I sat last night at my work talking with a rather anxious Jen current events. It is a strange thing seeing what usually plagues painted all over another person's face. That conversation was fresh on my mind when I read Kunstler's latest. Here are a couple of passages that really jumped out at me:
"The larger underlying reality is that the United States as an entire, integral organism, has got to contract, downscale, and reorganize. The mandates of energy resource reality demand it. We can't maintain our way of life at its current scale and we have to severely rearrange and rebuild the infrastructure of it if we expect to continue being civilized. We have to get the hell out of suburbia, shrink our hypertrophic metroplexes, re-activate our small towns and small cities, reorganize the way we grow our food, phase out the big box retail (and phase in the rehabilitated Main Streets), start making some of our own household goods, and hook up the far-flung reaches of this continental nation with a public transit system probably in the form of railroads. By the way, there are plenty of "jobs" in this process, only not the kind of work we've been used to... sitting in cubicles or assigning tanning booths.
No amount of wishing for techno rescue remedies, or techno-triumphal fantasies, will overcome this basic reality. This is change you have to believe in whether you like it or not. Most of America doesn't like it and doesn't want to think about it and is doing everything possible to prop up the old arrangements. Bailing out the banks is just a lame attempt to keep banking oversized. Bailing out the automobile companies was just a way to avoid the recognition that Happy Motoring will soon be over. Bailing out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was just a way to avoid understanding that suburbia is finished. The "green economy" that so many people idly blather about -- imagining that it will just mean running WalMart by other means than oil -- is actually an economy of awesome stringency. It's nothing like they imagine. It's a world made by hand."
For those wondering what to do, you can start with learning new skills. Learn to mend clothing, cook/garden, fix bicycles, or perform first-aid. More importantly, do acquire these new skills with other people. We are a lazy generation whose inability to stay focused on a single topic for more than a moment has warranted the creation of new disorders. Working with other people will help with our gadfly-esque attention spans but our mutual accountability; additionally, these experiences will be good for community building/reinforcing. Not everyone is going to be good at everything, so don't be discouraged if you don't immediately find skills that resonate with you. Keep looking. As our world gets smaller, there will be plenty of necessary skills.
Two skills that we all need to work on are growing our own food and learning to use firearms. For those of you in apartments, look into container gardening or community gardens. For those of you living in underground bunkers, well...As for guns, we can't let possession and knowledge of firearms be the sole domain of the right. I would much rather know how to use a firearm and never have to than not know when I need to. Additionally, the world changes very quickly. We need to be prepared.
If none of these ideas work for you and you still find yourself tossing and turning at night, go work in a soup kitchen or be a CASA. There are many ways to assuage White Guilt. Don't complain, do something.