06 August 2009

Next steps for Katuah

Well, after expounding on the transition movement and bioregionalism, I guess I need to start to put some concrete ideas down for folks to mull over.

First, I think it is important to recognize the social reality in which we reside. In the US, more especially in Katuah, we are in a very conservative region, with very conservative ideas about change, meaning many folk think, if it's new or different from what I think it is bad, not only bad, but threatening! When i was younger, i charged full steam into controversy with those that disagreed with me, now after many bumps and bruises I see the wisdom in soft power, or letting the world move and working your magic with the flow rather than trying to change it. It is the difference between American boxing and Chinese kung fu. Work with the momentum of your opponent.

Second, the thoughts I am expressing here are not my own, they are merely a compilation of ideas from others. I am fully aware of this and as such make no claims or boasts, rather I am just trying to think out loud so others can chime in and maybe together we can work towards change.

Third and lastly, I recognize that what I am proposing will change and that those of us that work diligently over the next few years to assess where we are, where we are going and how to get there, will be trailblazers. When the majority of folks look around in a few years at 6 dollar a gallon gas and ask "what should I do?", I feel we should be there with some answers. I also know that whatever we have developed and tried and worked on, once there is a large majority of society searching for the same things, our ideas and voices though maybe heard at first will become diluted and overrode with those of others with more ability and position to "run things". This is to say that to get involved with this, one should go in knowing that there will be time and energy devoted to something that hopefully will make everyones lives better, but there will come a time when your and my hard work and effort will move beyond our group and we will step or be shoved aside. I do this with eyes open, expecting nothing, just hoping that my children will benefit from some future planning done now.

With all that off my chest, I can now propose some concrete ideas.

Initially we need to form some local groups to assess their particular geographic region. Both the current and future assets and liabilities. The transition town movement has some very good ideas and tools to do this. I think we should borrow them and arrange for a mass training in the not too distant future, for those of us wanting to move this concept forward.

As we do this, we need to envision what Katuah will look like with 2% less oil, with 10%, with 50%. We need to plot a scope of change that can address these reductions. I think that it will be very important to tie the vision to the reduction in energy (which will be conversely proportional to the price of energy). I think that tying the vision to energy reduction milestones rather than to years, will set up a more realistic concept of the transition schema. None of us (I think) know when or how long it will take for the world to see a 10% spread between the amount of energy available and the amount of energy demand, but many of us know that it is coming. I have learned from past experience that trying to tie a vision to a time frame, rather than to the circumstances that will necessitate change, makes for potential feelings of failure, as the expectations are tied to time rather than to what is really driving change.

When addressing this vision, I think we need to have plans based on various transition scenarios. What if the descent is gradual (50 years), what if it is sudden (1 year because of war or natural disaster), what if it is stop and start (wild fluctuations of energy supply), etc. There needs to be a lot of thought and discussion about this as different scenarios will need different transition plans.

The next step is to start to implement aspects of these plans regionally in different communities. To share our experiences, to support each other in the early days, to help build a solid infrastructure that can be built upon and stand up to quick up sizing. We may find that our scheme for local food production or local energy production has to be scaled up slowly (5-10%) annually or very quickly (1000% ) in a year or something in the middle. The point is that we do not know, but we do know it is required.

How exciting is this stuff! I see a future that we can sculpt into a blend of new technology and old time community that can make us all healthier and more connected to each other and the earth. Cool stuff. More later!

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