Life: after fossil fuels

 

 

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Proud Co-Founder of Transition Town High Wycombe

 

Proud Member of the Low Carbon Chilterns Cooperative

LCCC

 

Proud owner & retrofitter of Superhome 59

Superhome 59

 

This website proud host of the High Wycombe Local Food Guide

Local Food

10 steps: Be the best you can be

No Hippies! Post Carbon Living for the Rest Of Us

Welcome to the ten steps of Post-Carbon Living. This is the inspirational vision of life 30 years from now. An answer to decline: declining oil production - declining food production - spiralling debt - decline in climate stability. 97% of us understand that we are contributing to Climate Change but less than 2% of us have switched to a Renewable Electricity Tariff. 74% of people felt that we are heading for disaster if we dont quickly change our habits, yet 59% said that they are doing nothing about it. What we need to stop doing is thinking of it as a problem that is too expensive to solve. This is a socioeconomic opportunity and there is no alternative to solving it. All we need is the wisdom and the roadmap.

 

This Post-Carbon Life is not environmentalism. It isn't "green". It isn't "eco" this or that. This isn't a "lifestyle" choice. It is just how life WILL be. The Post-Carbon Life is an inspirational glimpse of the future... A vision that will be here quicker than you think.

Get the roadmap = Ten Steps to Post-Carbon Living

Organise - the first step - change your mind. Study the evidence, think about the future, decide to do something. Measure your Carbon Footprint. How dependent are you on oil? More here...

Generate - step six. Become your own power station. Why be a slave to the grid & outdated energy infrastructure? Break free. Get independence. Get security. Generate from your rooftop. More here...

Powerdown - step two. Switch things off. Kill your standby. Don't leave lights on. Learn some simple self-discipline. Imagine sky-high food and energy costs. More here...

Grow - step seven. Break free of the supermarket. Grow your own fruit and veg. Enjoy the exercise and peace in gardening. Reduce your food miles to zero. Eat healthier too. More here...

Recycle - step three. Tackle consumption of stuff with re-use, repair, respect & recycling. Pride yourself on how little you dispose of. Have an empty bin. More here...

Invest - step eight. Get out of debt. It is a big threat to your security in a steady-state economy. When money doesn't grow its supply collapses. Invest in trees and carbon-neutrality. More here...

Substitute - step four. Simply swap old fashioned things for new energy efficient things. Job done! No one will sit in the dark or go cold. Good riddance to bad rubbish. More here...

Make - step nine. Get a hobby. Work with your hands. Re-skill. Build & repair skills will improve your self-reliance for a future of expensive fossil fuels. It will also give you a new life. More here...

Stay - step five. Having a carbon neutral home is easy. But it all goes wrong when you step foot out the front door. Why are we travel crazy? Try staying at home. More here...

Community - step ten. Join a Transition Town. Embrace your town, your neighbours, your island, your village. You will be more resilient as a team. The more help the better. More here...

WHY do we need a new vision?

 


 

The Graph on the left shows the trend in the Global Air Temperature over the last 150 years. It shows a steady rise since about 1910. This information is from the CRU - the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. You can follow this curve as they occasionally update it on line at the web site www.cru.uea.ac.uk.

 

The Graph on the right shows the trend in the Price of Oil. If you hover your mouse pointer over it you can see the trend over the last month, the last quarter, the last year or the last five years.

 

One thing you can be sure of is that Temperature and Oil prices are going to rise in synch for the foreseeable future. This is because both climate & oil are finite resources. These resources are depleting more quickly than they will renew. This is a finite planet but the human enterprise continually expands. Something will change. We will switch to a smarter way of working to mitigate the risks of declining resource.

 

The risk comes from the threat to fuel, food & economy. All are carbon-based and none can expand forever. It is not a question of if they "peak" - only when. Evidence shows that this 21st Century will be the Century of declining resource. But this isn't doom-mongering. We have the ability to build a more resilient post-carbon society with clean air, healthy food and more fulfilling lives. It will be unlike anything we have considered before. A vision, not a nightmare. An achievable dream, not a fantasy. A cultural renaissance the likes of which we have never seen before.

 

"Who cares? I don't believe in man-made climate change......."

Nobody-who-matters cares if YOU believe in man-made climate change or not. Governments believe. The market believes. The scientists believe. So why fight it? The decarbonisation of the economy is the logical conclusion from observable reality. No modern economy will continually expand based upon finite and declining resources. The argument about Climate Change is now only of academic interest because it will be rapidly over-taken by issues of security and scarcity.

 

The bottom line will be the price of carbon. Scarcity of such a critical resource as Oil will lead to sharp price rises. If scarcity doesn't do the trick then Government intervention will. You will live to see carbon rationing, carbon budgets and carbon taxation. So why wait? Mitigate the risk. Move away from Carbon - completely. It is no longer a question of being a bit "low-carbon". We must now think about what lies beyond carbon. What does the post-carbon world behold? Get it right and we all win. There are only opportunities for the pioneer.

A quick recap

  • Economic Chaos - Oil has peaked in production. There will never be as much cheap oil again. What is left will become very difficult and expensive to extract. Oil & Gas will become so expensive that our economies will cease to function. This will happen within thirty years.

  • Climate Risk - It matters not whether Climate Change will cause warming or cooling. It matters not whether it is man-made or natural. We are vulnerable to ANY climate change.

  • Food Security - The combined effects of Peak Oil and Climate Change are to reduce our usable agricultural land, ie, our ability to feed ourselves.

  • Energy Security - Our 'security' is another man's suffering. Suffering will find its way home to us.

 

....but this isn't a problem, it is an opportunity... Since fossil fuels are the source of all our problems, and we know how to run an economy without them, what are we waiting for? Leadership? Hope? Vision? A world of clean renewable energy, thriving local economies, unpolluted fresh air and healthy food awaits.... Lead, follow or get out of the way.

 

Everyone can implement the new vision of a post-carbon future. "Post-Carbon Living" is a positive vision and example of how we will all be living very soon. Solutions, not problems. Follow the Ten Step Plan. Let's all transition to a post-carbon future.

From Global Vulnerability to Local Security

Imagine the Britain of 2020. Petrol is £5/litre. It will cost you £1200 to heat your house for a year. Another £1000 pays for a year's household electricity. Energy prices are doubling every year. There is a shortage of food in the shops. You haven't seen a Banana in three years let alone snow. The Summers are long, hot and dry. Sometimes there is no water. Sometimes no electricity. Unemployment is 20% and rising at 5% a year. There are riots and mass homelessness. Crime is rampant. TV News shows the body bags flown home from the endless foreign wars.

 

Now imagine if you made different decisions in your life in 2011. You moved to a smaller home with wood boiler and some land. The new home is extremely well insulated, you now grow your own food and make your own hot water & electricity through the power of the sun. Your Business diversified out of fossil-fuel dependency and into renewable and local alternatives. Your Community erected a Wind Turbine and supports itself now after transitioning to system of self-reliance. All Food & Fuel is now locally supplied. You aren't just surviving - you are thriving and have job security. These were the best decisions you, your Community and Business ever made. The decisions of millions like you increased security for all of us.

 

Wouldn't you do the right thing too?

 

There is no techno fix. No magic bullet. Sustainable, renewable energy and food is very unlikely to sustain a consumer society. Your world is about the start shrinking. We will go from global to local. Everything will be a lot smaller. Small is beautiful and local is security.

Something To Do Today

  • www.uswitch.com where you can compare suppliers of renewable electricity online

  • Insulate your home

  • Stop flying

  • Live close to work

 

Check these illuminating web sites for a glimpse of the future:

 

Google
 
References & Notes
  • The 1% figure for Green Tariff switches is reported in an article "How Green is your Energy?" p8-12 Organic life Magazine April 2007. The actual numbers for the UK are £54million out of a total market of £18billion.

  • Ipsos-Mori Poll results http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/jun/22/climatechange.carbonemissions

  • Figures on UK Population awareness of Climate Change causes comes from an ICM Poll taken in March 2007.

  • For an insight into why Western-style Democracy and neo-liberal Globalisation Policies are unable to solve these problems, read Chris Goodall's "How to Live a Low Carbon Life" opening chapter.

  • Note that a 2nd edition of How to Live a Low-Carbon Life is to be published by Earthscan in February 2010