Monday, October 12, 2009

Transitions & Harbingers

Got a dehydrator over the weekend.

This means that all those extra the tomatoes we've been growing won't go into the worm bin.

I consider it another small step in the so-called "transition period" my generation is going through - getting ready for the post-peak oil world, global-warming disaster preparedness, simple living, self-reliance, DIY homesteading, yada yada.

To date, I've sold my car, acquired a bike trailer that's been used to haul many heavy things it shouldn't have, use two worm composting bins, learned to identify a ton of edible and medicinal wild plants and herbs, learned how to fix up a bike pretty well, acquired a rain water barrel, learned how to grow a decent garden, and the list goes on.

In retaliation, the capitalist system, vis a vis things like inflation, stagnant wages, and free trade agreements has pretty much stopped me from participating in things I used to enjoy like: sushi, record stores, concerts, eating out, movies, and buying the occasional t-shirt. Honestly though, I only really miss sushi.

I guess this is my way of saying for every little step forward, there's a lot of things, a former middle class rat like me leaves behind. I know I'm not alone in this predicament - All my friends who're still employed have had their hours cut back or furloughed - and at least half these folks are professionals.

Thankfully, there's a growing movement of people who seem to be cognizant enough to read the writing on the wall, check this out:

Reskilling Expo
Sat. Oct 17th
United Methodist Church in Santa Cruz

Of course, my acquaintances at Transitions SC still aren't grappling w/ some of the bigger issues we're all going to have to address sooner or later. For instance - How does one reconcile working 40 hours a week and raising a sizeable edible garden? I know in my instance, the biggest issue is labor time - harvesting the greens, washing them, and then prepping them for eating.

What happens if you wanna kick it up a notch and start raising chickens too?

The other ugly thing to consider is the fact that if certain appliances (think refrigerators, microwaves) we've come to rely on become too energy intensive/expensive, what simpler options do we have? Can you still even purchase an ice box anymore? Can you even buy ice by the block?

There has to be a point where people working on transitioning into what will undoubtedly be a slower, more austere way of living will have to face the contradiction of coming home in office attire then quickly changing into gardening, or bicycle repairing clothes. Imagine this happening day after day, for years on end. I'd say it's a strain many of us are already feeling right now. Something's gotta give.

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