Patchwork Design Lab

May 18, 2010

Easing into the consumption crash

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lonnie @ 9:26 am

Whenever I talk to anyone, even friends who agree with me and can see the basic argument about the coming catabolic collapse (to borrow the arch-druid‘s description) they act like I’m talking doom and gloom. I don’t see it that way at all. I can’t argue that it’s going to be easy, or that it’s easy now. But on the whole, to me, the coming changes are a breath of fresh air. Thinking about living in a world without cars and constant ad bombing and everyone running around like crazed racoons looking for meaningful retail therapy and the media constantly hammering out fears of turbaned ruffians improvising bombs from here to Timbuktu, …, well to tell you the truth it just sounds like a big relief.

Here are 5 things you can do to make the transition more enjoyable.
  1. Develop a taste for literature. Having the leisure to read is one of the joys of being independently poor. For one thing, it’s a way to find things out about yourself that you would never know in any other way. I discovered, for example, that I prefer Raymond Chandler to John Updike. I would much rather look straight at the dark underside than wallow aimlessly around on the surface pretending that things are normal. In both worlds – the world of Rabbit Angstrom and the world of Phillip Marlowe – the stakes are life and death, but it comes as less of a shock to the hard-boiled PI than it does to the feckless ex-highschool basketball star.
  2. Move someplace where you don’t need a car. Or lobby your local civic authorities to favor more walkable communities that are friendlier to local enterprise than they are to multinational, cargo cultish, MacJob bait and switch schemes. Care are becoming increasingly unaffordable anyway. The automobile may be the single most environmentally destructive invention ever devised, especially when you consider the infrastructure required to support it. Reduce the amount of asphalt in your neighborhood and replace it with gardens and greenspace. You’ll vastly lower your air-conditioning bills in the summertime by reducing the heat-island effect.
  3. Learn to garden. You shouldn’t be swallowing that processed and polluted corporate crap anyway (this goes for information as well as food). You want to improve your health? Get some exercise and eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, chemical free. You want to feel more financially secure? Break free of the global food-as-commodity debacle.
  4. Learn to draw, paint, dance, sing, or play a musical instrument. Find some friends and start a band. Start noticing the world around you; the arts are a great vehicle for this adventure.
  5. Learn a trade – plumbing, carpentry, welding. The technological innovations of the 21st century will be largely in the field of recycled, scavenged parts. I have an idea for a solar generator using an old turbo-charger, a generator from a truck, some tubing and miscellaneous materials for constructing a panel. I have a friend with welding gear. Green retro-fitting and other types of remodeling and handyman work will be in increasing demand.
  6. Bonus Idea: Start a community. I’m not talking about a ideologically driven eco-village type of thing. No “intentional” communities for me. Network with people you know who share some of your views and/or who have something valuable in the way skills and insight to share. Do business with these people, and shun the Wal-Mart, even though the big boxes are cheaper in the short term. Look into starting a local Credit Exchange Network (such as LETS) or a local currency.

The age of exuberant stupidity is coming to an end. With the breakdown of infrastructure comes the easing of control. There will be room to inhabit your own skin and grow your awareness. As long as you remember this simple phrase: Don’t Panic.

1 Comment »

  1. looks like i have some reading to catch up on….

    i love this….

    thank you!

    proud to be… your sis


    Comment by Paula Jean Brown — November 22, 2010 @ 9:18 am

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