True, the energy/economic/oil/climate crises are upon us.
True, no matter what we do we will see the end of fresh oranges in Northern Minnesota, and we will stop using our cars for all but life saving events. There will be riots (at least initially) and some people will go hungry (at least until they learn how to grow their own foods), and all of our computers will be worth no more then paper weights. Basically the end of all things driven by oil is heading our direction fast.
It is going to/already has caused our economy to collapse and our beautiful debt based banking systems. It is going to end industrial agriculture and security checks at airports. Buses will no longer transport kids to and from schools and computers, solar panels, plastics, and really annoying plastic kid whistles will no longer be manufactured. It is the end of our over consumption. Excesses of stuff will no longer be made or clutter our living rooms.
The questions is will we let them ruin us? or Will we let this make us stronger and better?
Most of us already know that the trappings of our oil based economy is not good for our physical or mental health and yet we can't seem to break free of the debt, the garbage, the fast foods, the many hours sitting at computers interacting with "friends" that we never really see.
We have been given this amazing golden opportunity to power down now and live a simpler life where we physically move our bodies to grow our food, where we choose to band together as neighbors and share our garden's wealth. Where we have time to have a simple chat or a roll in the hay- because there is always work to do and the only true dead line is our own hunger.
Is this heaven?
Imagine waking up when the sun beams hit your face in the morning. You stoke your wood stove/fire pit/whatever you heat or cook on and you start water boiling. You use what you prepared yesterday for a quick and hearty breakfast before going outside to feed your chickens and weed your garden. In the afternoon you take the jellies you set up yesterday (made from the raspberries that your kids picked) and put them in a basket. Now you either ride your bike or walk to town and enjoying the fresh breeze and interesting wildlife in the process. Nothing on the road is going faster then you (if you bike). You manage to avoid the known potholes and make it to town, waving to every face you see over garden fences.
You enter the market square and set the jellies on a table to be sold, but one of the first people who comes up tells you about a family that is sick with the flu this week. You ask your neighboring table to watch/sell your jellies for you while you go and visit the family, first stopping at your sister's/mother's house enlisting their help and pantry. out of her pantry you select 2 jars of chicken soup, a nice load of crusty bread and some apples, and cheese. Your mother/sister adds a ribbon and a little homemade note telling them to get well soon.
You walk this over to the sick family and not only take the opportunity to drop off the goodies and note, but spend a while pumping and heating the water to bathe a few of the children and wash some dishes. After eating the soup, you see the color and some energy return to their cheeks, so you wish them a get well and go back to the market, where your jellies have sold. You spend some of that money to purchase some homemade cheese at another vendor's in the market (because that is the one thing you haven't got the hang of making your own yet) and set off for home.
By the time you get home the sun is starting to sink from the sky. You take the opportunity to prep for dinner, and then feed the chickens again and heat some more water for evening cleanings. As the sun sets dinner is ready and your mother/sister and her family comes over and enjoys it with you. You knit/sew/mend while holding a lively conversation and then the conversation ebbs and the music being played by the menfolk wash over you. Finally you kiss them goodnight and send them off with several jars of your jelly, while you - by candle light tuck your family into bed.
Or is it hell?
Your house is cold, your food is low and there is no water and no gas in the car to go get water from the creek- which doesn't matter because it is frozen over anyways. The trees near your house are gone. They have all been turned into fuel for heating and cooking. You ate your last bag of army rations anyways and are determined that your kids won't starve. You have a gun and ammo- but the there is no wild life left to shoot. There are rumors that some people down the road have been hoarding food and you think your gun and you can make a good argument for them to "share."
The town is mostly gone. There was a big fire that burnt it down last week after a fight over supplies at the hardware store went sour. Lots of people lost what they had, but you don't have enough of anything to share with them (unless a powerless big screen TV is what they want). So you leave your family in the care of the oldest kid. You tell him "You're the big man now, while I'm gone." And you head out by foot to the road. You see a few other people packing guns walking in the same direction. "I heard there was food this way." you say. They grunt in the affirmative. But when you arrive it is too late. It is clear that somebody beat you too it. A few corpses lie around the house. A woman, children, men. The door if off it's hinges, blowing in the wind.
The choice is yours. Will you prepare? Will you build a community? Will you share openly and help those in need? or will you allow yourself or others to become desperate and resort to un-civilization?
I plan to make it heaven. I plan to plant, prepare, build