Klayton raised the very valid suggestion in a comment to my post about the 73 Oil Crisis. He suggested that human ingenuity would lead us through the Peak Everything problems and that the world will rebound to another growth cycle. This is the crux of the discussion. Are we in a hopeless or hopeful situation? Will electric cars allow us to continue happy motoring? Will cold fusion or free energy take the place of nuclear and make the world a safer place? Will solar and wind replace the failing electrical grid? Will GMO food turn out to be good for us?
Will Bill Gates be able to vaccinate us all into good health? Will we figure out what to do with the multi-millions of empty homes on the market? Will we find a way to eradicate the trillions of dollars of debt? Will we be clever enough to keep the Whatcom Chief running for 35 years? Can we come up with a substitute for water? Will we find an even better way to print money? Can we find a slick way to chelate radiation from our bodies and earth? Will we finally find a cure for the common cold?
It just seems to me that on the big issues of the day we aren’t demonstrating much ingenuity. We stagger from crisis to crisis. We spend money on the wrong things. We don’t check problems that we’ve solved off our list very often. New Orleans has not been fixed. The water situation on the Southwest and even the Southeast is getting worse. Fukishima is still radiating. The coal trains are on their way to Whatcom County. There are food shortages around the world. The weather is weird. Homes are empty. Manufacturing has been outsourced and on and on.
We need to start a collection of ingenious ideas that are helping us progress to a better future. I’m not seeing too many with the great exception of local initiatives. Everything optimistic that I read has to do with local groups coming up with small plans for their local area. Relocalizing is to ignore the macro and focus on the micro. This is why the Transition Town movement is so appealing to me. It takes the position that local ingenuity is what will count in the long run. That building a tight, supportive, self-sufficient community is the most ingenious idea we can come up with and one which will serve us well if TSHTF.
Hopefully, Nicole Foss, when she speaks at the Lummi Island Grange this coming Thursday night at 7:30pm ($7 donation suggested) will be able to shed some light on these matters and answer the question of whether or not we can come up with ingenious solutions to the problems documented on her blog The Automatic Earth.