What Monkeys Don't Do

This presentation won’t make much sense to you if you haven’t:
read: “Peak Oil and the Fate of Humanity” (www.peakoilandhumanity.com)
already acquired a good understanding of the concepts of:
Peak oil
Carrying capacity
Exponential growth
The I=TAP formula



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This presentation will lead you to appreciate some of the behavioural differences between us and our closest cousins on the evolutionary scale, monkeys similarity.

Will be irreversible once energy becomes rare

Will be inoperable without petroleum

Will cause irreparable harm to societ

Our descendents will curse us for

In recent years, homo sapiens has acquired a fondness for bottled water:

Not guaranteed to be any healthier than tap water

Can cost up to 10,000 times more than tap water

Transporting bottled water long distances involves burning massive quantities of fossil fuels

Nearly a quarter of all bottled water
crosses national borders to reach consumers

Making bottles to meet Americans' demand
for bottled water requires enough energy to fuel 100,000 U.S. cars for a year

In a number of places there is better regulation governing the quality of tap water than bottled water

Adds more garbage to landfill

Yet, it is so easy to avoid:

Have we become so lazy that we can’t fill a jug or a reusable bottle?

Would a monkey build a Ski Hill in the Desert, knowing that oil will run out???

The United Arab Emirates have more money than they know what to do with.  So what do they do?

And here you’ve got it. Snow in the scorching heat of the desert!

Complete with chairlift and lights

Right down to the snow-covered pine trees!

Monkeys don’t sail, so they might not even think of this one… Have a look at the The Biggest Private Yacht!!!

In 2003, the launch of Paul Allen's 127m (416ft) "Octopus" secured its number one position as the world's largest yacht.
Microsoft's "accidental billionaire" Paul Allen - worth US$20 billion according to Forbes, the third richest man in America and 7th in the world - owns two other monster yachts such as Tatoosh ranked 3rd in the World in 2003.

Octopus cost Allen over US$200 million and has Permanent crew of 60, including several former Navy Seals. It has two helicopters, seven boats, a 10 man submarine and a remote controlled vehicle for crawling on the ocean  floor. The submarine has the capacity to sleep eight for up to two weeks underwater.

The paradox is that it is perfectly rational for Paul Allen to indulge in this kind of luxury.

On average, owners must spend a minimum of 10 percent of the purchase price every year to keep these yachts in good working condition and cover crew salaries. Therefore “Octopus” which cost Allen US$200 million requires a US$20 million annual budget.

Before judging Mr. Allen, lets consider this.  If he deprived himself of his toys it would make not an iota of difference in the onset of the oil peak.

And when the ramifications of peak oil send the price of the barrel of petroleum through the roof, Mr. Allen will still have plenty of money to secure the supply he will need.

Monkeys like heights, but not to the extent that humans do.

Here’s the world’s tallest building

WHY Should he make a sacrifice when everybody else is living it up?  a look at the following photos.

The Taipei Tower

The Taipei 101 tower, Taipei, Taiwan, achieved its full 508-meter (1,674 feet) height with the addition of a huge metal spike capping the 101-floor structure.

The 60-meter spire pushed the tower's height well above the 452-meter high twin towers in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.

The designers of the Taipei 101 tower say it has been built to withstand typhoons and earthquakes, both of which have struck the Taiwan capital in recent years.

Taiwan, which straddles an active fault line of the western Pacific regularly experiences earthquakes.

In September 1999 a powerful quake of magnitude hit the capital, killing more than 2,400 people and destroying or damaging over 50,000 buildings.

The architects behind the new Taipei 101 tower say it will easily ride out a quake of similar strength, or an even more powerful one.

Lets assume the engineers are right and that the tower will never fall.

The problem is that after Peak Oil this building will become useless, unless we can harness a few tens of thousand monkeys to ride a wheel connected to a generator to provide it with power.

World’s largest cruise ship

The largest cruise ship in the world is under construction just a few years before global oil production peaks!

Project Genesis

Not ugly as cruise ships go, this future white elephant will displace 222,000 tons and will carry 5,400 passengers.

It will measure 360 metres and have a freeboard of no less than 65 metres in height!

She will generate 1,800,000 litres of fresh water and 35 tonnes of ice every day.

For the amusement of its passengers, it will provide an ice skating rink, rock climbing walls, a water park and an on-board surfing system.

It is being built in the Turku ship yards of Finland at a cost of $1.1 billion U.S.

One wonders what the investors think this monster will run on when oil runs out.

The world’s largest passenger aircraft

The A320 may seem like a good idea now.
But what will we do with the carcases when the tourism industry no longer exists after peak oil?

Big Box Shopping Centres

Without gasoline, how will we drive to the big box stores?
After peak oil, what will we do with these empty stores?
Will we have enough resources to disassemble them and return the land to agriculture?

Dismantling of railways

Putatively for saving money

The Canadian government decided to trash the future of transportation by dismantling thousands of kilometres of railway tracks throughout Canada.

Scrapping streetcars

In the 1950s most “progressive” Canadian cities dismantled their streetcar systems.

This environmentally sound method of public transit was abandoned in favour of noisy, smelly busses that depended on petroleum.

One factor that influenced the decision was the notion that streetcars were old fashioned and busses modern.

Curtain walls

Built because they were pretty…

Curtain walls are windows that form an entire wall.  They don’t open and therefore don’t allow the tenant to control air quality naturally. n

Once energy becomes expensive, how will we heat, cool and ventilate buildings made this way?

On the surface, using irrigation for growing food or useful products such as cotton might sound like a good idea.  But look at what it’s done to the Aral Sea…

The Aral Sea:
an inland body of fresh water turned into a salty desert.

Irrigation with fossil water

We are using groundwater faster than it’s replenishing itself.

Ogallala aquifer in central-southern USA

We have artificially increased food production through an unsustainable reliance on underground water.n

But when those sources run dry, farmers will have to be satisfied with what falls from the heavens and with growing less food.

Draining wetlands

The idea is to replace the cropland destroyed by urbanization and to create new building lots.

Loss of ecosystems and biodiversity

Destruction of replenishment of groundwater sources

Antibiotics in feed and water

Factory farming is enhanced by the addition of antibiotics to animal feed and water

The few bacteria that survive inside the pig’s gut do so because they have natural resistance to the antibiotic. Then the surviving bacteria reproduce.

Overuse of antibiotics therefore is responsible for the creation of resistant strains of bacteria

We are shooting ourselves in the collective foot by this misuse of these former wonder drugs.

Every year current antibiotics become less effective at dealing with bacterial infections.

We are now talking about flesh eating disease and super bugs, the result of human greed.

Do scientists think of all the consequences of their research?

I certainly didn’t when I spent most of my career helping to develop the science of embryo transfer

This was me when I was much younger and had more hair

Cows of excellent genetic potential (good milkers) are used as donors.

They are treated with hormones to make them produce a large number of ova which are fertilized through insemination. The cow’s reproductive tract is then flushed to recover the embryos. These are transferred individually into healthy cows of inferior pedigree. The recipient cows carry the calves to term. The resulting calves possess all the great genes of the donor cow.  8-day old cow embryos ready for implanting.

This picture shows a donor cow with her offspring born from seven surrogate mothers.The making of the super cow A city slicker might think that tweaking genetics to make cows give more milk is a good idea. 

This is what scientists have been very successful at  doing for the past 70 years.  And embryo transfer technology helped speed up the process.

Whereas cows used to give 20kg a day of milk, the average cow now gives 50 kg a day and some up to 100 kg a day!

The concept of GIGO, “Garbage In – Garbage Out” applies to cows as well as databases. In order to squeeze massive amounts of milk out of cows you need to cram massive amounts of inputs into them…

…feed that is high in protein and energy

and the best quality hay and silage fed in a controlled way, according to the individual’s milk output

…and these inputs can’t be produced without…you’ve guessed it…

Oil, of course !!!

Are we consumers or are we consumers?

Here’s a typical neighbourhood in the city of Gatineau, the neighbour of Ottawa, Canada’s capitaln

One house out of two has its own swimming pool that is used perhaps ten times in the year (the summer season in Gatineau is short!)

What’s odd about this picture? – Notice the blue spots in the back yards?  They are swimming pools.

Instead of everybody having their own small swimming pool that needs maintenance, why not have one large neighbourhood pool that everybody can share?

Are we consumers or are we consumers?


The new wave is for people who die prematurely of an incurable disease to have their bodies frozen with the purpose of reviving them in the future when a cure is found for the disease that did them in.

Aside from the practical and ethical questions this raises, we must consider the question of energy.  A cryogenic container loses about 1% of its liquid nitrogen per day.  Therefore it takes a constant input of energy to keep a corpse in a frozen state.

A rich person could put money into a trust to maintain his body frozen in perpetuity.  The trust would use the interest for buying the energy needed to produce the necessary liquid nitrogen.

Il other words, a stiff could legally steal energy from future generations forever.

Kill your baby's life support systems for a little convenience?

For hundreds of thousands of years babies have been defecating and mothers have found a variety of ways of disposing of the “curdled milk”, from licking it up to absorbing it using a variety of strategies and natural absorbents.

Suddenly, a mere 40 years ago, somebody got the bright idea that making disposable diapers made from paper and selling them would be a way to become very rich.

The idea caught on like wildfire.  Mothers and fathers alike started buying these very convenient devices.  Within a few years the large makers of the old-fashioned reusable diapers discontinued making them.

It was much more lucrative to cut down trees, debark the trunks, mash up the wood fibres and separate them with strong chemicals, dump the resulting wastes into the waterways and into the atmosphere, roll the paste into paper, line the paper with petroleum-derived plastic, attach little pieces of Velcro and elastic, package the finished product in yet another plastic wrapper and transport the product to distributors and then to stores so they get bought by the parents.

So from the moment of his birth the modern baby unwittingly joins the ranks of the world’s worst polluters.

The fact that parents are destroying the very foundation of all life on Earth for a little convenience seems to go right over their heads and furthermore, seems to be the acceptable social norm.

Just as we are about to reach peak oil…

The space shuttle is ferrying construction materials to complete building the international space station.

International space station under construction

The space age has been a lot of fun and a great learning experience…

But without oil and natural gas we won’t be able to create the fuels and necessary infrastructure to carry on space travel.

Just as hopeless as government-backed space travel…

… is private space travel.  Sir Richard Branson’s dream will will be a monumental flop when energy becomes rare.

Just when natural gas has peaked in North America…

You find with your gas bill a very strange sort of solicitation…

When we’re running out of natural gas, why is your natural gas supplier asking you to find new uses for the resource?

And then you scratch your head when you find out they’ve just moved their headquarters into a brand new building!!!

Supersizing education…

We had plenty of petroleum, so why not?

By centralizing schools we were able to provide more services to our children: cafeterias, gymnasiums, swimming pools, libraries -  all amenities that didn’t even exist when I was a child.

It was just a matter of closing the small, local schools and building mega sized ones.

It didn’t matter that our kids needed to travel in busses, crammed three to a seat, for two hours a day.

It was the expedient thing to do.

How will we transport the kids to their schools in an oil-challenged world?

And on the following page, you will find something else monkeys don’t do…

Smartass humans have invented a weapon capable of killing of all six+ billion of us!

Since we are a violent species, it is only a matter of time before some wiseguy decides to launch one of these suckers onto a neighbour he doesn’t like. And then we might all fry.

Nuclear explosion

We’re not much smarter than our distant cousins dangling from branches, aren’t we?

Albert Einstein signed a letter to President Franklin Roosevelt urging that the bomb be built.

And now for the similarity I mentioned at the beginning:

Just as a monkey hanging from a tree lets his poop drop wherever it may…

Humans do likewise…

…they let their crap fall wherever it may!!!

Are we really smarter than monkeys?

In conclusion:

The intent of this spoof on human-monkey differences is to underline humanity’s lack of foresight and planning.

We live day-to-day or election-to-election with no regard to future generations.

I find this paradoxical, since the most precious thing in our lives is the happiness and welfare of our children.