Since I tend to read about half of the articles over at Life After the Oil Crash every day, I can occasionally get... down. So I decided to try to focus on the positive today and think of 7 reasons for hope.
We humans survived very well without electricity and oil for thousands of years. We managed to cover the Earth and expand our population up to about 2 billion people. We had Shakespeare, Beethoven, Monet, good food, trade in numerous goods, and architecture without fossil fuels.
We can learn from other cultures and nature to implement low-impact, low-work systems for agriculture and animal husbandry. We can multiply the yields we get, organically, while decreasing our soil erosion and energy usage.
3. Solar cooking and heating, and hot water
Humans have (almost) always needed to use energy, usually from wood, to achive warmth in the winter and cooking throughout the year. However, now we have the technology and tools, and materials laying around, to create passive solar heating and solar cooking devices. This gives me hope that we won't completely deforest our country. It also gives me hope that hot showers might be here to stay.
Our global industrial economy, while being incredibly destructive and polluting, has also been incredibly productive. We have much more useful "stuff" lying around than did our ancestors. We should have enough clothing, books, dishware, garden tools, and blankets for everyone for decades to come. We have wood cookstoves and cast iron cookware that can be salvaged and pressed into use. We have wheels, bicycles, and carts for transport.
From all the hype about medical advances, you might think we need open heart surgery and Prozac to stay healthy. Not so. It's been estimated that the vast majority of benefits derived from medical advances have been from simple hygiene, sanitation, clean water, anesthetics, and immunizations. These are, or can be, fairly low-tech and fairly low-energy.
Is it just my impression, or have the men of the world often found some reason to oppress the women? Whether it be because of the sins of Eve, our so-called fragility or their sexual jealousy, it seems as if we have spent a large amount of history without voice or power. Now, we have achieved a measure of equality (at least in the US and Europe, and many other countries). We have education, valuable skills, and experience in asserting our opinions. While some women choose to rule the home roost, others take pride in running businesses or taking political power. Our men, I believe, see us as their equals and I believe we can keep it that way.
You, dear readers, are the lifeboats. Anyone developing sustainability libraries, skills and techniques, who have gardens and who use low-energy technologies, are the hope for the future. You will be able to teach your neighbors and families new and lighter ways to live. You may be able to save lives or prevent trees from being cut for wood. You will be able to make a difference.