peak oil
Now we’ve heard of what a big problem peak oil is, and we know all about global warming, but what do we do? Is going green going to be enough? How many false starts are we going to have before we find something that works? I’m not sure that any of us know. I’m not sure it really matters.
This isn’t about changing the world. It’s about changing your life and those around you. It’s about people putting down roots and knowing that they care enough about that place they’ve chosen to stay, that they’re willing to do everything they can to save it.
People ignore the issue, plug in and tune out. No one wants to admit that most of us don’t know the first thing about really providing for ourselves. We live in an industrial nation with cars and grocery stores, people don’t need to grow their own food. Energy’s limitless so why conserve it? Only that’s not the whole picture, but now that you know what do you do?
At the talk that I went to, the presentation started out with a painting of two boats falling off the edge of the world, Columbus’s story. In a way, this is the same thing. We can’t see it so it must not be there. It doesn’t exist because it challenges out preconceived notions of what the world around us is.
That’s perhaps the biggest issue, no one wants to hear bad news, especially something they can’t do anything about. One person can’t fix it, so nobody tries. We’re so caught up in the consumer culture that most of us aren’t aware of how much it controls our lives. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s nice to have what you need when you need it, but it can be an issue. When consumerism turns into apathy we’ve got a problem.
It’s gotten to a point where we’ve got to stop living through someone or something else and start being citizens instead of consumers. We’ve got to reconnect with the earth and see where it takes us. It’s not a pretty picture, but we can change it.
Start small, community gardens, timber frame raisings on main street. Take something fun and turn it into an educational experience. Children building birdhouses teaches them valuable skills and the pride that comes with making something for themselves. Try having a clothing swap at the local community center, start up a monthly potluck.
This isn’t about saving the world it’s about building communities. It’s about caring about the people around you, learning from them and letting them teach you. When you’ve got a friend to tell you a story or a garden to tend with your neighbor you don’t need that movie that was on sale last week at the local supermarket, or that new pair of shoes that you bough to wear out to dinner.
As things change, and distances suddenly grow to size, it won’t be the end of the world, but a new beginning. Life won’t be about keeping up with the Jones’s it’ll be about community and caring. Now that’s not such a bleak picture after all.