(I’m going to ease back into this blogging thing so welcome to my 13 regular readers. You know who you are. I’m flattered that you subscribe).
The idea that our community should take steps to get ready to scale down our lives, become more self-reliant and build local systems to support ourselves is a hard sell. When Costco is stacked high with consumables, when the airport parking lot is full and the freeway is jammed with cars it’s very difficult to conceive that the economy could go off the rails. Living in the Northwest our view probably gets twisted by the apparent prosperity. On the other hand we all know people in the construction trades, for example, who are finding it hard to make a living. We can see the cuts in governmental budgets and school funding. It’s probable that in the next couple of years we will lose our island post office. The island school lost a teacher position. And, it is clear to most that the housing market is taking a terrible beating with an enormous inventory of repossessed homes across the country. The Bellingham Herald reports Whatcom County unemployment at 8.6%.
The mainstream media reports that our current condition is just a blip, a downward cycle, that it’s just a matter of government investing more or spending less (depending on your side of the political spectrum). As a result, the majority feels that things will be okay over time. The down cycle will correct and happy days will come again.
If you are one who believes the shit will be hitting the fan sooner rather than later, there are differences of opinion on how to deal with those outcomes. The survivalist takes an extreme view with a vision of a defensible retreat in a rural area, lots of supplies, a few good friends, weapons and clear fields of fire.
The prepper has water and food saved up but is more hopeful that the streets won’t fill up with pirates and brigands.
The transitionalist tries to motivate a community to take steps to begin working together for economic malaise, energy descent and climate change.
Each of these factions has a following. None of the followings are large. Epiphanies are required. The sad fact is most people don’t have time for an epiphany. They are busy with other stuff. Thus, the readers of this blog and similar blogs or websites are people who are already into it.
One encouraging development on Lummi Island is the response to Disaster Preparedness. Transition planning pretty much takes the elements of Disaster Preparedness (food, water, power, transportation, medical) adds economic considerations and extends it into the future. Clearly, it’s easier to visualize an earthquake, tsunami or winter storm than it is financial collapse or Peak Oil. All of us have experienced an earthquake, a volcanic eruption, flooding or violent weather. Few of us have faced economic devastation or the unavailability of fuel. Hopefully, Disaster Preparedness will motivate more people to take a longer look at the future.
In the meantime, we’ll be preaching to the choir.