Monday, May 26, 2008

What keeps me awake at night

I read a lot of blogs about parenting and feminism, and since I am a sheep, I tend to write a lot about that stuff here.

However, last night, possibly due to something we ate, neither of us could sleep and both had strange feelings of dread and foreboding. When I have attacks of random foreboding, it does one of two things. Either it settles on some member of the family- I once desperately needed to call my mother, despite her being perfectly fine. (I never claimed to be psychic.) Or, it lands on a morbid fear for the future.

Last night I spent hours predicting doom and gloom from a combination of no oil, global warming, mass extinctions and no water. Of course, running out of oil may actually help combat global warming, but last night I could only see that as a basis for war and the breakdown of civilisation as we know it. I found myself mourning for my children's future. Again, I don't claim to be psychic.

In the cold light of day, I am not so sure that our kids are destined to live Mad Max style in a post apocalyptic hell, but my concerns remain. I get so frustrated - it feels like our leaders are all waiting for the magic bullet, the technology that will solve the problem. It just isn't going to happen, and meanwhile we are allowing the planet to get away from us.

There really is one solution though - distributed production. We can't kick our fossil fuel habit by replacing it with one alternative. Nor can we supply the world with drinking water with larger and larger dams.

My rosie vision for the future involves a mostly electric world, where the grid is supplied by everything - kinetic generators in your clothes (to power your MP3), solar power, methane plants, wind power, tidal power - just about anything. We need to encourage all of them, and all of the storage methods that people can dream up for them. Because we have to find something for transport.

What I really don't get is why this isn't happening everywhere. After all, the great joy of distributed production is that you can do it piecemeal. Every step helps. Every suburb that turns its poo into electricity increases the market for poo converters, and decreases the cost. Every water tank increases the local storage capacity.

And because our leaders don't have the balls to subsidise these things, it's very hard to do it yourself. And this is where my excuses start. We don't have a water tank because we don't have much space, so we would need to dig a very large hole and install pumps and filters and stuff. It would be expensive.

We don't have solar panels because although it would be perfect for our house, we can't afford it.

We don't have a hybrid car because they don't make hybrids big enough to put 3 kids in car seats in.

So I haven't done much. We use less water than the target for a 4 person family, so that's cool. Our electricity usage is somewhat less angelic - actually it is thoroughly diabolical. Fuel consumption is much worse than I would like it to be.

I am paralysed. We keep looking for what we can do, I hope we can make a damn decision to act, and achieve what I keep complaining the politicians haven't.

1 comment:

  1. My husband and I have discussed this as we are getting worried about things. We want to go back to self sufficiency. We discussed things like getting a wind generator, but no wind. So then we thought we would get a bicycle generator and attach it to the TV. Get the children to peddle. We try to cycle everywhere (I have a trailor so I take the 2 girls with me)but things are just too far away most times and there is no public transport. We want to try and grow our own food. Yet we are lucky to have a big garden and most people can´t do that (we were thinking along the lines of The Good Life show). But the raelity is that we don´t do much as we have little time or excess money to spend. Plus, I think the Govt. doesn´t give the support required to do it.