Wednesday, July 16, 2008
One of the world's leading experts on trend forecasting says that producing our own energy for our homes and cars (called "micro generation") will become a huge trend in the next couple of decades.What's he talking about?
Well, energy and food prices will keep going up. Every dollar we don't have to pay to the energy utility or food producers is a dollar we get to keep. And the technology for producing it ourselves is getting better and better.
So increasingly over the next couple of decades, we will generate our own energy and food.
Indeed, if the economy really crashes, we may not be able to rely on centralized energy producers and utilities or large-scale agriculture and transportation. So getting a head-start in thinking about micro energy and food production will not only save us money, it will give us confidence in uncertain times.
Due to high oil prices, major breakthroughs in energy production are happening every day.
- A scientist has figured out how to make and store energy by splitting water with sunlight. He says: "You've made your house into a fuel station [and we can get] rid of all the ... grids"
- A new generation of highly-efficient wind turbines (and see this) is being introduced which can produce much more energy
- And new approaches to solar energy (see this and this) are making residential solar very cost-competitive
- It has been discovered that alcohol made from donuts, grass and other abundant materials can run cars and all other engines
Moreover, if we get together with some of our neighbors and pool our energy, so we can distribute it where and when it is needed, we will save even more money. I'm not talking about hugging trees, holding hands and singing Kumbaya (although if you want to do that, that's okay). I'm talking solely about economics. If you start talking to your neighbors about this now, you'll be ready when the energy storage technology becomes cheap.
If you have any spare cash lying around and don't know where to invest it, look into micro generation. See this , this and this.
You don't need a huge backyard to grow a sizable portion of your own food. There are ways to grow food even in small spaces.
- You can grow vegetable gardens vertically (it doesn't look that great, but it works)
- You can get chickens and buy or build a chicken coop for eggs and chicken meat (my wife got 4 chicks a couple of weeks ago; I thought at first she was nuts, but they are actually easy to keep)
- You can grow a lot of certain types of vegetables - like potatoes - in small spaces.
You can also join or start a farming cooperative in your area, so that you have access to food in return for a contribution of money or labor (see this, although the farms mentioned don't seem very economical). Community gardens are an option (see this and this).
Ranching cooperatives are also popping up. I predict there will be more and more of them.
See this detailed discussion on food.
My wife says that the economic crash we're experiencing will bring Americans closer together as neighbors, and will remind us of what's really important. I hope she's right . . . But this article is not about getting back to the land and singing Kumbaya. I'm simply focusing on how to stay afloat financially in a very unstable economy.
Moreover, wars are being fought in our name over oil. Tyranny is being implemented to stifle dissent to imperial wars.
Huge energy companies -- some with earnings bigger than many countries -- are calling the shots. As long as we rely on them to provide our power to us, we are buying into the imperial wars, injustice and destruction of our liberties.
If we install solar, wind, or whatever other micro equipment we can in our homes and offices, then we could decentralize power-generation -- and thus -- decentralize power away from the energy giants and their imperial political allies.
Indeed, it is arguably patriotic to participate in micro generation and micro farming. The Founding Fathers sung the virtues of "citizen farmers". Don't quit your day job . . . but if we become citizen energy-and-food farmers in our spare time, the self-sufficiency and sense of responsibility might help in some small way we to restore true American values.