My Sufi teacher, (an Englishman) in the 1970, (he died in 1974) predicted that there would come a time when farmers would be protecting their crops with dogs and guns. He also commented on the sustainability of so-called new-age communities, which you might recall, were very popular in the swinging sixties, but that is something for a different article.It seems to me, although I didn’t fully appreciate what he meant then, that I now see, is that it is sure to happen, as the problems of Global Warming, overpopulation, depletion of resources, peak oil, etc are becoming more apparent, especially peak oil.
He also talked about the large corporations and institutions; comparing them to the dinosaurs – they should not be any cause for worry, they will fade away like the dinosaurs did, and in any case, there is nothing we, even in groups, can do about them.
But I don’t see that happening any time soon, given the corporate greed and the profit motive depleting resources and destroying the environment.
So consider this; overpopulation is already causing over consumption of resources including fossil fuels, metals, minerals, food and oil. Do you think that the governments will get it together and limit the population growth let alone reducing it?
Peak oil, predicted by some to be already upon us, and others not to happen for another ten years, will inexorably and undoubtedly arrive; bringing massive disruption to our way of life. Driving your SUV when gas is $10, $20 or $50 a gallon or more, will be for only the very rich. The number of people owning a car will drastically reduce, leading to widespread unemployment in all the related industries leading to further unemployment in non related industries as the former workers in the car industry cannot buy things.
Have you ever seen the plight of a small shop in a mining village when the pit closes? Suddenly nobody has work, so nobody buys things, so the shop’s trade dies. I personally witnessed this, not in a mining village, but in a pleasant West Country village in England, where people would rather go by car to the supermarket in the nearest town, to save a few pennies on a tin of beans, than pay two pence extra at the local village shop. In little over a year, their short sightedness lost them the convenience of the shop, as it could not survive.
Further to the non-car scenario, think about the supermarkets and all the trucks that deliver four or five times a day to each branch. The gas costs will slowly price them off the road. The price of food will soar until there are finally no supplies in the supermarkets which will cause riots because of the empty shelves and people will go looking for food elsewhere.
Where will that be? Into the country where the food is grown. Raids on fields of potatoes will bring out the guns and dogs to protect the crops. People will be shot. Blackwater and police will attempt to restore order and will fail or succeed, but many hundreds of people will starve, or die in one way or another.
There will be a massive flight from the cities.
Those that can will prepare in advance. Sustainable communities, growing their own vegetables, producing their own power from wind turbines and solar panels, with their own water, are the only chance of survival in such a bleak future.
The cities will be unsustainable. No fuel to run the facilities, no food, no electricity; they will empty faster than you can say Jack Robinson. In northern climates, winters will be harsh, so people will move south. The farms will be much smaller with no tractors and no fertilizer (made from oil) – it will be back to the hand reaping and threshing of just a short time ago.
I remember in my childhood, ‘helping’ the local farmer, with a lot of other kids, get the sheaves in to take them to the corner of the field where this ‘modern’ thresher, rigged up by belt drive to the tractor worked. There will be no combine harvesters, threshers, seed drilling machines – everything by hand and aching back.
This might not happen overnight, the price of oil will climb, the price of food will follow, but slowly the realization that all is lost with this mechanized civilization will dawn - but once the idea takes hold, once the price of gas goes above a certain critical level, due to shortages, the proverbial sh** will hit the fan, and a cascade of events will unfold. And you will see just how thin the veneer of civilization is in each and every one of us. Those who have always been poor will have the skills to survive, just as they have now.