Saturday, July 23, 2011

July 23rd, 2011 - Day 14 of 60

Driving around today I saw a small RV for sale in someone's front yard.  There was nothing particularly noteworthy about the mobile domicile other than the fact it reminded me of something from many years ago.  I was camping with friends (in a tent) and we were walking around the camp grounds.  Before long we came to a section for RVs.  When I saw several of the cushy behemoths, I was struck with a moment of sadness.  Now, everyone was happy, had dressed up their camp ground and formed a real community.  These are truly, mobile homes.  But as we examined all these beauties lined up I told him, "Take a good look at these.  By the time we retire these things will probably be a memory, or at least an oddity."  He looked at me strangely, but that didn't slow me down as that is the de facto look I see in public.  "People just won't have the income for these sorts of things before too long.  Combine that with climbing fuel prices and they'll just be too expensive."  I mean, just go look online at these things.  For the size we were seeing at the camp ground over ten years ago it is a MINIMUM of $100,000.  Several of the top models are well over $200,000.  Add maintenance, insurance and fuel and you've got one hell of a price tag.  Sure, there are lots of folks who can afford that, but the sort who have that kind of money are not the kind who buy RVs.   

Why do I bring up RVs on the Rebooting site?  I do so because RVs and Rebooting, along with suburbs, airline travel, Las Vegas, McMansions, the U.S. economy and our way of life are all going to be affected in some way by the looming energy crisis.  While I may be wearing a tin foil hat right now, it has nothing to do with what I am writing.  The fact is that the world, at some point in our lifetime, will begin to experience the effects of peak oil.  That is, the time at which we can no longer extract more oil than we can right now.  That time when the cheap and easy oil is taken and all that is left is the lower-quality and harder-to-access oil.  When you combine our inability to produce more oil with an ever-growing population and emerging economies like China, India and Brazil, it is a recipe for disaster.  China and India and Brazil and everyone else want to live as we do: large house, three kids, two SUVs, long commute to work, piles of consumer goods and more food in the refrigerator than some African villages.  That take petroleum and lots of it.  It has been a wonderful run for the U.S.A.  We perfected the consumer society.  We were the envy of the planet.  Sadly, we are less than 5% of the world population, but use about 25% of the energy.  Do the math.  That means one of two things: 1) Few, if any, other nations of substance will live the lifestyle of a modern American.  Or, 2) Americans (and all industrialized societies) will have to scale back on our lifestyle.  This isn't politics or insanity, just simple math and science.  We live in a finite world with finite resources.

So... (as you all slowly back for the door) what does this have to do with my juice?  Well, check your produce.  Luckily, at this time of year, if you live in the U.S., most of it is probably from down the road or close by, or even from this country.  But what about your apples?  Apples are not in season.  They are likely coming from New Zealand.  Juicing a pineapple?  Probably not from your neighborhood unless you are Hawaiian.  What about in December?  What about March? Where will your produce come from?  Even if it doesn't come from another nation, it will probably come from the south or California.  Should you care?  Yes, you should.  That is because, on average, an American meal's components have traveled 1500 miles to get to the plate before those last inches to your stomach.  They didn't teleport, they were transported (most likely in a truck).  Driving that truck is getting expensive and more so by the day.  I am old enough to remember, vividly, the effect of the oil crisis of the 70's.  Back then, no one even thought of peak oil.  Well, we had a President who wore a sweater during a pretty famous speech to the American people regarding the importance of energy and our future.  Everyone just laughed.  We also remember sitting in line for fuel on odd days.  But that was an embargo, this is going to be far worse.  Sure, there have always been political ramifications to oil (and I'm not going to get into that), but this is going to be a shortage.  The U.S. isn't rolling in money like we once were, we are rolling in debt.  China has money.  Other countries have money.  They'll be able to pay the outrageous prices for oil that will come upon us one day.  What happens when the cost of shipping cucumbers and melons doubles or triples or more?  Will you be able to afford it?  Or, even worse, consider this:  10 calories of petroleum energy is required to produce each calorie of food you eat.  Petroleum is in the fertilizer, farm machinery, lights, shipping, cold storage, pesticides, wrapping/packaging and all the vehicles used by all the people who make it, transport it, buy it and sell it.  It is staggering. 

What to do?  Well, if you are lucky enough to have a patch of ground facing the sun, I'd strongly suggest you learn to grow a few things.  No, you probably won't be able to grow all you need, but you'll start to learn how to grow things and you'd be surprised how much you can get from a small garden.  There are lots of strategies that can be used, even by urban dwellers.  Get together with others in your community and start a garden on public land.  Start or support existing CSA farms (Community Supported Agriculture).  Talk to your friends and neighbors about your food.  In the end, it is near the top of the things we need to survive and right at the top of the list for things we need to Reboot!  :)  By getting involved you'll not only build community and have access to abundant, clean food, you'll have conquered 75% of the issues you might face in the future.  It is win/win. Food and food policy in this country are inextricably linked to petroleum.  Take a look at a graph showing petroleum use since the end of the 1800's to today.  Then take a look at a world population graph.  We can feed so many people because petroleum does a LOT of work. 

A bit of preparation now can make you ready at some time in the future when some of this starts to rumble.  As for me, my garden is large (too large), but nowhere near large enough to sate my appetite for juice and smoothies for a year.  And, believe me, if I could buy that RV, I'd pack my computer, guitar, juicer, Vita-Mix and probably my wife (if there is room) and we'd head off somewhere quiet while all that goes down.  For now I'll just have to dream of that as I take my next sip.

I am 20% through the 60 days.

Weight: 157.6 lbs

Food: Fruit/Veg Smoothies With Hemp Seed

No comments:

Post a Comment