[permaculture] Design-Bioregional-Energy

Marimike6 at cs.com Marimike6 at cs.com
Mon Jun 18 18:22:06 EDT 2007

Krista in Clearwater puts her finger on it when she says

"One of the huge problems with weaning the World off of
petroleum based energy is to teach people to limit
their consumption. Here in the USA, many people
believe it's their God-given right to drive an SUV,
live in a 7,000 square foot house with a huge green
lawn, and leave the water running while they brush
their teeth. Add to all of that, in Florida, it seems
that most of the population would be happier living in
Canada. I carry a sweater or jacket in my car
year-round, because most of the restaurants, movie
theaters and malls keep the thermostat at 62F(17C)
when it is 95F(35C) outside. I say, if you can't stand
the heat, get out of the sub-tropics, but nobody
listens :(

"Really, to consider almost any alternative energy plan
starts with re-educating the vast majority of the
population, at least here in the US. I would love to
see us do what Europe did decades ago, and add an
exhorberant tax to petroleum fuels to hit people in
the pocketbook. It might be the only way to get them
to listen. Europeans have smaller cars, smaller homes,
smaller and more efficient appliances, and still seem
to have a fine lifestyle."

Teaching individuals to limit their consumption certainly has value. But 
compared to our worst excesses that's almost a drop in the bucket.

The big waste has to do with the planet's military machines, corporations and 
developers converting the crust of the land into profit. The problem is that 
they've borrowed a lot of money to stay in business. And they have to pay it 
back with interest. That's one reason we are in a growth economy and not a zero 
growth economy. Every quarter, they have to sell more of whatever it is they 
sell than they did last quarter, or they are losing money. And then the whole 
house of cards collapses. 

The guys that make stuff happen lose their companies, their horse farms, 
their big boats in the bay and all their other stuff, in a matter of months. These 
people are junkies, dependent on their money fix. And the reason people are 
buying those 7000 square foot homes is because these other people have to keep 
building them and offering them for sale-- or they go under.

This afternoon I drove past a perfectly good shopping center, a dozen years 
old. It does good business. Nonetheless all the stores are having to close so 
the place can be torn down, landfilled and a new one put up in its place.

Why? The architect has to eat. The builder has to eat. The banks and backers 
and subs and appraisers and bricklayers and concrete finishers and everybody 
else in the county-- they all have to eat. And if they just sit there looking 
at what a nice shopping center already exists on the corner, they lose their 
means of funding next month's expenses with this month's earnings.

That's the way of the world. If you want to stop it, you can't do it just by 
convincing people to buy local vegetables. Go to the London School of 
Economics, get your doctorate and write a book that will explain to these people on 
their own terms, that they can't just keep charging more and more money to keep 
up with their existing payments. At some point, the whole enterprise has to 
fall off a cliff.

Until they see that point clearly, they are going to continue chewing up 
whatever is left to chew up, because they do have to make that extra buck.  Every 
day, every year until it all collapses.

I make it all sound very depressing. But that's what's going to happen, in 
the direction we're headed. And when it does, self sufficient little co-ops of 
like minded people will be what's left. So there is worth in permaculture. At 
some point I'm thinking that may be all that we have of real value-- 
post-technologic expertise.

On second thought, yes, let's try to spread the word to limit consumption. If 
people don't buy it, people can't sell it-- and then, maybe people will stop 
building it.


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