Friday, May 07, 2010

Why we need resilient communities

Alex Steffen's rant at WorldChanging points out just how desperate the future will probably be for our children and grandchildren.

[Environmentalists] have been warning for decades about the need to prevent catastrophe, coloring everything on the other side of catastrophe "unthinkable."

Welcome to unthinkable. It's now where we live. Climate catastrophe is now a given: it's only the degree and flavor of catastrophe that's still (hopefully) within our control. Our kids are going to spend their entire lives dealing with unfolding ecological crises. They're going to live their whole lives in a world without untouched nature, with a vast inheritance of trouble, surrounded by systems that are breaking one after another and demand large-scale aggressive interventions.

We've spent so much time working to prevent this future, that most of our established leader have spent almost no time thinking about how to live in it. Live in it we must, though: life goes on (assuming we can muster the small flicker of planetary responsibility demanded to not completely bleach the oceans or burn off the biosphere with runaway climate change; I feel confident we will, and if we don't, that's not so much an unthinkable future as a terminal one). We live in a world that's soon to have nine billion people, almost all of them urban or living close by cities, in societies that're significantly more stressed than they are now, pressing hard against planetary boundaries. |Wordlchanging|


Steffen suggests dense cities are key to decreasing humanity's footprint, which is true, although I hate (most) big cities myself.

I like the suggestions over at the Oil Drum's Campfire about Decentralization, Localization, and Scale-Free Self-Sufficiency as a way to build resilient communities.

I think networking together is our best hope for salvation in the face of the oncoming storm.