So, I keep thinking about what a great team effort the WWO.org project is. People from around the world are coming together, and coming up with real solutions to the problems of scarce oil, and sharing those solutions with each other. It's huge. The things we're doing, promoting local food, alternative transportation, and community organization, are absolutely vital steps to getting through the crisis. We wouldn't get through without the contributions of each of you.
But will it be enough?
Sometimes, I can't help thinking of China during Mao's Great Leap Forward. Mao wanted to industrialize China, but saw the established ways of industrialization as too Western or too capitalistic. He wanted his own way, and the method he came up with was having all the collectivised peasants making steel in backyard iron smelters.
Now, to gloss over a perfect storm of massive failures, China didn't meaningfully industrialize for another 30 years afterwards (after Mao and his meddlesome nature were safely dead), and the diversion of labor away from agriculture resulted in famine. Lots of good effort went to waste.
Coming back to WWO.org, while we all need to pitch in with individual actions in our local communities, and that this work is absolutely necessary, at some point we're going to have to think bigger.
The federal government is too busy imploding to do anything. But state and local governments, and corporations, have every incentive to do what they can to keep things going and avoid collapse. Despite what anybody tells you, nobody profits from the End of the World. But relatively few of them have been able to take real steps in helping people, so far.
I'm guessing that very few, more likely none of us, is a governor, mayor, or CEO. We can't say "jump" and have lots of people do what we say. But not many people turn down free help, especially small local governments who are stretched thin in the best of times. And companies, large and small, look favorably on employees who can say "do this and we'll save $n-thousand per year in energy costs."
So here's my challenge to you. We all live somewhere, most of us still work somewhere. That gives each of us one, likely two ways to help start bringing large amounts of power to bear on the problems that we're already facing as a community.
Go out, when you can, and take a look around your neighborhood, and come up with plans to help your town council provide services to you and your neighbors. Figure out routes for an ad hoc bus system. Which streets can be closed to cars and reserved for bicycles and pedestrians? Where to put increased bike parking? What critical points need police present, or nearby, and for what purpose? (Theft deterrence? Crowd control? Direction giving? Make sure it's clear.) What underused bits of public land can become community gardens?
Look around your workplace, and note what can be done to keep employees (and customers, where applicable) able to get there. Are any old incandescent bulbs still burning that can be replaced by compact fluorescents? If you work in an area that offers it, look into programs like TransitChek that allow your employer to use pre-tax dollars to buy your transit pass. How can you reconfigure your parking lot to accommodate bicycles? If you're too far from a rail or bus line, can a connecting shuttle be run? Can the outer edges of your parking lot be used as a park-and-ride, either as satellite parking for a rail station (that shuttle doesn't have to return empty), or for an adjacent bus stop, or just for a slug line?
There are many steps that governments and companies can take. Steps that they *will* take, because they're in their own interests. Just go out and point the way. And let us know about the highlights.