrived on human energy, horse energy and wind energy.


If we did it once, we can do it again with the added bonus that we

now have solar energy that can create electrical energy that

is transmissible over long distances.


If you think my views are derived from a youthful pastoral idyll or

from a rose-tinted nostalgic romanticism, you are 100% correct.


All the proof you need is on these web-sites:






By way of contrast, below is depicted 'Civilization as we know it" today:



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In reply to: gmacafee on Tuesday 24/06/08 12:39am

Hi mate, this in a similiar vein(i think,(binge drinking(4 glasses:))).



A boat docked in a tiny Mexican village. An American tourist complimented the Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.


"Not very long." answered the Mexican.


"But then, why didn't you stay out longer and catch more?" asked the American.


The Mexican explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.


The American asked "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"


"I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a siesta with my wife. In the evenings, I go into the village to see my friends, play the guitar, and sing a few songs. I have a full life." The American interrupted, "I have an MBA from Harvard, and I can help you! You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat."


"And after that?" asked the Mexican.


With the extra money the bigger boat will bring, you can buy a second and a third and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers.


Instead of selling your fish to a middleman, you can then negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant.


"And after that?" asked the Mexican.


With the extra money the bigger boat will bring, you can buy a second and a third and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers.


Instead of selling your fish to a middleman, you can then negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant.


You can then leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles, or even New York City! From there you can direct your huge new enterprise."


"How long would that take?" asked the Mexican.


"Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years." replied the American.


"And after that?"


"Afterwards? Well my Friend, that's when it gets really interesting." answered the American, laughing. "When your business gets really big, you can start selling stocks and make millions!"


"Millions? Really? And after that?" said the Mexican.


"After that, you'll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife, and spend your evenings doing what you like and enjoying your friends."



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In reply to: gmacafee on Monday 23/06/08 06:18pm

Yes gma, it is important that we all should be looking at alternative sources. I was pointing out that the price of a grid solar installation is not that expensive if you intend living in your current house for a number of years. The rebate of up to $8000 is a real good start, however I would have like to instal the system on my retirement/current holiday house but the rebate doesn't apply so I will wait until my wife I retires and we sell my current residence.


There are other things that can be done - in Melbourne you can get all your normal globes replaced for free with energy efficient globes which we have done and instal a solar hot water which we also done a few years ago. Since doing these 2 things our electricity usage has dropped by 30%.


I have also installed a rainwater tank which is small but it allows me to water the vegetable and garden beds, dont use it on the lawn as I pipe grey water onto lawn area, so I do not use any clean domestic water outside the house.

These initiatives are not too difficult or expensive for the average person and should become the norm. Our resources are changing and we all need to do better.





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In reply to: tom924 on Monday 23/06/08 11:51pm

Thanks Tom924 for that wonderful Mexican story and it's all so true to life.


Lest people interested in 'Energy' think I'm a casual observer and

commentator who has an academic interest in Rat-Race Game,

my addiction to it as a team player began many years ago.


I was part-raised in the bush (by an aunt and uncle) and but also in

Melbourne by my parents and (as a skinny kid) I only participated in

organised religious, organised scholastic and organised sporting

activities because they were compulsory and punishments were

ruthlessly administered to truants, deviants and misfits.


Being relentlessly 'schooled' was not a happy experience but I did

learn survival skills at school - I could read, write add up,

subtract, obey and (above all) to not question authority.


My fate (as a Rat-Race Gamer) was sealed when my father added

compulsory economic activity ('Getting On' in life he called it)

to all the other 'Rules of Racing' for Rat-Race Gamers.


How my fate was sealed was this:


It was school holiday time and I was with my father in his big, black,

English Rover car and we were driving from our neat home in the

prissy Liberal-voting suburb of Glen Iris to the gritty Labor-voting

inner-city suburb of Fitzroy for some holiday 'work experience' in

his electrical engineering workshop that employed some 20 men.


As we approached Fitzroy, to avoid clogged main roads, he took a

short-cut though the cobbled back streets of even grittier Richmond.


As we were zipping down a narrow back street lined by jam-packed

wooden cottages, we saw two Richmond urchins sitting bare-footed

in a gutter chewing on a crust of bread each.


"See! See!" (my father said to me) "That's what

happens to children who don't study and get on!"


So I studied and 'got on' and later 'scored' some good jobs

but oddly enough (or perhaps not so oddly) 'getting on' and

'scorning' are drug addict terms in their loopy rat-race game.


But in fairness I must add that *all* the elders in my extended

family had personally experienced and survived the Great

Depression and strongly believed in salvation through work.


My Aunt Molly most of all because her husband had died of

cancer (in the days before the Supporting Mother's Benefit)

in the middle of the Great Depression and he left her a

debt-riddled dairy farm (some cows that needed to be

milked daily or they'd go dry and she'd go broke) and

five kids under ten who needed feeding daily.


She had two options - get tough or go under.


She got tough and for 12 years (without a day off) she did a man's

work by day running the farm and and a woman's work at night

keeping the house clean, clothes mended and washed, and meals

on the table - with no time at all (as I learned the hard way while

on holiday at Aunty Molly's) for 'fussy eaters' from the big city! (vbg!)


I''m all growed up now - but to this day I still have trouble relaxing and

'letting go' of Rat-Race Game without my mother's motto intervening:


"The Devil finds work for idle hands!"


As an old shearer from Wagga Wagga told me many years ago:


"All men are driven but few know the name of the driver!"


I do and he drives a big black English Rover. (vbg!)



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In a social setting (not in his work environment) I was was chit-chatting about

the enormous amount of time and energy that people put into succeeding

at Rat-Race Game with a chaplain from Canberra Hospital.


"It's a funny thing," he said "Ive heard many deathbed confessions but never

once has anybody confessed 'I wish I'd spent more time at the office!'


I attended a bush funeral recently. Like all funerals, Ray's 'final farewell'

was a sad but good time to reflect on time and energy allocation:




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