Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Epistle to Iver / US Transition


Do they drive all over creation, willy-nilly, and seemingly without purpose in Maine?

It is insane, the way that they drive around Oregon. Even worse than it was in Massachusetts. Don't they understand that there is a real opportunity cost for that fuel? If it is used for personal automobile use then there is that much less for home heating, cooking, and electricity generation. If they exhaust it today, it is gone forever. It WILL NOT be available tomorrow.

Did you know that in the USA, personal transportation accounts for 14 MILLION BARRELS A DAY of oil usage?

A couple of years ago, a friend in my apartment building went back to Minnesota to visit. He said it was absolutely insane how the people there drove foolishly, when in Minnesota, of all places, they should be sensitive to the opportunity cost relative to the cold. Maine is not so urban, and probably hasn't grown as much in the last century, but I'm betting that the development in the last 80 to 100 years has been mindless residential and associated strip malls.

What are the conditions of your old town and village centers? If made obsolete by Wal-Marts and other strip development, is it realistic to economically bring them back? Think about forming an equity union in the residential neighborhoods surrounding the old centers and pooling your money/resources to make your communities walkable again, reallocating goods and services to town and village centers so that people can get what they need within walking distance of their homes.

Economy of scale is important, so you will want to look to combining inter-community efforts on a regional scale (Define your regions as smallest identifiable and workable locale and work your way out, probably along watersheds).

If Teddy Roosevelt had listened to Benton MacKaye (The New Exploration:1928), we would be in so much a better predicament, but Benton's genius was marginalized in his day and the prophecy, like other unrecognized voices of genius in the wilderness (among the unthinking, ignorant normalcy) would be remembered as ultra-Biblical, if there will be anyone left to remember or recall (at least on this continent)

It's amazing to think of that when oil has only been known as a common resource for about 150 years and the automobile about 100 years. Think of what a fluke that is in human history. Why can't our leaders put it into perspective for the people of this country and implore us to recognize that the terrible overshoot in this resource use combined with population pressures calls for extraordinary short term and long term adjustments?

It seems so relatively simple to me, why don't others/leaders comprehend it and take and commit to action?

Talk about a foolhardy people and boomtowns, have you ever seen pictures of the huge Edmonton, Alberta skyline? And the graphic said -17 degrees. Oil's well that ends? Well?

Business as usual is genocide, ecocide, and suicide.

If you think that sprawl is a problem back east, you should see it here in Oregon (and other "points" West). That's all they know now.

I hope that I have helped you in your efforts to bring a true, workable transition to Skowhegan and sister communities. It feels so much better to post positive ideas than to vent the terrible frustrations of doom (no matter how realistic).

Please let me know if there is any way that I can help.

Enjoyed looking at the farm websites that you posted and watching your maple syrup video. Like organic gardening and food preservation, I think that many in the Transition Movement (especially the young) romanticize and oversimplify the age old knowledge and wisdom that is required, and hopefully for the folks in rural areas (who may have a chance except for the economic dominance/stranglehold of the metropolitan regions and the mass chaos and barbarism that will accompany the latters' failures) not lost.

Got a "charge" out of your electric range. I suppose Central Maine Power gets a substantial amount of its electricity from Wiscasset (a nuclear power plant on the Maine Coast).


In Peace, Friendwalkin', Community, Cooperation, and Solidarity,

Mike Morin

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