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Friday, June 30, 2006

Tim from Tang, The Reason Why!

My Grandfather was born in 1900, before fossil fuels had really changed the lifestyle of ordinary people in an enormous way, he farmed organically and without motor powered machinery until the 60's when my Dad was a young man, at this stage my father was going to ag college and learning about the new chemical and mechanized farming methods that have given us the world which we live in today. My Grandfather died aged 80 in 1980 whilst carrying a sack of barley across the yard (50Kg on his shoulder at 80) dropped down dead with a stroke and all his knowledge with him.
My second daughter was born in 2000, and will see the end of cheap fossil fuels in her lifetime. I wish I had all the knowledge that my Grandfather had to pass on to her, for she will sorely need it. My father is currently terminally ill and although he has some of my grandfathers knowledge he has always farmed in the modern way, and the time that he has left is not enough for him to share this knowledge.
For example when I recently put an earth floor in the strawbale house that I am building, I had to go back to first principles to find a recipe/mix that worked well with our local soil, 75 years ago this knowledge was held by many of the older people in our area who had direct experience of installing earth floors, I could have just asked somebody.

The point that I am trying to make is this, If we accept that we are going to need to drastically reduce our energy consumption in the next 50 years, we are going to need to learn again, generations of knowledge about hand tools, horse farming, construction, organic agriculture, all the stuff of life as it was 100 years or so ago, this will I fear prove impossible in just a single generation, which I fear is all we have before the crisis is upon us.
It is therefore our responsibility to investigate all of these old methods to the best of our ability and to save as much of the local specific information for our own climate and area, and to pass this on to our children. If we do not do this, then our children will be among those who starve.
It is all very well to assume that some solution will present itself and to blunder blinkered into the future, but this will not help your children to survive and prosper, which I suppose is really what life is about.
We need to take the attitude that we look after the land (and resources) that we have for our children, we do not own it!! It belongs to our descendants, and to theirs.
What is missing from many people in the modern world I feel is their link to the land, and the realization that without the land we would all starve (fossil fuels or no), and with Global warming proceeding apace the future of the land (and the filling of our descendants stomachs) is far from sure.

Mankind is currently crippled by short term thinking, we no longer think in generations or centuries because we all move around too much, and for our children we assume that a good education is the best that we can give them to assure their future prosperity. We do need to educate them, but not in tech or marketing, rather in the things that they will need as fossil fuels come to an end (and I am NOT talking nuclear power here).

Tim


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