Yes, it looks bleak. But you are still alive now. You are alive with all the others, in this present moment. And because the truth is speaking in the work, it unlocks the heart. And there’s such a feeling and experience of adventure. It’s like a trumpet call to a great adventure. In all great adventures there comes a time when the little band of heroes feels totally outnumbered and bleak, like Frodo in Lord of the Rings or Pilgrim in Pilgrim’s Progress. You learn to say “It looks bleak. Big deal, it looks bleak.”
Unless and until you understand the relationship between oil (and fossil fuels) and the economy, you cannot fully understand what is happening today in the world outside your door, neighborhood and nation.
Despite what you see and hear daily in America, there is more to this life than consumerism, keeping up with our neighbors in the race to collect more stuff and economic growth. In fact, if we are being honest with ourselves, we are forced to admit that a life focused on mindless consumption is rather unfulfilling. Coming to terms with this realization can be daunting, but there are alternatives. You could always choose to throw off the yoke of indentured consumerism in favor of personal freedom and liberty in pursuit of a more productive and rewarding future. This is not the easy option, and it will require more of you than your line of credit, but it is there. The choice is yours.
In our personal lives, my wife Alice and I have chosen to pursue a deeper and richer future. Not necessarily in terms of money, but we have found that we are indeed far better off. In recent years we took a hard look at what’s important to us, the people and the things we value in this life, at what the future may hold and decided to take steps towards making sure that our actions and our beliefs lined up. Our journey has been very satisfying. We are very fortunate that we had the ability to see the fork in the road and have taken the opportunity to walk a divergent path.
It is one thing to pay lip service to preparedness and resilience, but it is another thing entirely to be willing to apply the sweat equity required to make it a reality. We looked around our lives, took stock of things and developed a plan to address the areas where we saw vulnerabilities. Whether it was a hole in our hard asset infrastructure or our emotional and spiritual resilience, we addressed them honestly.
The world we live in is a tempest of swirling uncertainty. Step back from the chaos for a moment. Press pause on the dizzying distractions of our society and take a look around. If you see trouble and hard times on the horizon, why not set yourself against it? You still have time to develop a plan for your family and refocus your efforts to live in a purposeful and meaningful way in concordance with reality.
We are dependent on each other as a society, just as Alice and I are dependent on each other in our personal lives. We are all in this together and the choices we make will impact our future. We are living in a period of change that is impacting every level of our society and how we respond to that change will thunder through the years to come. Building resilience into our lives right now to address our basic needs like energy, water and food supply, takes pressure off of each of us individually, as well as society as a whole. As for the Powers household, we chose to focus on our own deal, create our own story and do what we believe in. I guess you could say we’re doing our best to ‘walk the walk’. Pursuing resilience may have started as a mitigation tool against some possible future that we could see, but it has become clear that it’s a lifestyle we would willingly run to now. We have a great quality of life and have discovered, what is for us, a better way to live. Hopefully our efforts will encourage others to believe in themselves and get started on their road to preparedness and resilience as well.
Have you ever thought about what life would be like if you lived without all of the conveniences of modern day life? Have you ever considered exactly what would be required of you should you be faced with the reality of having to be completely self sufficient? What if you had to grow all of your own food or build your own house? It doesn’t take long when you’re talking about preparedness to begin to wonder what it would be like to have to survive in a world that’s been thrown back into the 1800s by some catastrophic event like an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that takes down the power grid, what life might be like after society collapses as a result of the end of the age of cheap oil/energy or following some apocalyptic man-made or natural disaster. I would argue it’s hard to fully comprehend just how difficult it would be for the average American to adjust to this new way of life simply because most people don’t have any idea of the various skills it would take to even begin to be able to sustain themselves. Not only do they not have the appropriate skill set, they don’t even realize what they don’t know. That’s why I wanted to put together this series of educational videos that aired on PBS in 2002, Frontier House, in which modern day families live and survive on an 1883 homestead for five months as they prepare for a Montana winter. Hopefully after watching this series of videos you will have a much better understanding of what life would be like if all of the advantages of 21st century living were stripped away. Enjoy.
This information is not easily found and is certainly not easy to hear, but the reality is that we are in a very precarious energy predicament and the future isn’t looking very bright. However, thanks to the great work of some leading experts on such issues you can become informed. I would urge you to take advantage of the following media and get up yourself up to speed. It could be the mean everything to you and your family in the years to come.
You can find this presentation in PDF form here: Global Oil Market Forecasting: Steven Kopits
And from Gail Tverberg at Our Finite World: Limits to Growth – At our Doorstep, but not recognized (A commentary on the Steven Kopits presentation)
Here are a couple more offerings from Tverberg:
From Dr. Nate Hagens:
And finally, a few words on complexity and the collapse of societies from Dr. Joseph Tainter:
To all of you fantastic members of the PracTac Nation, keep up the good work.
RE-POST FROM Progressive Commentary Hour – 02/10/14
Kurt Cobb is an author, speaker, and columnist who speaks and writes frequently on peak oil, energy and the environment. He is a regular contributor to The Christian Science Monitor and has written columns for the Paris-based science news site Scitizen.
Kurt’s writings have been featured on Resilience, The Oil Drum, OilPrice.com, Investing.com, Peak Oil Review, Common Dreams, Le Monde Diplomatique, and many other sites. He is a founding member of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas—USA, and he has served on the board of the Arthur Morgan Institute for Community Solutions.
He is a graduate of Stanford University and his novel “Prelude: A Novel About Secrets, Treachery and the Arrival of Peak Oil” is a startling reinterpretation of contemporary events and a window onto our energy future.
Kurt’s website is ResourceInsights.blogspot.com
Dr. Nate Hagens is a well known authority on fossil fuel, peak oil and resource depletion. He is the former lead editor of The Oil Drum, one of the most popular and high-respected websites for analysis and commentary on global energy supplies and the socio-economic impact of declining oil resources. His a board member of the Post Carbon Institute and currently works at the Institute for the Study of Energy and Our Future, where he is also on the Board. Prior to his journalistic research and reporting, he was the president of Sanctuary Asset Management and a vice president with Salomon Brothers and Lehman Brother’s investment firms.
Nate has a masters in finance from the University of Chicago and a doctorate in Natural Resources from the University of Vermont. He has appeared on PBS, NPR and BBC and lectured internationally.
His website and writings can be found at TheMonkeyTrap.us
A while back I wrote to you asking the infinitely crucial question, “Are you paying attention?”. In that moment, I was referring to the hellish events that were taking place in Japan in the immediate aftermath of a record setting earthquake that had shifted the Earth’s axis, had triggered a devastating tsunami and subsequently a nuclear disaster at the Fukashima nuclear power plant. Since then the world has turned several times and the disasters just keep coming…devastating floods, tornadoes and SuperStorm Sandy to name just a few.
Today I wanted to bring the focus down a level or two and focus on why we need to be prepared to respond to an emergency every day, out and about or at home, at any hour of the day. Currently we find ourselves witnesses to another week of disaster as we’ve seen Canada get ravaged as Toronto was thrown into chaos after four hours of intense rains led to incredible flash flooding, cutting power to up to 400,000 in Canada’s largest city. A small town in Quebec, Lac-Megantic, was eviscerated when the night exploded just after midnight as a train derailment involving more than seventy tanker cars carrying crude oil sparked an incredible fireball THAT COULD BE SEEN FROM SPACE! For the record, a rail car can carry roughly 700 barrels of oil, with 42 gallons per barrel. That’s a lot of crude. Some victims were likely vaporized by the intense blaze, which burned for 36 hours after the crash. Back here in the States a line of severe thunderstorms raced through the Ohio River Valley yesterday, causing numerous power outages due to downed trees and power lines. The damage and duration of the storms were enough to qualify the system as a derecho. An area in the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys from eastern Illinois and Indiana into Ohio, western Pennsylvania, southwest New York, and northern West Virginia were impacted by the July 10 storms.
All of this happened to my north as the crow flies as I sit here in Georgia, but that does not mean it cannot happen here tomorrow…or later today.
The flooding in Toronto comes on the heels of recent flooding in Calgary that forced up to 100,000 Albertans from there homes. The downpour of 3.5 inches of rain in less than four hours forced subway closures and left almost 1,500 people stranded on a commuter train filled with gushing water, while countless motorists were forced to abandon their vehicles to flee the rising waters. Subway passengers spilled out of the train cars and fled to the upper decks, where they waited for almost seven hours to be rescued.
The sleepy Quebec town of Lac-Megantic, located about 160 miles east of Montreal and close to the border with Maine and Vermont, was rocked in the middle of the night on July 6 when a train carrying crude oil jumped the tracks and careened into the town of 6,000 residents unleashing hell on earth. In a town that small, most everyone is affected by the deaths and destruction. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has described the scene as a “war zone” while others have referred to the landscape of the aftermath as a crematorium. From a CNN report, “Notices were placed on doors instructing residents how to clean and air out their homes. Officials suggested throwing out any food and boiling all water because the city’s water treatment plant is not operational.” In what is Canada’s worst railway catastrophe in almost 150 years, the death toll has risen to 50 as a result of the fiery crash of the runaway oil train.
This incident forces us to focus on the safety of future rail shipments of oil (as well as proposals such as the XL Pipeline and other fossil fuel transportation methods) as demand for such services is certainly increasing. Check this out for a more thorough look at these issues.
In a “does this sound familiar” moment, a destructive derecho ripped its way across the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys yesterday. Though not as destructive as the storm that plowed all the way to the east coast and decimated parts of Washington D.C. in 2012, this derecho produced roughly 300 reports of either wind damage or high winds that knocked out power to thousands across seven states.
Just in case you needed some more motivation to get your preparedness house in order, I hope this fits the bill. Disaster does not stick to our daily schedules and can kick down your door any time of day or night. Do you have a plan? Will you be ready? If you’re unsure, today is the perfect time to get started and figure it out.