Some of you will be aware that I've been reading widely and deeply about climate change, global warming and peak oil in preparation for the A-Z blogging challenge in April. It's been a remarkable journey so far; I've met some amazing people, attended scientific lectures and corresponded with scientists, journalists and super switched on people around the globe.
What has been surprising is that far from being the devastating, miserable, depressing experience I anticipated, I've become more resilient as I've begun to discuss openly and understand the implications of the change we're experiencing. Perhaps it's a bit like the expression: "Know thine enemy", or possibly "Knowledge is power", or as Dr Russ Harris (ACT and mindfulness expert) says: "Make friends with your demons".
With greater knowledge has come a shift in the chasm of fear I'd experienced earlier - intriguing!
That's not to say I'm not pretty spooked at times, particularly with the lack of foresight and action on the part of governments and some major companies, but far less so than 6 months ago. (I'll save my anger at the greed, lies, obfuscation and lack of ethics and integrity for another time.) Hoping that climate change, global warming and energy depletion is all a bad dream that will go away when I wake up isn't, unfortunately, going to work.
The following 6 minute video produced by the Post Carbon Institute is one of the many informative, accessible explanations of looking at the change that we are beginning to experience as cheap plentiful energy begins to decline.
They explain that the Industrial Revolution was possible due to the harvesting and use of cheap energy. We imagined that this energy was inexhaustible, and many of us in the western world have enjoyed the abundance of goodies available as growth and rampant consumerism overtook values of restraint and moderation. Many of us, including governments have borrowed against the future and are not sure how we're going to repay the debt (or even in some cases if it's possible at all).
More and more economists are questioning the wisdom of continual growth, and are expressing their concern that our current measurement of Gross Domestic Product isn't working as well as they'd been taught. It isn't measuring the health our our economies adequately - as any carer or parent knows, their work isn't included even if they're working 24/7, yet the quality of many people's lives depends on their unpaid work.
We know growth can't go on for ever. There are practical limits to our energy sources and disposal of the wastes we're producing. The earlier we address these and aim for improvements in our lives that don't include increasing consumption of fossil fuels and other resources, and work to build local prospering communities, the easier the transition will be.
How would you measure the health of our economies?