Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Current Events

Today Jonathan and I had a long discussion about the state of current events.

There are a few things that we have recently read about:

Peak Oil - World Wide Depression

"I had the chance to attend a forum last week which had Alan Greenspan as a guest speaker. In his speech Greenspan said, and I am paraphrasing, "when (not if) the global demand for oil exceeds the supply we will fall into a world wide depression". That shook me as well as most of the others in the room. We have all thought about shortages, sky high prices, etc. But I had never thought in terms of a true depression. Has anyone else and, if so, are you preparing in any way for such an event? FYI, Mr. Greenspan did not offer a prediction as to when this event might occur."

Read this while you are at it:

Here is an interesting article on a blog:

Clean Water Shortage

The BBC had a news item regarding Water shortage as 'a global problem'

Rich countries face increasing water shortages, a report by conservation organisation WWF warns.

A combination of climate change and poor resource management is leading to water shortages in even the most developed countries, it says. It urges water conservation on a global scale and asks rich states to set an example by repairing ageing water infrastructure and tackling pollution.

The report was released in Geneva just ahead of World Water Week. The WWF says economic wealth does not automatically mean plenty of water. Its report reveals that some of the world's wealthiest cities - such as Houston or Sydney - are using more water than can be replenished....

Ethanol Production = Food Shortages

Jonathan read something about ethanol production, however, I do not know where the article is. I think on of those linked above may be the one he was talking about. He said that what he read is that ethanol is one of the most expensive and unsustainable fuels to produce. If we grew enough grains to make fuel, then we would use all of our grains and not have it available for food. Also ethanol uses more energy to produce than it saves.

After Jonathan and I spoke about this, his reaction as that we should move to a farm and be as independent from the current culture as possible. My reaction is that yes, this is all very bad, however, I think that we can do something. I am not an alarmist or survivalist. I think that we should teach what we know. My thought is that he and I have skills. We have proven that we can create a sustainable environment in an urban environment. Okay, we are not 100% sustainable, however, we have made some major changes in our lives to reduce our footprint.

A lot of people recognize that global warming is happening, that peak oil is happening, that people don't want to be dependent on the system. We think that a lot of people want to make a change, but don't know where or how to start. I think that it is possible to take small steps and build on to those. I think that if we can show people how to make small changes and make a start. Enough small changes can create a ripple effect. Look at me; in January I was clueless. Now I have made a lot of changes: wash is hung to dry, rainbarrels, compost, canning food, growing food, walking to the store, non toxic + biodegradeable household cleansers, careful/non consumerism, veggie car, all organic + local foods.... In January, I had not even a thought about this - not a thought about my role or ecofootprint. Small changes spiraled into larger changes.

I think that if we each start small, then we can add to it. Not consuming (as much) or choosing only organic, hanging our wash to dry x-times a week.... Start small and then build onto that. I do think that it is possible as individuals to have an impact and then we can impact our friends and neighbors.

A challenge: this week make a vow to make 1 change. Make it a change that you can sustain.


1. Hang clothes to dry
2. Choose to walk/carpool/mass transit/bike this week
3. learn to compost
4. put up a rain barrel
5. don't purchase anything unnecessary
6. visit the local farmers market and buy local food
7. choose organic
8. refill bottles with bulk foods
9. cook at home
10. unplug unused appliances
11. replace lightbulbs with compact
12. other ideas?

One change for a week. Let me know what you decide to do!


Sally Parrott Ashbrook said...

We watched The End of Suburbia-- --last year, and the prospects of what happens when oil fades are really scary. In some ways, the lack of oil has the potential to help us out over time--to knock us back into simpler living--but that's only if we don't end up with massive wars over scarce resources before that can happen.

I think about it sometimes--should we buy a farm at some point? I definitely think we'll try to live in an environment where we could grow--or have people around us grow--most of what we could need to eat. The End of Suburbia says as gas prices rise, people will collapse back into city centers from the suburbs. But it seems to me that's only possible if there's still enough transportation and agriculture available to feed those people.

It is a scary idea.

While I'm not paranoid and not really a survivalist, I do think that it's important to develop the skills you and I are developing (you much further along than I) to be much more self-reliant should the day arrive when it's necessary.

Sally Parrott Ashbrook said...

I'm going to write a post today about what I'm going to change in the next week. :)