walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

musing on Doom

Having just read _Gusher of Lies_ and _Bad Money_, while avidly watching the housing market crumble, WTI head for the stars ($119.40 today) and Costco et al limit Big Bag o' Rice purchases, I find that I am curiously disappointed by the level of discourse surrounding the End of the World as We Know It.

On the one hand, we have people saying suburbia is done for and start growing your own food and maybe move out to a farm so you can be self-sufficient. Which is stupid; I've already been over why that is Stupid in the lead up to Y2K. If our society really is going to go through that level of chaotic drive off the cliff, any farm you could be self-sufficient on (and let me tell you, subsistence farming is not for the faint-hearted, or, realistically, the over-40) has decent odds of being overrun by gun-toting cannibals from one of the particularly silly horror movies being touted currently. We'd _really_ better hope things don't get to that point.

Post-whatever-the-most-recent-disaster-in-your-area-was, or, absent that, post-Katrina, we're all supposed to have enough food, water, lighting, etc. to get us through a 2-3 day lapse in services, so there's a pretty solid argument for doing something between that and, say, the Mormon 1 year stockpile.

And that's all fun enough, but if what we're really talking about is every third family being foreclosed on, no one being able to afford gas (even if they could find it to buy), and desperately trying to figure out how to cook whatever kind of food is currently available and cheap enough to buy with whatever fuel you can manage to scrounge up, it seems like it might be worth talking about just what we can do to reduce our collective resource use in advance of that point, operating under the theory that if we were sufficiently frugal and clever we could, say, manage to avoid _getting_ to that point. And that part of the debate is utterly missing.

Sure, there are people who are talking about eating locally, and that's great. Garden. Farm stand. CSA. Whatever. Yup, we're all switching to commuter cars and trying to reduce trips because my god can you believe the gas prices. Whatever. Why aren't we seeing a more organized effort to do energy audits on homes and businesses? People all want to talk about solar panels and wind turbines and installing "geothermal" (one of those heat-pump/well systems), which is lovely and all, and of course everyone has already switched their lightbulbs. And there are a few cities/counties around the country putting together RideShare websites to help people find people to carpool with. But in the middle of all these random statistics about what percentage of energy goes into lighting, and how LED lights can reduce that by some significant amount, I don't see anyone putting together a package (I know; Al Gore had the list of things in _An Inconvenient Truth_, and I distinctly remember R. getting pissy about the wrap-hot-water-tank-in-insulation saying that was a terrible idea with modern, insulated hot-water-tanks) for NOT JUST INDIVIDUALS but the country as a whole or at least regions to adopt.

Like, you know, a platform. It could start with get the hell out of Iraq, and work its way from there. And it should supply specific numbers. We use X amount right now on gas. We make these changes, we can use X/Y instead. We use A on heating/cooling costs. We make these changes, we can use A/B instead. We use C to grow food. We make these changes, we can use C/D instead. Etc. With a total at the end, and a goal of cutting our total energy use by some substantial factor within 5 years (cutting it in half would be the lowest interesting amount to me; I'd like to see it cut to one fifth. Not BY one fifth. To one fifth. Which would put us in spitting distance of energy independence).

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