Thursday, September 28, 2006

Dandelion Stew: Creating the Post-Petrol Society

I was getting depressed reading Carolyn Baker's essay Cooking on the Road to Collapse: The Terminal Triangle Rules about the convergence of climate change, resource depletion (especially fossil fuels) and global economic collapse.

But then I followed one of the essay's links to Jan Lundbergh's Preparations and Policies for Petrocollapse and Climate Distortion, which is a very thoughtful and practical piece for planning collective action to prepare our communities for the transition to a post-petrol society.

Jan's article reminds us of the fact that every part of the dandelion is edible.
In suburbia the many large lawns -- and golf courses -- present an opportunity for food production. Applying lawn chemicals made by the petroleum industry should stop right away. Hatred for the non-uniformity of yellow dandelion flowers, for example, on the idealized green patch of biological pavement, must give way to appreciating eating the nutritious dandelion leaves and the medicinal roots. Running water will be possibly rare in the post-petroleum world, so rain catchment must be done to get through dry growing season.
I'm sure that someone will discover how to make dandelion wine in the post-petrol society.

I do think her article is a bit overoptimistic, but then, I'm a cynic. I think the large cities (including the one I live in) are doomed. People will survive, but in the smaller and less-populated areas for exactly the reasons she cites. I fear the west coast and east coast of the United States will not fare well in the post-oil era. At least not until the population subsides to a more sustainable level.

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