“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” - Often attributed to Plato but likely from Ian McLaren (pseudonym of Reverend John Watson)

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Split personality

Yes, I'm talking about me. I'm currently reading some of the posts of John Michael Greer, the Grand Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America. Don't laugh, this is one extraordinarily intelligent, thoughtful, and perceptive man. His posts cover the topic of the inevitable end of our era of profligate energy waste based on plentiful fossil fuels. He has many innovative ideas and, as I read, I think "I could do that" and that it would actually be productive and enjoyable.

But, as I sit in front of my iMac 11.3 with its 27" display and quad core i7 Sandy Bridge processor on the second floor of our 2,500 ft^2 house in suburbia, contemplating my work week in our Engineering Consulting firm in the construction sector and whether or not my airplane's annual inspection will be completed this week, planning my trip to Boston next weekend for the Clean Technology Conference and Expo, planning to meet with some people for the purpose of developing new business opportunities with the hope of being able sell the Piper Saratoga and purchase a Piper Meridian turboprop aircraft and build a custom home on a hillside in the desert exurbs - let's just say I'm a bit conflicted.

On the one hand, it could be a case of "hope for the best, plan for the worst." On the other, it could be that I'm simply full of BS. But I do intend to rekindle the steps I planned to start taking and documenting in my other blog (which has a single entry from over three years ago). To that end, I have some skills in the Archdruid's suggested portfolio, having learned to do some woodworking and machining and possessing some tools for those purposes. Such skills will probably be at a premium in James Kunstler's World Made By Hand. By no means do I think that such changes will have a measurable effect on the trajectory of civilization, but they should enable me to be better equipped for what's to come - for better or worse.

It's fun to contemplate arming myself to the teeth, providing a bunker for myself and my family, and figuring out how to provide for the bottommost two levels in the ubiquitous Maslow's hierarchy of needs in a post-apocalyptic world. But I'm not sure that that's a constructive approach for a 56 year old businessman, even one who was a Boy Scout and can self-sufficiently camp in the desert and is very familiar with firearms.

So, what (watt?) can be done? Well, in the most recent billing period, my household used electricity at the continuous average rate of 1.92 kilowatts. What about cutting that by, say, 40%? I've blogged previously about replacing my Land Rover with, say, a Chevy Volt. Of course, I'd be using electricity to charge it, so adjustment in the 40% reduction in electricity use would be in order. My tools are located about 70 miles from where I currently sit, I will be bringing them here. I have a roof that's ideally suited for a solar installation, and sufficient room for both solar photovoltaic electricity and solar water heating. I'll seriously look at these types of investments of time, financial resources, and energy in the ensuing few months. Implementation of some more of the Archdruid's recommendations may well follow.

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