Have a Plan B because there is no Planet B

If you watched a recent episode of Madam Secretary, you’ll know the characters are deeply despondent about the future of the planet. If you too are despairing the state of the world and our future, it can be hard to cope sometimes.

Decades ago when I was learning all I could about sustainability, a sense of trepidation built. When I told my husband of what I learned in the latest book, he’d see my distress and probably feel some himself so he’d yell, “Why do you read those terrible books?” And I’d yell back, “Because not reading them doesn’t make them not true.” I had to understand but it was not an easy journey, for either of us.

So one day, as I was reading Richard Heinberg’s book, The Party’s Over, I created my Plan B, what we could do if Peak Oil hit and our society stumbled? How would we live? What skills did I have that would be useful in that emerging society? I already grew food and we had solar panels so we would have a little energy. We’d developed a strong community in our neighborhood so we could look after one another. We had people who had some medical expertise, farming. Jerry, a blind man around the corner, had a Ham Radio. I knew which native plants were edible and how to raise and train horses, if it came to that. You may scoff, but doing this thought experiment was soothing and empowering. I have assets that are helpful in our current society but I would also have knowledge that could help my community survive if the wheels started to come off. This involved embracing the what-if instead of bemoaning the trends.

Hopefully the worst won’t come to pass but it is comforting to have a plan if it does.

I’ve been reading the Resilience newsfeed and a lot of it is scary stuff I don’t want to pass on, written with a shove-your-face-in-the-toilet tone. But this essay below is along the same lines of my Plan B, lyrically written with a gentleness of heart. You might like it.