Thursday, January 7, 2010

tc: Can't find Transition's Golden Land

Transition Culture us a great site. Today's post is a collection of seven videos (A Delicious array of short films about Transition) about Transition - the expected economic and ecologic decline because of global warming and Peak Oil (the end of cheap energy).

Listening to the camera guy (first video), he focuses on a traditional economy. He defines development of products, promotion of business goals, business community activation as the path to Transition. He wants to adapt a consumer-driven business model to engage in sustainable living, eschewing products transported across nations and oceans in favor of the security of locally produced food and goods. Right. That is like selling brussell's sprouts instead of Girl Scout Cookies or candy to raise money.

What I ask is - how do you engage the public? Can Transition afford to overlook the young parents of young children, striving to keep food and utilities, shelter and clothing and hygiene intact? Is it enough to rely on advertising and marketing and even political momentum to convince, in economic terms, a consuming republic to "buy" the concept?

What will cause those feeling burdened with care and nurturing others to recommend significant change?

It seems that there has to be a demonstrable "golden land" goal, lauded by those that have jumped to a new life, to assure the curious and worried that Transition is possible. There must also be a demonstrable and visceral belief that change has to happen to avoid death.

I find there are many forms of death, or massive change - a clearing away of the life from before. Change is almost always seen as the alternative to a worse loss, and is measured in pain.

Transition, done individually or piecemeal, is a change that will be devastating to cultural, social, and family ties and values. How do you move entire cultures or societies, cause painful change? Do you impose change with violence, or make TV commercials? Do you organize college professors or do you invest the plumber's union with motivation and impetus?

I have seen street protests, and formation of nearly closed groups of Transition, Peak Oil, and Warmer believers - where is the change to national building and electric code? Where are the "green" replacement engines for today's transportation vehicles, instead of wasting the energy and resources to replace the metal and (petrochemical) plastic of the whole vehicle? Where are the wholesale overhauls to mass media and public education to replace consumer-driven ethics and buying practices with sustainable and localized lifestyles?

Here in Oklahoma, US, there are many agribusiness farms and ranches. There are also the odd lots and fields left unused - why aren't there people looking to utilize those odd spaces for additional local food production, for demonstration that sustainable practices are viable and useful?

I have a reprint of a book, "10 acres enough". "No man should farm more ground than he can adequately manure (fertilize)." Breaking down big agribusiness means that the number of smaller enterprises - from a couple acres to maybe 80 or 160 acres per family. That means a *lot* of new housing, that should be build and furnished in a sustainable manner. That means a *lot* of tools to be created, from field tools to garden tools to transport from myriad fields to distribution centers. Where is all this infrastructure? If the septic system and county-wide sewer system is to be replace with composting toilets, again there is a need for a *lot* of sustainable system designs. Where are they?

In computer programming circles, it has been noted that the really good systemic changes - aside from hardware - take 20 years. The "C" programming language, Linux, Perl, object oriented programming - it took a couple of decades to find acceptance among people responsible for assets and resources.

The outcome of Kyoto, and now Copenhagen, should be seen as well-deserved bad reviews of poorly executed engineering - defined as "design to cost". It isn't enough to convince academics and a handful of politicians. Why was Copenhagen allowed to happen, without a clamor of support from labor unions and multinational corporations, from school teachers and new parents and those confined to beds or wheel chairs?

Where is the "golden land"?

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