Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

Thinking about newfangled cars

As Americans in their role as consumers embark on a massive shift in preferences regarding automobiles, and as entrepreneurs proffer some pretty neat technological advances, yet and still…Consider this. In 2006 (year of most recent data I could find on the Department of Transportation website), 134,836,165,000 gallons of gasoline were burned by cars, motorcycles, and light trucks on US roads. This was what it took to power the 135,399,945 automobiles, 6,678,958 motorcycles, and 107,943,782 light trucks (pickups/Vans/SUVs) we all own. (And leaves out the buses and big trucks and all the diesel they burn.) All told, and excluding Puerto Rico (no offense intended), 2,784,085,000,000 miles [PDF] of driving were done with all that fuel. (This mileage sum excludes buses and big trucks, I think.) That’s an average of 539 gallons of gasoline for each auto, motorcycle, or light truck over the year. And it’s an average of 20.6 miles per gallon. If we could magically convert the entire US automobile, motorcycle, and light truck fleet into vehicles getting 100 mpg, but our driving habits remained the same, we would still consume approximately 27,840,850,000 gallons of gasoline. This is very nearly the same amount of gasoline that was consumed on US roadways in 1947 [large PDF file]. Recall that even by that point in time, we were burning enough fossil fuels to have put us on the global warming track. Anyone for a bike? Photo courtesy of Madaise.


Overshoot, Collapse, and Creating a Better Future

In 2016, Earth Overshoot Day happened on August 8—the day when we’ve exhausted the planet’s resources for the year, and are essentially borrowing from future years to maintain our existence today.Perhaps you celebrated this day with a counter-solution: a vegetarian meal, telecommuted, or turned off the air conditioning. There’s a lot more you could be […] Read More

Save Energy & Money This Winter: Seal Up Your Drafty House

Unless you’ve taken special preventative precautions, it’s likely that on cold days much of your house’s heat pours out through your (closed) windows. Most houses—especially old houses—have drafty, uninsulated windows that do little to prevent heat from dumping out into the cold night. Even if your windows aren’t drafty, the expensive heat your furnace has […] Read More

Q&A With Toby Hemenway: Taking Permaculture Beyond the Garden Gate

The Permaculture City begins in the garden but takes what we have learned there and applies it to a much broader range of human experience; we’re not just gardening plants but people, neighborhoods, and even cultures.Author Toby Hemenway (Gaia’s Garden) lays out how permaculture design can help towndwellers solve the challenges of meeting our needs […] Read More

The Limits to Growth and Greece: Systemic or Financial Collapse?

Could it be that the ongoing Greek collapse is a symptom of the more general collapse that the Limits to Growth model generates for the first two decades of the 21st century? Author Ugo Bardi (Extracted: How the Quest for Mineral Wealth is Plundering the Planet) examines the correlation between what is unfolding between Greece […] Read More

Permaculture Q&A: Mulching Options for Your Garden

As Permaculture Month continues, we are making our expert authors available to answer your burning permaculture questions. If you have a question to submit, fill out this form. This week, Lottie from Florida asked if there are other garden mulch options that are as effective as hay. Josh Trought, one of our soil building and garden management […] Read More
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