{What a Way to Go}

I watched a movie of that title tonight. What a Way to Go. It's about the inevitability of economic collapse, the nearness of peak oil, the reality of another mass extinction, climate change, and what we can and are doing about it.

Peak oil looks at the peak of oil production and the economic collapse that will follow in an economy that is Built to grow or die. There are other ways to do things! But not with a non-renewable resource bringing our food 1,500-3,000 miles to our table, not hauling in industrial products to build our homes, supply us with furniture and entertainment and distraction. Humans have been doing that for the last 10,000 years, though we're doing it in a much more high tech way than ever before.

It all started with the glitch of agriculture. Before agriculture, humans were hunter gatherers, the global population was at or below 1 billion, and nature provided Plenty. About 4 hours of meaningful work was required to sustain and live healthily and lightly on the earth - gathering food, preparing clothing and shelter from the elements, all the while telling stories, acting stories, singing about our culture and our lives and the awesomeness of nature.

Once agriculture came along, we started growing grains. Grains led to larger intake of carbohydrates. They turn into sugars in our mouths and rot our teeth, they open the opiate receptors in our brains, they're high in calories but low in nutrients - so that we want to eat more, and more, and more... and then all of a sudden there are more children, and we have more mouths to feed, and guess what? That requires more land set aside for grains, and -oops!- sorry, neighbor, was that your fence?

And that's how war began.

Because everything is connected, all these changes are reinforcing each other so that collapse is growing nearer each day. Peak oil leads us economically to a crash. Climate change is causing the ice caps to melt which, with less surface area reflecting the sun, puts more heat in the water so that the underwater ecosystems are dying or moving elsewhere. Plankton are dying. Plankton supply FIFTY PERCENT of our oxygen, and take carbon out of the air. What happens when carbon is left in the air? It traps heat more. There's your global warming.

And apparently, mass extinctions happen every so often. I hear we've had five already since Earth was formed. The last one? The Cretaceous period, when the dinosaurs were around... 25 million years ago, I think they said. This mass extinction is going to affect us in a Serious way. How mass, you ask? In the next Century, we will lose 1/3 to ONE HALF of all the species on the planet. ONE HALF of the diversity of life. And we're pushing it along, blasting mountain tops and digging for oil, living inside big chemical boxes, traveling in steel cages as fast as we can go.

Soon more people are going to realize they need a way out. They'll be looking to steal food, and some will look to steal books on how to survive. BUT THAT'S NOT NECESSARY. There Is Enough. It just won't involve chemical fertilizers or big factories anymore. You don't NEED books to learn how to survive. When electricity goes out, when cars are running on their last gallon, masses of people will come to our farms, our communities, our sustainable neighborhoods, demanding food, demanding knowledge. People will die. Some will feel guns are necessary. But the story that we need to spread, that people Need so deeply to understand, is that They are Welcome at our table. We can All be fed. We can grow food, we can share knowledge on how to live from the land. You don't need a book. Most of it you know intrinsically, as a human. And what you don't know, you will learn from the instant, local economies that will develop from necessity. We will Have to know our neighbors, and, if we will survive, we will find ourselves rushing into a group hug so fierce that we squeeze out into the open all the information we need to live happy, simple lives.

No more XBoxes, but singing about what surrounds us
No more machine noises, instead knowing what animals live nearby
No more refined sugars, but berries and nut butters and oils
No more fiberglass insulation, but hobbit holes built with young trees and packed with dirt.

This is what we've got to look forward to. It takes a lot of steps to get there yourself, but if you don't start walkin' soon, peak oil will shove you forward whether you like it or not.

Let's get to it.