What Will We Eat as the Oil Runs Out?

Discussion in 'The big picture' started by 9anda1f, Jul 28, 2013.

  1. Unmutual

    Unmutual Junior Member

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    I'm not holding my breath for palsied governments or "markets" to take care of these problems for me. I decided a few years ago to take personal responsibility instead. Most humans should realize by now that governments are incapable of dealing with a situation like this. They'll just bicker, argue, deny the problem, ignore it for a time and then start blaming each other because nobody did anything worthwhile. Businesses will blame the government for regulating them(the environmental protection laws vs. corporate growth debate is going on in the US now this, this, and actually has been for a few of years. This means some businesses can't even adapt to a changing world. I admit that I get a smile from people saying environmental regulations are killing US businesses...to me it's only fair since US businesses have been killing the environment for so long).

    People have been adapting to a changing world for a long time, so what prevents businesses and governments from adapting? I don't know of any examples of large central governments taking advantage of a decline in anything in a positive way. Most governments will just try to take resources from other countries via trade, slavery or war. Now there are plenty of examples of individuals or small organizations taking advantages of new niche markets, but nothing on a large scale.

    Personally, I think this planet could support 7 billion+ people, but not at current levels of consumption. We'd all have to become something in between 1st world nations and 3rd world nations(probably closer to 3rd world). We have all the tools necessary at our disposal right now. Those that can afford it can use large machinery, those that can't afford it can use manual labor(including animals) to do the earthworks necessary for abundance. David Holmgren had it right. But I have to be honest, I still have a hard time wrapping my head around not owning the land that I live on. I'm open to that discussion, but I can just imagine all the people who hold that land dear saying that not owning the land is a non-starter for them. So we have some key points of civilization to overcome if we are to get this done because for many Europeans, owning a large piece of land is akin to being a lord, or sticking it to "the man".

    But as long as everything is moving along "normally", most people don't worry about this crap. There are just way too many issues causing the problems, and they won't be overcome by legislation because most of them are culturally ingrained in people. For example: fast food kills more people than gun violence, car accidents and smoking. The last 3 are regulated, the first one isn't. What do you do about that? It's easy to say, "don't eat fast food", but when you're surrounded by them and have 6 fast food restaurants between you and the grocery store, chances are you're going to eat in one because it is so quick and easy. Should we slap laws on to fast food? How would you even do that? What if I live in an area that only has fast food as a food option(ie: food desert)?

    My answer is to grow your own food. You don't have to grow all of it, just some of it. Even if it's just a single tomato plant, a few heads of lettuce, or herbs. Grow something. The first step of bringing a plant from seed to plate will start most people who do it successfully on a very interesting voyage. There's no such thing as a green thumb(and I hate that term to be honest. It sounds too "magical" to me). Reading, education(there are plenty of classes on growing veg in my area) along with trial and error got me to where I am today. It wasn't over night, it took a couple of years and I'm still doing it and learning new crops.

    If you want to get fully immersed in it from the get-go, take a PDC. While it won't teach you how to grow veg, it will teach you the underlying system to do it right, even on a small scale in a suburban back yard. In the US, the government can actually help you with lists of what does well for your area and even what cultivars to get and when to plant. Our types just ignore the part about fertilizers and focus on creating good soils instead(which a PDC will help with). Since the housing bubble, there has been a resurgence of people wanting to grow their own fruit and veg. Whenever there is economical trouble/shortage of supplies, there is a resurgence(WW2 is a prime example). So it's not much of a stretch to say that when the oil decline gets to the tipping point, many people will start growing their own food either by choice or by necessity. It's probably a good thing that this tipping point(ie:eek:il, gas, food prices) is different for each person.

    Now, since the middle class is shrinking(or some say non-existent), there are more poor people in 1st world nations. These are the people that should be the focus of any movement. I know I feel empowered by providing some of my own food, so some of the other poor folk should also(I'm not that unique after all). Sometimes I even feel a little subversive by gardening and get an evil grin when I'm in the back yard. I'm not rich by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm not at the definition of poor either. I'm not even sure how people make it on ~$25k a year with a family of 4 to feed(roughly the US poverty line).

    So people are faced with choices: grow food or starve, adapt to a changing world or become extinct, keep up business as usual and degrade the environment or work with nature to get abundance. We're all going to face these choices sooner or later. Education will help people survive what is coming. Better education will have some people living in abundance instead of eeking out a living. These are personal choices. Most people have access to the internet(either at home or at the local library), so why waste a valuable resource? Use it to learn more. Educate yourself. After all, we are responsible for our own lives. If you give up that responsibility and allow others to take the responsibility, then you are giving up your freedom of choice as well. You either take back what is yours, or suffer under somebody else's bad legislation. Governments and corporations rely on our money to survive. If you slowly get out of the money game(or move to a local currency which is perfectly legal in most places), then you start putting pressure on these large institutions to change(or to tap emerging markets as they put it). Force them to play our game instead of the other way around. It's really quite liberating when you begin to see the possibilities.

    But you're looking for sweeping reforms that help everyone right now. That's not how things work(that was a little painful to type). Changes are usually slow. Social movements are slow. Cultural change is slow. What we're facing is probably an upheaval of society as we know it, and that upheaval can be good or it can be bad. However, upheavals usually are major issues while they're happening. It's up to each individual to asses the possibilities and face them before they happen. I'm not sure it's feasible to buy insurance for societal collapse, unless you provide your own insurance with the natural capital which you already have(the land you live on or have access to). All you have to do to see what's possible is to look at what's happening in Detroit right now. The city has just declared bankruptcy(I assume the state can't be that far behind). Commercial and homes are abandoned and rotting. There's plenty of unused land in the city, and it'll probably remain that way. Why aren't people making tons of community gardens and starting business opportunities from that? Where are the chickens and goats? There are just so many possibilities in a degraded and bankrupt city. If I lived closer to Detroit, I'd definitely do some form of agriculture/horticulture.
     
  2. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    Nice post, UM, and as usual I can see a lot of thought preceeded it. Thanks for sharing.

    Upon reading it, these are the two points that resonated most intensely within me:

    Educate yourself. After all, we are responsible for our own lives. If you give up that responsibility and allow others to take the responsibility, then you are giving up your freedom of choice as well.

    Force them to play our game instead of the other way around. It's really quite liberating when you begin to see the possibilities.


    Concerning the both of the above points: It is even more liberating when you begin to not only just see the possibilities, but start to experience the reality. I've never been happier in my life than I am right now.
     
  3. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    hey mark?

    your words of wisdom, the way to redemption in our society.

    "Educate yourself. After all, we are responsible for our own lives. If you give up that responsibility and allow others to take the responsibility, then you are giving up your freedom of choice as well.

    Force them to play our game instead of the other way around. It's really quite liberating when you begin to see the possibilities."

    yep exactly what i needed to do to get anywhere, education failed me or should i say i failed it, almost nil education standard by the litmus test, a really dumby hey? yet as i matured my mind opened to educating myself in the field i was in, the job as described by many very mundane monkey see monkey do. i made a choice i could not work their dishonestly like many do, i was going to find something else, but then i looked at those in supervisory levels and figured i could do that if not even better, so i did, it was high stress, i took on tertiary UNI educated younger people and beat them i used the system criteria to the letter o demonstrate my worth, hey and those young turk types don't like being beaten by and older dumby, lol.

    one thing i'm glad of i'm driven by common sense and caring for the common man. blessed with moral ethics.

    yes education can lead to freedom, freedom to care for ones family, buy a home, have holidays(not one of our exploits), aim to make your job more interesting and rewarding.

    yep a token of reading, writing and arithmetic, had to use a note pad to multiply outside of the 2 and 10 times table.

    by all means encourage others to some education to whatever they can attain, it will give them self satisfaction of a job well done. we would like to get out of central links clutches, but they have no vocation guidance to show us a possible path let alone a probable path, we tried on a couple of occasions went to TAFE, last time they ripped us off, didn't give us correct reimbursement, yet prisoners from a small centres jail can peddle to uni and pay nothing. can be somewaht scary going to college with all those young brainy people at age 45.

    len
     
  4. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    One of the things I see in these conversations is that Mark likes base his comments on available evidence and I really admire the thoroughness and thoughtfulness of his responses. I would like to be better at that myself. Where as Len seems to rely on firmly held beliefs as the basis for his stand-point. I think we all do that to a certain extent. Whilst ofttimes these viewpoints seem to clash I think the underlying desires of each is very similar. And even in argument sometimes Len, I can see that you are saying almost exactly the same thing.

    I think ALL of us here are looking for the same answers and desiring a similar future outcome. We all want to see the end of poverty, we all want to see the end of environmental destruction, we all wish governments could actually DO something etc etc etc. And what we are here for is to discuss the options, encourage each other to implement as many of those options as we can. In war an individual soldier goes into battle not really knowing if this one battle win turn the war, they don't know if they will eventually win the war, but they fight on with the 'knowledge' that they must at least try.

    I don't think there is a single one-size-fits-all solution, but there are many evidence based options we can work towards, there are also many common sense (or should it be called un-common sense) things we can do. Slow and small solutions are always going to be the best and importantly the most palatable. The reason governments really can't do anything is because all of the effective solutions are unpalatable to too many people.

    I agree Len that we have to work together, that is undisputed. And each of us need to take full responsibility within our means and circle of influence.

    The evidence suggests that good Education really does work towards many of our aims as people who want to care for the world and its people and animals.
     
  5. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    G'day Len. My post was in response to the post that preceded it, that of Unmutual's. As such, the two excerpts (in italics) I included in my post are actually Unmutual's 'words of wisdom'. However, I do agree with them in their entirety.

    As an aside, I wonder, Len, did you read Unmutual's post? It would appear not. I also wonder, is it the case when you do come across my posts here in the PRI Forum, that you pick out a few salubrious points, and then go off on your own tangent in response, spraying all and sundry because you have a genuine difficulty in understanding what it is that I'm trying to convey? Or is it simply the case that you just don't care? If it is the former, I will try harder to convey my thoughts in a more succinct manner. If the later, I'm afraid there really is nothing I can do to ease your obvious discomfort.

    Regards, Markos.
     
  6. Unmutual

    Unmutual Junior Member

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    Those were actually my words that Markos was quoting.

    Markos obviously went to college/university. I did not. I did graduate from high school, but college was definitely not on my agenda since I completely detested the formal education institution. I still hate it, even though I forced my daughter to go to college(my generation was pretty much the last generation that could make a decent living just by getting through high school). Since I'm a blue collar worker, I have met my fair share of people who can't read or write. They pretty much run the same gamut as people who can read and write as far as intelligence goes.

    But I'm not talking about graduating high school and then getting a degree when I talk about education. https://www.youtube.com/user/growingyourgreens is one of my favorite youtube channels and was the first thing I found when I started growing some of my own food. You don't need to read or write to watch that youtube channel(you do to find it though). I need to thank John one of these days. Watching those videos is a form of education, and it is one of the forms I mean. You can't get a degree in "youtube", but you can learn an awful lot(you can also rot your brain, but that's another story).

    Anyway, if I remember correctly Len, you said that you learned how to garden by observation? If that's true, then you had the best teacher in the world: Mother Nature. If you learned to listen to her then you are miles ahead of quite a few people who have a "real education". And for the record, education did fail you and not the other way around. People are finding all kinds of learning impediments in humans, yet we still use the same old measuring stick. It's quite sad and troubling how little our education system can handle working outside of the norm, though there are special private schools.

    If I had been there I would have given you at least a thumbs up. But that's exactly what I'm talking about. You learned, you educated yourself. You also realized that education is a key. And don't even get me started on "superiors". I know that sometimes the smarter and more formally educated a person is, the stupider they seem to be on everything else. It's like they had to delete information about how to cook so they could pack in more details on how to make a widget.


    I'm not talking about education to win the rat race, or keep up with the Jones's. I'm talking about the kind of education you got from observation. Yes, you can go to college to learn about soil, but all you really need to know is how to improve it. N,P,K can have relevancy when you're doing work for others who want to know that sort of thing, but in all honesty, if you can make good compost/sheet mulch and vastly improve the soil biology, then it's not nearly as important. While yes, I do like to learn a little extra(as in to some of the how's and why's), it's more for myself. I'm just curious about that kind of thing. There's also the education you get from just doing it. I'm more of a hands-on learner myself, though I can teach myself via reading too(though sometimes I don't fully grasp it until I do it, or see a real world example of it-there's no way in hell I could teach myself how to make pottery just by reading).

    For some reason I thought you were much older. We're in the same generation(I'm 41). If you still learn things, either from these forums, elsewhere on the internet or even in your own back yard, then you are still getting an education. However, that education needs to be broadened. I understand how doing something difficult can be discouraging, but Markos does provide excellent information. If you need to open the dictionary, then do so(yes, I have to get a dictionary at times). But you do need to keep challenging yourself with new ideas, and sometimes that can be an awful experience especially when you absolutely know that you're right(I'm guilty of that one). So by my definition of education, I am getting a sociology and environmental education when I follow the links Markos provides while reading his posts and entering the discussion. It's also free.

    If I lived in Australia, I'd be sorely tempted to visit you and show you what I'm talking about. Explaining certain concepts seems to evade me at times, especially when it's not a conversation in person(I'm sure this medium also hinders me in grasping certain concepts too).


    Enough of that.

    I do understand where you're coming from in regards to the poor. I work with plenty of people below the poverty level. I live in the same neighborhood with poor people. But they're just people to me. There not any different. Sometimes they'll ask for advice, sometimes I just force it down their throats(my co-workers are a captive audience after all). I tell everyone that I will help them set up a veg garden, free of charge and that I can get them all the free seed they can use. All they need to do is start composting and saving cardboard, plus maybe buy a little compost from the store($30 worth). I can also get them all the information that they will ever need to have, plus references for more information if they want to learn more. Not one person has taken me up on that offer in 3 years. I expect that if we(or should I say when) have another economic downturn, they may start to think more about growing food.

    This is something that people need to come to terms with by themselves. We've pretty much ruined the planet, but we can repair some of the damage. The tools are there, the knowledge is there. It's gotten freely. Yet here we are.
     
  7. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    Another extremely deep, and well thought out post, Unmutual. Once again, thanks ever so much for sharing. It's true, I have been fortunate enough to receive a university education - but it did not begin and does not end there...

    I first left 'formal education' at age 16, for a similar reason to your good self, I 'hated' it. I could not understand what relevance algebra had in my life, nor for that matter the 'Pygmies of Central Africa' (or whatever it was that they were teaching in 'Social Studies' around that time - early 1980s). Like you, I took up a 'blue collar' job. First I worked as an apprentice (4-years training, including 3-years, one-day a week at 'trade school'), later as a 'tradeperson' and then, at the ripe old age of 26, as a 'senior' tradesperson! It was also about this time when - most likely because of the travels I had undertaken with my work, to many beautiful places, and the meeting many interesting people, albeit from a very comfortable position - I decided that I would, 'some day', go 'back to school'. But when I finally did, it was not a great success. I spent about 18-months at uni studying part time as a 'mature aged' student, and failed miserably, mostly because I could not reconcile my past with the present (or for that matter, could I envision the future). I was not 'ready'. No matter, I decided to leave my trade, anyway, and take up a backpack. I literally 'hit the road', and this is where my 'real education' began. When one literally walks upon the Earth, for hundreds of kilometres at a time, carrying all that one owns on one's back, one begins to build a new appreciation for the beautiness (and the ugliness) of the places and the people one gets to encounter at very close quarters. I WWOOFed, a lot, for about 3-years, and planted hundreds-of-thousands of trees (as a reveg labourer), all the while I learnt to meditate, and did so a lot on those long, lonely outback roads. Eventually, I was 'ready'. That was about 8-years ago. Since then, I've picked up a degree, then a master's degree, and currently I am pursuing a PhD. But one of the most important things I have learnt in my travels thus far, is some of the most intelligent and wise people in the world have never received a 'formal education'. Conversely, some of the most ecologically and socially destructive people in the world have to a very high degree! When I write of and advocate for the 'free, universal, and secular education' for all of the world's people, I'm not necessarily referring to 'formal education'. Rather, I'm referring to the development of safe and equitable global society. In which there are places where people can feel free to be part of any community they should so choose, and in doing so access education that is free from dogma (religious, political, multi-national/corporate, or otherwise). Of course, this can only ever be achieved after the primary needs (i.e. the bottom rung of Maslow's hierarchy) are met. As you say, some people are very fortunate in that most of their primary needs are met in the places in which they reside, and education is freely available - the local library is a wonderful place to begin. Others are not so fortunate, and it is these places where a lot of work remains to be done. I'm of the opinion, however, that in order for significant change to take place in these places, that the people themselves have to instigate it. This is why I spend a lot of my time providing support to these very same people. In closing, I'm reminded of the old maxim (my apologies to the author whom I do not know): Give a person a fish, feed her/him for a day; teach a person to (sustainably) fish, feed her/him for a lifetime.
     
  8. Unmutual

    Unmutual Junior Member

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    You know, it really is true that everyone has a story to tell. It just goes to show how similar we all are in the end. I suspected that you didn't mean a formal education, but I didn't want to put words in your mouth. I thought about going back to school to pick up a horticultural degree, but I keep waffling on it. If I wanted to be a paid Permaculture designer in Louisiana, then I need to for the license(and we all know how a certified 'something-or-another' sounds better to people than Allan the Gardener). But, I don't really want to get paid to do it. I'm not in this for the money, the message is too important for that. Besides, then I'm not practicing what I preach and I'm playing their game. I'll solve it sooner or later, even if it's just through inaction.

    Lao Tzu originally, but apparently women folk didn't fish back in the day(I always thought Jesus said it to be honest. More free education from the internet and brought about by Markos!).
     
  9. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Thank you for your great posts Unmutual!
     
  10. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    thank you unmutual,

    i am 67, a post war kid.

    yes mother nature taught me, don't need any certificates just grow good food.

    with people pulling their own socks up and getting on with life as best they can i guess this saying 'bout covers it "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink", our grandson had dysfunctional issues from broken home life at 15 he reckoned the world owed him, they had to fix him, we taught him that is not so, we are responsible for our own issues. if i sat back and said the world or australia owed me i don't reckon i'd be here chatting now.

    my computer training came from age 45 on, now turning a computer on for the first time was somewhat scary, having never sat in front of one before, i had to learn as a went, had to do touch typing and then next scary thing at 50 got to tafe and do word processing course, which i excelled in, much to the surprise of some others in the class who took time out to tell me how hard the course would be because i was a touch typist and they were accomplished typing pool typist, did myself proud did both semesters in one and walked out when they were about 1/2 way through the first. the lecturer wouldn't take any 96% pass marks i had to do 98+% pass marks, she reckoned i was good for it.

    len
     
  11. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    https://blogs.agu.org/terracentral/2013/04/28/the-gas-we-eat/
     

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