Powering Down

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PowerDown_FYI2I’ve been reading about collapse topics voraciously for about three years. I’ve read all the major bloggers, and I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about ways to prepare for the most likely scenarios that I can envision. I’ve trained myself fairly relentlessly by taking the most appropriate workshops and training I could find, and I’ve watched a ton of good videos on topics like rocket stoves, solar PV tech, intensive gardening, and permaculture topics. I’ve read a lot of books.

I’ve networked with individuals from a lot of diverse places and different walks of life, and tried to work toward community building.

Some conclusions are forthcoming.

Number one is that there is no shortage of reasonable steps that we can take as individuals and families to increase our resilience, food security, and to prepare for a lower energy lifestyle.

Number two is that we could live fairly comfortably using energy resources that would represent a tiny fraction of our current consumption. For most of us it would be fairly easy to cut 80% or more of our fossil fuel and electricity use, if we moved closer to where we work and only used electricity for our real needs, and stopped wasting so much.

Number three, perhaps not as obvious, but true, is that most of us could grow our own food if we applied ourselves assiduously. Using whole systems approaches like aquaponics appears to hold the key. And on a large scale, indoor farming using lights and grow wheels holds great promise, if we could repurpose some of our remaining energy resources in a more sensible direction. Even the daunting specter of climate run amok might be manageable, and we might be able to feed billions of people well into the future…if we took the proper steps.

The problem, as I see it, is mostly one of denial, selfishness, mental inertia, and a lack of will.

Politicians aren’t going to fix anything. Complaining isn’t going to fix anything. Inflating various asset bubbles in an attempt to kickstart what we refer to as “The Economy” won’t fix anything, and in fact takes us down the hill toward collapse faster by wasting resources that we could better use for more important things.

Transition towns are an interesting aberration. They represent the best model of living we have, imho, but there isn’t much interest in actually building them, except among people with no means to do so. I hope that changes, but as of now, I don’t see them popping up all over.

Last week, we had a gathering of like-minded folks here in Texas. Nine people, including children. We came together, had a party, worked a little on some of my current projects, and then five of us took a workshop at Monolithic Domes. As meetings go, it wasn’t anything earth shattering. But it was a start, and it did show that an internet forum can bring people together. It showed that we can make some positive steps toward building communities.

I don’t necessarily think that the nine of us are going to build a single community. What I do think is that all the people who came here are going to go home and build their own communities, and that all of us will remain connected. I believe we will be able to help each other in various ways, and that our far-flung network will persist. This is because all of us are willing to do more than talk about the state of our world. We’re actually taking steps to be the change we want to see.

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