As many in the Peak Everything education world know. Facts and figures Charts and graphs Just don't get through to people if the information is beyond their normal experience. You end up being as ineffectual as Ross Perot while running for president trying educate the public with big sheets of paper and magic markers. He was the butt of many jokes for actually using data to support his position. As with Jimmy Carter appealing to logic for all us to put a sweater on and turn down the heat. We have an energy crisis ! Both methods incompatible with educating Americans. In comes a B movie hack cowboy actor but with an dreamy narrative to save the day from evil sweater man. All down hill from there for Team America
personal narratives work to move people even if the story is short on data. If the story matches the data behind the scenes then it's a win-win situation. If not then we have trouble in River City.
both story tellers and fact checking groups have roles to play in a thoughtful transition
Where does rebirth come into this little narrative?
Answer: The story of VO2 Maximus Rex and redefining studs
This weekend the American Birkebeiner occurred.
Anyone that took that 50 kilometer ski race seriously in the 1990s wanted to be Bjorn again. It was the ultimate dream of endless energy and power. We would curse the ski gods knowing it was never going to happen no matter how much we wished for this rebirth but we wished for it anyways. The best cross country skier in the world during the 1990s was Bjorn Daehlie.
He was a beast on the race courses. Much of this comes from attitude, skill building and lots of hard work. All good things in both the pre and post carbon world. Though along with the three prior attributes he was the most efficient human animal ever recorded. In terms of biological internal combustion efficiency no one in recorded history could suck in more oxygen and convert it to CO2. He has the highest recorded VO2 Max at 96 ml/kg/min. The VO2 Maximus Rex of homo sapiens sapiens. The average for a young male being a meager 45 ml/kg/min
For myself ( personal narrative time) as a citizen class racer I once found myself on a high school track in the middle of a physiology study. Roller skiing as fast as I could around a track following a van filled with oxygen and CO2 sensor equipment. Being tethered to a moving van with an airway tube sticking out of your mouth is a little unnerving. The risks of falls are pretty high but we had serious research to conduct damn it! The oil was flowing nicely out of Prudhoe Bay so I didn't have a worry in the world. Bjorn had the North Sea oil fields. So all was fine. Plenty of time to conduct important studies on which style of skiing was most efficient. My measured VO2 Max was not 45 nor was it world breaking 96. A person coming in at 62 meant they would never finish the long emergency last but also never find themselves standing on a podium. If you wish for a bit of happiness in your life you adjust and adapt to the cards you were dealt.
All that was about 20 years ago. Back I then never heard of Jevon's Paradox or that efficiency was the path to hell. Never occurred that wanting to be Bjorn again was not a good idea. When a person can suck in that much O2 and convert it to CO2 it can become a bit of a problem at the personal footprint level. When scaled up to the planetary level it's lethal. Being this efficient just makes you want to do more of it. At 62 ml/kg/min you have positive feedback loops for the fragile male ego to drive hundreds of miles on weekends. Looking for snow to kick some ass while bitching about global warming messing with trail conditions. Amp it up to 96 ml/kg/min you end up flying all over the globe to world cup events. Consuming 10,000 calories a day of fossil fuel sourced food. All without gaining an ounce of fat on that Bjorn identity animal. No fat means no problems. That's through the lens of endless bounty of the 1990s
All looked fine pre Peak awareness while living the dream. Then someone comes along and tells you the Party is Over. All past life experiences now need to be looked at through the contraction lens. Questions and self examination. What were good ideas and what needs to change ? Can a person repurpose past skill sets?
All we really have is our narrative to learn from and teach each others
Bjorn was a total stud and I worshiped the ground he skied on. But he also was the ultimate Power Up Man. The Nietzsche superman of oxygen uptake. Back in the 1990s that was way cool in my mind. Those were the party days of the Clinton years. Now Power Down Man is the new definition of stud for me. I never dreamed of really kicking Bjorn's butt in a race back then, he was just a goal to work towards. Just as I could never as an embedded American kick the butt of a Hindu Sadhu holy man in a carbon footprint reduction contest. But the Sadhu are sustainable and I'm not. So new studs are defined. New pictures in "work out" areas are hung for inspiration. Bjorn out Sadhu in
Crazy new goals to reach for even if they are not attainable. But we live in crazy days. We all need to reduce our footprint by 80% or it's endgame time. This seems impossible especially if a person doesn't own a passport. Hanging around the Sadhu for several weeks a few months prior to my The Parties Over moment has been very helpful in dreaming impossible dreams. What seems possible is much more expansive after being surrounded by the studs of the Powerdown world
As for the middle ground of a 62 ml/kg/min male hominid while in the glut of America. To be a post carbon stud is pretty damn easy in the upper midwest. Don't drive 350 miles north to ski 31 miles at 15 degrees to be a carbon stud on Birki day. Just put a studded tire on your bike, a few layers of fleece,windproof shell, sandals with waterproof socks, bike the 5 miles to the Green Energy Summit planning meeting. Everyone looks at you as if your a stud, even though your really not
It's helpful to have 21 degrees and icy streets.
It just adds to the narrative and setting the standards for powerdown goals with the thought leaders of the light green world. It's much easier now to be asked to a podium to speak about powerdown then it was trying to power up to be Bjorn again