Well today is a transition day for me, it’s my birthday! This one is a particular transition in that I have hit an age where I can no
longer imagine living to be twice this old so I must be past middle age. I’m
not quite sure what to call my new situation but it feels good to let go of
what ever I was holding on to around aging. It also is a point in my life where
death seems more real, more of a possibility, another transition that I can
begin to prepare for.
Speaking of transitions I can begin to prepare for I am reminded of the last election. Almost all the books I have read about peak oil
and climate change want to talk about things we should be doing as a society to
prevent or mitigate these things. The last election made it clear to me that
for all their good intentions those authors are wasting their breath as we
(human society) are not going to collectively tackle anything of meaning.
Therefore it becomes critical for me personally to consider this situation as I
prepare myself for the coming transition away from fossil fuels and into a
world with weirder weather. It is also clear to me that I need to work hard to
have a community to work with as I can not survive alone even if the bigger
picture society doesn’t get it. Which of coarse is why I am involved in
I was reading an article on the internet the other day and the author was citing the concept proposed by Howard Odum of the maximum power
principle. This author was extending some of Odum’s ideas to include time as
well as energy. It hit me that one of the significant things that fossil fuels
have provided us is time. This cheap available energy in some senses has made
it possible for most of us to have more time to do things that are not directly
related to our survival. The capitalist model has usurped that time by
addicting us to stuff so that we each contribute to the flow of wealth to the
top through the dedication of our time to getting more stuff and maintaining
the stuff we have. But what happens to our time availability when the fossil
fuels become scarcer and more expensive?
If I am still attempting to maintain my stuff and get more I am going to
be overwhelmed by the time commitment required. This strikes me as a prime
reason to simplify by getting out of the stuff trap.
When I was in the Peace Corps in Fiji in the 1970s, I had the opportunity to spend several months working on an outer island that had two
villages on it. The one I lived and worked in had about 12 homes in it. This
island was a day’s boat ride from anything else. These people had NO stuff to
maintain or acquire. It was interesting experiencing this level of subsistence
because in reality it required about 4 hours a day of each persons time to
supply their needs for food and clothing. Every afternoon the village gathered
and worked on a community project which might be building or repairing a home.
It was a very easy life compared to the life I lead attempting to support all