Sent: Saturday, May 26, 2007 1:01 PM
Subject: Good news/bad news
I've been working on local projects for the past few weeks as we have inventoried what we have available in our local region and how we can most efficiently utilize all of our skills. At least locally, we are fairly sustainable in the absence of affordable fuels. We have a range of fruit and the area of harvestable grain looks sufficient, although it also has to feed the livestock that pull our wagons and the chickens and pigs that provide our meat, etc. We have a nearby small river that we can use to power a mill for making flour if we can get the materials to build it, and my son's development of a small engine powered by scrap wood can produce a small amount of energy, enough for essential energy-efficient lights for an individual home, but if everybody does this, a sustainable wood supply will be challenged. Heating may be a big problem this winter, because we don't have enough local forest to sustainably produce firewood for our community. If we can find the materials to make panels, we can use solar power to heat water in our roof panels and store that heat for house-warming purposes, but the problem is finding the supplies now that the regional transportation network is barely working. Some essentials we can't produce locally, like salt and sugar, or sufficient cloth, so we'll have to establish some kind of regional wagon trade to obtain these goods. Manufacturing centers with hydro-power are in good shape, but transport is a major concern. We can get some energy assistance from wind, but it's not too reliable here. Clearly, a smaller population would reduce demand, but this takes time if we want to do this humanely.
One possible bright side to all of this, as it affects us in the big picture, is that the absence of serious fuel may prevent outside invaders from reaching our North American sanctuary in sufficient numbers to cause any problems. It has to be much worse in Eurasia where there are likely to be serious conflicts as some large countries work to assure themselves of sufficient resources for their people. Land armies can still move on foot, but getting across oceans is a significant barrier.
It looks like we are going to make it, at least locally.