So came my epiphany. In the realisation that no-one knows when the end will come, and that we are actually in charge of deciding this. Peak oil is just a tiny part of a much larger point which is our having grown to this size in terms of our consumption of resources for the first time in the history of life. As a Buddhist this is significant because it's a turning point for humankind. If we can survive this issue, we will really be making an incredible cause. There is only one way to do this, and it's to finally realise the connectedness, or even just see the logic in not taking the world to the extremes we've taken it. We have already gone too far and it's not going to be easy to get out of this mess.
But there are changes afoot - even Google realise that working with small companies and not seeking to dominate is the business. And one little bit less do we resemble a steaming pile of maggots over a corpse, now lacking the larger millipedes who storm around or the larger ants. And now each of us has to stop and eat a big leaf so our stomachs can stop hurting.
A Study of bus companies operating in rural regions found, in a very innocent manner, that
In addition to conclusions stated in the APTRA paper (Brown & Tyler 2001), to
achieve, maintain and improve ridership and revenue on new community run
local bus services it is recommended that:
a) the service should be set up for a minimum of two years based on full
community consultations concerning frequency, costs, fare structure, funding
and bus stops
b) timetables should be as simple as possible
c) amendments to timetables, routes and fares should be minimal, after full
On the other hand
over here, no-where like that amount of money would go into a community run bus service, like the usbus. But really the way to run these things is through public consultation at all levels. Local people are like shareholders of the service and can boycott it, or work with it to improve it so we already have these rights and can make them work for us. It makes me wish I could somehow join a green party as I see that so much of this - like decentralised energy is actually proposed with no idea of the technical and social implications of switching to these systems. How can you go to a government and not include a demonstration of something like this? They need success stories, they need proof that British people can club together if put under stress, that we can create things through our own efforts. This wouldn't be news to anyone I know around Bristol - making the greatest things happen, from an experimental collaborative orchestra to a volunteer-run cinema, to improvised parties in the street to fight for the chocolate factory with decks and reggae and barbeques and children playing football in the street followed by heavier drinking in one of the houses later on. This with people I'd never met before - such a great experience!
We create and are part of and hear of and help in so many community and locally run services, as well as the groups and rooms we might be a part of in the online world - and the thing about them is that they are driven by our interest and the desire to make things happen that are not happening. This is a magic that the government could tap into and run using incentive streams. This would suit Tories or other posh gits on bikes with the executive car behind them. It would make the government smaller and reduce taxes just through not having to pay people more, but just devolving the running of services to community formed organisations. And these could be like small businesses.
It has been said and attempted before, but no one has tried to make a participative state using the telecommunications technology we have, and which is not going away too soon. You can make a computer out of lots of locally sourceable materials, and it could be possible to maintain a highly specialised production of slower computers even without the bits mined in Africa to make them go faster. Ricardo Semler, from Semco in Brazil - the absolutely participative factory which was a success story twice in it's career, recently avoiding the web bubble crash by having chosen not to go down the lane of venture capital funding, which they thought would somehow control them - he has something quite unique - a pedal powered laptop for reading his email. This really forces him not to spend too much time just messing around on a computer.
We should use computers and telecommunications - mesh networks, wifi networks, telegraph poles, text messages - try and get them to run on a minimal infrastructure and set up day to day voting systems to help run the decision making process.
It doesn't have to be on a national level, just even as a subversive alternate decision making process, but a well made one, a believable one. Efficient Anarchy.