Heading into 2007, and regarding whether I am more or less optimistic over this past year over the local and global response to peak oil, my response is what President Bush just said in his recent speech… “We are not winning, but we are not losing”.
I am less optimistic for 2007 due to the fact that Americans are still in the dark about HOW to change our consumptive habits, or that they even need to sacrifice at all, starting right now. There is too-low attendance at Power Down meetings across the country. The president just used his media bullhorn to direct Americans to go out shopping, and that will make everything A-OK. Yet he says we need to get off of oil?
Like a drug addict depending on a dealer they don’t know is running out of dope, Americans are about to get slammed by our dealers saying “Sorry, that high you depend on is gonna cost you five times as much tomorrow, and by the way, it’s only going to get more expensive from here on out”. Uh… say what?
But I am no angel. I am still addicted to oil, limited in what a single family can do to ween off the drug. I don’t take the bus yet. I carpool with my wife, but haven’t asked my neighbors to consider pooling our trips to the farmers market. I am a walking mouthpiece that talks a big game, but am not living a true power down lifestyle currently seen as a cultural outsider by the majority of Americans.
So I am a hippocrite when I say unless we get off oil and make changes RIGHT NOW, the economic convulsions we’re going to have in America will make a heroin addict’s withdrawl look like a baby taking a soothing nap. Shame on me for not giving up everything, but I have a wife that keeps me grounded in worldy affairs, and I enjoy having a loving relationship.
BUT… (Here’s the optimism) we do have time to change! I believe in Americans. I believe Americans want change. They know something stinks. I believe Americans can and will discover that community building gives more meaning to life than ’shopping’. Meeting and end enjoying locals has been an amazing bright light, even if it is by singing karaoke on Saturday nights at the local Pub. People bond over music and beer.
I also believe when the first oil shocks hit, people will REALLY wake up. Right now they are lying in bed, and they keep hitting the snooze button every time their little alarm goes off, not wanting to believe it’s time to get up and go to work.
Well, there’s a bunch of burly construction crew guys about to knock a hole in their wall and force them out of bed.
So why do I say we are still winning, and why am I optimistic?
I love the power of American ingenuity and I know our history. I look to our roots for coming up with amazing ideas. We are the entrepreneurial leaders of the world. There are a lot of smart farm boys and girls out there.
It’s just that so many Americans have become so materialistic, fat, and lazy, they have let their guard down. Well, we are about to get our economic butts kicked. So unless we put down the Playstations, Doritos, and cut our Internet porn surfing time in half, we are in deep, deep trouble.
People need to, starting today, write and call their congressional reps and demand energy alternatives come to the forefront as our nation’s top priority, seconded by local food security. We’re talking about a bigger project than putting a man on the moon here.
The problem is… what can congess do? The answer is not to replace oil, rather to find a way to level off, and then reduce current levels of growth. Since I believe the present congress is more reactive than proactive, it’s going to take political balls the size of Mars to tell the truth to America. They are going to be very angry addicts, and no one wants to hear the bad news.
It will mean many businesses will have to close shop before it’s too late, but the great news is they can start NEW businesses RIGHT NOW and seek opportunities in our new low energy future. Why, they can discover the joys of creative bicycle design, peddle powered cars, urban farming, home retrofitting…. etc. Entrepreneurs like Bo from the Blossoming Lotus get it. Auto dealers that can’t read the tea leaves don’t.
I firmly believe it will all come down to food security, a place to keep out of the elements, local living, and accepting that the only true meaning of sustainability - is balance. Yin and Yang. Working together. Accepting people that are different from you.
So as we head into more warfare for 2007, let’s all try and remember we all want to live. As more and more people come together through globalization and cultures clash, we are realizing the poison point that yeast goes through when it turns into alcohol and they all start to die off.
So long as we can maintain our sanity, meaning of life, and learn to share this beautiful planet among all the people on it, we stand a great chance for realizing humanity’s potential. Is love REALLY that hard for people to give themselves, and to others? Without people moving beyond their egos, and convictions of greed and hate, there’s a global towel waiting to be thrown in.
But I believe in loving to the end, so I’ll just say whoever you are, I love you no matter how much you disagree with me because I called you fat and lazy. We all have inner research to do.