...if it all went away?
What do I think? Well, I'm walking a thin line. I don't think we're going to see the world change quickly and harshly, like some do. But I do think rising gas prices and a shifty economy will make our future far more local and less energy dependant. I would be lying if I said my interest in equine transportation, food storage, clean water, backyard chickens, seed safes, etc was about prepping for the end of the world. I just like this lifestyle. It makes me feel safe and useful. I am not creating a fort against the Zombie Hordes.
I do think our current lifestyle will go from being cheap and normal to very expensive and abnormal, and in the next few years. It is foolish to think otherwise. I don't think we'll run out of oil or electricity, but I do think if we don't make strides towards more energy independence we are looking at serious trouble. (And I don't mean as a nation, I mean as individuals.)
The best protection against rising food and gas prices is a safe source of food at home, and a strong community ready for anything. I am for every American learning to use less energy in their homes, driving less in their cars, and producing a substantial amount of food at home. I'm for it not because I'm afraid of the future, but because it seems sensible. I want pantries and larders to be as normal again as walk-in closets. (Come to think of it, walk in closets can hold a lot of food!) I want my readers to have enough set by that if anything scary ever did happen: from ice storms that take down the grid over night to $9-a-gallon gas price spikes: you are all okay. I think expecting everything you need to be at a store and an outside source to home to your rescue is both irresponsible and dangerous. I don't think this is about fear, but about sense.
On May 19th the most well-attended workshop in this farm's history is going down. It's called Plan B, and it's a full day entirely dedicated to the future of energy, peak oil, and preparing your family and farm for uncertain times ahead. It is not a tin-foil hat meeting of conspiracy theorists, but a group of concerned homesteaders and citizens talking with three authors. It will be quite the event. Featured speakers are:
Myself - Homesteader working towards a transitional farm
Kathy Harrison - Community organizer and disaster prep expert
James Howard Kunstler - Peak oil lecturer on the future of energy.
The workshop is mainly about two things: Preparation and education. It will start with getting ready now for any sort of disaster, pandemic, food shortage or economic collapse. Kathy Harrison will talk about her communities efforts to create a place ready for whatever the future throws at them. (She's well known for this subject, too. National Geographic did a spot on their new show Doomsday Preppers. about them!) And the second part is about larger national and global issues, focused around a conversation with JHK (I also got him to bring his fiddle, which will be a treat) about what is actually going on out there. What to expect. He lives just over the mountain in the next town and is a good friend.
No event at this farm has gotten such a response, people are flying in and staying at local hotels to talk with myself, Kathy and James. Two couples are staying here at the farm, one from Philly and another from Canada. Others are traveling from around the Northeast. Young couples are making the trip, so is a group of five seniors! All of them coming to learn and discuss. Kathy will be teaching us how to use a pressure canner and food dehydrator to store a garden's bounty. Others are more interested in hearing JHK's views on what is ahead. Everyone is very engaged and excited, which makes me think there are a lot of people thinking about this? Are you?
Do you think change is in our future? Are people talking about it being negative and foolish? Do you agree, and are taking steps toward a more sustainable life? Or is it all too scary to even think about?