Powering Down

Off the keyboard of Eddie

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on April 16, 2014

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.

3 Responses to Powering Down

  • RE says:

    The intransigence of the Political Class and the desire to maintain BAU as long as possible because of the wealth and lifestyle that copious energy consumption affords some people make a large scale transition just about impossible, at least in a Planned manner. A transition will occur inevitably of course, just it will be a whole lot harder and more painful because the denial continues onward here.

    It is possible for everyone to make some changes and do some preparation, although the level to which you have taken it is out of reach for most. Even our convocation bringing 9 of us together IRL was a costly adventure, though very worthwhile on many levels.

    Accessing the Internet and learning though is available to most people in Industrialized cultures. You can surf to websites which have valuable information rather than surfing to sites which chronicle Lindsay Lohan’s latest Rehab adventure.

    Our meeting IRL also proves it is possible to form community in cyberspace and bring it into real life. Whether we eventually all are located in one spot, or all are distributed out in many places that work under the same principles and ideas doesn’t matter. Making the information accessible and getting it widely distributed is what matters.


  • Eddie says:

    We could bring the cost of convocations way down if one of you guys would just come down a month early and brew the beer. I figure four solid weeks of intensive beer making should just about do it.

    I like this new comments format. I’ll post this on sun4living. Feel free to add the pics.

  • RE says:

    Where would you store all the Bottles for the Beer? :mrgreen:


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Spoken like a wise man. Thanks. I will have to read about your pig adventures. Good luck with goats. I'm going chickens next, but probably not out at the stead. Too many predators and not enough of me there with the dogs to prevent chick-o-cide.

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