13 July 2005

Check out these stats....

And you wonder why the American Dream is caving in on itself? It's called UNSUSTAINABILITY!

News: The American Dream just keeps growing. Since 1970 the size of the average new home has ballooned by 50 percent. “Great rooms,” Viking ranges, 10-acre lots—can moats and turrets be far behind?
March/April 2005 Issue

Since 1950, the average new house has increased by 1,247 sq. ft. Meanwhile, the average household has shrunk by 1 person.

The National Association of Home Builders’ “showcase home” for 2005 is 5,950 sq. ft. That’s 15% bigger than last year’s model.

The Unabomber’s legal defense team cited the size of his shack—10’ x 12’—to buttress his insanity plea.

1 in 4 Americans want at least a 3-car garage.

88% of American commuters drive to work.

76% of those drivers commute alone.

The number of Americans with commutes of longer than 90 minutes each way has increased 95% since 1990.

Since 1982, 35 million acres—an area the equivalent of New York state—have been developed.
More than 50% of exurban lots are 10 acres or larger. Exurban homes account for 80% of residential development since 1994.

In 1950, 1 in 100 homes had 2.5 baths or more. Today, 1 in 2 do.

14 million households own 4 or more TVs.

Americans spend more to power home audio and video equipment that is “off” but still plugged in than they do to power such devices while actually in use.

Such “energy vampires” consume 5% of the nation’s electricity.

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition recently gave a 6-bedroom, 7-bath, 7-television house to a family of 4.

Americans with cable TV have 30 hours of home-improvement programming available to them each day.

Sales of Sub-Zero and other “premium” and “superpremium” refrigerators have been rising by 15% a year.

1 in 5 new homes is larger than 3,000 sq. ft.—the size at which it becomes unmanageable to clean without hired help.

The average cost of a luxury kitchen remodel is $57,000. That’s $10,000 more than it costs to build a typical Habitat for Humanity home.

Suburban and urban kids use illegal drugs, have sex, fight, and steal at the same rates, but suburban kids are more likely to drink and smoke.

0.03% of U.S. homes are fueled by solar energy. 0.4% lack complete plumbing facilities.

People who live in cities use half as much energy as suburbanites.

If Americans bought only appliances with an“Energy Star” rating over the next 15 years, the reduction in greenhouse gases would equate to taking 17 million cars off the road.

1/3 of a home’s heating oil is used for hot water. Multiple-head shower systems can drain a 40-gallon tank in less than 4 minutes.

The average new home requires 13,837 board feet of lumber and 19 tons of cement.

Since 1976, federal housing assistance has been slashed by 48%.

Last spring, the Bush administration proposed an additional $1 billion cut to the Section 8 housing subsidy.

87% of homeowners are white.

Overall, blacks receive subprime loans 2.83 times more often than whites. The disparity increases when affluent blacks are compared to affluent whites.

If it were a state, New York City would rank 51st in energy use per capita.

Suburban white men weigh 10 pounds more than men in cities.

Only 2.7% of San Francisco’s teachers, 5.7% of its cops, and 4.2% of its nurses can afford to buy a home there.

1 in 4 Californians are considering moving out of state to reduce their housing costs.

Rush Limbaugh’s Palm Beach estate is worth 15 times the value of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s Chappaqua, N.Y., home.

7% of all homes are in gated communities.

7% of all homes are mobile homes.

Since 2001, the number of Americans who have bought second homes has increased by 24%.


feminista said...

Reid, I am still all up for forming our own foraging tribe - are you gonna buy your dads land? :P

This shit makes me nervous...very very nervous....what the hell do we though? Sure each of us can do 'our part' but it's just not enough...We'll just have to wait for the world to end, re-discover a warm little island and start over :)

Reid Dalgleish said...

Yeah -- I like the warm southern Pacific island idea. We could even name it 'Feminista'. Eat pineapple and breadfruit naked all day...Manitoba's too shitty and cold.

I REALLY hope that I'm overreacting and that in twenty years I can look back and say "Wow, was I ever paranoid and cynical in my 30's".

But I really think people are completely oblivious to the pervasiveness the petrochemical industry has over our lives. It affects everything, artificially boosts our carrying capacity out way beyond what is natural, and without it everything falls apart. All the alternative energy sources currently understood and controlled wouldn't even come close to fulfilling any energy requirements left by the oil legacy. The oil age is a one-time event, baby. If we get this conversion to a new energy source wrong, we're completely screwed. Even if we manage to make it through the next fifty years (global resource wars and global warming nonwithstanding), contraction is going to be the norm. There is going to be major hardship across the board for everyone. It's just a rational path of logic to come to this conclusion.

Wow, now I'm upbeat! I try to stay positive, but it's really hard.

Jeff said...


Relax darling. Have some faith in humanity. We are not that bad. Yeah sure it will be tough, but their are enough reserves of oil and NG left to last our lifetime. Trust me on that one. We have way more reserves in the Arctic alone then in the whole Middle East. We just don't have the great sums of money or demand yet to make it economically worthwhile tapping into. This is even factoring in China's growth. What will happen is everyone on the planet that comsumes will be paying through the nose for this stuff. So hopefully that will get people around to conserve and consume less of this resource. Homes should be built better and smaller because I'm sure nobody will want to pay over $3000.00 a month to heat a 1700 or higher square foot home (that is being conservative on the price) Cars will also be a hybrid of something or sip fuel. Finally car manufacturer's will have to abide by strong laws to keep consumption low on vehicles. We will also have to learn to travel with less, because cars will be much smaller. For those that do not want to change well good luck to them! Climate change is going to be a big factor in how we use this resource. That is what scares me, a fastly changing climate. It will take years to clean up the mess we made, and we will not likely see that in our lifetime, but we will change, we have no choice. Civilizations have crumbled in the past, big natural disasters, disease, famine have wiped out cultures, but humanity has survived. There may not be many of us, but we will press on. It's hard to determine how much of non-renewable natural resources we have left. The Arctic alone has only had a fraction of it explored. Estimations change every day, but lots of this planet is still elft unexplored. Off shore drilling is going farther and farther out to sea with newer technology. Hopefully we can ween ourselves off the huge dependacy of this resource by using a combination of newer technology and energy saving tactics.

Reid Dalgleish said...

I don't think it's that simple, Jeff. No one knows for sure how much oil there is left. Oil companies are infamous for overstating their reserves in the name of shareholder value. And no offense, darling, but you're talking from the oil company perspective, which of course is going to say that everything's okay. What else are the oil companies going to say? "We're running out, so come on alternative energy, make our day!"? I don't think so. 'Depletion' is a very dirty word to the investment community. Whether we have reached Peak Oil or not (we will not know for sure until a few years after the point has passed), the rate of discovery of new fields and wells peaked decades ago, and whatever's left is either harder to find, harder to extract, or of poorer quality (sour vs. sweet) than the first half that we've already guzzled up like a bunch of crack addicts, thus the price of searching, processing, and speculation keeps going up and up. You're instilling a lot of faith in the unknown when you say technology and market forces will save us...that's based on the premise that we have an oil-based economy to begin with! What about those 3000 square foot houses? When the price goes to $100 a barrel and/or natural gas runs low, is anyone going to be able to afford to live in them? Entire tracts of suburbia will be unaffordable, possibly unliveable with the current energy distribution infrastructure. Our entire North American economy is based on keeping suburbia growing and consuming. If that goes, so does our economy, globalism, Wal-Mart and our way of life. Globally, we consume 27 BILLION barrels of oil a year. China's imports have doubled in the past five years, and India isn't even on board yet. It is estimated there is maybe a trillion barrels left in reserve on the planet. By my estimates, it won't take long before the big consumers start fighting among themselves for what's left.

What's there to be concerned about?

Reid Dalgleish said...

Sorry Jeff. I really hope you're right, and there's WAY more oil and NG in remote places that can be extracted, but even so, who's going to be able to afford it? Our society is based on it being cheap. Lose that foundation and everything starts unravelling.

Jeff said...


I see what you are saying. But you know what? Where do we start to fix things? I mean right now the Rain forests are being chopped down at a faster rate each day. Most of our breathable oxygen comes form the rain forests. If we lose them, then there is no point because there will not be enough air to breathe. What do we do, tell those country's that they can't chop down the forests anymore? That is what THEIR economy is based on like ours is based on oil. People have to survive. No this change is bigger then you and me and Feminista. It's a change of lifestyle all around. No more dependancy on non-renewable resources. No more destroying our planet of ANY kind. You know we sit and worry about how much oil is left. It's like trying to guesstimate when the big one is going to hit the California coast. We don't know but people still flock there. We can however see that our climate is changing. We can see the icecaps melting. we can see the species being affected, we can see the destuction of the rain forests, we can see how much of them are left, we can calculate to the exact day when they will be gone at current trends. I mean where do you start? I think getting our basic needs that we can survive is more important then worrying about what will happen to our global economy. It's all armageddon. Humanity is a reactive species. We like to think we are proactive but we are not. We will however for the most part survive. We did not depend on this stuff centuries ago, and it may mean returning to a simplier time with no luxuries for anybody. Can we go back to those ways? Not at this time, we will only change when we have nearly come to the end. Masses of people will suffer and die, no doubt about that. War is waging right now over fuel, I mean all of this terrorist shit can be traced to one root word OIL. They have it, we want it. Once our planet heats up and oceans swell flooding massive amounts of land mass, making us live closer to our fellow humans. We will be weeded out, the strong will survive, the weak die. Just by being in closer proximity to each other with less ground to grow food, disease and famine will wage war on us. It's a bleak outlook all around. When you look at it that way, anything else is really petty. Right down to us fighting for gay rights. It's all not worth it if we can't begin to protect the one place that humanity has to call home.

Reid Dalgleish said...

Very good points, Jeff. I can wish along with everyone else that some new technologies will come along that will save the environment and replace oil and bring food to Africa, however it's about as real to us now as the Internet would have been to Benjamin Franklin. We just can't see it yet. It all comes down to a matter of timing. Will things fall into place at the right time in order for things to carry on? I guess we'll see. I guess I shouldn't worry about it so much. It's really all out of my hands.

Jeff said...


I did some thinking last night and you know it's all fucked up. I mean really if you think about it, if we were to do everything right and not destroy anything, or use anything made synthetically, we would be left with walking around with palm leaves to cover our nether regions. Bark soled shoes with hemp rope or something tied to keep them on our feet and mud huts. It would take us right back to the beginning of time. Even if you, Feminista, and myself went to an island to start over living like this, there would be turmoil. Let's say this island only has small animals that are very hard to catch and you are the only one that has the unique skill to catch them but it takes alot out of you and makes you very hungry. Would you still be willing to share that small amount of food with Feminista and myself in order for us all to survive? Maybe at the onset you would but then after awhile you would be thinking, Fuck I do all this catching working my ass off and I have to share with these two and I am way more hungier then they are. Now start to introduce my skills of lets say climbing the highest mountain on this island because that is where the water is found. however only 1 cup of water is produced a day and by the time I get to the top and back down I am parched. I would think after a while that I should get more water then you. So we set up a trade, you give me some of your food, I give you some water. Well now we have started a trading system albiet it does not use currency, but it is still the same. Now we have started the trend all over again. We have ended up back where we started, starting to make the same mistakes. Now what would happen if Feminista did not have any skills to help us. Does she get our food and water? yes or no? It all boils down to greed, a trait that most of the species on this planet has. It is a primortal trait that connot be turned off. You want to survive before you will care about others surviving. You also want to have a stock pile for events that may put you in peril, why worry about anybody else? After a while you wil have atock pile and greed will consume you to want more and beter the living conditions that you have etc. One big happy fucking vicious circle again. So in the end it's all pointless. We might as well just live life surrounded by the people we love, do things that make us happy and try to find the positive out of everything we do and try and minimize the negative impact that we make, because in the end we all die anyway. No matter what humanity does, it will destroy something and somebody or something will be left out. there is no happy solution. Damn now I'm all depressed. When are we going to aprty?

Reid Dalgleish said...

I'm not sure if I'd boil it down to that. Sure, we have to use things and produce synthetics and such, but the big problem is that we've had uncontrolled growth for so long and to such a degree because of the artificial jump in the Earth's carrying capacity that oil has provided. There were a billion people on the planet at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and now there are over six times as many. What would happen if we can't replace our energy needs to the degree we have now, that supports six billion people? Contraction or collapse, that's what. Our economic system's focus on maximum growth has allowed us to grow big, but not grow smart, and for that we're going to get a big kick in the ass inevitably. It's not a matter of it, but when.

In the meantime, let's party and enjoy the company of our friends and the ones who love and care about us. It's all that really matters anyways.

Jeff said...

I agree with you Ried. There is not enough for all of current humanity to survive. We have used things to give us a false sense of security. It's like everyone standing on a chair with only one leg. Nobody knows when this leg will break and nobody really cares because they don't even know if it's one leg or two on the chair because there is so much controversy going on about it.

Species on this planet, follow their food source, follow the approriate temperatures they need in order to survive and evolve to adapt to a changing planet. Humans on the other hand, live in hospitible places, make the food come to them and destroy everything they can in order to survive in these areas. Generally try and make the planet evolve in order to suit us rather then the other way around. It's crazy, crazy, crazy. But enough said from me.


CanaGal said...

ugh this conversation is not helping my headache