As the folks at Streetsblog have recently observed, higher gas prices are the talk all around. We even had a discussion in our weekly meeting at work in which most of my co-workers agreed through gritted teeth and past chewed lips that the price of everything is going up as a result of rising fuel costs. And in the meantime the news comes down from above: "Still no promotions or raises, be happy you have a job." That's good advice, but moot once expenses exceed income. Are we seeing the beginning stages of the Collapse? I mean, everyone seems to be talking about the climbing cost of living and the signs seem to be pointing to a more long term economic calamity than I've seen in my life. Despite modest increases in the job market and the pundits who are crying "recovery" at every shred of positive movement in the markets it doesn't seem as if we're on a rocket to long term prosperity.
In a recent post I examined that even the APA (NOT that one) has acknowledged Peak Oil. They're no the only ones. The evidence is all around. And remember, denial is one of the stages of grief. It's possible that we're going to start seeing a lot of anger in the coming months and years. I am continually baffled by the lack of anger and outrage the American people exhibit. We should all be stomping mad.
I feel good that my family is hardening against the coming austere times. My mother told me that my dad is worried that we're having trouble with our car because I've been posting so much stuff on facebook and the like about our cycling exploits. I had to laugh and assured her that our car is performing beautifully and that we're just choosing to ride over driving.
I feel good that we have put in clothesline to save electricity and I think we're going to adopt some family policies over the summer where we don’t turn on lights until the sun goes down. We're pretty good about that now, but I think we can improve. We don’t have air conditioning, or even a swamp cooler like many of our neighbors, and while last summer we endured some sweltering nights, I think we will manage and be better off for not "upgrading" our home. The garden is our next project and we need to get it going soon. I'm afraid we're already squandering Spring.
I feel good that we have kept ourselves free of credit card debt and of bad spending habits. We're not perfect, but we typically choose not to spend money we don't have.
While I think we can ride out the initial waves of the Long Emergency, I'm afraid that the Post Carbon Revelation is imminent. Our country is politically, economically, socially and fundamentally ill from consuming too much oil over the past century. Nothing is sustainable, and despite the best efforts of so many that have recognized our dilemma I think its been too little, too late. Sustainability may ultimately become a function of natural equilibrium, and not conscious policy or legislative efforts.
In the meantime we just have to do our best, hang on for the ride and be ready for anything.
Go ride your bike!