Pictures of the future
I came across a really stimulating post here, a transcript of a speech by a permaculture teacher/writer etc to the soil association of britain (I presume) in which he describes the need to power down our communities in response to peak oil. Its a highly readable pragmatic and realistic response to peak oil and fits in with many anarchist ideals of community control and energy independence. Whats particularly inspiring is that he has already started working with a town to bring about some of these changes and several other towns inspired by their example have followed suit.
Anyway it got me thinking of my own peak oil moment which would have occurred in early 2004, somehow i had come across this idea that the world oil supply was likely to peak in production in the next 10 - 15 years. Since then the time frame has become less concrete in my mind but the idea that the world is nearing an energy decline has only become more fixed. During the 2004 youth parliament I remember pestering various green mps (probably just Nandor) as to what response the greens had to peak oil an event which even back then I realised would alter the worlds ability to feed itself and dramatically reshape the geopolitical balance of the world.
To my recollection at the time the green mp's had a limited grasp of the issues and effects of peak oil and certainly had no vision as to what sort of response should occur. I think this is a symptom of the wider environmental movement if it can be called that, a focus on campaigns and the issues to hand forces us to be reactive constantly defending one thing after another. This leaves little time to spend envisioning how the kinds of societies we profess to be working towards would work or look like. I think this is a strategic mistake as it make it harder for people to connect with our various causes and to identify with our struggle. I think bold visions of what alternatives would be like would not only keep the fire burning inside ourselves as activists and give us hope and direction but would also prove appealing and understandable to a wider audience.
Within our lifetimes we will have to start living in a society reacting to dramatic climate change and energy decline. What these sorts of societies might look like and how things may play out are unknown but I believe educated guesses largely drawing from the past may give us some idea as to where to start with the changes that need to occur. I think stepping outside of the current day to day struggles against civilisation and thinking and talking about the future could be useful to all of us. Any comments on this issue are welcome