We are the ones we’re looking for

The Great American Quest, ” life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” has led us to the mountain top, the shopping mall. We sat there in rapture, beaming and gleaming in the sunlight streaming into the food court, all the abundance of our bags full of awesome stuff. We filled our homes up with the awesome stuff, and then we filled up our storage units.

And we find ourselves still waiting for the rapture. We set up ingenious manufacturing supply systems, global supply routes of mining, processing and sculpting our planet’s resources to fill the shelves of the malls, as if we lived in infinite abundance.

Somehow, I was blessed with eyes to see, and ears to listen, “the emperor has no clothes”, well at most he’s wearing a Speedo. I chose a path less followed, a path I once judged as kind of spineless, “a weed in the wind”, a wandering around, trying to find my own pursuit of happiness…. READ MORE >>

Real Estate has a suicidal tendency

I’m looking for the 12 step program and enrolling the country.

A vibrant alive, great place to live gets “discovered”, the prices go thru the roof,  the locals get bought out, and the neighborhood ends up with hard working professionals, empty nesters, and second homes. Some would say this phenomena is a good thing. From my experience, we tend to kill off the very thing we love. Real Estate has a suicidal tendency.

Oh, the neighborhood is still beautiful. The Historical Preservation folks are doing a good job of keeping the architecture out of the hands of our compulsion, but the soul is dying. The streets are quieter. The traffic is lighter. Many young families can’t afford to move in. Most of the neighborhood’s children leave with their working families. Local schools loose enrollment and get closed. The artists are mostly gone. The original locals are now having to commute longer and longer distances to work. The living cultural heritage is going, going, gone.

“Hi, I’m Brian, and I have an American Real Estate Suicidal Tendency”

All together now…  “HI BRIAN!”…

The Great Senior Sell off + dropping graduation rates=bummer

Arthur C Nelson is coming to town!

He’s the go to guy that has been pretty accurately predicting how the housing markets are evolving.

This coming Friday, June 30th, he’ll be in Santa Fe and hopefully shedding light on the latest trends.

Here’s my take. As us Boomers get to 65, retirement, we tend to sell our homes and downsize and/or relocate. The problem is there’s a smaller pool of buyers who can afford to buy the homes… Hispanic and African-Americans populations, though growing, haven’t been graduating from colleges in the numbers required to acquire the salaries necessary to buy our homes.

The American Dream of home ownership converting into our retirement nest egg has taken a hit. … READ MORE >>

More Dwindling Natural Resources…Bummer Dude!

“‘Hold on you guys…it’s my wife’s car!”  You should have seen it… just like that scene out of Bullitt, ya know where Steve McQueen casually fastens his seat belt while looking in the rear view mirror?  Well we’re sitting at this stop light, and the car next to us rolls down his window… I’m thinking he’s gonna ask directions… “Nice Prius, what year??”  My wife’s been here before, she casually lowers her sunglasses, mutter’s something about the guy’s mother, and the next thing I know, we’re flying down the road, sliding sideways thru turns taking bullets from an automatic assault rifle.  After a couple miles, she rolls down her window, salutes the guys goodbye with the Hawaiian peace sign, and let’s loose with an ear piecing holler…”Damn I love my Prius!!!”

We live in unprecedented times!!

My wife's Prius almost got jacked!

And I thought buying our Prius was gonna save Western Civilization….Bummer!   I guess I’ll have to add another Impending Bummer to the list. But hey, when the price of rare earth metals goes through the roof, our Prius will be worth more than gold!!!

Turns out,  rare earth metals are rare. Just when gold seems ridiculously high, the neodymium and dysprosium come along.

Desperadoes have been crawling under Toyotas, and cutting the catalytic converters off with battery powered saws. In a few years, the rare earth metals in the battery powered saw’s batteries will be worth more than the platinum in the catalytic converters…then what?? A real dilemma!


Electric cars and wind turbines may indeed help wean the U.S. from oil dependence, but these technologies rely on rare-earth metals to operate—metals that are in short supply, and that leave radioactive waste behind after extraction. According to a recent article in MIT’s Technology Review, 95% of the rare-earth metals needed for everything from compact fluorescent bulbs to magnets for electric vehicle motors and wind turbines come from China—and these metals are increasingly difficult to find.

The article reports: “Of particular concern are neodymium and dysprosium, which are used to make magnets that help generate torque in the motors of electric and hybrid cars and convert torque into electricity in large wind turbines. In a report released last December, the U.S. Department of Energy estimated that widespread use of electric-drive vehicles and offshore wind farms could cause shortages of these metals by 2015.” There is no real known alternative to these metals needed to make magnets that are incredibly strong. The article reports that a Toyota Prius motor uses about a kilogram of rare earth metals, while offshore wind turbines need hundreds of kilograms of such metals each. Here’s the full article

OK, our options seem to be getting fewer… guess it’s time to figure out what makes sustainable real!…

Images courtesy of Norcal minis

First Comes the Artists, then Gentrification…”What’s a Mother to do??!!”

The artists move into the industrial, run down part of town.  Rents are cheap, spaces are big. Cafes and bars start to open. The area becomes hip, creativity is flowing…and the lawyers move in. Nice restaurants and high end clothing stores open up.

Get 'em while they're hot!

The prices skyrocket. The artists are forced to move out, the Soul fades…ah, but it’s a good investment! The Condos pop up, get ’em while they’re hot!

There are so many parts to this scenario that irk me, I don’t know where to begin!

First off, who created the value of this highly desirable place?  I’d say the artists.   I’d also say the suburbs are so boring, people are starved for soul, a “realness” with vibrant, alive streets. So we as a society get some of the credit, in a reverse kind of way.

The next think that irks me is how, in our mad rush for a great place to live, we end up doing great damage to  the very thing we love; … READ MORE >>

Major change is inevitable

I love this piece, so I posted it. Enjoy!! I got it from New Urban Network. Brian

Blog post by Charles Marohn on 14 Feb 2011
Charles Marohn, New Urban Network

As the United States economy remains hooked up to life support, it is natural for those gathered around the bedside to see hope in each flicker of life. We humans are optimistic by nature, which is certainly an evolutionary trait that has served us well in darker ages. Even so, unfounded optimism can prove disastrous, especially when it keeps us from doing the difficult things that need to be done.

This past weekend, my hometown paper ran an article detailing how the economic signs are starting to point up. This is a theme I see reflected recently in the Old Economy circles, that if we just build enough capacity and subsidize enough undertakings, we can revive 2005 back into existence. The beyond-wishful thinking in the piece was highlighted by this passage:

[Brainerd City Administrator Dan] Vogt said Brainerd is well positioned for an economic turnaround with available industrial land and electrical system upgrades for attractive and lower cost energy. Brainerd now has more load capacity for business and industry, Vogt said.

This is akin to the owner of a dying mall — one that is old, falling apart and financed with enormous government subsidies that are about to expire — looking at the growing number of empty spaces and saying they are “well-positioned.” Some see the glass as half empty. Some as half full. And some are evidently drinking stuff a lot stronger than water…. READ MORE >>

Industrial Farming + Drug Industry=Dumb and Dumber

Super Bugs-Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

I’ve been hearing, for years, the warnings about our overuse of antibiotics. Super Bugs are on the list of Impending Bummers. A report published on Friday by the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases demonstrates the day our antibiotics become ineffective is growing nearer!! In fact, the day has come.

drugs in livestock feed

Industrial Farms + Pharma=Dumb and Dumber

It amazes me our capacity to turn a blind eye to self-generated threats. We can be Dumb and Dumber. But it’s good for the shareholders! And anyway the flavor Staphylococcus aureus gives to a steak is this side of heaven! (I made that last part up)

Drug-resistant Staph is largely the result of overexposure.

According to the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, nearly 80 percent of all antibiotics sold in the year 2009 were reserved for livestock and poultry, and in the case of Staph aureus, the chickens are coming home to roost.

The study tested 80 brands in 26 retail grocery stores in five cities across the country: Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Flagstaff.

They found strains of Staph bacteria in a whopping 47% of the meat they tested.

What’s more, more than half of those contaminated samples were resistant to at least three different types of antibiotics, including methicillin and more common antibiotics like amoxicillin and penicillin…. READ MORE >>

Pathogens in our Wheaties- Restoring the Balance of Human Over Population Thru Science!

Roundup + plants = super resistant pathogens in our grains,  meat, and bodies.  Yeah for Monsanto!!

The list of Impending Bummers is long. At some point the Impending part converts, and the Bummer is now happening. Genetically Modified Crops have made it to the Now Happening list!

GMO lamb-cauliflower

What's the Problem?? I like Cauliflower with my Lamb!

Monsanto Is Poisoning Us All: 117 Peer-Reviewed Scientific Studies Expose Hazards of Monsanto’s Roundup Herbicide & “Roundup Ready” GMOs

In a previous issue of Organic Bytes, we reported that Don M. Huber, Ph.D., emeritus soil scientist of Purdue University, wrote a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack about a newly discovered virulent pathogen that proliferates in soil treated with Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide.

The Monsanto pathogen is taken up by plants, transmitted to animals via their feed, and is passed on to human beings by the plants and meat they consume. The pathogen has yet to be described or named, though that work is almost complete. … READ MORE >>

Impending Bummers-Is Your Favorite on the List?

We might as well have some fun while we deal with the Paradigm Shift. I’ve been kind of anxious as long as I can remember, biting my fingernails, a perfectionist, worried if I’m enough, if I’m doing it right.  Things usually turn out really well, and yet before that, I can find myself worrying, apprehensive about how the future event is going to turn out.  I call this low level anxiety my “fear of the Impending Bummer”. 

Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy, Global Warming, Nuke Meltdowns and other Impending Bummers

Scientists and other observant citizens have been drawing our attention to accumulating social, economic, and ecological “unintended” consequences and I call these our Impending Bummers. In a world of sticks and carrots, the Impending Bummers are the sticks.
Beyond Suburbia is about making better choices; choices which have way more carrots and way fewer sticks;  A world without major bummers of our own making. I call it the emerging sustainable economy.
As we go forward, learning how to make these better choices, we need to keep our eyes open for Bummers. Join in, add yours to the list! Together we can make sustainable real!… READ MORE >>

Peak Oil Production…OMG

peak oil graph

Because they only made so many old, raggedy dinosaurs


From the chart on the right, you can see the predicted world peak oil production... looks like 2012-13 to me. Notice how the line heads south in rapid order; Down 25% by 2020… that is incredible!!!

I can understand why oil companies want to drill everywhere; Artic Circle, way off shore, Tar Sands of Alberta. Lord Have Mercy! we are gonna be short on supply!

In a paper he presented to the American Petroleum Institute in 1956,  American geophysicist M. King Hubbert predicted that production of oil from conventional sources would peak in the continental US around 1965-1970. America’s oil production peaked in 1972, as I recall. READ MORE >>

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