I know this will scare people, but it’s time to talk about the truth that Al Gore is only softly, not-too-inconveniently peddling. Peak oil along with global warming and their combined consequences mean radical changes to our alleged birthright. And I’m quite relieved to hear Kunstler talking about these things; I’ve been discussing many of them for a few years now to chimes of alarmism. I like the vindication. Consider these points:
1. Cars are not part of the solution.
2. We have to produce food differently, locally.
3. We’ll have to return to traditional human ecologies at a smaller scale: villages, towns, and cities. The stuff we build in the decades ahead will have to be made of regional materials found in nature.
4. Moving things and people by water and rail is vastly more energy-efficient.
5. We have to transform retail trade. This will require rich, fine-grained, multi-layered networks of people who make, distribute, and sell stuff.
6. We will have to make things again. We’re going to have to make things on a smaller scale by other means. Perhaps we will have to use more water power. The truth is, we don’t know yet how we’re going to make anything. This is something that the younger generations can put their minds and muscles into.
7. We’re going to need playhouses and live performance halls.
8. The next incarnation of education will grow out of the home schooling movement, as home schooling efforts aggregate locally into units of more than one family. God knows what happens beyond secondary ed. The big universities, both public and private, may not be salvageable.
9. We have to reorganize the medical system. The current skein of intertwined rackets based on endless Ponzi buck passing scams will not survive the discontinuities to come. We will probably have to return to a model of service much closer to what used to be called “doctoring.”
10. Enterprise now supersized is likely to fail — everything from the federal government to big corporations to huge institutions. If you can find a way to do something practical and useful on a smaller scale than it is currently being done, you are likely to have food in your cupboard and people who esteem you.
He ends with this bit of juice: “The best way to feel hopeful about the future is to get off your ass and demonstrate to yourself that you are a capable, competent individual resolutely able to face new circumstances.”
Time to get off our fat asses, folks.