Peak Oil Anarchy

Peak Oil is indisputable, inevitable and -- probably -- imminent. As the Cheap Oil era ends & oil supplies grow ever more scarce, our consumerist, earth-eating economy will go into convulsions & industrial civilization will teeter on the brink of collapse. Best be prepared! Peak Oil could herald a Golden Age of Anarchy. In Leviathan's ashes, we could create new decentralized communities of mutual aid, solidarity against oppression, & egalitarian harmony. May this be a map to the terrain ahead!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Ripping Up Asphalt and Planting Gardens

Nominated by POA for "Best esssay of the year!"

(by Derrick Jensen) I don't see declining oil extraction as a problem. I see it as a wonderful and necessary thing I wish would have happened a long time ago.

This culture is killing the planet. It must be stopped. We evidently do not have the courage to stop it ourselves.
The natural world will stop it for us. I think suburbs have no future. Nor do cities. They are inherently unsustainable...

Civilization is going to crash, whether or not we help bring this about. If you don’t agree with this, we probably have nothing to say to each other... We probably also agree that this crash will be messy. We agree further that since industrial civilization is systematically dismantling the ecological infrastructure of the planet, the sooner civilization comes down (whether or not we help it crash) the more life will remain afterwards to support both humans and nonhumans.

If you agree with all this, and if you don’t want to dirty your spirituality and conscience with the physical work of helping to bring down civilization, and if your primary concern really is for the well-being of those (humans) who will be alive during and immediately after the crash, then, given, and I repeat this point to emphasize it, that civilization is going to come down anyway, you need to start preparing people for the crash, ripping up asphalt in vacant parking lots to convert them to neighborhood gardens, teaching people how to identify local edible plants, even in the city (especially in the city) so these people won’t starve when the proverbial shit hits the fan and they can no longer head off to Albertson’s for groceries...

We need it all. We need people to take out dams, and we need people to knock out electrical infrastructures. We need people to protest and to chain themselves to trees. We also need people working to ensure that as many people as possible are equipped to deal with the fall-out when the collapse comes. We need people working to teach others what wild plants to eat, what plants are natural antibiotics. We need people teaching others how to purify water, how to build shelters.

Further, resistance needs to be global. Acts of resistance are more effective when they’re large-scale and coordinated. The infrastructure is monolithic and centralized, so common tools and techniques can be used to dismantle it in many different places, simultaneously if possible.

By contrast, the work of renewal must be local. To be truly effective (and to avoid reproducing the industrial infrastructure) acts of survival and livelihood need to grow from particular landbases where they will thrive. People need to enter into conversation with each piece of earth and all its (human and nonhuman) inhabitants...

The work we face includes both destruction and creation. I'm thinking, for example, about a cell phone tower behind the local Safeway. Cell phone towers kill between five and fifty million migratory songbirds per year just in the United States. The cell phone tower needs to come down. It is contiguous on two sides with abandoned parking lots. Those lots need to come up. Gardens can bloom in their place. We can even do our work side by side.

Read complete essay (by Derrick Jensen)

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