Monday, September 22, 2008

Plan C for Your City

I was fortunate to participate in Bob Waldrop's "Plan C for OKC" workshop this weekend. About 20 people brainstormed ideas to deal with a hard crash - i.e. immediate shutdown of all fossil fuel dependent systems. The water and sewage system, the federal government, fire and police, the food systems, the electrical grid, the natural gas pipelines, the trailers that bring us all our food and material goods.


Or.... maybe not? How could we react to preserve as many lives, and our surrounding ecosystems, as possible? What kind of mitigation steps could we take, once we realize "we're on our own - no one is coming to save us?". How could we organize to communicate and help our neighbors with the information that we have, the sustainable tools we own, the seed banks we've been building?

It was a fascinating thought exercise, and inspired some hope for people who have already been staring into the abyss. Now, a fast crash certainly isn't inevitable, and in fact I don't think it's even likely, but eventually we will be getting into a place where some of these systems may still exist - but may not be reliable - and may not work in all places, as the ring of services tightens, and as infrastructure crumbles.

This exercise was also a great stimulus to participate in Verde's 21 Day Challenge! Assume in 21 days "TSHTF". What can you get done to prepare before then? And the way that things are currently looking in the financial markets, I wonder if we could have some kind of serious crisis soon. So it's a very timely challenge.

The major topics we covered included water, obtaining food, heating, cooking, transport, sewage and trash, public health, and community organizing. Bob has already prepared some pdf flyers for free distribution in the event of a hard crash/ emergency situation. I'll be posting on some of these topics over the next month. I also got to show off my favorite appliances - the Sun Ovens - and hand out a flyer I created on solar cooking.

So those of you who have already made preparations of your own, and who want to start helping your communities and inspiring some resilience, how about sending out an email to your local sustainability listserv soliciting volunteers for a "Plan C" workshop? If nothing else, you might meet some other like-minded people!

Note: "Plan C" is also the title of Pat Murphy's excellent Peak Oil book - referring to community and conservation/curtailment. Plan C, in this instance, refers to a Contingency plan.


MeadowLark said...

I'm trying to find such a group right now. I'm afraid that it may not be much use... people around here tend to focus on the "look how hip and trendy we are in our sustainability-ness" rather than practical thinking.

But we'll see. Thanks for the push.

Verde said...

What a great opportunity. There are about 5 people in this town interested in any sustainability. The rest are focused on drill, drill, and get rich doing it.

RedStateGreen said...

That was you? It was so great to meet you! It just occurred to me that next time we meet up we should all bring our sun ovens and cook the potluck on them. (lol)