Where we are & how we live is going to be a real problem. Before the time of Oil people lived close to their food supply and within a Community that could meet all their needs through trade. There were cities but they tended to only hold a few thousand people because they could not get any larger. They were limited by the size of the agricultural land around them and how far a horse and cart could travel to bring perishable foodstuffs to city markets. Transport was expensive and uncomfortable. Energy was scarce and the available land was required for the growing all forms of energy be it firewood, food or construction materials. If the population exceed this natural "carrying capacity" of the land then the population simply stopped growing. A balance was kept. The sun could only bring each person so much energy in a day. Only so much of that energy could be captured in the food to support hungry mouths.
So? How did we grow to where we are today? We raided the piggy-bank. We dug up buried sunshine. Once you start pumping out the historical revenues your population goes into solar debt. The sun cannot replenish that energy at the rate you are using it up. Prior to human populations there was no intelligent life to dig it up. So it stayed in the ground for millions of years. Like money in the bank. You can earn money and spend money but if you need more money, one day, you go to the bank to draw on your savings. You can only do this so many times before you have to start borrowing from somewhere. Our fossil fuel energy-bank was VERY full so we have been drawing down this credit for a VERY long time. We thought it was a bottomless pit of energy free for us to exploit. In reality we just borrowed it from future generations
Like moths around the candle flame the human race flocked to this new energy. It was released in engines working in factories. The economy exploded into growth stimulated by this new energy. People left the land to work in the factories and ever since then the land has been depopulated in favour of the big cities. Self-reliant Communities with short supply routes came a thing of the past. This process is happening today. Children leave for the "bright lights of the big city" all over the world, all of the time. The new fuels made it possible to grow more and more food with less and less human power. This food could be transported further and further. Food became plentiful freeing the people to leave the food sources far, far, behind them. The same was true for every product you can imagine from soap powder to wall paper. It just came from somewhere else. Anywhere else. It no longer mattered where. China is a good bet today.
Every third world shanty town is testimony to this effect. The energy in the city is so seductive people will live in utter squalour just to be THERE rather than in self-contained sustainable communities or in the country. What can the land and communities offer? Insecurity? Poverty? There is nowhere to go, nothing to see, it is boring. Dull. This demographic shift is all a result of our use of Fossil Fuels. When the energy curve is reversed the reckoning will come. Energy and food systems for cities may collapse. Suddenly the countryside and its small communities, with all of its biomass potential, will start to look very tempting again.
The land-to-city migration will finally be reversed. The final step for every one might be to relocate somewhere more sustainable. Somewhere where there is adequate land, water, sun and wind to meet a Community's needs.
Of course not everyone can move to the country nor should they need to. There is often enough land in & around small towns to sustain the inhabitants. This is where the power of community comes in. We will no longer be disconnected from the supply chain. We will become the supply chain. What we need will come as a result of dense network of local trade for local people using local money. People will become re-acquainted with their neighbours again. Local shops will open. The High Street revitalised. Out-of-town shopping centres will dwindle and die. Shopkeepers will know their suppliers. Food will be fresh and free of contamination. Children will learn at local schools. Forgotten crafts will come alive. Crime will no longer pay. It may not be totally idyllic but it will sustain the people in a fossil-fuel-free environment.
Welcome to the revolution. Climb onboard.