Jul 022010

Update: Bert’s response to the following post is well-worth reading as are the recent comments on the Lummi Ferry Foum website. R S


To recap what I’m trying to get across here: the idea of “transition” is that we need to do some preparation and make some changes in the face of declining oil supplies, climate change and economic disruption. I’m convinced that our future will be local and slow, scaled down, requiring sustainable behavior by everyone in the community. We will have to make significant adjustments in how we live. Our happy motoring way of life will not be possible. This will be a shock for all of us who grew up in the car culture and particularly for my generation. For us, “cruisin’ the ave” and Route 66 were the ideal. We all wanted to be Todd and Buzz road tripping the country in a Corvette.

Commuting by car sixty miles round trip to work like I did daily for nine years will not be sustainable behavior. The oil crisis of 1973 gave me a taste of the future. Long, long lines for gas. We could only buy fuel every other day. I can still recall the anxiety, wondering if I would be able to get to my job.

Commuting by car from Lummi Island to Bellingham will not be sustainable if gas moves towards $10 a gallon or is not readily available. This is why, though I totally understand the motivation behind the effort, I can’t get behind PLIC and its goals. If gas in short supply, if the economy tanks, if climate change raises havoc with the food and water supplies, island living won’t be for everyone. If, God forbid, security becomes an issue, islanders may want it to be difficult to get on and off.

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Jul 012010

Quantum physics is a mystery to most of us. It is that branch of science which describes the behavior of energy and matter at levels we cannot see. Much of quantum physics borders on the mystical where, for example, particles can be in two different places at the same time, where “Light waves act like particles and particles act like waves…(and) matter can go from one spot to another without moving through the intervening space.”

Paradox abounds in quantum mechanics. A thing appears one way when measured; another when observed.

A physicist by the name of Schrödinger devised an experiment to demonstrate the confusion. This video describes the experiment by which one can conclude that Schrödinger’s cat is both alive and dead at the same time depending on how one measures or observes.


We appear to be at a “quantum moment” in history where our civilization might be both dead and alive at the same time depending on how we observe it. An accumulation of micro views (housing, employment, wars, oil spills, pandemics, health, market charts, web bots, etc) lead one to conclude that we are in horrible shape (dead) while the macro view (“everything seems pretty normal from where I sit”) encourages one to continue on with no change (we’re alive).

As both observer (scientist) and participant (cat) in the great experiment that is going on in the world we have the option to be active rather than passive. For example, if you lived in a waterfront property in Pensacola, Florida what would you be thinking about? What would you be planning for yourself and your family in the face of what might be imminent danger? You might be considering making a run for it. Evacuating. Loading up the car, boat or motorhome and driving to Montana.

Even though we are currently in a place of relative safety in Puget Sound from the imminent possibility  of environmental and economic storm, shouldn’t we be thinking about preparing for what is observably and measurably an uncertain future?

Or, we can sit around staring at the box wondering if the cat is dead or alive.