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June 19, 2007

04:40:29 pm, Categories: Global Warming and Climate Change, 168 words

Beyond petroleum with Vivoleum

In a speech at Canada's largest oil conference in Calgary last week, Andy Bichlbaum of the Yes Men, a political prankster group, posed as a representative of the U.S. National Petroleum Council. He told several hundred oilmen that, to address worldwide energy needs, "we need something like whales, but infinitely more abundant." Into the breach comes Vivoleum--a fuel made by "transforming the billions of people who die into oil," according to a blog item by a Reuters environmental reporter. Bichlbaum and a companion were thrown out after handing out Vivoleum memorial candles purportedly made from the remains of an Exxon-Mobil worker who had died following the clean-up of a toxic waste spill. (The candles were actually made of paraffin, beeswax and human hair.).

Vivoleum has potential. It is not exactly a renewable resource, but, unlike petroleum, it is an expanding one, given the aging of the world's population. One drawback: Vivoleum emissions might not meet the goal of achieving a substantive decline in atmospheric carbon releases by 2050.

Posted by Gary Stix · 5 comments   Permanent

1 - 5 of 5COMMENTS
GS Chandy [Member] June 19, 2007 @ 8:27 pm writes:
Apropos Vivoleum, do you remember the film 'Soylent Green' of about 25 years ago - which showed us a world that turned the aged into food for the younger people who still had many years to live. But it appears that such a 'resolution' to the world's major problem may not be just 'black humor'. After the 2004 tsunami that hit South and SE Asia, it was estimated that it take one tsunami a day, for 18 years or so, to bring the world population down to a level that could be termed 'sustainable'! -- GSC
Michael Langdon [Member] June 19, 2007 @ 10:06 pm writes:
I find these kinds of political pranks to be a grand waste of time. I have found most political pranksters and demonstrators to be more interested in being on tv or in the press then actually providing a legitimate solution to a problem. That it doesn't stop carbon emissions demonstrates this. However, if it could be demonstrated that burying people or cremating them produces more carbon emissions then turning them into vivoleum and burning it then it could work. I highly doubt that the pranksters thought of this.
Vimal Mohindra [Member] June 20, 2007 @ 6:25 am writes:
I would agree with all the above including the notion that such political pranksters are probably more interested in the publicity for themselves than in achieving real results. I may not agree however with the tone underlying the previous comment which implies that such exercises are completely futile. Thomas Kuhn in his outstanding "The structure of scientific revolutions" shows just how complex the process is of getting new ideas into the public consciousness. So who can say that such gimmickry won't strike a chord in someone, somewhere leading in time to something worthwhile emerging?
Ray Ladbury [Member] June 20, 2007 @ 8:57 am writes:
Michael, Yeah, that Johnathan Swift, what a media whore. Political satire has a long and somewhat productive history. Unfortunately, as politicians continue to adopt ever more irresponsible positions in the pursuit of votes from the lunatic fringe, it becomes ever more difficult to satirize politics. I mean how do you beat 3 Republican Presidential candidates sheepishly holding up their hand in response to a question about who doesn't believe in evolution--or global warming "skeptics" alleging a vast conspiracy by the scientific community. More and more, I find myself using the phrase, "You just can't make this stuff up!"
Paul Schleifer [Member] June 20, 2007 @ 11:56 am writes:
Detective Thron's final words, anyone? "It's people. Soylent Green is made out of people. They're making our food out of people. Next thing they'll be breeding us like cattle for food. You've gotta tell them. You've gotta tell them!"

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