Being resilient is about being able to withstand a shock to the normal way of life. Recently there has been a shock in the form of the Global Financial Crisis, however I believe that it was tame compared to what is about to come in the next decade.
Two big issues come immediately to mind. Climate Change and Peak Oil.
You have probably heard about the concept of Climate Change, and we are already feeling the effects of extreme weather events in our part of the world. Doesn't it seem strange that we are getting more and more '1 in 100 year events' closer together and they are becoming more like 1 in 10 year events? Not strange, but normal according the climatologists. Climate change means more extreme weather, not just getting a bit warmer. Of course the climate changes over time and has many times before in Earth's history, but not in a matter of years or decades, we are talking centuries for these events to occur naturally. You can't take millions of years of trapped sunshine in the form of coal, gas and oil and release it in the space of fifty years or so without some repercussions.
This leads me to the other big issue. Peak Oil is a term that many might not be familiar with. Don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security. There was a time when Climate Change suffered the same lack of media coverage.
Peak Oil is not about “running out of oil” – we'll never run out of oil. There will always be oil left in the ground because either it's too hard to reach or it takes too much energy to extract. Ponder on a fact that the economists conveniently gloss over – regardless of how much money you can make selling oil, once it takes an oil barrel's worth of energy to extract a barrel of oil, the exploration, the drilling and the pumping will grind to a halt.
Peak Oil is about the end of cheap and plentiful oil, the recognition that the ever increasing volumes of oil being pumped into our economies will peak and then inexorably decline. It’s about understanding how our industrial way of life is absolutely dependent on this ever-increasing supply of cheap oil. To learn more about Peak Oil please read a this previous post titled "Peak Oil Primer".
So why did I start out talking about local community resilience? Well the two big issues have a lot to do about community resilience, because when they take effect, the outside inputs that supply our town will begin to slow down, and we have to depend upon each other more and more just to get by.
Let me pose this question. Do you know your neighbours, or at least 10 others in your community? If you don't it might be a good idea to reach out to others where you live, because soon enough we are going to need each other more than over.
Local resilience begins when like minded people actually care and look out for each other. People work better in communities, and have done so throughout all of history. So join a local club to build that community spirit and start to talk about the two big issues that I have articulated in this post. We have the power to change the way we do things, before the change gets forced upon us!
“Because the best protection isn't owning 30 guns; it's having 30 people who care about you. Since those 30 have other people who care about them, you actually have 300 people who are looking out for each other, including you. The second best protection isn't a big stash of stuff others want to steal; it's sharing what you have and owning little of value.”
- Charles Hugh Smith