The Challenge

Welcome to part 2.

In the last post I detailed a situation which made me mad and depressed about the response of the government, energy industry and military industrial complex to peak oil; invasion for oil. (free up all the untapped oil reserves the world has, for the world market to maintain a suitable stable price, by force if necessary)

Obviously this is a response of only part of the population of the country, and a fraction of the population of the world. Other responses are much more positive and nuanced. And whole swathes of people haven’t got a clue what’s going on.

In this post I want to focus more on the positive aspects of what the future will bring, how I’m approaching it and detail some resources for research. ( Post Carbon Institute, and Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas 2,)

My Reaction

After I learned about peak oil and how it’s impending presence shaped the opinions and plans of those in power, in industry and government, I developed a set of coping mechanisms. I read all I could, researched the Transition movement, fell even more in love with Electric Vehicles and Solar Energy and looked at how life would change with crazy energy prices and possibly restricted mobility, food and other commodities.

I was being challenged, as we all are, with the very near future. It is a challenge to discover how to live much more sustainably, using less energy. It is also a challenge to widen that mindset and not only discover how to survive day to day, but also to enjoy it; the continued pursuit of happiness, if you will.

The importance of staying positive cannot be overstated, there is a lot to get very angry and worried about. Been there, done that, it’s time to give two fingers to naysayers and bystanders and do what’s got to be done. I’m writing my own story as I see it, and perhaps that will help others understand my perspective on the gravity of the situation.

Life

In order to sustain life you need 3 things; Food, Shelter and Water. In Arizona each presents its own challenges. The heat and dry climate make the sustainability of each of those components a challenge. Growing your own food is a great idea, I don’t care if you live next to a supermarket, growing food should be the occupation of everyone alive today. It is not only the physical calories converted from sunlight to muscle energy that is important but the mental process involved is invigorating and sustaining in itself.

Food and water are closely linked of course, without water you’re not going to grow much. Harvesting rainwater in the desert is essential, it’s not an option, check out my previous post on rainwater harvesting. Food and water within the confines of your own home add to your resilience. i.e. if water pressure died for a couple of days, I would still be able to water my garden. (and have to buy a lot of drinking water! something else I’m working on storing on site.. very slowly)

Keep a stocked pantry; have more than a weeks worth of food, canned or freeze dried. This is just sensible, I would recommend at least a months worth of meals, even if you’re only getting 1000 calories a day, it’s enough not to go crazy. I’m working on this myself also, there are plenty of places online that sell freeze dried meals. Wal Mart also sells them in the sporting goods section. In the event of severe energy shortages, lines for gas and crowded grocery stores prices for most things are likely to rise; get ahead of the game as far as you can afford.

My perspective on future events is to expect the worst, of course, be prepared, if you never have to eat a freeze dried meal, then good. What have you lost ? a bit of cash ? If times are still good, you can make it up.

Heating your food: A small stockpile of wood, already a feature of my yard 🙂 and a firepit, a future addition. I’ve also been experimenting with solar ovens. (here also) A stockpile of reliable fire starters is a good idea too.

Liberty

There are a few aspects to liberty and its maintenance. Of course the above mentioned food, shelter and water are means to maintain your liberty. In many cases maintaining a shelter means paying a mortgage which means maintaining a job (and a stable economy…. but lets just concentrate on things under our control right ? 🙂 maintaining a job means having reliable transportation. Enter the EV truck.

Hopefully it will provide the means for modern liberty which is linked heavily to mobility. (check out components from http://www.evsource.com/)

Electricity from coal and natural gas will stay cheap for the meantime but are not a sure bet for the long term, the next step after getting this guy on the road is a PV array around 6 to 8 kilowatts to offset home energy usage.

The truck is in its early stages. The motor is in, the batteries (used, and free!) are installed all the major brackets/structural components are in place. It’s ready for a road test once I can get my hands on a controller and a few other components.
I’m under no illusion that electric vehicles are a life saver, especially this one 😉 It’s going to have teething troubles, it WILL run out of juice at some point, especially with the used batteries it has now.

I also don’t have my head stuck in a fairy tale; I know batteries are expensive, last 3 to 4 years and will get more expensive with the scarcity of oil, along with everything else. But DAMN IT I am not going to sit by and get screwed hard for gasoline while Iran taunts us as we threaten them, Iraqis die and Exxon, Shell and other oil companies make record profits.

This liberty I exercise with absolute pride; I can try this, I have the freedom to try and separate myself as much as I can from the use of gasoline and it’s unhealthy, unstable, bloody roots.

The Pursuit of Happiness

wikid fun yo

To me, there is little that is more fun than solar powered speed. That little thing right there is a slice of awesome, it is my pursuit of happiness. Motorsports are fun, but as with every other paradigm shift we’re about to experience, motorsports will shift away from oil also. The kart is my proof of concept, its fun, reasonably fast 😉 kinda safe … and solar powered.

There is a place for something I love in our future, it just looks and sounds different. There are places for everything we love, within reason in the future we’re about to create. Go on, get on with it.

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