Monday, June 13, 2005

Saving thine ass.

image courtesy: Copyright © 1999, Don Baccus(

The theme of this site is obviously Peak Oil but more to the point it is how we can cope with its effects. The way I see it, it could pan out in two different ways. The more optimistic yet still painful scenario is, that there are regional shortages, and more of a slow crash, as Ran Prieur, wrote in his essay. In this case, there is time to adjust, again painfully, to a severely restricted and conservative lifestyle as compared with the one we have now. Furthermore, remember that this country is the Saudi Arabia of coal, and that there are ways to turn this substance into liquid fuel. The process is expensive and environmentally destructive but if people want it, then by God the people will have it; damn the environment, full speed ahead!

Obviously recovering with some modicum of our present lifestyle is appealing. I recently had a friend tell me that she thought I wanted the world to end. Truthfully, there was a time that his was true. I have always been disgusted with the western world’s hyperconsumerism, and lack of attention span and sense of stewardship of the Earth; “Let it all crash and burn,” I said. Today, though, when faced with this potential calamity, I am less sure. To witness the deaths of those I love to starvation is not what I had in mind. Also, as I have gotten older, I don’t feel so angry. I guess I’m feeling a little more compassion. When I let my guard down, it is easy to see an ad for a car and think, “Hmm, now that is a sexy car, I’d like to own that,” or simply to know that at the end of my life, I will still be able to walk down to the convenience store and get a can of soup.

If people like Kunstler are wrong, and we are able to pull ourselves out of this pathological dependence on petroleum for damned near everything in our lives, then great. To try to predict how this would happen would be impossible but interesting; there are so many combinations of variables. As you can see from the bloggroll over here, there are many of us tying to predict the future.

If Kunstler and others are correct and there is a catastrophic collapse, then there are some definite things that we can do right now, within our own lives, to prepare and be among the survivors. I wrote a few weeks back about how even survivalists lose in the end, because when their rations run out, they will be like everyone else, starving. A well-stocked survivalist retreat works well in a regional disaster on the theory that there would be assistance from the outside world and eventually a restoration of order and former ways of life. No one would be coming to the rescue in a global disaster; we would be on our own.

That said, does that make the survivalist retreat idea wrong? No. Having several months of provisions, especially food, set aside is no different from having six months of mortgage or rent in the bank in case of lay-off. It only makes sound fiscal sense. It is a stopgap solution, but it would give you an edge. You could feed yourself and your family while you figure out the next step. It is my intention to do this personally, and hopefully, be an example to my small audience. First stop: Walton Feed, Inc.


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