Sunday, 22 August 2010

Can we solve two problems at once - unemployment and preparing for power down?

Interesting discussion thread over on The Oil Drum, suggesting that if there's work that needs doing, and people that need work, then we should put the two together:

Over the next twenty years the US and the world will need to transition from an industrial agriculture model to one based on permaculture and more organic, labor intensive approaches to growing food. Oil is going to decline, meaning that diesel fuels to run tractors and combines will become increasingly costly. And natural gas, meaning fertilizers, will also go into decline. The era of agribusiness is coming to a close sooner than anybody might have imagined. And we are not prepared for what follows.

The work that should be started soon and will be labor intensive is relatively straightforward enough. We need, literally, millions of men and women reconditioning and building soils capable of sustaining permaculture and local production/delivery of food. The Green Revolution has done a great deal to degrade so much of our natural soils through the increasing use of fertilizers and pesticides as well as irrigation. Now, without these petroleum-derived inputs, it is likely that food yields would drop significantly. Some land areas currently under cultivation might even fail completely. As far as oil-based transportation is concerned, the world is going to grow very large once again, and very round, once long-distance hauling is no longer cost effective. Foods will have to be grown and consumed locally and the only alternative to industrial agriculture that might hope to produce sufficient calories and nutrients to keep huge numbers from starving is permaculture. That is where the jobs will be. And the sooner we get started developing our skills and knowledge of how to do this, the better off we will all be.
Go to TOD to read the whole article.


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