Monday, October 12, 2015

How'bout the future??

I've been reading and learning a lot these past months & years.
Stuff like peak-oil, the ever ongoing war on terrorism and all the lies spun around that, the ever increasing dumbing down of society, the unfunded and overpromoted belief of some new hi-tech thing taking care of it all in the future and the continuously growing, self inflating bubble of our financial systems ....
Many agree that this has to fail sooner or later, most likely sooner than later. Most wish to turn their heads....
There are plenty out there who insist the worlds as we know it will vanish in a single, cataclysmic blast, a nuclear winter or som'e such.... And there are equally many saying that society will decline and tumble down over decades without apocalyptic scenes, using previously collapsed societies and civilisations as a model. But......

I do feel that especially the latter ones are missing some points, while connecting the dots. Maybe because they do not see all the dots?

Reading and learning about peak-oil for instance has convinced me that society as we know it, solely based on cheap and abundant fossil fuels, will come to an end and cease to exist. It can not be otherwise, because there are more and more signs showing we are running out of easily and cheaply accessible fossil fuel sources on which literally every aspect of our lives are based. Literally everything is directly connected to those these days, especially oil. If it is not made of it, than it is transported by it, produced by it or powered by it. Don't believe me? Look around you. Take any given object directly in your field of view and retrace its origins. How did it get to you? What was needed to make it? I bet that at least every second step will be oil.... At least.

There are many who put their faith in technology and that this will conjure up a or the solution. Well, ask yourself; how would this technology come to be? Designed how and by who? And especially produced and powered how?? Solar energy? Any idea how much oil is involved in producing and delivering those cells?? Windpower.... The same thing. How much oil is needed to manufacture and transport those hideous mills? How much is needed to keep them operating?
The nuclear option then? Again how much is needed to build, operate and maintain a power plant? The waste subject notwithstanding...
No, our current way of living is only possible by accessing and using vast amounts of cheap and abundant energy; fossil fuels.

So no, apart from the cheap fossil fuel there is nothing that we have today that can take the role of energy deliverer. So yes, the energy guzzling society as we know it will cease to exist. And we need to adapt to that fact FAST. Question is how....

So the oil will dry up over the next decades. That is what a great deal of sources predict. That could mean that the access to oil for the common man will end way before that. A matter of supply and demand and the resulting rise in price, making it inaffordable for the commoners....

However, there is another item that threatens today's modern societies; finances.... If there ever was one big hoax, one huge bubble it is the financial world today. And that one might pull the plug far more abrupt than fuel would. And there are many signs telling us that the bottom will fall out of that one anytime soon. What will happen if the financial systems finally collapse under its own weight? The weight of the debt-based systems? More debt? How??

And then.... there is a third not yet often looked at factor that will make our modern world come to an end: food. I realised that while I was helping a local potatofarmer with the harvest. Everything he does and produces is a based on the first 2 things mentioned; oil and money.
He works his lands, using big machines, he buys his seed potatoes abroad, requiring lots of transport, he plants and maintains his fields, using chemicals and big machines and then he harvests his crops, again using those big machines.
After that he stores, processes, sells and transports his crops often hundreds of kilometers, using loads of electricity and fuel to eventually feed many mouths far away. And that is the energy aspect.
The financial aspect looks something like this; a modern farmer needs a good deal of land in order to create sufficient revenue in order to pay for his farm and his machines. However it is the market/wholesalers that dictate the price of the products, not the farmer himself. If he does that, the wholesaler/market will look for other sources and there will always be some that will succumb to the pressure. So the price for milk, potatoes, grain or whatever is pressed down so much that farmers barely can cover their expenses. So in order to create more revenue, the farmer needs more land and in order to manage that he needs bigger machines, for which he needs to loan money. So his operational costs go up and he needs to create even more revenue..... You see where this is going, right?
By the way, I based myself on stories in the media and on stories of some crop/cattle farmers themselves.

If there were neither oil nor finances he could not do that and many mouths would not receive their potatoes and then I realised.... He is not the only one. That is exactly the same for every single crop we eat today!
So if fuel or finances fail us, we will starve, simply because farmers no longer can produce.
Man has lived and thrived for millennia without those, but today we face a unique situation that might do us in. Today's farmers not only need external resources to produce, they also lack the infrastructure to change their producing ways. No replacements for the tractors. Horses are scarce and the know how how to use them even more so. The tools that are needed and are powered by horses (or oxen) are equally absent.
When previous civilisations fell, there was a "safetynet"; the peasantry. They had the means and the knowhow to continue feeding a, often reduced, population, making it possible to reboot and restart. Today we do not have that. Farmers today more often than not do not know or are not able to breed, store and reuse the resources they need. They do not know how to collect seeds, how to store them and how to reuse them, even if it were possible to collect them in the first place. Many plants used for foodcrops are not species, but hybrids and as such do not reproduce as the plant that gave them. The staple diet of the western world are amongst others potatoes and grains, most of which do not handle to climate in which they are grown well. A good frost and they are gone.....
Yes, there are a good deal of folks out there that grow their own food 'n all, but how many of them do have the knowledge and possibilities I just described? I bet most of them just do as everyone else; order their seeds and bulbs elsewhere and have them transported to them.
And yes, many of the farmers and home growers today probably do have a stock of seeds or bulbs to sow and plant, but how many of them will be able to hold onto those, when starving mobs come running up their driveway?
Shortages of any kind always lead to conflict... Not being able to produce food on a sufficient scale.... well, you do the math. And you can bet that the upper classes and the military will take the first, the biggest and the best part of what'll be left.
So.... if a lack or absence of oil and finances, and the resulting wars, will not finish us off, starvation inevitably will.... That will be the sad outcome for the vast majority...

We simply lack the know how, the resources and the infrastructure to reboot and restart!!

And that sounds pretty apocalyptic to me......

Unless.....

We take immediate action to prevent all that.
It isn't over yet. There still are ways to learn, to adapt and to change. And here is where the majority of preppers make a fundamental thinkingerror. They focus on surviving a crisis by shortterm thinking. Stocking up on food, water and gimmicks. We need to think longterm. What to do if the stocked goods run out.... We need to learn to produce them in sufficient quantities.

We ourselves have recently begun to look for old books on farming and preserving food, looking for books on the complete cycle of sowing, growing, harvesting, preserving, but also on seed collecting, storing and using.
Local seed exchange circles sound like a good idea. Looking for old crop species too. So do muscle powered tools. Invest in these, because that often requires a small amount of cash or effort, but will prove invaluable in the times ahead.

Will this save us? Don't know, but it sure will buy us more time to adapt and maybe even overcome.

But we need to......
Intrigued?
Interested?
Input of your own?

Come and discuss if you please....

15 comments:

  1. Hi! Well written, you capturered the biggest challenges of our time, maybe I should add climate change to the mix,even though I know you are well aware of this too. One of the points you made I think is extra important: prepping with tools, food etc is not worth much if you don´t know how to use them or have a plan how to repair tools and grow crops after the fresh and working ones run out/are insufficient.

    I also like the way you first describe "the challenges" and then move on to what we need to do: Act now!

    Best regards,

    Johan

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    1. Hej Johan,
      yes, I am fully aware of the whole climate change issue, but unlike many others I do think we have passed the point of no return. We can no longer prevent it, let alone reverse it. All we can do, is brace for impact, maybe some damage control and adapt to what is coming or all ready is happening.
      Unless we stop using our cars and shut down all major industries all together tomorrow....

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  2. Food for thought there Ron.
    Lately I have been thinking that many people will "loose it" to two simple factors; silence and darkness. Thats the first things nature will reclaim, it will be silent and it will be dark.

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    1. I am currently reading Lars Wilderäng's Stjärnklart, about what might/will happen to Swedish society, when the power goes down and all electronic gadgets stop functioning. It is fiction, but describes a development that is very plausible. Quite eery, actually.

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  3. Hi Ron.

    Rather than just reading old books on farming and food preservation I would highly recommend taking a Permaculture course. That will give you the knowledge needed to adapt your farming to the land you have available and use less muscle power at the same time as you get a higher yield. These methods have proven successful even in landscapes that have been declared "dead" by traditional farming. A good place to start if you don't know much about Permaculture is viewing some videos by Geoff Lawton on his site: http://geofflawton.com/
    (Då du verkar befinna dig i Sverige skulle jag rekommendera att ta en kurs direkt där så du får information som är anpassad för det klimatet. Mycket Permakultur-information online är anpassad för Australien och USA.)

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    1. Well, I don't just read those books, but filter through the information and use what is applicable and useable/useful to us and our situation. But they do contain a wealth of information from the days before piles of cash, hitech and chemical "solutions".
      The same goes for permaculture and agroforestry, which I think of more as guidelines instead of a fixed set of rules.

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  4. Hi Ron, George47 from Bushcraft. We have similarities, although I am not an Armageddonist at all, I worry more of the moral and cultural decay than the physical decay of society. Peak oil is not for hundreds of years - as you see more is always found. Like coal; oil is in vast amounts. Peak metals is a more pressing concern actually.

    I live in the Deep South USA, and spent a good amount of time in the high North, and do love it the most - but as you hate the hot weather, I dislike the cold. I even feel the nights getting cool enough here that the air conditioning is not needed for sleeping is sad - our mild winter is coming and I like the baking Summer.

    I garden, fish a lot, have chickens, no longer hunt though.

    Your English is excellent Ron, I so admire people who are fluent in more than one language - something I could never learn.

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    1. Hi George, thanks for replying.
      I am afraid that you, and the vast majority, have been misinformed. Studies show that many a country already has passed peak-oil.
      Yes, more if found, but we burn through oil much faster than we find and win it. Same goes for gas and coal. Why do you think tar sand and fracking have become so popular and have equally fast proven to be empty bubbles?

      And I do not see myself as an armageddonist. If I were, I'd just lean back, get a ton of popcorn and watch the show, so to speak. I just read the very obvious signs, but that takes a lot of time to filter through to the important contents. Yet, the result is the same all the time. Our current oil- and debt based societies and -systems have reached their limits. The bubble has been inflated to the max. Next.... *POPP*

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  5. No, not an oil shortage. I am in oil country and know a bit of it - more is being discovered almost daily than are used by far. Just the oil around the Falklands is massive - the global tar sands huge (I hung in N Alberta a wile, and Wyoming - more oil than we will use in your children's life)

    As I am sure you know the Nazis used oil manufacturing in WWII, and gas and coal are in utterly vast quantities.

    Global warming brings as many benefits as negatives, maybe not to an individual, but look at Elizabethan times, and later warming - huge pendulum swings.

    It is population which brings all the ills. What do you think of Sweden's immigration policy? One hears of it as being an ill thought out thing - from the outside.

    George

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    1. Well, I guess the near future 5-10 years will show us who was right. I for one am working towards a drastically reduced dependence on the stuff. That will never hurt.

      Swedish immigration policy? What you hear is a gang of extremist thugs, yelling loud and getting exponentially much medicoverage. Which is not a surprise, since the old political establishment has made a huge mess of things and have no idea how to respond to the strong increase of supporters of those hooligans. And that is exactly where the problem lies; people vote for them, because they see no other viable options anymore. It's choosing between the plague and cholera, as they say here.
      There are many doing a lot to help the refugees, but unfortunately there are also many, if not most, conservatives in the area where we live and discrimination against anyone or anything that is not 5th generation locally bred is quite common here underneath the surface, despite loud calls that it is not.

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  6. I think there will be a peak Ron. May be peak oil, peak water, peak food. But more and more people on an increasingly resource depleted planet can only end one way.

    Great blog by the way my friend!

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  7. Excellent post Ron, I'm glad that i'm not alone who see these problems. I woke up some time ago after watching document "Collapse" with Michael C. Ruppert. I highly recommend it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l98iYxneSas

    Matej
    SKWBushcraft
    Slovakia

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  8. While we were on our short vacation to the Oregon coast we stopped in to see a movie. We never see movies. We are too far from the beaten track. We saw The Martian and I couldn't help but think that the positive ending of the movie was a message to us all. We have to start thinking in new ways because don't you know that where our thoughts go so follows our action? yes, there are too many of us but who wants to step up and commit voluntary suicide? (As we drove back in our fuel-wise car we let our imaginations go wild on solutions. Kind of like a brainstorm session en la voiture). So we have to be like the character in the movie, left alone on Mars, and looking at his predicament decides to "science the hell out of (the problem)." Let's face it folks. We are left alone on this planet with no one but ourselves to bail us out. Mission Control is not coming to save us. So let's think outside the box. Use what we know and modify it to fit the situation.

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  9. The second sentence in this article says it all. For me it was the main reason to move to Sweden, for if there is anything i can do about it, it will be here. Not that i have the illusion that i can change things in the big scheme, but at least i can try to take care of my own. Reading your blog, we think a lot alike about these subject.

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    1. Thanks for replying, Bart.
      And welcome to Sweden.

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