Friday, May 9, 2008

Things you wouldn't think about...

I don't think I have to pound in the "I told you so's"...

The beginning of the LAST U.S. energy crisis is here - and when I say last I mean to say that this one will last the remainder of the life of anyone reading this - so for the next couple of posts I am going to point out the impacts of this on some things folks just don't think about.


My personal favorite is landscape maintenance.  I live in the wealthy enclave of Boca Raton, much of it is former swampland claimed for development from the Everglades.  Most of the "Country Club" type communities a few miles west of the beach fall into that description.  The folks living there are not the types to cut their own lawn and trim their own shrubs, trees, and bushes.  Boca Ratonians have local companies employing illegal immigrants and other unfortunates to perform that dirty work in the hot Florida sun (I DO cut my own grass and purposely have very little of it and much to my neighbor's chagrin I do not water it to retard its growth).

In an extreme liquid fuels shortage the fuel required to maintain landscaping will lose the demand competition to fire trucks and ambulances.  Transporting crews of people around Florida for this purpose will be EXTREMELY expensive, not to mention the fuel needed to aggregate the crews in the first place.  The workers will simply not be able to afford the increase energy costs in their own lives without SUBSTANTIALLY increasing the fees for their services.  Since the effects of high energy costs will be compounded in everyones lives, the ability of many of the formally wealthy homeowners to continue to pay for all of these costs at a time of contracting GDP will likely decline precipitously, and that presupposes that the fuel is even available for the dubious benefit of lawn care.

As I like to say - there are 2 sides to an "equals sign" ("=").  So what is on the right side of the = ?  Florida has a 52 week growing season.  A significant fuel crisis means that the Everglades would reclaim much of what we took in a VERY short period of time.  Did I mention the effect that alligators in your living room and snakes under the couch would have on the value of your home (and what that means to mortgage banking system).  Between the Everglades and the hurricanes Florida will be the backwater it used to be - and quickly.

As a matter of fact, the folks living along the beaches and inter-coastal in Florida have their own maintenance issue: SALT.  Salt water, salt in the mist and in the wind, salt, salt, salt... corrodes everything.  Ever notice how cars up North are always rusting out from the bottom?  That's from the rock salt used to melt ice on the roads.  Well, salt on a northerners car and salt on a South Florida home has the same outcome.  

Getting things maintained is going to be a CHALLENGE, and expensive, high maintenance stuff is a poor investment in an energy constrained world.

Check back, and we will work over something else.

Mentatt (at) yahoo (d0t) com

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