Where Are We Headed?

During a lesson in permaculture, one of the instructor did a talk about where is our society headed.  I’m not sure why, but it really caught my attention.  He drew a graph showing four directions society might go in the future.  The idea was that society is headed on a certain path that would eventually lead to running out of materials here on earth to use.  I’m not saying this will happen soon, but eventually it has to happen.  We can follow the path in four possible directions.  The four paths were: Sci Fi, Green Technology, Transition, or collapse.

The Sci fi option was that we used up earth, but were able to build space ships and travel to other plants and live there.  This would obviously mean that science would need to progress a great deal before we ran out.  I’m not sure I think we will get that far in technology before we use up everything available here.

Green technology would be where we created enough new energy saving, earth saving supplies before we ever ran out.  Things like solar and wind were a few of the mentions made.  This seems more likely to me, but may still be a little far fetched.  For this to work, solar panels would have to be available to everyone, not just those who can afford them.  I know there are ways to build them yourself, but I don’t know that many people who would be willing to try.

Transition is just that.  We change our ways overall to adapt to our new needs.  This would mean something more along the lines of having some solar panels, but also drastically decreasing energy usage.  Everyone learning to provide for themselves, and I don’t mean money.  It would be living in an entirely different way than we are now.  Likely fewer smart phones.

The last is collapse.  I think this is fairly self explanatory.  Grim and bleak.  Lots of shooting and robbing.  Definitely no smart phones.   I don’t care for this one at all.

Transition is clearly my favorite.  I believe it is the most realistic option there is.  This is a part of why people choose to go back to the land.  I don’t think society is going to collapse tomorrow, or anytime soon for that matter.  I do believe that things have to change eventually, and what better time than now.  I believe that permaculture is this kind of change.  If my family learns these skills and can live off the land ten generations before the emptying of our energy suppliers, then they will be that much better off.  And if the energy runs out ten years from now, I will be doing alright then too.

This is not me being a doomsday prepper either by the way.  It is just sitting back and looking around at what is in front of us.  We can’t possibly carry on quite like this forever.    There are other reasons why I choose to live out in the woods, but this isn’t one that is too far fetched.

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In my experience the difference between permaculture and prepper culture is that permaculture doesn’t incorporate firearms to shoot people who try to steal your veggies. At least here in New Plymouth, there is a collaborative community effort to make ourselves self-sufficient in meeting our food needs. The other good thing about permaculture is its reliance on perennials and food forests. It’s pretty hard to steal a food forest.

Transition is my favorite, too, but in marginal places (like where I live, in the high desert), I think there’s the added need for green. Whatever we do, it has to spread out and engage most of the world. And to engage most people, you have to meet them on their ground. If I had my choice, I’d be in a temperate forest where I could clear a place to grow and still harvest wild. I can do some harvesting in the high desert, but it’s dicey at best. Permaculture is a good starting point because it educates people in their own regions. The courses are, unfortunately, too expensive for many people. If a way could be found around that it would be good!

Have you seen “Greening the Desert” Geoff Lawton? http://youtu.be/xzTHjlueqFI Might show you something interesting. I live in a more temperate are so I haven’t seen this one, but his stuff seems pretty good. Unfortunately, I feel like the only way to engage most of the world is through desperation. People won’t put down their smart phones until they start running out of food. People think that I am crazy just because I catch rainwater for drinking.
I’m not sure if you saw, but I posted a link to a free permaculture class online. The information part of the site seems pretty decent so far. I’m not entirely sure about the company though.
Oh yeah, I would love to know what kind of stuff you forage in the desert…

Geoff Lawton is really good. He’s very inspiring. I’m going to check out the free permaculture class you’ve mentioned. This is the direction I’d like to take my farm day workshops and all of the people are interested too. Thanks!

Almost forgot. I’ve got a couple of posts about native plant foods. One of them is sort of joking, but still serious. I’m going to post more about foraging soon. Each spring we’ve had an ethnobotany workshop — I’m working up to that.

Those are all things that I am going to start working on once I get past all the projects I have now, LOL. Not that I will ever be done, but all very interesting stuff. I will check out those posts. Thanks!

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