A changing world

Peak oil has been on our minds a lot recently. We’ve been watching movies, reading articles, entering into discussions, researching and absorbing a world of information, some good, some bad, some positive and pessimistic, making plans and writing stories. We are getting very interested in the Transition Town project and have started working on how to get it moving along here in Ranui.

The world is changing, we’ve always known that our society has not been living in a sustainable way, we always knew that at some point we would run out of oil and that we would again have to slow down, take a step back and change the way we live. In our lifetime we will no longer be able to simply jump into the car and drive to a warehouse sized supermarket to get packaged and processed foods. We will not be able to rely on having things transported from the opposite side of the world just so we can have tomatoes in Winter. All my life I’ve wanted to travel to Europe, I’m beginning to realise that not only is that going to be an unachievable dream very soon, it’s also one that I’m beginning to happily let go of for the pleasures of a life at home and the changes this life will bring.

I currently play at weaving and spinning, knitting, cooking and gardening, I believe that within the next few years these crafts will be essential to my life. We will see an end of ornamental gardens and front yards of grass. Councils will abolish laws forbidding chickens and other farm animals in suburban areas and begin encouraging it. Supermarkets will flounder and farmers markets will no longer be quaint weekend diversions but once more will become essential for trade. People will loose jobs and it will be hard, but we will find that in a post-oil world there will once again be more jobs then people to do them as we once more have to rely on our own bodies instead of machines. Our efforts will return to the satisfying task of feeding and clothing us and not sitting in stuffy offices moving pieces of paper from one pile to the next.

It takes very little effort to find information to support the believe in a post-oil world, a quick google search on “rising oil prices” returns 810,000 pages of information including this from the BP statistical review of world energy: “It’s no secret anymore that for every nine barrels of oil we consume, we are only discovering one.” How can we even consider that we can continue as things are with that fact before us? I don’t understand is how people can get angry about the rise in prices of oil and demand the government make it cheaper. Rare resources are always expensive, we all know that, if I was to offer you the skeleton of a dodo bird you wouldn’t expect to pay the same as for the skeleton of a sparrow would you? People’s ignorance and desire to burry their heads in the sand amazes me, the mainstream media’s minimal coverage astounds me. I’ve heard people saying things like it’s a “hippie conspiracie” that those who believe are pot smoking tree huggers. Well news flash, it’s the scientists and the economists, people inside the oil industry itself who are yelling at us to wake up and smell the fumes.

It’s a hard reality to face. I feel torn between two worlds, in one I’m planning a Tupperware party and working at being a photographer, and in the other I’m working out how much land we need to feed 30+ households and trying to decide if I should buy a horse now or wait another year.

When I see a huge task before me I became daunted and feel over whelmed by it and so I try to break it down into smaller, managable sections. When we were planning on purchasing a 5 acre block I got freaked by the size of such a property and what on earth I would do with all that land, then I broke it into pieces starting with just the house, then the kitchen garden and then worked with permaculture principles of zones and headed out to orchards and forests. Suddenly I could see the 5 acres come together as a manageable whole and when it threatened to overwhelm me again, I pulled my focus back to one area. I’m trying to do this again with the peak oil crisis, focusing on the small things, asking myself questions and not getting caught up too much in the larger picture. I ask myself things like what is essential to my life and happiness? My husband, my family, my friends, my community and good food are the ones that jump out at me. Well guess what, I can have all of those things in a post-oil world and more. Craig has started writing a story about our life in 2020 (many famous cyberpunk novels have been written about the distopian world run by corporations in the year 2020), it’s open for others to add their own pages to and I’ll post it in a separate post for everyone to read. It’s a positive vision, one of hope I think.

Here are a few links people might find interesting about Transition Towns.

This is a youtube video on Transition Town Totnis, the pioneer of the movement