I’ve spent the past three years trying to get petroleum out of my life and live locally. Where I differ from many locavore cruncholas is in my determination to do these things without giving up digital age comforts — you know, the ones that allow me to file this essay from a solar-powered ranch 23 miles from the nearest town.
I was plugging along, burning about 80 percent less oil than I did before overalls became my fashion mainstay, when the world financial system nearly collapsed. Now climate change exists again (officially), and there’s talk that a green tech economy might somehow emerge from the ashes of the one torched by derivatives. But no one’s sure. What if the earth’s supply of oil really is half gone, with the masses in India and China just now latching on to the consumption teat? What if cap-and-trade and plug-in hybrids don’t get here in time?
Suddenly the end of globalization and other apocalyptic visions of the planet’s near future, once the purview of Idaho survivalists, are primetime stories on CNN. Mainstream suburban friends of mine who used to say that my experiment in neo-rugged-individualism was radically subversive have abruptly changed their minds. Now they just say it’s radically unfeasible. Yet everyone seems to sense that 69-cent plastic garden buckets might one day be difficult to come by.
– Doug Fine, “On My Ranch, Ready for the Great American Meltdown”, from his ranch in Grant County, New Mexico, The Washington Post, August 9
I’m seeing more and more of this kind of thing…..