23 December, 2008

Baby Green Steps

Are you prepared?  Do I sound like one of those survivalists who rose to attention last century, who had stashes of food, weapons, ammunition, clean water, and fallout shelters?  Because, that kind of attitude has always been around, and always it's treated with a mixture of amusement and respect.  Farming and animal husbandry started out of a survivalist attitude - only then they didn't call it "survivalist," they just called it "surviving..."

Similarly, the people most like survivalists today are the sensible treehuggers - not the ones that chain themselves to trees or want to flood the world with pet food animals - rather, the ones who, like us, are quietly going about their day and making each day a little less impacting, a little more self-sufficient.  I don't mind what type of action you take, as long as you're aware of the problems and pitfalls and are doing something positive.  That's what being "Zen" means, on this website and on the zencookbook.com website.

I notice that JH Kunstler predicted a recession, for a variety of reasons, and also that he has suggestions for the following decades.  Now, since his predictions are all proving to be quite uncannily accurate, I will tend to believe a lot of what James says.  Now compare that to this article about what President Obama should do.

There's quite a gulf between the two...  Yet each has valid points as well as weak links.  With the instability in oil prices, I would not be surprised if fossil fuel vehicles see a very sharp decline.  Despite handing auto manufacturer CEO's gloriously bountiful golden handshakes (which is what the bail-outs amount to) those will see a slippery slope from which there will be no coming back.  Similarly, any work invested into that most oxymoronic of oxymorons, "clean coal," will see nothing but billions sunk into a technology which will amount to almost zero benefit to the world.

And as far as keeping things local, I can think of a few things I'd prefer not to localise - health and medicine, for one.  I just can't see how dying in Town A, when the right medications and treatments are available in Town Z a thousand kilometers away, well I can't see how that would be of benefit...

Also - these are big-ticket items, which I can't deal with all by myself.  I'm happy to provide the support for voicing these plans, and spreading what information I have - but I realise that this is something "WE" all will do together.  I'm confident that en masse we will all speak up, and the changes will happen.

Meanwhile, I'm doing the personal, "survivalist" things that I know make a difference at "MY" level - I have a worm farm and hoping to make that a much larger setup so that I can collect scraps and distribute worms and worm fertiliser around my neighbours, in return for maybe some of their produce.  I'm making kitchen planters/seedling raisers and sharing how to make them on this blog, and I use the solar power of the bus to try and offset energy use here - I run the refrigerator out there for keeping longer-term foods, am using the 12V freezer as my deep freezer, and will shortly run out 12V CCFL lights so that I can reduce my energy footprint even more. I tend to run my laptop from a 12V powerpack off the solar batteries, again to reduce the energy footprint.

And I'm experimenting with compact high yield gardens without fertiliser runoff, and as I develop these I'll be posting them to this blog. For example, my in-ground herb patch is already watered by recycled grey water from the washing machine.  My washing machine itself is a recycled item which I saved from becoming landfill, and also a quite efficient little machine.

Because I can see how fragile our hold on "civilisation" really is becoming, and to me that means that there need to be islands of civilisation of a more environmental kind.  Since you're reading this, I presume you must feel very much the same way.  Oh - don't get me wrong, either - I believe technology will definitely pay off for us in environmentally friendly ways if we just keep funding it - also advances on medical technology which will allow us to better survive, and better adapt, and generally live better lives.

I just believe that since I can't develop a safe fusion reactor given my faculties and resources, I can at least take steps to make sure that while I'm waiting for the next big breakthrough, I'll ruin as little of the Eart as possible, to give them more time to think...

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