I know I’m been a little off my writing schedule for the last week or so , but I’m a bit stuck. Not blocked but stuck. Over the past few months I’ve done a ton of reading about permaculture with a good bit about peak oil, the long descent and transition as well. but now I’m stopped.
Putting this all together is difficult
The first thing that is getting me stuck is trying to connect all of this knowledge swirling around in my head into one big picture though this seems to be least of my issues.
Incorporating this into an existing suburban dwelling is difficult
The second thing that is getting me stuck is trying to incorporate all f this into my existing house. Maybe I’m a perfectionist but it is awfully difficult to come up with permaculture solutions in an existing suburban house in an existing suburban neighborhood designed for unlimited fossil fuel use. Ideal solutions would be low priced, reasonably priced or higher priced but with a high energy payback. I can make some decent improvements but it’s difficult to see the path to a breakthrough.
I feel like I need to move to another place but neighborhoods that are “locally” self-sufficient are scarce. There really doesn’t seem to be a lot of “better” out there from a neighborhood context. I feel like I need to move to another smaller house but it’s awfully hard to sell a house in the current real estate market. I feel like I need to build a house but how is using more energy to build a new structure consistent with permaculture when there are so many existing buildings already out there?
Getting beyond the garden is difficult
Lastly I’m getting stuck around permaculture beyond the garden. It seems that ( and trust me this is not backed up by any scientific research) that permaculture information focuses 90% of their efforts on the garden. The 10% that is not garden seems to be individual projects, without a core philosophy backing them.
(Generalizing here) When you are living on a large plot of land if you can meet your needs for energy and cooling, you can pretty much stay on the land most of the time, minimizing your needs for travel and use of fuel. You can have a well on your own land and become self-sufficient in water, recycling gray water. Your solid organic wastes can be composted. If you reduce your other purchases and stay pretty close to home, you can achieve a very balanced lifestyle.
These strategies are less workable in the urban/suburban context. We have so little land to work with, the garden becomes less important. Transportation and travel become much more important. Also neighborhood sharing and community building become much more important. This seems difficult when you don’t have like-minded neighbors.
Unable to See the Way Forward
Last week I read Dave Pollard post entitled The Second Denial on How to Save the World. I remember distinctly the first time I lost someone very dear to me, how I couldn’t see a future for a long time. This person was so much a part of my future that all of my visions of the future included them; I just couldn’t imagine a future without them in it. I remember looking at the 5 stages of grief model and wondering, was this depression? I was stuck then. I sort of feel like that now. I wonder if others are not in denial; if rather they are stuck , not able to see their way to a post oil or sustainable or whatever you want to call it, future.