Archive for March, 2008
This Lawns to Gardens post can be read here. I figure it’s a good way to help people discover the Peak Oil social network I have set up.
* Note – The article was written by Tad Montgomery, an ecological engineer living in Brattleboro, Vermont.
By Randy White
Editor Lawns to Gardens
Move over Rover, and make way for the new family pecker.
Yes folks, we have arrived at a crucial turning point and marker of change. If you plot major Peak Oil and system change events in terms of time, we have a new historical marker to add to the chart. The Age of Urban Chickens has returned!
I wish I knew about raising chickens. Here is a blog that knows everything about it. But what I do know is many Portlanders are now entering the “Chicken as a Pet” market, creating new job opportunities along with it.
After all, when the economy is tanking the way it is, people are looking for ways to sustain themselves. Chickens scratch up the ground, poop on your lawn, and give you free eggs. What pet can give you more? The best part is that the cat may chase it around but can’t really do anything to it since the chicken can peck back. Like my friend Mark says “It’s like any great disfunctional family.”
My neighbor happens to be a man who has skills in woodworking. In this crap economy, he could easily start building and selling custom chicken coops. I know this because there are people, right now, willing to shell out between $100 – $300 for a chicken coop, depending on features.
Features, you ask? That’s right. This is the coolest time ever to be alive, because as Peak Oil kicks in, entrepreneurs and engineers get to redesign civilization in real time. With all the low-cost technologies that make it easy for engineers and artists to build prototypes at a low cost, there are going to be some awesome new things that people build while we reorganize our hyper-local human ecosystems.
By that, I mean that in order to functionally navigate the downward slope of the energy crash, we need to be fun and creative. Life could really suck if we let it and don’t grasp onto this opportunity to reorganize our lives for the better. So imagine the kind of creative chicken coops that people like my neighbor will be building (from scrap and reclaimed materials, of course).
Smart builders can make the coops include dual functioanlity, such as adding in a a storage shed or make it a portable Rave station as this example shows:
There is no limit to our creativity. All we need to do in order to save ourselves are a few simple things. Here they are, in order:
1) Take the top 20 artists from Burning Man
2) Pair them with the top engineers of our day
3) Fund their projects such as cool, low cost chicken coops that serve multiple functions
And think beyond existing demand. Marketers today are thinking like today. Uh uh. Think like tomorrow. Right now.
While you do that, I’m going to think up names to call my chickens.
As the CEO of a technology company, Peak Oil analyst, and sustainability trend spotter, I want to point out some blazing examples of trends presenting themselves as we continue to try and overcome our sustainability / survival challenges.
TREND #1: EXPECT THE MEGA-PILLARS OF THE INTERNET TO TAKE OVER GOVERNMENT
It is only a matter of time before Internet software completely reprograms human behavior. The Mega-Pillars of the Internet, including Google, Microsoft, MySpace, Facebook, etc. will continue to duke it out with one another for primacy. In order to achieve this, they will continue to suck up the ideas of small start-ups that offer true innovation. There will also be sneak attacks and some of those small startups may even sweep the legs of the big pillars. I would tell you who they are but I want to make my money first.
This trend will continue as each mega-pillar also creates applications marketplaces by fostering open source programming environments for their users. Essentially, these behemoths no longer need to pay as many programmers, since they have users doing all the hard work for them. Applications that have real value filter their own way to the top, just like a good rock band. If enough people like you, you get famous.
Then, the big boys simply assimilate that cool new functionality into their mega-pillars that already have the eyes and ears of millions of registered users. This way, they can gain mass adoption in an instant, while fledgling startup companies either get acquired or go belly up after their ideas are stolen.
After a period, people will stop listening to government leaders and just start doing their own thing to survive. After all, they will have all the tools necessary to live sustainable lives at their fingertips. One example of this trend is how Google has assimilated the routes of government controlled transit.
So if you live in Portland like I do, you can now bypass the Tri-met website and simply use Google’s transit tool to plan your entire trip. As more of the Mega-Pillars begin to assimilate the functions of government, people will begin to rely on themselves and technology to self-sustain. Expect to see cool things such as people using their cell phones to see who in a particular neighborhood is selling or trading for eggs.
That means over time, government will become less necessary as sustainable systems better support themselves.
TREND #2: EDIBLE LANDSCAPING AND PERMACULTURE WILL BECOME A NEW ECONOMIC BOOM
We haven’t even buried the corpse of capitalism yet, but I will go out on a limb to say that as we find an equilibrium for allowing people to remain in their homes, we will need to use permaculture to hyper-relocalize our food systems and ecological foundations.
I see more and more policy planners paying attention to people that know a lot about the earth. As these gurus become consultants, we will see exciting designs as wealth meets sustainability. It will become much more than Hollywood trying to “Green” the Oscars. Landscapers that combine the law(n)s of nature with sheik design will be guaranteed a market. And worm poop is the new black gold.
The fun part will be seeing the labor market fight for jobs to help people do the conversion! How amazing will it be to see teams of neighbors working on permaculture projects together?
Need an example? Check out these two videos:
TREND #3: VIOLENCE WILL BE OVERCOME
Ok, so crime is on the rise as the economy crashes. Or if someone actually lets loose a nuke in a city somewhere, it will suck tremendously. Or, if climate change ramps up so fast we all perish, then poop-on-a-stick. But to say that we just sat back and watched it all go down without even *trying*?
No way. I believe in America’s pioneering spirit, and that we are beginning to witness a journey within ourselves that frees us from the bonds of violence, and allows us to find happiness in appropriate food, shelter, and transportation systems.
We can’t help it if the financial system crashes, but we can help what we do about it. While the economies of the world are set for implosion due to peak oil, we should be set for an explosion of freedoms. Freedom to get out in our yards to make our soil rich and full of nutrients that plants love. We can explore the amazing freedoms of beekeeping, local food processing, board games, bike riding – a whole lot of reasons to keep on living.
Just because we all have guns doesn’t mean we have to use them.
Don’t look now, but we are at war!
No, I’m not talking about the War in Iraq, Afghanistan, or other politically driven war. I am talking about the war within ourselves. The war to cling and hang onto what is unsustainable. Seriously, did we really think we could Burger King and McDonald’s our way into the future?
It’s just not healthy, folks. The way we have been living, that is.
So, we are certainly headed for a lot of boo-hooing as reality renegotiates our lives for us. But hey, living is awesome! It sure beats dying. And our former behaviors have to die a quick death so we can reinvent America again. The great news is that it is a whole lot of fun!
There are plenty of leaders in this country that can teach people how to sustainably grow, prepare, and preserve local foods. No matter if you haven’t ever picked up a shovel… even lazy TV zombies can help in our transformation as we turn open land into productive soil.
If you haven’t seen the episodes of the Lawns To Gardens videos I have posted, let me assure you as a card carrying Nintendo geek – YOU CAN GROW FOOD! As things get more and more expensive and more people are laid off from the information economy, we will need to do physical work. And that’s okay, we need the exercise anyway.
There are plenty of gardening How-To sites on the internet, so I suppose Lawns to Gardens is meant to be more of a motivator. The cheerleader and “We Can Do It!” website meant to help people get over themselves. Especially since it looks like with so many people on planet earth, we had better sign peace terms with our own souls first.
Only then will we be ready as a society to high-five one another and put together local coordinated teams for gardening, exercise, community activities, and other sustainable behaviors. I very much look forward to our rebirth.
Right now, the media is busy blaming ethanol for high food prices. This has been proven false, and they are just trying to blame our current problems on a scapegoat.
Ethanol is not the culprit behind high food prices. and ethanol does not need fertilizer to be made. Ever heard of permaculture?
Propaganda, folks. Blaming high food prices on Ethanol is pure propaganda, and don’t you fall for it. They want to give you something to blame other than the oil barons. Watch David Blume debunk the propaganda you are being fed:
Learn more about David Blume here.
See why our military is sick of fighting for oil here.
Hemp as a materials resource and alcohol as a fuel resource have a linear history of being outlawed by capitalists. We can grow these and offset the oil crash.
Here is a Newsflash from Captain Obvious!
How are those Reagan-era economic policies working out for America? We could probably generate great revenues by taxing politicians’ prostitute activities, but since that will never happen, we are stuck with our economic meltdown. What’s so funny is how SMALL the government is making the text for their Mass Layoffs summary.
Gee, maybe if it’s small enough, no one will bother reading it!
Here are some highlights, including the 10 industries reporting the highest numbers of mass layoff claims:
1) Temporary help services
2) School and employee bus transportation
3) Automobile manufacturing
4) Professional employer organizations
5) Discount department stores
6) Light truck and utility vehicle manufacturing
7) Highway, street, and bridge construction
8) Motion picture and video production
9) Wood kitchen cabinet and countertop manufacturing
10) Farm labor contractors and crew leaders
It’s the Farm labor that throws me off kilter. Why are farm laborers being laid off? Don’t we have a food crisis? Are humans asking for too much with their already low wages for picking fruits and vegetables? What gives?
I can only wonder how long it will be until America’s laid off workforce are ready to take on some 1930’s Depression type jobs, desperate for anything that pays the bills.
I think we are getting there, especially since all the bottlenecks for more war have been removed.