Saturday, October 31, 2009

Cross-posted interview

The interview I talked about in my last post between Stoneleigh and Euan Mearns is cross-posted at The Oil Drum, so you can read the always intelligent discussion of it by TOD people as well.

Friday, October 30, 2009

This is the way it'll go

A superb but wrenching interview by Euan Mearns of The Oil Drum with Stoneleigh of The Automatic Earth. A truly sombre prospect for the USA. What can we expect here in Australia? At the moment it's all green shoots and rising interest rates. We're heading into summer with a good spring rainfall in the south where I live and family members are house hunting again.

You readers of this blog are volunteers — you don't necessarily have to agree with me, but you're unlikely to continue reading if what I say jars too violently with your world-view. So I feel no need to sweeten my message to make you "feel better". Rather the truth — it's a much better place to start thinking of where to go from here.

But it's a different case with family and in a small community, where I'm accused of being excessively negative for yelling "Danger!" I even get told that somehow by talking about it, I'm making it happen! That people like me are undermining confidence in the system and should just shut up.

I won't quote from the interview with Stoneleigh. Just read the whole thing. It lays out the course of our world history for the next twenty years. You can't stop it happening, just as I can't make it happen, but we sure as hell can attend to our immediate circumstances and make preparations to deal with it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The meeting on Thursday night

We had a good turnout, and I had some calls from people who would have liked to have come but had other commitments. There were quite a few people I'd never met before. We watched a film about Cuba, "The Power of Community", which was interesting although it kind of avoided the issue of exactly who decided Cuba was going to go permaculture. Was it Castro or the plebs? Perhaps it doesn't matter for us because if the figures they gave of the radical reduction in fossil food usage for food production are true then we should be OK even here, with our poor soils.

But back to the meeting. We had a discussion after the film where we went around the room and each person spoke about their area of interest and reason for coming for the evening, and we used that to make a list of the areas of concern. These we've emailed back to everyone. There will no doubt be additions and alterations but the list gives us a basis for planning a future for the district which will take the changes we're facing into account.

Here's our Transition Corner Inlet topic list
Bulk purchase
Community projects
Leadership example for other communities
Efficiency & design

Encourage others to join
Spread awareness & understanding
Film Festival
Environmental issues
Basic energy knowledge for home or community
Using local libraries to stock relevant books/periodicals
Climate change & energy resource issues education

Local economy
Tourism eco/transition
Bartering/alternative currencies
Bulk buying & co-operatives
Small-scale local economy
Practical crafts and handy skills
Multi use of facilities (halls, community gardens)

Food production
Producing basic food groups
Preserving/value adding
Survival food
Food security
Sustainable practices
Community gardens across all communities

Explore & trial ideas
Alternative fuels
Alternative modes
Getting networks in place
Safety for cycling
Hand tools use and manufacture
Practical recycling of resources
Animal use & management

Growing medicinal herbs
Preventative health

Values (modest scale/frugality/generosity)
Sharing with youth
Maintaining social connections at a distance
Older people & physical demands
Employment conditions/availability
Welcoming incomers
Toxic politics/polarisation of views/community division
Starting with simple steps before tackling bigger things
Using/maintaining community halls as social centres more effectively
Personal growth through social involvement
Helping communities help themselves/encouraging community self-reliance
Setting targets/measuring outcomes
Process driven from bottom up
Using the Net & other technology to connect to others
Using non-threatening messages to promote change
Dealing with anxiety, stress, grieving
Co-operation and sharing skills
Network expertise
Developing, maintaining and sharing contacts

Some of our topics are a bit thinly populated. I'm sure health is a much bigger issue, but we were missing the crucial people who could have contributed there. But this is just the beginning and over the next year or so we will expand our contacts and refine our list. We will use the list to develop action plans which we'll be able to pass on to the areas of the community who need to see them.

I was happy to see how so many people are anxious to get their teeth into something real and it takes away the feeling of isolation which I've been feeling for a long time in relation to my vision of the unfolding events. Onward and upward!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Our Transition Town (Corner Inlet area, in our case!) film night

We're having our next meeting this coming Thursday (details here). I'm rather looking forward to it and feel that we might actually do some good! I'm not sure how many will come but I think some interest has been ignited. There seem to be new people popping up out of the woodwork.

I'm very fond of our little town and have seen enough of the world to appreciate its subtle but real virtues. Hardly any crime, hardly any bad vibes! People who say hello in the street to you every day, even though you know they think you're a weirdo. But I'm aware how fragile this peace is, and how in many ways we lie in the hands of an indifferent fate, which with the turn of circumstance in the greater World could ruin all this tomorrow. That's what I think is worth fighting to prevent.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Max Keiser kicks ass!

Max calls the bankers what they are: thieves.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Nasim Taleb talks about Extremistan & Mediocristan

Planning your career

Here is a quote from John Robb at Global Guerrillas, and my own thoughts…
(here's a follow up to the earlier post on Entrepreneurship as Resilience): In a world dominated by Mediocristan outcomes, employment is a function of long term planning, training and experience. People could spend a lifetime working in the same industry and doing the same thing. Further, it was possible to rely on the idea that things like pensions, health care, and a job would be there when you retire. That's gone. Entrepreneurship can provide a salve to this problem. It is a vital skill/mind set that allows you to rapidly pilot new strategies for income generation within a rapidly changing environment. Further, it assumes very little. If it doesn't work, try something else. If it does work, reap the rewards and go onto the next idea.

It's not easy, but we will have little choice! The danger of this kind of life is burning out, so you need first of all to be self-indulgent: that is, you need a lot of rest. This means scaling back your material ambitions.

Also in the future, going into debt for something you want will be a very short-term option. There will simply not be enough predictability to ensure you'll be able to service a longer-term loan. We will all need savings (remember them?) which we can call on when we need them. Most useful of all will be skills other people need. If you are in competition with others, then in a resource-constrained world your existence will be in constant peril. If you are able to help, your path will always be smoothed.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Transition Town blog for Corner Inlet district

Fiona Mottram and I have set up a new blog, Transition Corner Inlet, which will be a vehicle for communication about transitioning to a low energy/low CO2 future. Our first function will be a film, The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil, which will be screened next week at Foster Community Health Centre on Thursday October 22 starting at 7.00pm.

I'll keep this blog going as my personal take on the world, but the new blog will be a communal effort.