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Pedal Power solutions to petroleum dependence and polluting vehicles: Arcata Library Bikes, Pedal Power Produce, and more!

CAOE - Committee Against Oil Exploration - stop offshore oil drilling to protect sensitive habitats and cut petroleum dependence.

Culture Change through music! The Depavers eco-rock!

Take our Pledge for Climate Protection and learn about the Global Warming Crisis Council.

SEI hometown action!
Arcata city council's proclamation against war on Iraq and Kyoto Protocol proclamation.

Overpopulation has become a reality.  Overpopulation Resources and News Tidbits

Sail Transport Network

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Preparing for a Sustainable Future

by Juniper Elk and Jan Lundberg

Dominated and enslaved by today's materialist economy, people must struggle in order to form and maintain successful relationships. Economic pressures disrupt family structure and taint gender roles. False divisions between people are fed by narrow economic interests. Our relationship with nature has been nearly severed, leaving us without the purpose and direction that not only gives meaning to life, but allowed for our evolution.

Our society experiences an overwhelming frequency of disease that is stress related. Choosing to take care of our own health needs, and to relax and escape stress, is forgone due to short-term economics. Even the healthy and wealthy are seen to exude a sadness and discontent, reflecting diminished capacity to contribute to the community or to help the beleaguered environment. As workers and victims of a system alienating us from the disappearing natural ecosystem, we come to understand the power of transnational corporations that exceeds government's. To behave as stewards of the land is given lip service, as more models of sustainability are discovered while the planetary crisis escalates.

Liberation from this system is inevitable, arising out of a cleansing and purging provided by eventual economic collapse. We say this after noting Earth's life-support system indicators, and comparing the alarming picture to whatever progress can be celebrated on behalf of the human spirit. Linkage of our problems to solutions must involve an understanding of energy and the law of entropy. Petroleum which drives today's system is running out. We may continue to experience dependency for several more years, barring general collapse, but petroleum usage will be at a greater and greater cost to economic vitality and the normal function of the planet's climate. By 2015 cheap abundant crude oil is widely expected to be exhausted. Already, most new oil fields take more energy to extract the oil than is gained from the oil. Alternatively, we may witness an accelerated transition toward the post-corporate survivalist era via Y2K failures and related breakdowns in distributing power, goods, and services. Sustainability has promise, but is a fragmented science barely practiced in a technology-dominated and dollar-driven world. So, we at the Auto-Free Times have wondered what more-besides our road-fighting and related initiatives, and of our friends' creating land trusts and fighting for wilderness-could assure survival of species?

In the cases of either complete collapse and attendant nuclear events, or a hopeful reawakening of our cooperative, tribal instincts, today's six billion humans will suffer great losses via starvation. Far from seeing this, developed countries take foolish pride in the distance that oil-powered trucks bring food to market, as consumers figuratively and literally bathe in and eat petrochemicals. Those who may survive the shakeout will be those prepared to live according to as much native wisdom as can be invoked. Non-technological food production will resume its preeminence. Basic solutions include seed saving, a period of produce delivery via pedal power, and depaving for gardens. Those who are awake and active today feel pressure to develop the type of communities in which these lifestyles are possible.

Residual technology in the post-corporate era may entice some survivors to comb landfills in search of tools, weapons or other aids. These people will be clinging to what they know, resisting the fundamental shift towards Earth-oriented living. This type of scavenging will eventually fail against skills developed by people of "wild tribes" and other natural groups such as subsistence farmers. After all, our two-million plus years of evolution was based on wildness. The survivalist rift will serve to reconfirm the inadequacies and shortsightedness of technological civilization. We will soon find ourselves in a battle of tech vs. nature, in which nature is sure to prevail.

At Fossil Fuels Policy Action and the Alliance for a Paving Moratorium we have been warning against, and have explored, society's petroleum dependency and other factors which lead to upcoming collapse. In supporting the decommissioning of roads, depaving, and pedal power produce, we have gathered tools to develop a society that thrives independent of an oil or motor-vehicle economy. However, over the course of this year's community preparedness meetings we hosted in our town's city hall, we have come to understand that survival will require even more from us. Fundamentally we must reorient ourselves. Local community will become our family, in the sense that without time and fuel and money to reach our loved ones across the country, we must find love, support, kinship and cooperation within our own neighborhoods and watersheds. This type of local cultural development is integral to our own species' success.

Full consciousness revolution will be impossible before the populace's supply lines are cut by the economy's weaknesses. In the meantime, we must identify models of sustainability and advance ourselves towards their realization, now. So, who is your real family? Will you be able to rely on them during and after system collapse? By challenging ourselves to think most locally, we can foster a sense of connection both to our environment and to the people with whom we share it. Yet, we must maintain a global village mentality when it comes to outreach in areas such as nuclear-radiation protection. Apart from that, we may soon enjoy a larger world which requires weeks to get to the opposite hemisphere, by sails of hemp on boats of reeds.