What does a month without electricity look like?

Session I: What does a month without electricity look like?
Convened by Randy Domina
Attended by Fred, Gaianne, Bernard, Nick, Tisha, Siobhan, Sara, Len, Roger.

What started as a practical discussion of the immediate consequences of loss of power evolved into ideas about the process of change on the personal and the community level.

Practically speaking...
  • KNOW OUR HOME SYSTEMS: For example, how gas is distributed through a home, how gas is delivered to homes from a central source, how to bypass automated systems like electric-starter gas heaters.
  • WHAT IS ESSENTIAL ABOUT POWER, AND WHAT IS NOT? What rapidly deteriorates our life quality? Food preservation, heat, sanitation systems, water, cooking.
  • IF ELECTRICITY GOES OFF FOR A MONTH, IS IT GONNA COME BACK ON? What does it say about our situation if a month-long power outage is allowed to happen?
  • LOOKING AT OURSELVES: HOW CAN WE PROVIDE FOR OUR COMMUNITY? Can immediately volunteer skills and resources to neighbors. Teach others how to do what you do: use a solar oven, preserve food, etc.
  • RESILIENCE APPROACH: Take many different approaches, and see what works.
  • PLAN B: Not just a backup plan, but integrated into our daily lives. What we should be doing anyway.

What happens if you prepare for disaster expertly, but when shit hits, you are surrounded by many un(der)prepared neighbors? At what point will your self-sufficiency be compromised?

As far as behavior and social interactions go...
  • HOW TO LIVE IN COMMUNITIES? What will people do if there was no electricity, no TV, no computer? What if we don't like our neighbors? What if you can't just get in your car and drive away? (We currently live in a society where luxury is the norm, which is dislocating, disconnecting, detaching. Leads to an avoidance of reality.)
  • HOW DO WE, AS A COMMUNITY, CREATE RESILIENCY? Smaller than a town, larger than a neighborhood. Food production, common resources, shared skills. The Commons.
  • 12-STEP PROGRAMS designed to aid in recovery from addiction offer an interesting parallel to the crisis we face. Our society is addicted to oil, shopping, screens, cars. Like in addiction to drugs, only the people who seek change are willing to accept help. Some conventional people may indeed have to hit rock bottom before they will accept a low-energy future and talking with their neighbors. Some people will not be 'saved.' You come to realize that you can't help everyone recover from addiction, and that some people would rather die before they give up their addiction.
  • PLANT THE SEED and let it go/let it grow. It's all you can do.
  • BUILD A NEW SOCIETY IN THE SHELL OF THE OLD: it really will be a cultural shift to learn to operate on the basis of interdependence and giving/contributing/trading rather than taking.
  • ENTICE PEOPLE: The organic, local food movement provides a great illustration of playing off people's ideals. We can make transition and barter, etc., into something people can aspire to, rather than an ultimatum, which is more likely to scare folks back into their socially sanctioned creature comfort zones.

  1. Form "unplug clubs", where a group of people commit to supporting each other in overcoming a destructive habit. Give up TV for 2 weeks, for example. Get together and make lists of alternative sources of information, fun activities, etc. Discuss successes and pitfalls, learn from one another, support each other, and build community.
  2. Heart and Soul Groups - A more long term discussion and support group. "We're gonna walk this path together, support each other." Share our joys and concerns.
  3. Skillsharing practical things, like rain barrels, gardening, bike repair, food preservation, anything. Either teach each other, or find instructors. Try to keep money out of the interaction.
  4. Live your truth. Plant the seeds without the expectation that the other person will change immediately (how Zen of you). Walk the talk (set an example), then talk the walk (answer questions, have discussions, engage curious people who see your example).

Independence Days, by Sharon Astik
Small Is Beautiful, by E.F. Schumacher
Costanza, author
Herman Daly, author

No comments:

Post a Comment