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Looking Left and Right: Inspiring Different Ideas, Envisioning Better Tomorrows
Rich Turcotte is a retired attorney, former financial advisor, and now a writer.
The mission: informing others about the significance and impact of Peak Oil--while adding observations about politics, ideology, transportation, and smart growth. My work has been featured in the publications of the ASPO; Transition Voice; Energy Bulletin; Democratic Underground; Peak Oil News; PeakOil.com; Your Medieval Future, Daily Kos, and the Financial Press
A lifelong Massachusetts resident, he and his wife have two daughters and a son.
You can view his work at http://peakoilmatters.com/ and also at http://richardturcotte.com/
Saturday, June 25, 2016 Left v. Right Pt 4
Elevating the content and quality our public discourse while displaying more honorable public behaviors in the process--instead of what we witness on a daily basis--might prove more gratifying and meaningful in the long run, and for more of us.
That's about as low a bar to overcome as one can set, yet even that low threshold is too challenging for some.
Friday, June 17, 2016 Left v. Right Pt 3
What matters more: preserving ideology and one's identity via affiliations with like-minded peers, or a better future? Sometimes giving up one is the only way to gain the other.
If we aren't all thinking right now about what kind of a nation we choose to be and what kind of a nation we choose to leave for our children, we damn well ought to start soon. Series: The Left v Right Conflicts (3 Articles, 1147 views)
Tuesday, June 14, 2016 Peak Oil: Now Is A Good Time To Get Serious Pt 5
Not soon as in imminent, but as measured in the course of progress and a future not that far away, changes loom in the availability, affordability, cost, and efficiency of our current, primary energy supply: oil. Failure to prepare or understand what's involved [hint: a lot!] will compound the challenges, and decrease the number and viability of options. That will not be a good place to be. Series: Peak Oil - A Challenge Not To Be Overlooked (23 Articles, 14114 views)
Wednesday, June 8, 2016(2 comments)
Left v. Right Pt 2
A narcissistic demagogue as clueless as is humanly possible about both national and international policies, practices, standards, and relationships has somehow managed to incite millions of Americans by an almost nonstop stream of misstatements, adolescent--dangerous--button-pushing, fabrications, and pseudo-facts. This is now the standard for national political office? Series: The Left v Right Conflicts (3 Articles, 1147 views)
Monday, June 6, 2016(2 comments)
Peak Oil: Now Is A Good Time To Get Serious Pt 4
A fossil fuel-driven-and-made-possible life is all any of us have ever known. There are virtually no aspects of daily living that do not depend in some part on inexpensive, readily-available and easily-produced fossil fuels. That's not going to change dramatically overnight, but we shouldn't count on energy supply status quo for years and years to come. Series: Peak Oil - A Challenge Not To Be Overlooked (23 Articles, 14114 views)
Thursday, June 2, 2016 Left v. Right Pt 1
As each side bordering the political chasm digs in ever deeper to engage in skirmishes whose intensities and potential consequences seem to have no end point in sight, we should be wondering with greater urgency what sort of "community" will emerge from the wreckage Series: The Left v Right Conflicts (3 Articles, 1147 views)
Thursday, May 26, 2016 Peak Oil: Now Is A Good Time To Get Serious Pt 3
Amid all the chaos and challenges and burdens which already suck up most of our attention, the problems associated with the challenges of future oil production call upon us to harness a vision for the future that is not just incrementally better than this one. Reliance upon the same resources, methods, beliefs, and strategies which have carried us into the 21st Century will not be the same ones carrying us forward. Series: Peak Oil - A Challenge Not To Be Overlooked (23 Articles, 14114 views)
Saturday, May 21, 2016(2 comments)
Peak Oil: Now Is A Good Time To Get Serious (Part 2)
If nothing else, we'll need to recognize that, like climate change, Peak Oil is not some event looming on a distant horizon. Peak Oil is happening now.
We must guard against the notion that Peak Oil's impact (like climate change) is just a one-time, cataclysmic episode "scheduled" to happen but only at some random time at an indefinite point sometime long into the future.
Wednesday, May 11, 2016(5 comments)
Peak Oil: Now Is A Good Time To Get Serious Pt 1
The truths, unpleasant though they may be, are the truths: inexpensive, readily available oil is slowly but surely becoming less readily available, more expensive, and harder to come by. The problems of maintaining an adequate, affordable, accessible supply of fossil fuel needed to power modern society aren't going away. Series: Peak Oil - A Challenge Not To Be Overlooked (23 Articles, 14114 views)
Wednesday, May 4, 2016 Peak Oil: We're Not That Different Pt 2
It's human nature to seek out information, evidence, opinions, etc, which support positions we've taken on a wide variety of topics. Contentious political and social issues provide glaring examples of this from both the left and right sides of the various debates. Climate change is certainly one of the more noteworthy subjects.
The future availability and adequate supply of fossil fuels-oil in particular--is another. Series: Peak Oil - A Challenge Not To Be Overlooked (23 Articles, 14114 views)
Wednesday, April 27, 2016 Peak Oil: We're Not That Different Pt 1
We can all insist that we're always objective and always looking at all sides of important issues, but " not really. Human nature is what it is. This is true for conservatives and progressives--denials and finger-pointing duly noted.
Wednesday, April 13, 2016 Peak Oil: Simplicity Isn't Always So Simple
While there's surely some benefit derived in keeping things simple for readers and followers, I'm still unclear as to what the long-term benefits are for them [and the rest of us] when the full range of facts and considerations about our future energy supply are kept off of the discussion table.
Wednesday, April 6, 2016 Peak Oil: The Reality
There are certain realities about the recent spike in U.S. fossil fuel production which can be masked or misrepresented in only so many ways. Tight oil production generated from hydraulic fracturing [fracking] has shown itself to be more expensive and not as energy "dense" or efficient, for starters.
Thursday, March 31, 2016(2 comments)
Peak Oil Distractions Pt 3
We're not going to suddenly discover magical amounts of fossil fuel reserves though magical technologies because the Republican Party controls the House and/or because too many of its members are beholden to the industry. Energy resources don't concern themselves so much with political ideology.
What's left [and there are still substantial amounts left] is going to be harder to find, extract, and pay for.
Wednesday, March 23, 2016(2 comments)
Peak Oil Distraction Pt 2
Without recognizing and accepting the simple truth that we're drawing down a finite and depleting resource that necessitates almost unimaginable adaptations and transitions to Plan B, the limits of human ingenuity and technological prowess will be severely tested if we insist on exclusive and continued reliance upon the one finite resource mankind has relied upon more than any other.
Wednesday, March 16, 2016(3 comments)
Peak Oil Distractions Pt 1
The reality--difficult as acceptance of it appears to be for some--is that by whatever phraseology one prefers, readily available and affordable conventional crude oil is no longer readily available and affordable--from the production standpoint. The energy source of choice for decades is no longer as abundant and accessible as it once was [temporary "glut" duly acknowledged], and the fossil fuel industry has had no choice in
Saturday, March 5, 2016(3 comments)
Solving Energy Supply Problems In One Sentence
As is still the case--unfortunately, for all of us--a large contingent of individuals, organizations, and other associations remain determined at all costs [literally] to preserve the primacy of fossil fuels to power us into the future.
Friday, November 7, 2014(2 comments)
Optimism Helps, But....
Peak Oil (and climate change) are--to those of us who do accept the evidence and expert assessments--serious, fact-based realities which will soon enough impose some rather unpleasant, widespread, and irrevocable changes on how we live and work " all of us, even those on the Right who presently find almost nothing about either topic to be worth contemplating at all. That poses a dilemma.... Series: Peak Oil - A Challenge Not To Be Overlooked (23 Articles, 14114 views)
Thursday, October 9, 2014(1 comments)
Peak Oil Option Number 2?
Do we stand our ideological grounds until there's no question at all what reality has in store, or do we start doing what good businesspeople and well-intentioned families and communities do: plan ahead? We want good solutions and plans for how best to transition away from a fossil-fuel-dependent way of life because that is what facts tell us is necessary. Series: Peak Oil - A Challenge Not To Be Overlooked (23 Articles, 14114 views)
Sunday, October 5, 2014(5 comments)
More Info Isn't Necessarily Enough
What seems like an obvious solution--more information and facts--in the apparent failure to understand the challenges which declining peak oil production rates (and/or climate change) will bring about is not quite so obvious. It makes perfectly good sense, but that doesn't matter, either. Nothing like human nature to muck up simple solutions! Series: Peak Oil - A Challenge Not To Be Overlooked (23 Articles, 14114 views)
Thursday, September 25, 2014(3 comments)
Pleasing narratives skirting the truth don't mesh well with unpleasant truths. But given what's at stake, to scoff at concerns about a peak in the rate of oil production based on those facts because they don't fit nicely into ideological narratives is beyond foolish! Series: Peak Oil - A Challenge Not To Be Overlooked (23 Articles, 14114 views)
Monday, September 22, 2014(1 comments)
So Much For Energy Security
Energy Independence and Energy Security are such comforting notions. Might be worthwhile for those otherwise pre-disposed to swallow the stories whole to pause for a moment or two and consider the effect and impact of actual facts. And while they're at it, pondering what the motivations have been for cherry-picking and misleading--and who is and is not being served by those tactics--might also be enlightening. Series: Peak Oil - A Challenge Not To Be Overlooked (23 Articles, 14114 views)
Wednesday, September 10, 2014(1 comments)
Production Details Matter
The Happy Talkers like to assure the public that we have just zillions and zillions of barrels of oil just waiting out "there" for an intrepid company to yank it out of the ground (or beneath the sea) and supply it to us right quick. No fuss, no muss. No truth. Series: Peak Oil - A Challenge Not To Be Overlooked (23 Articles, 14114 views)
Thursday, August 21, 2014(1 comments)
All The Facts Matter
Regardless of one's confidence in both their assertions and in their beliefs that "human ingenuity" and "technological advances" will save the day, reality offers a different take. Series: Peak Oil - A Challenge Not To Be Overlooked (23 Articles, 14114 views)
Thursday, August 21, 2014(1 comments)
Better A Day Early....
For all the talk about this wonderful (and legitimate) increase in oil production from the fossil fuel industry's stable of cheerleaders, the annoying fact they all unfailingly neglect to acknowledge is that the tight oil formations being relied upon for the uptick deplete much more rapidly than do the conventional crude oil fields we've been relying upon for decades. And that's just one issue conveniently overlooked. Series: Peak Oil - A Challenge Not To Be Overlooked (23 Articles, 14114 views)
Thursday, August 14, 2014(1 comments)
Fuel efficiency is all fine and well, and there's no question that continuing improvements should be a staple of ongoing energy policy. But given our almost-complete dependency on fossil fuels to power our transportation needs, it's not anywhere near enough. Series: Peak Oil - A Challenge Not To Be Overlooked (23 Articles, 14114 views)
Sunday, August 10, 2014(1 comments)
Price Drops Sound Great, But....
Wishing economic realities were different is a nice balm, but wishing is just wishing. None of us want to be in a position not too far down the road where we're collectively kicking ourselves for once again postponing the hard work needed today to afford ourselves better opportunities tomorrow. Series: Peak Oil - A Challenge Not To Be Overlooked (23 Articles, 14114 views)
Saturday, August 2, 2014(1 comments)
Be Careful About Long-Term Energy Optimism
When prices have increased as much as they have in the past half-dozen years for perhaps the most essential product required to sustain our individual, industrial, and cultural lifestyles, the normal ebb and flow of prices takes on a very different and more challenging hue. Series: Peak Oil - A Challenge Not To Be Overlooked (23 Articles, 14114 views)
Saturday, July 26, 2014(3 comments)
Peak Oil: Thinking Ahead
It's safe to assume that almost no one is looking for more calamities. Doom and gloom prophecies aren't likely to captivate many followers. Climate change heaped atop all of the financial stresses is bad enough. Series: Peak Oil - A Challenge Not To Be Overlooked (23 Articles, 14114 views)
Tuesday, July 22, 2014(4 comments)
Denial Tricks of the Trade
It should come as no surprise at all that we have a dedicated cottage industry working double-time to dispute any concerns that the rate of oil production has peaked (or at least leveled off for about a decade). Series: Peak Oil - A Challenge Not To Be Overlooked (23 Articles, 14114 views)
Thursday, July 17, 2014(4 comments)
Peak Oil: A Few Basics
Consistent with efforts to keep the public sufficiently uninformed, the fossil fuel industry downplays (or usually, denies) adverse consequences from fracking. Water pollution, health and environmental threats, damage to local infrastructure, and assorted other pesky, annoying facts are artfully ignored or spun to leave most citizens with the impression that fracking is about as destructive or harmful as picking daisies. Series: Peak Oil - A Challenge Not To Be Overlooked (23 Articles, 14114 views)
Wednesday, July 16, 2014(1 comments)
Peak Oil: Another Challenge
Peak Oil is most often explained as the point when the maximum rate of oil extraction is reached--whether due to geological, economic, or technical limitations. A ceaseless global-production decline ensues. A lot of talk about the shale boom, energy independence, "We're Number One" oil-production chatter, and the usual assortment of Happy Talk Playbook chatter tends to dominate and thus confuse. Series: Peak Oil - A Challenge Not To Be Overlooked (23 Articles, 14114 views)
Wednesday, June 4, 2014(3 comments)
Has Outrage Arrived?
How many examples do we need before we are all persuaded that the official Republican Party platform is devoted not even a little bit to helping most Americans--at least the ones whose bank accounts don't show lots of zeros and commas in the "Total Wealth" columns?
Sunday, June 1, 2014(2 comments)
The New Rules?
Have we become that selfish? Do we no longer possess the wisdom of generations before us who understood that governing and policy to benefit the most among us for the longest periods of time requires something much less than adherence to rigid, unthinking ideology?
Thursday, May 29, 2014 The Right's Gamble
While more information won't necessarily change beliefs and ideologies overnight, the re-telling of the same expectations by those of us on the left will be borne out by the eventual realities not beholden to right-wing orthodoxy.
Thursday, May 22, 2014 The Good Old Days
Wouldn't it be nice if we started revering integrity and democracy once again, and stopped celebrating vile hypocrisy, sabotage, political blackmail, and anarchy masquerading as leadership?
Monday, May 19, 2014 A Faction, Not A Party
The numbing demonstration of callous disregard for anyone not among the elite 1%-ers to which GOP pols bow down to at every turn should offend anyone with a conscience.
Thursday, May 15, 2014(6 comments)
Psychological Shortcuts & Politics
The internal shortcuts we adopt to support our beliefs and views serve important purposes in establishing and maintaining our self-esteem. But when they become obstacles preventing us from speaking with one another--rather than at or past each other--their value to our long-term well-being diminishes.
Monday, May 12, 2014(1 comments)
The Art Of Shooting Oneself In The Foot
There is a great deal at stake for all us, and we might all be better served understanding not just what we do in asserting and defending our beliefs, policies, and opinions, but why. Appreciating that might make a world of difference " literally!
Thursday, May 8, 2014(2 comments)
On matters of great national significance--whether the impact and evidence exist in full bloom today or will more likely unfold over time--we may be doing ourselves, our families, our communities, and our society more harm than we realize by failing to pause now and then and consider the facts at hand.
Wednesday, May 7, 2014(2 comments)
Glorifying Fact-Free Leadership
When the "leaders" the public relies upon for guidance and information offer less than the truth, our collective understanding of the challenges we face--and thus our ability to fashion meaningful and beneficial solutions--is likewise severely damaged.
Friday, May 2, 2014(2 comments)
The Influence of Moral Beliefs
The near-complete failure to understand, respect, or appreciate the moral beliefs underlying the behaviors and actions of the other side that fuels the hyper-partisan and seemingly irreconcilable policy and governing philosophies we're exposed to every day.
Monday, April 28, 2014(3 comments)
In today's world, equality of opportunity has been perverted, and it seems quite clear that the few are doing whatever they need to do to preserve what they can for themselves, consequences to the many others be damne. We bleeding-heart liberals have a problem with inhumanity.
Friday, April 25, 2014(6 comments)
Is There Common Ground?
It's going to be that much harder to find ways to resolve ongoing challenges if we don't share a willingness to engage. Is that really a worthwhile objective? While each political camp arms itself with whatever provisions it needs to wage wars of words and ideologies, life is happening outside our windows.
Monday, April 21, 2014 What To Do When The Group Expands?
Those on the Right, consistent with their inherent make-up and ideology, focus their efforts on protecting those in their “group” because doing so helps preserve the beliefs and values upon which they base their moral determinations about policy-making. Inviting “outsiders” into the established affiliations exposes them to the possibilities of changing dynamics and beliefs contrary to their core principles
Friday, April 18, 2014(4 comments)
Remember The Future?
Connecting the dots of right-wing orthodoxy to the reality of what happens is actually a fairly easy undertaking. Introspection in advance is rarely a bad thing, and usually a better option than reflecting on what has already gone wrong.
Sunday, April 13, 2014(3 comments)
An overburdened public ill-disposed to adding other major concerns to their full plates naturally turn to their chosen/respected go-to officials with the expectation that their interests are being addressed. They’re Right, except that in these circumstances, “their interests” are those of the chosen, not the choosers. That’s a problem.
Thursday, April 10, 2014(1 comments)
What Did Happen To The Common Good?
The Republican Party operates on the assumption that only small government—if that—is necessary or proper. Ideological differences aside, when one group takes it upon itself to proactively gum up the works at every turn, we’ve moved beyond philosophical differences into a very dark chapter of present history.
Tuesday, April 8, 2014 Total Disconnect
The wealthy are different from the rest of us. They think differently (often viciously and ignorantly so), their needs are different, their world views are different, and the sense of entitlement too many on the Right ascribe as a failing of the less-fortunate is instead the guiding light for the 1%-ers.
Friday, April 4, 2014(3 comments)
The Message Is Important
A well-orchestrated messaging machine has filled the void left by those on the Left who ignore the simplest of strategies in trying to communicate their own messages.
Tuesday, April 1, 2014 Indifference
When actions and behaviors and beliefs are twisted to accommodate the self-serving interests of the few at the expense of the many—in direct contradiction to the very reasons for and purposes of those otherwise honorable standards—something has to give.
Saturday, March 29, 2014 Does Wealth Mean No Compassion?
In view of legislative efforts on the part of the Republicans to do anything and everything but be a party of work—at least anything approaching concern for the challenges and hardships by those of us who do not measure bank balances in the millions of dollars—some proposals smack of nothing other than a healthy blend of arrogance and hypocrisy on a scale most of us, thankfully, cannot relate to.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014 The Fear of Change
It’s difficult to ignore the steady stream of right-wing opposition to most of the cultural, economic, and political policy proposals offered in the past few years. The strident opposition all bears more than a tenuous connection between accepting change and resisting it.
Thursday, March 20, 2014(2 comments)
The unwillingness of both the Right and the Left to consider unpleasant facts and truths only hardens the battle lines drawn in our increasingly partisan culture.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014 Hoping No One Notices
If legislative initiatives to make voting more difficult, enrich and protect the interests of the wealthiest few, perpetuate hostility toward minorities, make life in general more difficult for women re: health and choice issues, and deprive all the slackers and takers in America of the most basic assistance, then the Republican agenda has been a home run.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014(20 comments)
It's easy to ridicule much of what is ... ridiculous. But if genuine cooperation to reach mutually beneficial solutions to increasingly-vexing problems on often more than just a national stage is still considered a useful practice, getting beyond the cheap shots must happen sooner rather than later.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014(1 comments)
Ideology No Matter What The Price
When facts get in the way of witless ideology to protect the wealthy and the powerful at the expense of everyone else, facts are a convenient casualty.