Stabilizing Strategies for a Wobbly World

The Future Analysis Branch (FAB) of the German Ministry of Defense has researched and published a landmark report of interest to everyone concerned with food production and consumption. That’s all of us.

The report — Peak Oil: Security Policy Implications of Scarce Resource — has just been translated into English. For realists, it’s worthwhile reading.

FAB’s report explores a host of crucial matters: food and water, consumerism, economics, climate change, social stability, and  so forth. It’s written from a vantage based on the reality of the modern world’s absolute dependency on precious, profoundly polluting oil. In that context, the report addresses the potential meltdown of social order and municipal services as oil becomes less and less available, more and more costly — a process now well underway.

In addition to delineating the looming dangers — including the very real threat to the industrial agricultural system which feeds the modern world — the report acknowledges positive, proactive measures that communities can and should undertake.

Of interest, the FAB report quotes from another landmark report, the 2009 Task Force recommendations to the city of Bloomington, Indiana — Redefining Prosperity: Energy Descent and Community Resilience. That report outlines the utter vulnerability of a typical American community to the ongoing hike in oil cost. It also proposes numerous mitigation strategies — ways to move toward stability in our increasingly wobbly economy and environment.

The Bloomington report is premised on the reality that oil infuses just about every aspect of our lives. We rely on cheap oil for necessities such as transportation, electricity, and food production and distribution. The whole of industrial agriculture is built on a foundation of increasingly scarce oil – a glaring vulnerability.

Key among the task force recommendations:

  • Promote economic relocalization. Producing and processing more goods within the community fosters greater security while strengthening the local economy.
  • Accelerate local food production by training more urban farmers and removing legal, institutional and cultural barriers to farming within the city.
  • Plant edible landscapes throughout the city.
  • Incubate community food businesses.

Just now all across the USA, Canada, and in other nations, thousands of these kinds of positive, proactive, stabilizing initiatives are underway. I strove to give an overview of them, and a broad range of examples, in writing The Call of the Land: An Agrarian Primer for the 21st Century published in 2009, as well as via the links on this website.. But so prolific have been the arising agrarian initiatives that I expanded the book tremendously with dozens of additional models for a 2nd edition published this year.

In late 2011 we are at a phase where our world’s wobble necessitates widespread embrace of stabilizing responses to the urgent call of the land. These kinds of sustainable agrarian models, many times multiplied, have the potential to aid greatly with stabilization. They yield honest work, environmental balance, beauty that encourages, clean food, and a natural, anchoring focal point amid our digital, high-tech whirl forward.

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