Thursday, November 03, 2005

Things to Come


This time of year is nothing short of glorious.

The temperature is perfect, and there is really no better time to walk in this southern city. Today, I walked from my office, and across the river where the scullers make their graceful V waves on the tranquil lake. Then, I walked through that new section of downtown where the streets are narrowed and people live in seven story buildings with stores and restaurants below them on the ground floor.

It's a new way of living pioneered by Paris 200 years ago.

Come on, we are trying.

I walked up the grand main avenue towards the large monumental building that houses the regional government. It's odd how the dome, which was originally, and still is, the architectual element employed for our greatest houses of worship and deity veneration has become the symbol of government instead.

I suppose it's not odd.

There is a little coffee shop just about a block from the coopted religious form where the sandwiches are served on a chewy sourdough roll and the coffee is fresh roasted. The "number six" is my favorite.

I order it and grab the local Weekly. I rarely read it, but I use it "on line" all the time for movie times and places. By serendipity, this story leaped out of its pages.

Things to come: part 3
by Michael Ventura

"This series is based on five assumptions.

One: Global climate change may be drastic, catastrophic in places, but not universally catastrophic, forcing civilization to change but allowing it to continue. Some credible experts consider that view optimistic, but apocalyptic scenarios are paralytic.

For the sake of the children, and for the dignity of the human heritage, do what you can while you can – and, as they said in the wild West, be game.

Two: In the next five to ten years, oil, upon which our way of life is based, will be scarcer and much more expensive. (Google "peak oil," read articles pro and con, judge for yourself.)

The U.S. Department of Energy reports that Americans "will spend 18% more on energy this year" than last (The New York Times, Sept. 9, p.C3). That article cited a report that this winter "heating oil will probably cost 31% more and natural gas will jump 24%." Now the Department of Energy has revised that gas-hike estimate to 48% (USA Today, Oct 21, p.2B). (Natural gas generates much of our electricity.)

How long can this go on without serious disruption and change?

Not very long.

Three: Our present systems will slide from dysfunctional to untenable."

The author continues.

There is no point minimizing the suffering and danger in store for most of us. During the transition to whatever will be, big cities will have an especially rough time, and nobody will have an easy time anywhere. History isn't a spectator sport, especially when history makes a massive shift. Nobody will be on the sidelines, and everybody will be needed.

Towards the end of the piece I particularly liked the author's fifth assumption.

"Fifth and last of my assumptions: The unexpected always happens. That is the one unalterable law of life that I know. In ways little and big, bad and good, the unexpected always happens.

Given climate change and oil scarcity, we're in for the unexpected on a huger scale than most generations experience.

But we who crunch the numbers and try to find pattern in the data must remember that expecting everything to collapse may be as unrealistic as expecting everything to continue as it is. "

When I see the very predicate for the creation of earthfamilyalpha in the local weekly newspaper, I know that the proverbial train is leaving the station.

The global forcing issues which Mr. Ventura so eloquently and wisely discusses are truly upon us now.

The response to these issues would seemingly also be upon us.

"History isn't a spectator sport,

especially when history makes a massive shift.

Nobody will be on the sidelines,

and everybody will be needed. "

As this site approaches its first birthday,

with new audiences from all around the globe,

It will be my intention and goal, to focus more and more,

on our collective possibilities and responses.

So look for some changes.

Because a change is going to come.

But look also for some surprises.

Because they are going to come too.



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4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of change: [This just in, off an energylist Roger Baker is on.]

Steeply falling sales of trucks and large S.U.V.'s, which have been
strong sellers for G.M. and Fordin recent years, continued to weigh heavily on both companies. Pickup and S.U.V. sales dropped 30 percent for G.M. and 31 percent for Ford last month, compared to
October 2004. Some models did even worse.

Sales of the Hummer H2, for instance, were down a whopping 53 percent.

Sales of the Ford Explorer, a model that just underwent an extensive and critically well-received updating, plunged 59 percent.

There is probably some good reason why I shouldn't feel this way, but
that is really great news. I'm sorry for the poor sods who will lose their jobs, but delighted that reality is finally setting in.

Fifteen years and billions of dollars of brainwashing wiped out in the blink of an eye. How sweet it is. Murray

7:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This article was both sobering and at the same time hopeful of the opportunity to pull together and put change on the ground.

I like the idea that the "unexpected always happens. There is a risk, for those of us who see the possibility of environmental disaster, to be inadvertently attached to a negative outcome - an I told you so.

I have this friend who was ultra pre-pared for Y2K. She admitted later that she was somehow disappointed when it didn't happen - that she didn't have the chance to use her stuff and live the "back to the land" challenge.

There is a danger of collapsing into the thought that only disaster can happen and adding energy to that mindset.

Fear, however, is a great motivator. We seem to get ignited under pressure.

Well, it looks like the pressure is mounting.

7:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, the Ventura piece is a good one. MS

8:05 AM  
Blogger OZ said...

I made some small changes for readability and added some links this morning.

9:24 AM  

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