Watch 60 Minutes Tonight?

“We’re literally stuck up a cul-de-sac in a cement SUV without a fill-up” – James Howard Kunstler

There was an article on 60 minutes about the end of the age of fossil fuel. I was with the guy from QLD who was saying we need to be ready to run out of fuel. He suggested that we should have started planning a long time ago for a new world, a worlds in which …well…nothing is the same. Imagine what it would be like in a world in which the fuel just runs out. No seriously. On the 60 minutes they showed a normal lounge room, then took out everything that had some relationship or reliance upon fossil fuel…the curtains remained…the lights were off. (obviously a coal powered power station!)
Your deodorant, your toothbrush, and of course – your car.
The excites me and scares me at the same time. I think I really don’t get what kind of changes this would require, and I am sure I romanticise much of lifestyle needed to live without fuel from the ground. But what I like is the comment the guy made. We will need to live in smaller communities, being reliant of one another, growing our food in small co-op style groups, sharing resources. No more lengthy commutes, riding bikes, walking more.
According the very challenging movie on this topic “The End of suburbia” we will be generating our own energy as well. Small houses clustered together around a wind power or solar power generator, maybe sharing large rainwater reserviors.
I know it is sounding like an old Mad Max movie, but I actually see it is something that could be a possibility in the future, sure it may be my kids future, but I’m all for helping them get used to it.
I have started learning more about growing my own vegetables, we have not bought eggs since we got chickens. I build what furniture I can from second hand wood, I have requested that I work from home as much as I can, I am resisting a second car in our family, using some public transport or at the moment a small 50cc scooter. I am wanting to install a rain water tank in the next year as well as some solar panels to experiment with just how much power this does generate versus how much it cost to set up. The solar and water tanks obviously cost a bit so I am not sure how this will happen, so if you want to find me a sustainable energy sponsorship for my back yard I am happy to receive!!
This is no small issue. I am regularly thinking about taking employment that requires little or no movement outside a bike ride from my house.
The thing that I am mostly interested in, I have to confess, is not so much the environmental issues and all the ramifications it has. But the ramification this type of life style would have upon my dreams for community development. Crisis, people forced by necessity to work in small clusters, looking out for one another, sharing resources and so on.

I am dreaming? I know many people just bury their head in the sand and say “it will never happen” and people on the other end of the penulum say “we should give up and boycott every fuel driven thing and live like Amish people and all buy a horse”
But…maybe these things are starting to effect me…I have second thoughts about fuel driven leisure activities, my friends boat, my sisters kids motor bikes, our recent drive to Shark Bay for holidays, thoughts of holidays which include flying places. In all these issues I am in two minds…I love the thought of flying off to some holiday, I love the adrenaline of racing along on a 4 wheeler, of zooming along in a boat, but I do now have these other thoughts that kind of make me wonder. (Side track same feeling I had yesterday when I had to look after my daughter at a friends birthday party at Darklight a lazer gaming place. What a hoot, adrenaline to the max, I just wanted to take the gun off my daughter and show these 5 and 6 year olds how to win some serious points…while simulating the very thing that horrifies me every night I turn on the news, scenes of men and women shooting at each other, bullets tearing into innocent human flesh! End sidetrack)
So call me strange, but these things go on in my head all the time…like ALL the time, and I am torn between the fascination of the person I might be becoming and the person I think I was!


6 thoughts on “Watch 60 Minutes Tonight?

  1. One of the things I learnt while living in Jarrol Village in The Gambia was how much we do depend on fuel/electricity.

    We had a solar set up for our house, with a solar pump to pull the water up from the well. So we still had running water in our tapes, and a flushing loo. We had lights at night, and every so often could pull out a TV and watch a video.

    However – you had to remember to turn off lights when you weren’t in the room, There was no hot water, the TV used a bit of power so it was only a rare enjoyment to watch, there’s not enough power to run a fridge so we had to use a kero one, and if you forgot to turn on the pump in the morning, you had no water that night.

    However in that same village, the locals lived by drawing water from a communal well, no power at all, only one compound had a telephone, no refrigeration and the only means of cooking was the wood fire and coal stoves they had built themselves.

    The community living you speak of vawz, is just what they were doing. Living in large family groups, 20-30 people in each compound (maybe 3-4 mud brick houses) and about 200 people to a village (so 10 compounds).

    And you know what….. they were some of the happiest people i’ve ever met.

  2. I enjoyed your intertwining of environmental and community issues Scott.

    I often ponder the same thing, living in a large unit block where everyone is so close yet we live without any dependence on each other (other than depending on the people around us not to start a fire that burns the place down!).

    It gives me hope that the world’s future may be ‘simpler’ in the way of community living you propose rather than continuing this cycle of getting busier and more complicated.

  3. Some interesting issues, Scott–thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    My hope is that if we build enough wind turbines today (and put the necessary effort and investment into other renewable energy sources and energy efficiency as well), we won’t wind up with the “Road Warrior” scenario you describe. We can probably take a bite out of global warming too.

    Thomas O. Gray
    American Wind Energy Association

  4. A world without the energy supplies of today. . . .
    In some ways utopian – returning to community, making fun together rather than watching someone else do it for you, exercising a lot more, simple pleasures.

    I’m reminded of a movie “For richer for poorer” where Tim Allen and Kirstie ALley escape to an Armish community from the big city. They hate it at first becuae they don’t have any of the “modern comforts.” There’s a scene in the movie where Kirstie says to Tom “ISn’t it going to be great to get back to the real world.” Tom looks around and sees the corn growing, the trees, the animals etc. and says “This is the real world.”

    There’s soemthing deep in that.

    A guy named Wendell Berry is very interesting to read on this subject – google.

  5. hey bud, get this…

    i worked out a couple of nights ago that in 17 years of full-time work, I have lived within 6km from my workplace for all of them except 18 months.

    No wonder it seems like a such a no-brainer for me to keep on duplicating this process, and it also throws some light on why i sometimes assume everyone must automatically be able to do the same.

    here’s to the next 4 years or more, going to a uni that’s within 5km from home.

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