Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Control the wheel

Everytime I talk to people about peak oil and the need for sustainability people look at me as if I have a started to grow a horn out of the center of my head. If there is any verbal response, I am told not to worry about it because the government will handle any problems. I am told that the government will ration gas and/or food and will take care of us. I have heard that if there really is a problem, the government would have told us. I have also been told that if things become bad, people will come to me for help.

What happened to us? Why do we sit back and allow someone else to control our lives? Why do we feel that we should count on the government to "save us" rather than looking at our selves. We do have the capability to make changes that can make our lives easier in the long run. The changes may be difficult initially, but the long term pay-offs are great.

I think about these changes as something like childbirth. Yes, labor is long, difficult, and painful -- yet we know that the payoff at the end is tremendous. We go through the pain knowing that we will be rewarded at the end. Our life changes to sustainability can be the same way. It is difficult to change (I still have internal conflicts at times). However, the changes are very rewarding and have positive outcomes. I am confident in my abilities. I believe it is important to know how to do things now rather than wait until they are needed.

Take control of the wheel and drive to your future. What changes could you make that would make your life more sustainable?

10 comments:

M said...

I'm very new to living sustainably as part of simplifying my life. My family's wardrobe is primarily used. We reuse cloth products (napkins, towels, cleaning rags, etc.) instead of buying paper. We combine errands to save on gas consumption and time.
The next changes I'm making are to make more foods from scratch, bicycle or walk around my town for errands, learn to knit and recycle the yarn, reduce my dependency on my clothes dryer, and Freecycle.

Emme said...

good for you! I think every personal change that we can make is very important!

Phelan said...

After the house is finished, I want a horse and buggy. I don't care what people will think, but I only go into town twice a month {well more so lately because of my father} but I am more than willing to do my grocery shopping in this manner.

I understand your concern about people thiinking someone else will do for them. If we ever go through another depression, I will be a horrible sight.

bc said...

I am using my bicycle more often. We don't have a car, but I want to reduce my dependency on buses.

I've also tried to reuse produce bags in the grocery store and look for bottled versions of products that normally come in plastic (like lotions). Not much, but its a start.

Emme said...

Phelan,
My grandmother lived through the first depression. She is very concerned that people now would not be prepared for another. She told me that at least then people had necessary skills. Now there are many who have relatively few skills. Horse and buggy? I love it!

bc, I think it is great what you are doing. Just think - if more people did the same!

Chelee said...

I recently read that our grandchildren will be ashamed at our lack of outrage and action...

J said...

We've become far too complacent in our prosperity, and I share your horror as we realize what we're facing and what we've done to ourselves.

Teri said...

I thought of this:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6148456.stm

And a large majority - 85% - said public authorities should play a stronger role in fighting obesity.

If folks feel that the government needs to tell them to stop putting food in their mouths (and note that these are Europeans), why does it come as a surprise that they expect the government to do everything else for them? Governments encourage this as it allows them to become ever more powerful.

On the Peak Oil stuff, I live in a county where over half the residents have to travel by car more than 40 miles one way per day to get to their jobs. Why? We live in a county that is good for growing trees. Most of the county is part of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. When they locked down the forests, they killed most of the jobs. The Gorge Scenic Area was supposed to bring new jobs but the tourist industry hasn't really given us much. So we drive. There is a small local transit company designed for the elderly. That is our only alternative transportation.

Folks who understand and are concerned about Peak Oil need to be careful how they discuss it with other folks. I've been in some very silly discussions. You can't convince someone that it is a real concern if you can't TALK to that person. It needs to be done with scare tactics (remember Y2K?)and it really needs to be done without being gleeful at the thought of our civilization collapsing.

We don't have the space for a horse but DH seriously wants to train a goat to pull a cart. We could probably make it the two miles to what passes for a town where we live. There's no way I'd ever make it the 40+ miles to work, but I doubt that we'd need much computer tech support then any way.

BurdockBoy said...

I feel my biggest issue to tackle is the amount that I drive. I'm looking into buying a VW or Mercedes that I will run on Biodiesel. I know it would be better to not drive, but there is no mass transit out my way and I'm not tough enough to bike 15 miles into town in North Wisco winters-although I do know one guy here who does. Hopefully I will someday live where I can use mass transit and share a car with others in my community.

Wendy said...

I like your analogy between childbirth and the Peak Oil crisis. I have five children - my first was a c-section, my fifth was delivered by her father in our bathtub at home.

I think, in this country, we've become so accustomed to having things done FOR us (including letting the doctors control how our children are born) that any discussion of sustainable living and SELF-sufficiency is inevitably met with some resistance. It's easier to let the government do it. If it goes bad, it's THEIR fault, right?

What's scary is that the US is supposed to have a government BY the people. I wonder what that says about us :).

Changes my family has made in the last year: cooking more meals at home with local ingredients, eating "in season", canning, added a clothesline to reduce dryer usage, expanding our garden, growing a "winter" garden, raising chickens for eggs, replaced water heater with a tankless model, and added insulation to reduce heat loss. We're far from self-sufficiency, and even farther from living simply, but we're moving in that direction - one step at a time, every day ;).