Monday, January 23, 2012

Beyond Fuels 12: Summing It Up

We need to learn to live without fossil fuels because, whether we like it or not, it's going to happen. The biggest question beyond fuels is whether we get there by wrecking the planet--fracking, burning low-grade coal, stripmining everything we can, extracting from tar sands and shale, causing ever-greater climate change, and massively polluting our world to get those last drops of fuel--and then, eventually, running out out of available fuel anyway, or we choose to change and live sustainably by making the adjustments now and begin creating a different future.

My hope is this series has been useful in giving some ideas about what each of us can do to change and prepare for life without fuels: learning to use simple tools, to fix and build things ourselves, to use our muscles instead of oil, etc, and to envision a 'post-carbon' world. I've looked four pathways forward, and as I said in my last post, I think we need to draw from all of them: curtailing our consumption while creating community, looking realistically at possibilities ahead while also seeing the opportunity to create real social change, and most importantly, realizing that much of this will be done by small, slow, incremental changes--'muddling', if you will, our way forward. None of this will be easy, but it needs to be done and, if there's anything we've learned, we can't expect government or business to lead the way.

It's up to each of us to begin, little by little, to build that world beyond fuels, just as it's up to each of us to work toward a world where everyone gets what they need, where people are not hurt or oppressed, and where we work with nature and natural systems, rather than believing somehow we can control everything. Another world is not just possible, but essential. Things are going to change, the only question is whether the change is toward the world we want to live in or a world that will bring horrors to upcoming generations. Each of us has to choose. We are moving, right now, day by day, beyond fuels--but it will be our actions that will determine what lies there.

Quote of the Day: "We cannot predict outcomes but some things are coming clear and that clarity is beginning to rattle us: The shock of melting ice caps and dying penguins, of leveled rainforests and species wiped out daily before we've met them, of children armed in genocidal war, and children dying of hunger even as we feed over a third of all grain to livestock...[sic]all of this is sinking in, and more and more of us know the time is now--that we act powerfully now or we see our fate sealed...
"...the real problems facing our planet can only be met by the ingenuity, experience, and buy-in--the contagious engagement--of billions of us." - Frances Moore Lappé

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